Yellowstone National Park's largest hot spring may have been damaged after a tourist accidentally crashed a camera-equipped drone into it.
Officials at the park are still trying to decide whether to attempt to remove the device from the spring, known as the Grand Prismatic, following the crash on Saturday. The incident was revealed by park officials on Wednesday.
The tourist reportedly approached a park employee asking to get the drone back after losing it, and the employee let the tourist go without initially reporting the incident to authorities.
Park spokesman Al Nash said: "What we have to determine is whether the presence of this radio-controlled recreational aircraft poses a threat to that unique resource."
Bison crossing a road in Yellowstone Yellowstone is one of the most popular national parks in the US
The prized geothermal feature is the third-largest hot spring in the world and attracts around three million visitors every year.
It is known for its vivid colours caused by minerals and bacteria in the water.
The spring is 37 metres deep and has a diameter of about 112 metres. Its waters typically reach temperatures of around 70C.
A ban on unmanned aerial vehicles was announced by the National Park Service in June, however that has not stopped photography enthusiasts from using drones to capture unique shots of nature.
Earlier this summer a drone crashed into a marina at Yellowstone Lake and a series of radio-controlled aircraft violations were reported at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.http://news.sky.com/story/1314538/drone-crashes-into-famous-yellowstone-spring