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June 27, 2012

By the Junior Curators

NC Museum of Natural Sciences Education Blog

It is a rare occurrence to consider 6:15 as an opportunity to sleep in, but that was how we JCs (Junior Curators) felt on the Tuesday morning of June 26th. In the morning we met up with Ranger Matt who guided us through the otherworldly landscape of the Mammoth Hot Springs. While smelling the pungent hydrogen sulfide issuing from the thermal features, our guide led us along a raised boardwalk that traversed the springs. Along the way, we stopped to listen to the rich history of the springs and the science behind them. Normally geological features take thousands, even millions of years, to form, but we were able to observe evidence of the rapid deposition of the mineral travertine that built the terraces.

The springs owe their warm coloring to microorganisms called thermophiles (thermophiles means heat-loving). Because these organisms can survive in such a harsh environment that may resemble conditions…

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