Extremities:  Geology and Life in Yellowstone and Implications for Other Worlds


The Twin Buttes View sampling site, and surrounding spring formations.

TB VIew Spring 1
TB View Spring 2

Where we took a sample of the TB View spring microbial mats for microbiology and reflectance spectroscopy. We took green material from the center of the channel. These are a green sulfur bacterium, Chlorobium tepidum, lives by anoxygenic photosynthesis. It produces elemental sulfur as a waste product, and (unlike Chromatium and Thiothrix) deposits the sulfur outside its cells. Here, the water is 59°C, pH = 6.5, and highly sulfurous.
This is not the TB View spring, but is nearby and typical of these springs on the upper terraces of Mammoth. TB View was partially shadowed, and so not very photogenic.
Hot Spring Deposits
Striated Spring Rock

Rock deposited by ancient hot springs along a fracture, forming a straight ridge. Inside the ridge, the rock shows rounded and curving patterns, which represent original variations in the type or rate of carbonate mineral deposition. Features like this, if seen on Mars, might indicate ancient hot spring deposits and places to look for signatures of life.
Linear structures along the layers in ancient hot spring deposits. These are casts of microbial fibers and tendrils. If seen on Mars, features like this might be good indicators of ancient life.

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Updated 11/15/02.
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