Chocolate Pots in Yellowstone National Park

Chocolate Pot Yellowstone

Chocolate Pot Yellowstone National ParkI don’t know that I’ve ever encountered a destination where there are so many wonders to see and explore as there are in Yellowstone National Park.

The mountainous landscapes are very captivating, the abundant wildlife is a sheer joy, and then sprinkled between all of that are unusual wonders like this Chocolate Pot.

Gurgling out water and steam at 130°F, “the Chocolate Pots are colorful and unusual formations located along the Gibbon River and the road between Elk Park and Gibbon Meadows.

They are unique for their rich, dark-brown, chocolate color. The three to four-feet-high cones have green, yellow, brown and orange streaks formed by warm, water loving bacteria and algae. Mineral oxides are responsible for the dark-brown color. Iron, aluminum, nickel and manganese oxides compose nearly 60% of the pots, with silica composing an additional 17%”. (via Yellowstone National Park website)

Interestingly, NASA scientists have studied these Chocolate Pots in their quest to understand life on Mars.  The reddish color in the Chocolate Pots are formed by iron carbonates, which is also what gives Mars its reddish color.

While this was a fascinating site to behold, the gurgling water and steam served as a constant reminder that we were presently standing in the mammoth caldera of one of the world’s largest super-volcanoes.


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