PointofInterestRoadSigns.com - Yellowstone National Park - Travertine Occupants 


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Yellowstone National Park - Travertine Occupants


Location of sign - Mammoth Hot Springs area trail at Yellowstone National Park.


Photo taken June 2008

Travertine Occupants, Travertine Occupants road sign, Yellowstone Travertine Occupants  

Close-up view of sign


Travertine Occupants, Travertine Occupants road sign, Yellowstone Travertine Occupants

Wide view of sign


Text of sign:


Travertine Occupants


You are looking at a world of heat loving microorganisms called "thermophiles." Billions of them live, die and are buried at 

Mammoth Hot Springs.


Food for Life


Feasting on Chemicals

Filamentous Bacteria


Thread-like filamentous bacteria link together, creating chains that can spread into aprons.  They live on hydrogen sulfide gas rising

through vents - the gas you likely smell here.


Living on Sunshine



Like flowering plants, colorful cyanobacteria use light for energy, or photosynthesize.  If other microorganisms did not consume 

hydrogen sulfide gas near the vents, these sun-loving microbes would be poisoned. 


Perished Communities


Heated deep underground, water rises through buried limestone, then deposits the mineral calcite above ground.  The calcite 

hardens, becoming travertine.  As hot spring water flows, trees, grasses, thermophiles, and even the boardwalk are entombed!


Smothered by a coat of travertine, a fossil-like impression of thermophiles is cast in stone.  These travertine impressions are 

evidence of former thermophile communities. 


Yellowstone's hot springs are among Earth's most extreme environments.  Yet life survives and thrives in conditions that would be

lethal to humans.  Scientists studying hot spring habitats are learning about life's limits on Earth.  What they learn here may also aid

the search for life on other planets.


This exhibit made possible by a generous grant to the Yellowstone Park Foundation from NASA Astrobiology Institute and 

Lockheed Martin Space Operations.


Graphics on the sign


In addition to the text there is a picture of filamentous bacteria, cyanobacteria, entombed filamentous bacteria and entombed 



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