Yellowstone Pictures, Gallery 20
These are all from the great summer of 2001 excursion, August 23.
We moved to Old Faithful Lodge from the horrid
Canyon Cabins that day, then wandered the basins a lot.
settling in and hanging out in the gift shops for several hours, we set
out into the basin. Some geese were in the Firehole River enjoying
little geyser spurting in front of Castle Geyser's big cone is Gizmo Geyser.
It is connected to Castle and plays more as the time for Castle's eruption
gets closer. Here it is only a foot or two high, but it can get to
10 or 15 feet high. It has four vents, each with it's own personality.
It looks like only one or two of them are going in this shot.
took a stroll to the Black Sand Basin with mom and Jen. We stopped
at Demon's Cave, which is on the left hand side of the trail right after
you get to Black Sand Pool, and took it's picture. Notice the big
overhang of fragile sinter over the very hot water. The main trail
is on the far side of the spring in this picture. If someone were
to casually stroll over they could easily fall in. So, never ever
go off the trail (like I was, well not really, there is a path branching
off the main trail to look at Demon's Cave, you could tell many people
had walked there before). Even worse, don't use Demon's Cave as natures
warming hut while skiing in the winter as one of my friends did before
I pointed out that it is an active geyser, and that he would be in trouble
if it decided to erupt while he was getting a steam bath.
Pool in the Black Sand Basin is a very pretty pool in the right conditions.
It does have an opalescent blue center surrounded by orange algae.
These aren't the right conditions, too much glare. I always thought
of it as a hot spring, but I recently read somewhere that it is a catch
basin for runoff from other springs. I like this picture because
of all the "bobby socks" trees. Trees that are killed by hot spring
and or geyser water in Yellowstone will continue to draw up the silica
laden water after they die. The water evaporates and leaves behind
a lot of silica in the wood of the base of the tree, kind of partly petrifying
it. For all you darn kids out there bobby socks were evidently some
kind of white socks worn in the middle of the last century.
the way back from Black sand Basin we caught Daisy Geyser, who is usually
a pretty consistent and frequent predicted geyser, at least in in
recent decades. It is interesting that the interval between eruptions
of Daisy can be lengthened if it is a really windy day. The wind
supposedly cools the pool. Now, if it is windy because of a stormy
low pressure system rapidly approaching, that is good for the rare and
spectacular neighbor of Daisy, Splendid Geyser. It likes to erupt
(on those occasions when it manages to erupt) when the atmospheric pressure
is falling, maybe because it is easier for the water to boil at depth with
slightly less pressure on it.
sat and waited on the late afternoon predicted eruption of Riverside Geyser.
This particular eruption had some pretty spectacular rainbows in it if
you stood in the right spots. Because Riverside has long eruptions
it is easy to photograph. I want to know why my pictures of rainbows
always come out so faint, like this one did.
Funny yet short story: I remarked to my sister how Riverside should
be called Exploding Toilet Geyser. The cone looks like a toilet,
one of the modern low slung ones, and it overflows for quite a while before
it explodes in an eruption. She didn't appreciate my humor.
The next morning I joined a ranger led walk near Castle Geyser, to see
if the new geyser lady ranger knew her stuff. She did. She
was leading the tour to catch an eruption of Riverside, and she remarked
how it reminded her of a toilet. I felt very vindicated.
and Jen left after Riverside's eruption, headed back to eat or gift shop
or other silly non geyser related thing. They missed the best stuff.
Years ago I thought Grotto geyser was kind of boring. It does have
a very interesting cone, but usually only splashes maybe 10 feet high,
and it erupts a lot. It has very long eruptions, hours long, and
when I would see it I would be like "there's Grotto again, ho hum".
That was before I saw Grotto start. This day was only the second
or third time I have seen this happen.
You can tell how close Grotto is to starting by watching a small non-descript
hot pool near the trail called the Indicator Spring. The water in
it rises and falls say every 20 or so minutes. Each time it gets
a little higher. When it gets near to full Grotto is getting close
to eruption. Also, the pictured geyser, Grotto Fountain, starts to
splash a bit on the same cycle as the indicator spring. Then, either
Grotto Fountain or nearby South Grotto Fountain begin to erupt. Grotto
Fountain doesn't look like much when it is not erupting, it's cone is only
a few inches high. It's height varies from eruption to eruption anywhere
from 30 to 50 or even occasionally to 80 feet. This evening, after
a false start or two of heavy overflow and a little splashing, it "started"
Grotto by building into this very pretty big jet of water.
Fountain was quickly joined by the nearby South Grotto Fountain Geyser.
Fountain and South Grotto Fountain are both playing, but we still have
two geysers to go.
a little while of just Grotto Fountain and South Grotto Fountain, Rocket
and Grotto Geysers both start. Left to right it is Grotto Fountain,
South Grotto Fountain, Rocket and Grotto. Rocket mostly acts as another
vent for Grotto, it erupts along with it, except for when it occasionally
gets very powerful and takes over their joint eruption for a few minutes.
That is called a "Rocket Major" but I didn't see one of those this evening.
Grotto is especially powerful for a few minutes at the start of it's eruption,
it can hit 30 or 40 feet high before settling down to it's usual 10 or
15 feet. After a few minutes of this Grotto Fountain and South Grotto
Fountain died down.
Geyser, still going strong.
and Grotto settle down for their long eruption (anywhere from about one
to three hours or, if a "marathon" eruption, as long as 17 hours).
No more Grotto Fountain till next time. As it was starting to get
dark, I started back, by the scenic route of course.
ran into yet more excitement on the way back in the form of a "Giant hot
period". The big geyser cone is Giant Geyser. Giant can erupt
over 200 feet, and erupts for about an hour. For much of the second
half of the 20th century it was nearly dormant, with maybe one eruption
per year if you were lucky. Historically it had been most active
when Grotto was not so active, and the energy would shift between the two
groups over periods of several years, until a big earthquake in the 50's
evidently sent it into it's near dormancy. In the 90's it finally
rejuvenated. Some seasons it has even been erupting every week or
two at times. Giant only erupts when it has a hot period. Not
all hot periods result in an eruption. Most don't. This one
didn't, but it was still exciting.
In a hot period the almost constant Bijou geyser shuts off for more
than a couple of minutes. The water in all the springs in the neighborhood
of Giant rises. Giant surges and splashes more than usual.
Mastiff Geyser (the steaming pool to the left of giant) sometimes surges.
It was surging a bit this evening. Small geysers called the Platform
Vents start to erupt. The one in front of Giant I think is the one
informally known as Feather. Water is everywhere.
during a hot period, some of the more uncommon geysers near Giant sometimes
erupt, like Catfish Geyser shown here. The mound behind Catfish is
the previously mentioned Bijou Geyser.
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