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Home / Science / Tourist Pollution results Yellowstone National Park hot Springs color change … – The Westside Story
Tourist Pollution results Yellowstone National Park hot Springs color change … – The Westside Story

Tourist Pollution results Yellowstone National Park hot Springs color change … – The Westside Story

A Brilliant Blue could be a color of Yellowstone’s hot springs – proposed researchers based on a mathematical model that used optical measurements to assess the impact of physical and chemical variables on the pools. The coins and garbage thrown by tourists are responsible for the contamination and color change of the hot springs.

A one dimensional model used by scientists used digital SLR cameras, long-wave thermal imaging cameras, and handheld spectrometers. The study attributed the change on springs’ water color to lower water temperatures triggered by the ‘microbial mat composition’ located within those springs. Alongside natural debris, coins and garbage were found responsible for the color change.

hot springs

The findings suggest the detrimental impact tourism caused to this popular hot springs. Around 1940s, tourists started coming to this natural habitat and using the pools as wishing wells, tossing in coins or garbage intentionally.

A team of researchers, and in fact members of the Optical Society, from the Montana State University and the University of Applied Sciences in Germany reconstructed the original colors of hot springs using a mathematical model. The findings of this study are published in the journal Applied Optics.

The Optical Society is the leading professional association aimed at providing quality information and inspiring interactions in the domain of optics and photonics. The members of this association include renowned engineers, scientists and business leaders from all over the world. Optics and photonics are specialized fields of physics and engineering that powers critical technology advancements in the fields of telecommunications, consumer technologies, defense and homeland security, health and medicine.

The Optical Society’s primary objective is to promote the application and archiving of knowledge in these specialized fields through publications, events, and services for the sake of educational, scientific and technical purposes.


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