Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Abyss Pool

One of the deeper hot springs in the park, Abyss Pool descends to 53 feet (16 meters). It varies from turquoise blue to emerald green to various shades of brown. In 1883, a park visitor described it as "a great, pure, sparkling sapphire rippling with heat."

In 1935, Chief Park Naturalist C.M. Bauer named Abyss Pool, a hot spring of the West Thumb Geyser Basin, for its impressive deepness. Bauer may have taken the name from Lieutenant G.C. Doane's 1870 description of a spring in this area: "the distance to which objects are visible down in [its] deep abysses is truly wonderful" (Bonney and Bonney, Battle Drums, p. 330). Abyss Pool may also be the spring that visitors referred to during the 1880s as "Tapering Spring" because of its sloping walls.

Nineteenth century observers were impressed with the pool's beauty. In 1871, F.V. Hayden reported that this spring's "ultramarine hue of the transparent depth in the bright sunlight was the most dazzlingly beautiful sight I have ever beheld" (Preliminary Reports, p. 101). And W.W. Wylie observed in 1882 that the spring's walls, "coral-like in formation and singular in shape, tinted by the water's color, are surely good representations of fairy palaces" (Yellowstone, p. 47).