Mammoths Falls Volcanic Terrace
Travertine terraces are formed from limestone. Thermal water rises through the limestone, carrying high amounts of the dissolved limestone (calcium carbonate). At the surface, carbon dioxide is released and calcium carbonate is deposited, forming travertine, the chalky white mineral forming the rock of travertine terraces. The formations resemble a cave turned inside out. Colorful stripes are formed by thermophiles, or heat-loving organisms.
Travertine formations grow much more rapidly than the more common sinter formations in the park because of the "soft" nature of limestone. Due to the rapid deposition, these features constantly and quickly change.