Morning Glory Pool is one of the most popular features of Yellowstone National Park. It lies in the Upper Geyser Basin, which has the highest concentration of geysers anywhere in the world. This section of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed park is about 1.6 miles from Old Faithful.
Morning Glory Pool has a temperature of about 171°F. It measures 23ft x 26.6ft and is 23 feet deep. The funnel-shaped pool has a green center that fans out into yellow and orange shades on the rim.
It was originally named “Convolutus” by Mrs. E. N. McGowan, wife of Assistant Park Superintendent Charles McGowan, in 1883. Convulutus is a Latin word for the morning glory flower, which the pool shape and color once resembled. By 1889, the name Morning Glory Pool had stuck. The main road through the park use to run right next to it, but it was rerouted in 1971.
It’s certainly popular, but is it the most beautiful pool in the park? No. Morning Glory Pool used to be much more spectacular but years of vandalism has changed that. When people throw objects into the pool, they get stuck in the vent and the water temperature decreases. The pool used to be filled with stunning blue water and had a delicate orange bacteria ring around the outer edges. Now it’s dramatically different. With a lower temperature, algae grew in the pool and the bacteria ring became much bigger, completely altering the colors.
In an attempt to clean the pool in 1950, the water was drained and an eruption was induced. 112 different objects were removed, including bath towels, socks, 76 handkerchiefs, US$86.27 in pennies, and US$8.10 in other coins. Every year, hundreds of rocks, coins, and other objects are removed. The ignorance of visitors has forever destroyed the original beauty of the pool, and an interpretive panel at the viewing area has been titled “Fading Glory”. This once magnificent natural wonder is a prime example of how fragile our environment truly is.