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June 30, 2007

Observations for 29 June

Coming back from downbasin, I always look over on Geyser Hill as I bike up that well-despised hill the Inn sits on. It's mostly to check for a Beehive Indicator, but occasionally I do get to see something else of interest. This morning, after Grand, I noticed that Giantess was putting up a strong, well defined steam cloud. Now it was around 08:45, which is a bit late for any dry ice effects, but the last few days we've been having calm mornings, and those are excellent conditions for Giantess to have its big boils. Not making any predictions, but just noting that this is the first time that I've seen anything at all from that pool.

The second burst of the mid-day Grand eruption was had a long second burst that featured lots of Big Sawmill action. During the last half minute, Vent was reduced to a steam jet with little to no water visible. The post-eruption pause, at over 23 minutes, was unusually long, too.

I was a bit surprised that for a Grand eruption that would take place just after sunset with a full moon in warm conditions, there were just a few tourists out beside me. No gazers or even geyser groupies. I remember years past where there would have been a dozen or so of us out there. Then again, most of those people have gone, been driven away, or gotten older. But still, you'd think that some of the newer gazers would take advantage of such opportunities.

June 28, 2007

Observations for 28 June

Thanks to Grand once again deciding to have a long interval when it could instead have erupted by moonlight, I got to see that Grotto was still in its marathon eruption when I left at 04:30. Which, it turns out, was just about the time it shut down. Grotto was off and dead by 05:20. So once again, the Bijou Monkey Cage would be filling mid-morning and overflowing by noon. Grand had a consecutive long interval, and despite the breeze, it was a hot wait there.

Had already decided earlier in the week that if a Giant hot period started while I was at Grand, I was not going to race down to the Cage with the rest of the herd, but stay there and, should it actually erupt, try and get some photos, and get to see what it looks like from there. Today I got my chance. Unfortunately, some of the pictures were blurred because I was in such a hurry and the camera is so slow to respond. As with last week, the time between the start of Mastiff's surging turning into actual jetting until the start of Giant seemed to last forever, despite it being just a bit under two minutes.

Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 28 #1 Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 28 #2 Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 28 #3 Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 28 #4
Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 28 12:33 from Grand and Oblong

I do sort of wish that the circumstances of the two eruptions, this one and last week's, were reversed, as I'd really have liked to have heard just how high this one was. It was definitely larger that earlier, but by how much? (Maybe someday, instead of immediately yakking into their cell phones from within the Monkey Cage every time, some people can put the effort into seeing and recording eruptions from other locations like I've tried to do. And I do resent, just a bit, how a number of geyser groupies just assumed I'd be measuring this height like last time.)

Observations for 27 June

The Grotto that started the night before didn't last, so when I came out for the middle of the night Grand, nothing much was happening down there. Giant's platform looked like there hadn't been an event in hours. Thanks to Grand having a 9 hour interval, I got to see the platform again, when it looked unchanged just before a short, weak hot period. But then Grotto started, and it became apparant that this was going to be the hoped for marathon.

The marathon meant that it was possible to be elsewhere, and I was able to fulfill other obligations, as the photo shows. I'm told that while I was gone, Beehive had an eruption that was actually preceded by the Indicator. That evening, thirteen hours after the start, Grotto was still erupting.

Other Geyser Times

  • Grotto Fountain 06:33
  • Grotto 06:44
  • Giant hot periods
    • 06:27 d=1m57s
    • 07:35 d=4m21s
    • 08:40 d=1m40s

June 27, 2007

Observations for 26 June

The marathon quit shortly after sunrise, setting things up for an afternoon of Giant. A short afternoon, as the hot period took place at 12:44. It was disappointing because it didn't last long (about 9 minutes) and did not feature much in the way of Mastiff activity. And then the hourly hot periods resumed with a Mastiff bathtub.

That activity continued, with the last daylight hot period actually the best of the day, and in some ways better than the recovery hot period. Grotto also started only about a half hour earlier, so it was hoped that it was a new marathon starting, and this all meant everyone could get a good night's rest.

Grand finally almost cooperated by erupting just before sunset, with the light disappearing late in the eruption. There was a particularly intense rainbow coming straight out of Vent when you stood in the right location. It would cooperated better if it had had a second burst.

Other Geyser Times

  • Grotto 19:48
  • Giant hot periods
    • 12:44 d≈9m
    • 14:04 bathtub
    • 16:14 d=2m00s
    • 17:27 d≈6m
    • 18:57 d=2m
    • 20:14 d=7m15s

June 26, 2007

Observations for 25 June

Turns out it was a mistake. Spent a whole night, and the next day, seeing weak hot periods and short Grotto eruptions. Grotto finally went into a marathon at 14:35, and Giant had the big hot period we'd been expecting for 36 hours shortly after that. The first six minutes of it seemed fairly ordinary, the only distinguishing feature being a number of previously quiet vents were active. Then, several minutes after Feather had quit, it restarted and Giant started massive surging. So much so that observers there insisted Giant was about to start. Unfortunately, it didn't, and now we wait out the marathon.

Grand seems to like having short intervals during the evening, night and early mornings, reserving the longer intervals for mid day when the crowds are the largest. The morning eruption was right at the time when the sun was appearing over the trees, so that only the tops of the jets, and the mass of the second burst were illuminated.

Other Geyser Times

  • Grotto 00:42 d≈2h15m, 09:00 d≈1h15m, 14:39
  • Grotto Fountain 08:57, 14:35
  • Giant hot periods
    • 00:16 d=4m37s
    • 01:17 d=2m08s
    • 02:27 d=4m32s
    • 03:58 bathtub
    • 05:02 bathtub
    • 06:08 bathtub
    • 07:15 bathtub
    • 08:10 bathtub
    • 09:05
    • 10:04
    • 10:56 bathtub
    • 11:57 4m53s
    • 12:51 bathtub
    • 14:02 d=1m55s
    • 15:11
    • 15:57 d=2m22s
    • 17:02 bathtub
    • 18:02 d=5m55s + restart

June 25, 2007

Observations for 24 June

Another pretty dull day, with lots of weak Giant hot periods and waiting for Grotto to do something. But as the day progressed, the amount of surging in Giant and Mastiff got stronger. Made it easy to believe that something might happen, and soon.

Other Geyser Times

24 June 2007
  • Grotto Fountain 10:44, 18:44ie
  • Grotto 10:48, 18:44ie
  • Giant hot periods
    • 11:30
    • 12:24 d=1m44s
    • 13:32 d=3m46s
    • 14:22
    • 15:28 d=4m40s
    • 16:17 bathtub
    • 17:13 d=2m27s
    • 18:18 d=5m20s
    • 19:10 d≈2m
    • 20:12 d=2m46s
    • 21:11 d=4m19s
    • 22:08 bathtub
    • 23:17

June 24, 2007

Observations for 23 June

Grotto went into a marathon eruption. Start time was almost certainly the eruption the previous night, as it was erupting when I was out at Grand after midnight. Well into the eruption Grotto had the first observed Rocket major eruption that I have heard of for this year, at 12:48. Lasted only a couple of minutes, and a strange time for it. But the marathon ended shortly thereafter.

This set the recovery hot period in the early nighttime hours. The duration was a bit disappointingly short, but an indication that at least we don't need to worry too much about any eruption taking place on Sunday.

Fan & Mortar continued their usual chaotic behavior with flashes of " hot periods" which sucked in a new set of the newly arrived who someone get the idea that the very first cycle they see is the one that's going to initiate an eruption. Despite being the same as what everyone else has been seeing for weeks.

Beehive broke out of its window, with a late evening eruption. Again, it appears that there was no indicator. Beehive surged a couple of times and then took off.

Other Geyser Times

  • Giant hot period 22:30 d=5m37s

June 23, 2007

Observations for 22 June

Been a dull series of days, with little to report, other than Beehive had yet another Beehive eruption with not just no indicator, but no warning. Someone whose voice I don't recognize was at Lion for the start, and because she was facing away, was caught by surprise.

And yes, below is another Grotto Fountain that didn't result in the start of Grotto.

Other Geyser Times

22 June 2007
  • Grotto Fountain 15:40, 17:12
  • Grotto 17:22
  • Uncertain 16:46

June 22, 2007

An observation about the dead trees behind Grand

Why are all the dead, rime frost killed trees on the hillside behind Grand still standing? There are one or two on the ground out there, but most of them are standing, just like they were when I first visited in 1980. You'd think that by now, with the shallow lodgepole pine root systems typical of the thermal areas, the wind would have knocked them down. It's knocked them down all over the rest of the Sawmill and Grand groups. It's taken care of many of the burned trees from 1988. (I even got to witness that a few times.)

On the other hand, many of them, especially those at the top of the hill directly behind Grand, are surrounded at their base by a wide area of small, young brushy trees. (Or maybe a single tree that's just not producing a single tall trunk.) Maybe the roots of these trees are helping to act as anchors, keeping these ancient dead trees standing.

June 21, 2007

Observations for 20 June

Agsin, post-Giant there's not a lot to report. Yesterday I did forget to include the photo of the signs' resting place.

I did see a new bit of touron weirdness on my way to Grand: an orange car (I don't even bother keeping up with the models and makes any more) that was practially in the old plaza area between the old VC's theaters. It seems someone thought the walkway leading from the road across from the old Photo Shop was a road. It was headed by the time I got near enough to get a better view. No camera on me at the time, either.

Grand itself was another short interval. The best feature of that was that it put the next eruption squarely in the dark to dawn time frame, and that was more than enough excuse to use the night to catch up on sleep instead. (And the rain showers I heard at 02:00 helped, too.)

June 20, 2007

Five for Five

The day started out as expected: Grotto still erupting along with a several hour wait at Grand. But just before the Grand eruption, I noticed that the steam cloud at Grotto had suddenly ceased. Scott Bryan confirmed that Grotto was off, giving us a fourteen hour duration, and a Giant window opening sometime in early afternoon.

The rest of the morning was spent in trying to catch up on a little of the sleep I hadn't gotten the last few nights. Then it was out into the basin to see what would happen next. I figured the Bijou Cage was near capacity, so no reason not to wait at Grand, even though it was well before time for an eruption. One indication of just how full the cage probably was was when I saw an eruptions of Aurum and that weren't announced on the radio about an hour earlier. On the way out, ran into Lynn Stephens at Castle.

Since I was in time killing mode, we were talking there for quite a bit when Lynn suddenly goes, "Beehive!" Sure enough, there it was, climbing to full height, and once again without an indicator. You could almost tell by the radio reaction that there were a lot of people who once again were thinking of how they'd heard of another Beehive eruption while at Giant.

Beehive was nearing the end when Scott announced the rise in water in Mastiff. Now this was a bit of a disappointment, as we were only a little over six hours since Grotto quit, and the last time there was a quick hot period/recovery, it lead to a weak hot period and nothing much. But not this time. Lynn and I both got on the bikes and headed down that way. Within two minutes, at 14:01, the hot period had started with several vents starting. By the time I was in sight of the platform it was apparent that Mastiff was in charge, with nice boiling visible even at a distance.

Mastiff Geyser 2007 Jun 20 14:11
Mastiff Geyser 2007 Jun 20 14:11
Mastiff Geyser 2007 Jun 20 14:10
I'd decided that for this eruption, I was going to try to get a height measurement at the start of the eruption, and for that I had to walk past the platform and on south to the markers. I got into position at the 200ft markers just about the time Scott announced four minutes and Mastiff going flat but overflowing. This was normal, but the key was for Mastiff to come back, quickly and even stronger, which it did. I also noticed that at the 200ft mark, Mastiff was obscured by Giant's back shoulder, so quickly retreated to the 300ft marker instead. By 14:10, Mastiff was obviously in eruption.

Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 20 #1 Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 20 #2 Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 20 #3 Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 20 #4 Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 20 #5
Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 20 14:12 Start Sequence

After two consecutive nighttime eruptions, and two more under less than ideal conditions (although 31 May was more than acceptable), it was wonderful to be perfectly positioned to see a start on a warm afternoon. I quickly took the sequence of photos here, then used my clinometer to get a reading on the height. I was disappointed to get only 60%, which comes to 180ft. But as the photo sequence shows, this just didn't seem like a huge, high start.

(My camera is an ancient, ten-year old Kodak DC-50 first generation digital camera. It takes up to 7 seconds to process and store an image, so that sequence is at least 30 seconds long.)

I noticed that the northern corner of the cage got soaked nicely, and took pictures of the resting places for the marker signs. After that, it was enjoy the spectacle time.

Shortly after the start it was announced that Castle was erupting, as if anybody cared. I assume by an NPS naturalist on rove, as unless they were lucky enough to be stuck in an NPS staff meeting, every gazer seemed to be at their chosen spot in sight of Giant.

Grand kept up the tradition of being difficult in erupting after Giant. The two nighttime eruptions of Giant I saw featured Grand erupting within ten minutes or so (at least from the steam clouds I saw.) For this one, like the early morning eruption in May, Grand erupted while I was tying down my bike at Castle, denying me the enjoyment of waiting for Grand while watching the waning Giant activity.

Now the pressure is really on. I figure I've got one more chance at a Giant eruption, next week before I leave, and can't leave with a five out of six record.

Observations for 19 June

The morning hot periods were a bit disappointing. I was expeciting a bit of a wait, and the first one occurred within minutes of my getting settled in. Doing the math, I realized there was no reason to go back in, as Grand would be due in a few hours more, and besides, the next hot period might be the real one.

As it turned out, I went to Grand, and caught a Penta eruption, too. The geyser fog was as good or even better than I remembered it. I really enjoy it when it's so thick and patchy that you get situtations like you can't see Sawmill group from Grand, but Beauty and Chromatic to the north are easily visible by their immense steam columns.

Back at Giant, things got progressively weaker, so that as noon approached, it appeared as if the platform was in a post-marathon phase. Both Scott Bryan and I noticed and commented on this at about the same time, how it reminded us of what things looked like last week. But this time, just as everyone was about to abandon the Bijou Cage, water rose in Mastiff and we got a fairly good (but not great) hot period.

So the rest of the day was a series of disappointments, at it just seemed that Giant did not want to erupt, and was using the hot periods to make that clear. Then we got a Grotto start which turned into yet another marathon, about the fourth for this interval. Ultimately, a less than satisfying day.

At sunset, we did get the first bug-hatching of the season. The Firehole River by the Castle-Sawmill bridge was thick with all sorts of insects, and the trout seemed to be actively feeding too. Over at Grand, the mosquitoes were not quite thick enough to be annoying, but it is definitely time to find that bug juice.

Other Geyser Times

19 Jun 2007
  • Grotto Fountain 06:39, 17:36
  • Grotto 06:56, 17:44
  • Giant hot periods
    • 03:55 d≈4m
    • 05:20 d=5m20s
    • 06:25 d≈2m30s
    • 07:51 d=6m48s
    • 09:14 bathtub
    • 11:47 d=6m55s
    • 15:33 d=3m47s
    • 16:40 d≈7m
    • 17:35 d≈2m
    • 18:43 bathtub
    • 19:46 d=2m02s
    • 20:49 bathtub

June 19, 2007

Observations for 18 June

It's amazing to think that I can be awakened by Kitt Barger saying "Water rising in Mastiff" and be fully dressed and equipped and biking past the Inn when the hot period ends about 6 minutes later. (More on this hot period under "Stupid Geyser Groupie Tricks")

Turns out we had another short marathon, with Grotto starting before 05:00 and ending around 20:30. So now have a busy, " hurry up and wait for Giant" day ahead.

The middle of the night Grand was uneventful, but the morning one went and erupted when I've said it shouldn't: with both West Triplet and Rift both in eruption. Oh, well.

The other middle of the night eruption, just before midnight, delayed just long enough to not only miss out on a four Grand day, but erupted about ten minutes after the crescent moon set.

One of the examples of who atrocious yesterday was that I forgot to mention was that when Daisy erupted, the steam cloud was horizontal all the way to Oblong.

Other Geyser Times

18 Jun 2007
  • Giant hot periods
    • 05:24 d≈5m30s

Stupid Geyser Groupie Tricks

During this morning's Giant hot period radio wake-up call, one of the usual annoyances, Mr. Radio-Voice-Of-The-Upper-Geyser-Basin, had to interrupt to first inform everyone that he was arriving at Daisy (I assume he meant at Black Sand by car as he has been staying at West Yellowstone), then asking if Castle was erupting. Some people just can't seem to shut up and listen.

And nothing to do with geysers

In the Lodge cabin area, the ravens have figured out that on the housekeeping carts, there are goodies in the form of bags of trash. When housekeeping takes their lunch breaks, they leave the carts, and the ravens move in, ripping them open for the goodies inside. On windy days, this also means that trash gets scattered everywhere. I would assume that eventually housekeeping will figure out that they need to put the trash in the "bear-proof" dumpsters, especially if they have to keep cleaning up enough times. But in this particular "intellectual arms-race", I would bet that currently the ravens have the upper hand.

June 18, 2007

Observations for 17 June

There was nothing unusual or out of the ordinary about the middle of the night Grand eruption, other than it had two bursts, which I think was a first for my nighttimes, and it seemed like the wind picked up about the time of the eruption. By the time of the next eruption, it was an ugly, windy day that threatened to turn atrocious.. While we had to endure an endless wind mixed with sleet and rain, Grand did pick a time when things were a bit nicer to give us the usual one burst.

The afternoon wasn't so fortunate, as atrocious moved in and stayed. The wait for the afternoon Grand was miserable, not because of percipitation, but the winds that kept shifting directions. Things finally calmed down by sunset, when reasons for being out and about were few.

Grotto started sometime during the night, and by that time it appeared to be headed to a marathon. But around 11:30, it shut off. So instead of the full Giant-free day, it shaped up to be trying to have another event about 24 hours after the big attempt last night. Except the event seemed to come early. At 16:07, after only 4-1/2 hours,we got an 8m25s hot period which seemed to not really want to initiate an eruption.

Other Geyser Times

17 June 2007
  • Giant Hot Periods
    • 16:07 d=8m25s
    • 18:57 d=3m16s
    • 20:49 d=4m55s>/li>

June 17, 2007

Observations for 16 June

Grotto continued through the night. I was pretty sure it was still active for the middle of the night Grand, and the way the Amfac louts illuminated it seemed to confirm that. It was seen to send around 06:15, meaning that it had been erupting for at least 25 hours.

In the dark of the night, one can't observe Grand's pools or much of anything that's going on. Instead, one must rely on hearing. One thing that I've noticed is how many of the Turban eruptions on which Grand starts sound decidedly different. More vigorous, noisier and not as slow starting as other Turban eruptions. This applies even to those eruptions where there's a considerable lag time between Turban's start and Grand's. I would supposed this isn't as noticeable during the day because of all the background noise, but if you listen for it, you'll hear it.

The morning Grand gave us the last three burst eruption Grand will ever have (the last was back in May.) Instead of quitting, Vent and Turban continued, but there was no attempt by Grand to have afterplay until much to late for a fourth burst.

Giant Hot Period 1
Giant Hot Period 1
Giant Hot Period 16 Jun 2007
So the afternoon and early evening were spent at Giant, to see what the post-marathon hot period would be like. There were about a dozen people in the monkey cage, and late in the evening we had to endure a series of small showers and hailstorms. But Giant cooperated and the hot period took place after the weather had passed.

This hot period seemed a daylight version of the one I saw earlier this week in the middle of the night, 24 hours before the actual eruption. It lasted even longer, 16m50s, and the late surging from Giant seemed even stronger. (My photos didn't capture any of the big surges.) But like then, things just sort of died down. Now the hope is that it'll take Giant about eighteen to twenty-four hours to try again, and get out of this nighttime eruption mode.

Thanks to the person who made a donation. Much appreciated, including the fact that I know now that that button really works! But when I saw the confirmation email, I almost tossed it because I thought it was another one of those scams to try and get my passwords.

Other Geyser Times

16 June 2007
  • Giant hot period 19:26 d=16m50s

June 16, 2007

Observations for 15 June

Another night to get some sleep, but this time Grand decides to toss in a long interval, so when I get out there, I get to see first overflow. And, of course, Grand lets West Triplet have the first eruption opportunity so it can use the second eruption window.

The late day Grand seemed to be determined to ignore my recipe for when eruptions occur. Not only was it between the two windows, but Rift was still erupting. Not sure why I try any more.

Grotto, meanwhile, was in eruption when I first saw it in the morning, and was still erupting 5-1/2 hours later. It was still going when the late day Grand had finished, 12 hours after I'd first observed it. Might try to catch the post-marathon Giant event, if it's in daylight, just to see my Guru Geyser Gazing proven wrong.

June 15, 2007

Names Mean Things

Maybe it's because I've been gone for a while, but these past few weeks I've heard some geyser gazers I've not seen before using terms I've never heard of, terms that aren't needed, terms about a geyser which I know extremely well.

I've always heard of Grand's eruptions being referred to as being a "one burst", or "two burst", or "three burst" or even "eight burst" eruption. Yet there are people using terms like "single" or "double" or "triple" to describe the number of bursts in an eruption. That's just wrong, and not just because I don't like it.

It's not just because I have proprietary feelings towards that part of the basin. The terminology for Grand eruptions has been long established, I would assume by Marie Wolf or Suzanne Strasser, or even someone earlier. There is no reason to change that terminology. For one thing, if a miracle occurred and Grand went back to the pre-1960s type eruptions with up to a couple dozen bursts, or if one just wants to refer to eruptions from that era, that terminology breaks down, or at least becomes very silly.

Besided "double" and "triple" and such implies equality between the bursts, which is not the case. The first burst, at least during the last few decades, is decidedly different, and plays a different role in the eruption, as witnessed by its length. And "double" implies the full term, "double eruption", which makes no sense. Compare that to "one burst eruption", which makes sense as either " one burst" or even "one", as in "Grand had another one this morning."

Proper communication requires using agreed upon terms and other criteria. Using multiple terms for the same phenomena serves only to confuse.

Sit around the basin long enough, and you will inevitably witness this scenario: A family walks by, and one of the children gives a silly name to a feature. An adult compliments them, even though there's a sign right in front of them. They are on vacation, none of this really maters, and it'll all be forgotten within the hour.

I can understand the desire to want to name things, or the misguided attempt to clarify unnecessarily, as seems the case here. But if a person really wants to do that, they should at least put in the effort to demonstrate why the change is necessary, and to persuade others, not just off and start using new terms used by no one else (especially one not used by those who have studied the feature and become fairly knowledgeable about it.) Doing that is little more than the tourist family giving out pet names.

Observations for 14 June

So to catch up on sleep, I decide to skip the overnight Grand. I figure a 13 hour double interval is more than enough time, and besides, in the morning, it gives me time to get a Lower Ham's breakfast before the inevitable three hour wait. So I'm sitting at the counter, and my order is about to arrive, and I hear that the monitor shows that Grand has an interval just a bit over 6 hours. Which means right now I'm pushing 7, which is just too long for comfort.

Fortunately, Grand cooperated and let me finish my breakfast and get out there. We had a less than eight minute first burst, but yet another long second burst, but this one was so weak that calling the activity "Big Sawmill" was to exaggerate. More like "Big Tardy".

The afternoon Grand also had a long second burst. It's starting to be a trend, and a good one. While they used to be considered bad, because all that power and activity could have been used in a third or fourth burst, these seem to be acting as an alternative to a single burst eruption.

In the Sawmill Group a deep drain resulting in several Penta steam phase eruptions, one so wet it resembled a true, major eruption. This was accompanied by bursting from Oval up to 5 ft above the rim, and a clogged 6th Vent trying to join in on the fun.

Paul Strasser has pointed out that Mastiff function eruptions seem to be associated with Grotto marathons, while Giant only starts are during that time from the first pos-marathon Grotto until the next marathon. The four eruptions I've seen this trip do follow that pattern. (And like all geysers, there are known exceptions to the pattern.) But this is something to keep in mind while watching hot periods in the prime Giant window. If Mastiff is not surging in the post-marathon ones, or Mastiff is surging heavily between marathons, that might be a sign you aren't going to see an eruption. This bit of Guru Geyser Gazing is sure to be proved wrong in a few days. Then again, this is probably well known.

And nothing to do with geysers

That railing and concrete walkway in front of the Lodge may have been there for years, but it's new to me. I've found that navigating it on a bike can be a bit tricky when the crowds gather to see Old Faithful. The gravel is at least a half inch below the concrete, and it slopes downward, toward the building. I've come close to several spill thanks to inattentive tourons .

So today I had my first dive. All my own fault, No one anywhere in sight, not even a Nelson Muntz to laugh at my misfortune. I just mis-navigated the turn onto it from the cabin area and went off the edge and dropped to the side. Would have been fine, just a little scraped up, except that railing is solid, and got in the way of my chest. Which still hurts. I may have to sue Xanterra and the NPS for pain and mental anguish from this.

June 14, 2007

Observations for 13 June

After the morning, you really expect there to be a lot here? Once daylight arrived, it was a dull day, useful to catch up on things like eating and sleeping and getting cleaned up.

Other Geyser Times

13 Jun 2007
  • Grotto 15:07
  • Rift 17:36ie

And nothing to do with geysers

The maintenance crews were out in the basin today, painting the old wooden benches from Grand to Grotto. We joked about how, despite the barriers and streamers and "Wet Paint" signs, there would be people coming up to touch it. On my way back from Grand, I noticed they'd also painted the railing between the Inn and Old Faithful along the bike trail. And sure enough, there were two older women at one, sampling the paint.

I guess I've been away from industrial tourism too long, because I just do not understand the infatuation with striking a stupid pose in front of a geyser or bison or some other piece of scenery. Used to be cameras just made photographers stupid, the new phone-cameras must make emit some sort of signal affecting the subjects, too.

June 13, 2007

Guru Geyser Gazing Rewards

I try to write up a day's posting at the end, even though it may not get posting until midday the next day. I also then not change it even if subsequent events make some of my speculations or information out of date.

So as I'm trudging over the bridge and up the slope to Sawmill, I decide to take my own guru geyser gazing advice from the previous posting. If Grand appears that it's in for a long, then go check on Giant and Grotto. Usually it seems I end up waiting for Grand for hours, then go down and check Grotto. If I go there now, I can head in right after the eruption and the three hour wait preceding it.

So I get to Grand, and Percolator is quiet, West Triplet is empty. Turban starts almost immediately. I know from past experience that I can do the round trip to Grotto in just about one Turban interval, so at worst, I get to see a Grand start from Economic or Chromatic. Besides, the steam down there looks odd. I've been fooled in the past by Grotto, so even though I think it's on, I can't be be sure. Plus I need to go down and see if Giant has erupted already, as if it has,it makes a difference in my plans for what to do for the next Grand. Off I go.

I cross the bridge at Oblong, and by then am sure that Grotto is erupting. But is it a new eruption, or a marathon? Gotta get closer. At this point I vaguely notice that the Giant platform seems awfully steamy, too, just as Giant takes off. (At 02:16) Now that's a cheap thrill and an instant wake-up call.

It turns out I was perhaps in the best position to see the start, with what little breeze was blowing toward the platform. I couldn't see anything out there until minutes later. The platform itself was soaked in a torrential rainfall, quite impressive considering how close the source, but even the main walkway was in the rain. So I can't claim to have really "seen" the start, only experienced it. I do know my outer jacket got soaked by the time I was done.

Grotto was erupting, but it quit about a half hour later. And the Variable Pool showed no drop in water level. So no marathon, just a short Grotto interval. Based on the times, it would appear the hot period started as I was still at Grand, and there was no Mastiff function, as the amount of steam and noise coming from Giant before the start wasn't great enough. (I wasn't that out of it to not notice that much commotion.)

Eventually the steam and wind started cooperating, so I could MagLite the watercolumn from various locations. It was okay, but nothing like daylight. But I must admit, just being there and hearing all the noise was worth the experience. (And the selfishness of knowing that no one else was out there made a difference, too.)

No nighttime in the Upper Basin is complete without its little bizarre moment, and this night had one. I can't claim to have been the only person to have seen Giant, only that I was the only person who cared. Because about 45 minutes into the eruption, I noticed a light that seemed to be well north of Grotto. Now I'd been illuminating Giant off and on all eruption, so expected that I'd attracted attention. But that was an odd place, as how did they get there? I could hear voices, so there must have been at least two people. The light moved on south, passed on by Grotto, and kept going up the trail. Now Giant was still putting out a lot of steam and noise, but the light never seemed to take notice of all the commotion but once. I was relieved, as the last thing I wanted to deal with at that time was a bunch of drunken insomniac Amfac louts.

I guess I should say that I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get my wish of seeing a start from Grand, as this would have been the perfect opportunity. Perhaps, but I'd much rather see it in daylight, and this way I didn't have to make a mad dash down basin. Maybe next time.

So what about the guru geyser gazing that got me down there? Grand erupted on the next Turban. I think I'm going to amend my formula to say that Percolator is not quite so important, as that was what made me decide in the first place. I did catch the very end of a West Triplet eruption on my way back, which was obviously triggered by Grand's eruption.

Think this afternoon I'll visit Geyser Hill for the first time and see if I can get Beehive up close.

Update 14:00

Went out in the morning and took some photos of the sign locations. Also, the walkway was still wet, especially back in the trees between Grotto and Giant, where it wasn't ice.

And I wonder if the illlumination of these past two eruptions appeared on the webcam, or are MagLites just not that bright?

Observations for 12 June

So I waited for the post-marathon hot period. Much longer than I'd hoped or really intended, but it was a fairly pleasant wait. Because of the cloud cover, it never really got frigid like the wait last Thursday, but by the end, there were several short sprinkles that seemed to come from nowhere. The wind was not as cooperative either, coming from the usual southerly direction, obscuring the platform.

The hot period itself was ridiculously long. By about 10 minutes, Mastiff had dropped below overflow, and so the steam on the platform decreased making seeing possible again. That's when Giant started major surging, and Feather never shut off the whole time. The surging in Giant never reached the " filling the cone" stage, but for a while it seemed like one more little push would be all it would take to get the eruption started. Instead, I packed up and headed back in. Didn't even need to check on Grand, as I could see it's steam cloud quite clearly.

After an event of that size, I figured that I could sleep until the next Grand time and not worry (too much) about missing anything. And once it got light, the geyser groupies should be able to handle keeping an eye on things. As I expected, we got a series of almost hourly events, most of them weak, some only observed from a distance (Grand, where else?). The intervals then lengthened out as the afternoon progressed.

Also got, as the first post-marathon activity, a solo Grotto Fountain (if you don't count a couple of splashes from Grotto). The next Grotto eruption lasted for three hours. Then things got weird, at least for those of us who don't know Giant well. The whole platform began to look like it does during a marathon, with Bijou dead most of all. But the hot periods, weak though they were, continued. I got this funny feeling that tomorrow morning the signs will have been moved.

After today's long Grand interval, I've come to the conclusion that there is a pattern here. Either West Triplet or Grand is going to erupt between 6 and 7 hours after the previous eruption. If it's West Triplet, the next window is 8.5 to 10. If neither erupts, then the second window applies. You can tell that West Triplet is not going to erupt in the early window if Percolator is quiet. A West Triplet eruption before that window opens is the same as if it doesn't erupt, in that Grand will wait for the second window. This bit of guru geyser gazing will be obsolete by the end of the week.

In all the going back and forth for Giant on the bike trail, I noticed that Round Spring was down, and it was exposing some sort of animal bones.I'll leave it up to someone else to figure what kind of animal, and what part that is. Today the spring was back up and full. But, for me, a bigger question is how long, had the water stayed low and the bones exposed, would they stay there? I expect that they would find a magical ability to move out of the spring and into a waiting RV.

Other Geyser Times

12 June 2007
  • Grotto Ftn. 07:00, 09:13, 19:55
  • Grotto 09:24, 20:02
  • Rift 17:39 d=10m39s
  • Giant hot periods
    • 01:48 d=15m43s
    • 07:00 d≈5m
    • 08:03 d≈4m
    • 09:13 d≈6m
    • 10:06 weak, Bijou off 3m
    • 11:29 bathtub
    • 12:57 d=5m18s
    • 14:35 bathtub
    • 16:26 d=2m50s
    • 17:51 d≈4m30s
    • 21:09 d≈2m

June 12, 2007

Cleaning Little Vents

Penta's 6th Vent cleanout
Cleaning Penta's 6th Vent

Photo by Grover Schrayer III
In the early 1980s, we got permission to do some "thermal cleanup" on a number of geysers. Cleaning up larger vents is easy, because there's plenty of room to get in and workaround and places to leverage tools.The smaller vents, however, could present a challenge.

Two small vents that we got cleaned out as best we could were Anemone's Third Vent and Penta's Sixth Vent. Both are only a couple of inches across, and almost too small for a human hand.

When I first visited the Upper Basin in the early 1980s, I noticed that when the water levels in the Sawmill Group were high, a spot next to the boardwalk between Penta and Oval was wet. In talking with Marie Wolf, I learned that there once was a small vent there, which supposedly would erupt in conjunction with Penta. When we got the permission to do some cleanup, this was one vent I was determined to see.

By hand, we were a able to quickly expose a circular rim of hard sinter. Some more scooping exposed the trumpet shape of the vent, but down about 4 inches, it was so narrow that you could only grab a pebble at a time. Tongs and bent spoons helped, but our excavation was slow.

As it turned out, the vent itself is only about 6-8 inches deep, with a almost flat floor. To the left (as seen from the boardwalk) there was a small crack about 1 inch wide and maybe two long where water entered. Since lights showed no obstruction, our cleanup on that feature was finished.

In the years since, the vent has to be periodically cleaned out, as there seems to be a type of person who enjoys destroying things, and it only takes a couple swipes with the foot to push in a lot of gravel. Even now it needs some work.

Cleaning at Anemone presented a special challenge, since every seven minutes it would spend a minute refilling every hollow and hole with boiling water, and there's no way to stop it.

Bailing out the water with a bucket was slow and tedious because the bucket was way to big and the area too shallow to allow much water to get in. Smaller glasses worked a little better, but took time. By the time we got most of the water away, the gurgling from Anemone said it was time to stand back.

I don't remember who solved the problem, but the solution was not to bail, but to pour in colder water so as to get the temperature down to a reasonable value. Doing this allowed us to start removing years of gravel and debris from the vent.

Then we were stuck. Wedged into the hole was a rock of some sort. We tried wiggling and prying and pulling by hand, but it wouldn't budge. Finally we used a crowbar to extract a chunk of concrete about the size of a 8oz block of cheese. When Paul Strasser finally triumphantly pulled it out, we were rewarded by the remaining water we'd been working through suddenly draining out of sight.

Unfortunately, Anemone continued to wash debris into the vent, clogging it on its own only about a year later. As this was a natural process, and not the result malicious action, no attempt was made to clean the vent out again. But if you know where to look, you can still see the outline of that vent.

Observations for 11 June

Well, good news was that Grotto was still in eruption when I went out in the morning. The bad news was that the weather was finaly going to get ugly. As it turned out, it only got as far as unkempt, with a short sprinkle and, once again, too much wind. But it passed through before Grand erupted. A two burst eruption with the second lasting 2m12s. The evening (which should have been afternoon if not for the unnecessarily long interval) had an even longer second burst, at 2m30s. Well, I guess if that's what it takes to have a second burst, it's better than nothing.

Penta erupted again, barely. It started normally, but by the time Mary Beth and I could get moving in that direction to watch it, Sawmill started, causing an immediate shutdown in Penta.

And with Grotto active, that meant a free day to do other things. It finally quit after a duration of almost exactly a day, so middle of the night would be the time of the next major event.

Here's the view, not from my cabin, but from the walk between it and the indoor plumbing. This is only the second time I've seen an eruption,

Other Geyser Times

11 Jun 2007
  • Rift 16:03

And nothing to do with geysers

Based on how much I've seen of geyser gazers who work for that company, I'm assuming "Xanterra" means, "never seen in the basin."

I've battled squirrels in every cabin in which I've stayed, and even had the occasional bison rub against a cabin or block the door, but today was the first time I had a marmot attempt to invade.

June 11, 2007

Observations for 10 June

:Looks like there still might be something happening with Grand. I've seen another interval without Percolator, followed by a short West Triplet eruption. (This one lasted 5 minutes, and did overflow momentarily.) For the afternoon eruption, Percolator was again quiet, and for the first time during my visit, I got to see a D2 Turban delay.

Unrelated is that the nighttime eruption lasted 12m37s. At least that eruption has an excuse for having Vent and Turban take 20 minutes to restart.

But what I really don't understand is how the electronic monitor could come up with a time six minutes before the actual eruption time. There wasn't any sort of heavy overflow or other unusual activity, and you'd think that a sensor based on runoff temperature would run late. Which is why I never trust electronic times when they aren't backed up with an effort to confirm them by other means.

This evening, I noticed something at Grotto. There were a number of large rocks lying in the runoff and on the formations that I just don't remember seeing before. They look like they could have been spalled off of the rim of the formations above one of the openings, but I can't be sure. In any case, it's a strange place to see so many large rocks in such a tight group. Or, maybe, I'm just not as observant as I think I am.

During the afternoon I watched Giant have couple of hot periods and a bathtub spaced about an hour apart. Again, there was lots of heavy "depth charge" surging. At Grand it appeared that the hourly events continued. When I went in, Grotto had been active for 3h30m and Spa was showing signs of life. Hoping for a marathon.

And finally, a little something from the past...

Other Geyser Times

10 Jun 2007
  • Rift 04:02, 18:46ns
  • Grotto Ftn. 07:09, 14:47
  • Grotto 07:10, 14:51

"Stupid Geyser Groupie Tricks"

It was suggested that I might want to do a category on the things tourons do. Not really interested, as there's so much to choose from and its all so transient. But I think I will do this sub-category, which currently seems to star one person in particular. His latest stunt, earlier today, was to threaten some inadvertent cross-talk that "we have a direction finder and will use it to find you." Quite rich, considering the amount of noise he alone contributes.

June 10, 2007

Observations for 09 June

Of course I spoke too soon and Grand had a 6-1/2 hr with West Triplet and Rift following. But the mid-day did fit the pattern. I didn't stick around to see if Rift started as I'd had enough of Mr. Look-At-Me-I'm-Standing-On-The-Bench-For-Two-Hours when he yelled out, over a minute after the end of the first burst, "the pool's refilling" when it obviously wasn't. (I realize now that I prefer tourons over geyser groupies.) The evening wasn't much better, because West Triplet and Rift erupted too early for Grand to join in, but at least Percolator never stopped. Oh, well. So much for speculating.

Finally got to see both Uncertain and Penta up close, although didn't see the start of the latter, and it was getting dark.

Observed several Giant hot periods up close, all short and weak. But one interval was less than 50 minutes. I don't know exactly because I was returning to wait for it only to find it in progress.

Castle seems to be having a number of "split major" eruptions, where there's a significant pause (up to 15 minutes) during the water phase, and it's confusing all the geyser groupies and NPS types who've never encountered it before.

Other Geyser Times

09 Jun 2007
  • Grotto Ftn. 09:00ie, 12:46ie, 18:43ns
  • Grotto 09:02, 12:46, 16:45
  • Uncertain 11:32
  • Rift 18:59 d=51m33s

June 09, 2007

Observations for 08 June

Friday was a wasted day, and pretty much covered in an earlier posting, except for one thing.

In years past, Grand would often undergo an interval mode shift sometimes between late April and early June. Just this time of year, actually. These mode shifts would mean that intervals would suddenly increase or decrease by a sizable amount, and often accompanied by dormancy or reactivation of Rift and West Triplet. In the last few days, I've noticed that Grand has stopped having short eruptiion intervals, even when all the signs say it should and could. Also, with last night's eruption, I've now seen in the past few days several eruptions where West Triplet did not erupt with Grand, and Percolator was quiet, too. (Actually, last night West Triplet came up to about a foot below overflow, blipped for less than a minute, then dropped.) This may be a simple fluctuation in behavior, or signal a shift in activity.

Unfortunately, in all those mode shifts, the burst count never seemed to be affected, good or bad.And just having mentioned out-loud the possibility means things are going to revert.

And nothing to do with geysers

At the bottom of one of the boxes of Yellowstone stuff that sat in the closet the last few years was something that I'm going to have to list on eBay under "Paper Memorabilia & Ephemera"

June 08, 2007

Grand Frustrations

Maybe I should have gone out to the middle of the night eruption. At least I'd almost certainly not had others around, and the wait would have been shorter and the weather nicer.

How annoying? Well, nothing in particular, but just the way all the little things added up.

Start with a West Triplet delay that doesn't want to seem to end. Hours of Percolator quiet and Turban just killing time. The weather is overcast, cold and blustery. I forgot my water bottle. Add in all the stupid human activity. Down by West Triplet is a large, extended family whose kids earlier were running wild, including one poking at the runoff with a stick, who are now singing loudly. On one side is are some geyser groupies who know just enough to be dangerous, and are willing to share that limited knowledge with every touron who wanders by. So you get to hear the same mangled information over, and over, and over and over. Then there's the guy biking who can't leave his whole kit behind, but at least he's walking the bike and not wearing Lycra. Can't forget to add in hearing two hours of some twit keying their radio mike. I thought the NPS chatter was annoying, but this stupid twit found a way to exceed them.

On the other side I've got this fat, pontificating blowhard leading a class passing along gossip, misinformation, mangled facts and his opinions as if they were facts to his ignorant students. It pushed me over the edge when he tried to portray Splendid's 1997 activity as somehow related to road removal (did you know 25% of pavement in Yellowstone has been removed over the last few decades, and that buildings downbasin were removed as part of the 1970 UGB road relocation? That old photos show Old Faithful had a much bigger cone?) Got as far a way as I could from that pompous windbag.

Then to top things off, you've got the geyser groupie who thinks calling in Grand before it actually starts (with an inaccurate watch, no less), is going earn him the bonus points to get that 10th Level Gazer award he so desperately craves. (A Grand start is when the surging becomes continuous and keeps rising, not when you see the first boil. Sheesh.)

No dogs, though. The only thing left to make this day complete is for there to be a group of idiots at Grand this evening with bright lights and too much booze in them.

Observations for 07 June

Once daylight arrived, it became obvious how close we came to getting snow. All the ridges and slopes around the Upper Basin down to Observation Point were dusted white.

One thing I left out of the Giant report is that I'm almost certain there wasn't an Oblong the whole time I was there. In those conditions it's possible to miss it, but I'd like to think I wasn't that out of it. I did notice Riverside and Daisy,for example.

So after this morning, the rest of the day was boring. Went out to see Grand do it's West Triplet-delay/Big Sawmill thing a couple of times, but otherwise it was catch up day. The wind at the morning's Grand made me appreciate how nice 37° can be when it's dead calm. The evening's eruption was just as bad.

June 07, 2007

Thursday is Giant Day

It may have been really stupid, but it was worth it.

So the evening Grand had to be a long interval in the cold and snow, one I should have bailed out on. But it finally did just about the time the sun set somewhere behind all the gray. With the exact time of Grotto shutting down not known, only the report of it off at 17:40, I was estimating that the window would be opening around 23:00, and I wanted to be there. So after Grand finally got around to its one burst eruption, I headed in and quickly dressed in just about anything I've got to keep me warm and dry.

It turns out I had plenty of time. Spent the next 4+ hours waiting for nothing to happen. At least it was calm and only occasional snow sprinkles to keep things damp. It was only towards the end, when it was time for the next Grand, that I considered bailing out. And even then, I've said I want to see a start from Grand.

The hot period finally started at 03:23. I'd call it "ns", because, magically, Feather was suddenly erupting to full height. In the dark, you realize that hot periods are really pretty quiet, and not all that steamy, either. But this time Mastiff almost immediately began surging in the 5 foot range. Over the course of the next few minutes, it would surge up and then die down, with each iteration a bit stronger than before. With the help of our strong lights (I think my MagLite's battery needs replacement), and the slight breeze from the north, it was easy to see what was going on on the platform most of the time.

By 03:31, Mastiff was in eruption, continuously throwing water higher than Giant's cone. This continued to build and quite suddenly it was noisily throwing water to about 50 feet. Visibility was finally deteriorating because were also getting some good strong action from Catfish. (And maybe Bijou, It was getting hard to see, and too much going on.) All the while, Giant was completely dead. At the time, it seemed like much, much longer, but just 2m30s later Giant finally surged a couple of times and then took off, and up.

Not much to say about the start of the eruption, other than shining our lights straight up we could see the entire water column. At the same time, Catfish went into a powerful steam phase, becoming the loudest performer on the platform for the next several minutes.

My digital kitchen thermometer said that the air temperature at that time was 37°, which was much warmer than I expected, since that was the temperature when I was out at Grand.

After about a half hour, I'd had enough. I'd been a long night, and besides, I wanted to see what a nighttime Giant steamcloud looked like from other parts of the basin. From Grand, there's no mistaking it for a measly Grotto or Oblong, and even at Crested Pool I thought I could hear Giant.

And this makes the third Thursday eruption in a row. I sense a guru geyser gazing pattern developing.

Observations for 06 June

Getting out to Grand and seeing what appeared to be a still erupting Grotto was not what I was expecting. On the other hand, based on the weather forecasts, I was expecting rain or even snow, and instead the moon was visible. It was still erupting after the latest one-burst Big Sawmill eruption, when I last saw it at 05:00.

Seeing Grotto still erupting when time for the next Grand was both annoying and a relief. A relief because that storm was finally coming in, and it was wet, but not cold enough to snow. Annoying because when it does finally end, I know I'll be out in the snow phase of the storm.

Finally, at 17:40, there's a report that Grotto is off. But for how long? I last saw it at 13:00, so it could be as much as 4 hours, or as little as 1/2. Split the difference, and it appears I'll be headed there after Grand for a long night of nothing happening.

That also means that the duration was around 40-42 hours, giver or take a lot because no one saw the start or end.

Other Geyser Times

06 June 2007
  • Rift 10:09ie d>46m10s, 22:32ie

June 06, 2007

Observations for 05 June

It appears that Grotto went back into another marathon before midnight. From 02:30 to 04:30 the platform at Giant was chaotic and week, and there was no sign of any hot periods in the hours before I got there, either.

Shortly before midnight Castle had one of its interrupted majors. After about 6 minutes of water, it shut down for about 5 minutes before resuming activity.

F&M-1 05Jun2007
F&M-2 05Jun2007
Fan & Mortar, 13:00 05 Jun 2007
While I was semi-comatose from the night's activity, Scott Bryan saw a large steam-cloud down basin that turned out to be the first eruption of Fan & Mortar in nearly two years. He got down there in time to see the end of the water and noted that the splash zone extended well beyond the walkway.

As the day progressed, the weirdness continued. Dome became active. Little Squirt was also observed earlier in the day. Beehive had a one day interval, and I saw two indicators during the eruption. (No photo, unfortunately.) At least the afternoon Grand got in before the thunderstorms hit.

Grotto was in marathon all day, from when I first saw it at 00:00 to 22:00 when leaving the fourth Grand of the day (a whole 5 bursts).

Other Geyser Times

  • Dome 11:33ns

June 05, 2007

Observations for 04 June

Having Grotto shut off around 07:30 meant an afternoon of waiting for Giant Hot Periods in between showers. Only in the last observed one did Mastiff show any potential. As of 19:15, Grotto had yet to start, but Grotto Fountain appeared to be getting close.

Other Geyser Times

  • Rift 23:46 d=57m13s
  • Giant hot periods
    • 13:06 d=8m46s
    • 16:19 d=3m32s
    • 18:57 d=6m20s

And nothing to do with geysers

The trees between Oblong and Giant perfectly block the view of Grotto and Giant from the whole distance from Grand to Oblong. It's too bad that someone didn't take the opportunity of the fires in 1988 to do, what's euphemistically called, "scenic vista enhancement".

June 04, 2007

How Trouble in Yellowstone Starts

Spend enough time paying attention to Yellowstone in the news, and you will hear reports of people having gotten themselves into spots where they need professional extraction. When I hear them, I can't help but wonder, how did they get there in the first place. Today I got a lesson on how that's done.

So I'm at Grand this morning, sitting and minding my own business when one of Xanterra's finest interrupts my reading by asking if I can answer a question. That being, "does the powerline trail go all the way to Midway?" I tell him not only don't I know that, but i'm not taking responsibility for answering him in any case if he's going to go off established trails. Is retort is something to the effect that "but the powerline is an established trail." (If he knows that, then why's he asking me?)

He makes some comment about how he's seen me out here a lot, and because of that assumed that I knew things about the Park. I reply that I know things about the geysers, and if he wants trail information, the proper place is the Ranger Station or Visitor Center. He said he already asked them, and they didn't know, either. (You'd think he'd take that as a sign? And not just ask some guy sitting on a bench?)

So off in a huff to the goes to the north to enjoy a hike along the scenic powerline. I hope he has a good time, and we don't hear about him over the NPS radios or on the news.

What happened here, it seems, is that he kept asking for answers from people he thought knew more than him, yet when those answers weren't the ones he expected, he reacted negatively and just kept going ahead with his plans. Now if he'd asked me why I though his hiking there was bad, I could have pointed out that the powerline is deliberatly place to be out of sight as much as possible, and that the linemen use powered ATVs to service them if necessary, and that wires and poles don't care what sort of terrain is underneath and between them. They aren't designed for human hiking. But that's okay, by the time I make this posting, I figure he'll have figured both out, and not had to be rescued in the process.

Observations for 03 June

The middle of the night Grand eruption ended up being the early morning eruption, thanks to Rift and West Triplet. As expected, all the clouds were gone by midnight, and with the almost full moon, there was no excuse to not go out. The wait and eruption were saved from becoming a total fiasco by the eruption being extremely unusual. The time between the start of Turban and the start of Grand was 2m56s. This is longest such interval that I've witnessed since the early 1980s. Turban started out sounding vigorous, and stayed that way the whole time. Due to the fog and low light, it wasn't possible to see either Vent or Grand's pool. But despite poor seeing, it seemed like the pool's fog was not thinning as usual.

With such a delayed start, it's not surprising that Vent started only 47s later. It appears that although Vent's start is keyed off the initiating geyser, it'll take an even greater interval to get a "Vent before Grand" start. In 1983, Mary Ann Moss witnessed one such, but Grand took over 7 minutes to start. In the past I've noticed that these extreme starts result in shorter Grand eruptions (total water and duration), but that may be the case here as a 10m10s single burst resulted in Vent and Turban quitting.

The mid-day Grand gave us the second unusual eruption in a row. First, it was only the second heavy overflow type delay that I've seen this trip. Grand finally boiled up a meter or so, then went calm again. It looked like we might actually get a "boop", which I haven't see since the mid-90s. But about 10 seconds later Grand started for real.

Where this morning's eruption featured a long time between the start of Turban and the start of Grand, this featured the reverse. It took Turban a minute to start, no where near a record, but Vent's vent didn't overflow until 17 seconds after that. Vent itself didn't start erupting until 3m12s, which is the opposite extreme from this morning.

Stopped by the Giant group in preparation for the start of a new Giant Deathwatch, and caught a weak bathtub (water visible only if you looked for it) and then a Grotto start. It took so long from the start of Grotto Fountain that I thought this might e one of those Grotto Ftn. only eruptions. And when Grotto did start, it seemed weak.

The afternoon/evening/twilight Grand eruption was notable only for the lack of any reason there was almost a nine hour interval, and two deer that wandered through. Earlier Grotto started what appears to be a maratthon, at least it was still going 3-1/2 hours later.

It was pointed out to me that some information in my description of the 31 May eruption of Giant was in error. It's quite normal, post-marathon, for Bijou to be dead even hours later, and only reactivate after the first hot period. And even then, it may not be continuous.

Other Geyser Times

  • Rift 02:20 d=37m53s, 12:17
  • Grotto Fountain 13:10ie d>21m26s, 17:39
  • Grotto 13:33, 17:50 (still ie 21:20)
  • Giant Hot Periods (not complete)
    • 10:19 d=6m16s
    • 15:49
    • 17:21, d=2m02s
    • 18:45, d≈5m30s

And nothing to do with geysers

Behind the Inn, parked in a "handicapped only" space was a van with several bikes on the back and a kayak on top.

June 03, 2007

Observations for 02 June

Having a one Turban wait at 03:00 is nice. It's just enough time to settle in and appreciate the cold, but not long enough to get cold.

A 9m10s one burst eruption of Grand, on the other hand, isn't nice, especially on a full moon night when the slight breeze is blowing the steam to the north and West Triplet hasn't started erupting yet. The only excuse Big Sawmill has is that it took 1m25s from the start of Turban to get going. I really do miss the good ol' days when a first burst of that length was disappointing because it meant you probably were only got to get a second.

So of course the next eruption interval from Grand has to be a long. A long that doesn't fit any pattern, that erupts over half an hour after West Triplet ends, and that has no Rift. The pattern of Turban eruptions was chaotic up to the point where it had what I call a Type 3 delay (I think that's what I called it. Ishould've checked my notes back home better): On a fairly short interval, Turban has a strong, short eruption (around 3m30s) without any indication that Grand wants to erupt. That is followed by an even shorter interval (around 16m30s) and Grand usually erupts on one of the next two Turban intervals. This time it took four.

As if in compensation, the first burst was less than 8 minutes long. And as if to compensate for for that, the second burst lasted 2m20s, negating any chance of a third. Then, despite Vent and Turban quitting, the afterplay was fairly strong for a few minutes.

Giant is back to having hourly weak to medium strength hot periods, but as this is only at two days since the previous eruption, I'm not going to get excited until Monday morning.

Beehive erupted, not-unexpectedly to anyone who's paying attention, in the afternoon before the thunderclouds rolled in. I heard Beehive from within my Lodge Cabin for almost two minutes before someone gave out a radio call. And even then, they backdated the "ie" time by a minute.

The transition from early Spring to early Summer sure was quick. A suddenly noisy and gray sky is something I associate with July and August.

Another summer characteristic of the thunderstorms was their persistence. When it came time for Grand, they started up again. Out at Grand, the sky to the north was partly blue, and to the west it looked like the current shower would be the last. Except this continued for well over an hour. IT was as if the storm was just sitting directly overhead. That the lightening all seemed to be between one and two miles away seemed to confirm this. At least it was a short wait at Grand, and it even gave a bonus burst after a first lasting over ten minutes.

June 02, 2007

Observations for 01 June

After Giant and three hours waiting in the wind for Grand, I decided a full night's sleep was in order. despite the full moon. A midnight run to the plumbing facilities confirmed that decision, as it had clouded up (or never really cleared.

I arrived at Grand at 06:25 to find Vent and Turban restarting along with an empty Grand crater. Back to pick up on sleep.

But before that I noticed that the Penta runoff channel was wet. Yesterday while waiting for Grand, we had a complete Tardy-only cycle, and were well into a second. I couldn't stick around, so my time estimate could be eight hours off.

Mid day proved to finally be a nice day where no jacket was needed, at least until the winds kicked up later in the day. But before that it was so calm that I could easily hear Oblong erupting while waiting at Grand.

The evening eruption took place minutes before sunset. It would have been even better if there'd been a second burst.

Other Geyser Times

01 Jun 2007
  • Rift 18:44 d=40m00s

And nothing to do with geysers

A lone bicycle can trigger the outbound exit road's radar speed limit sign. I was doing 14mph.

June 01, 2007

Observations for 31 May (Afternoon)

Coming back from adding the postings on Giant, while I was biking between the Inn and the VC, I hear a call that Beehive's Indicator is erupting. The day just gets better. So I went down to the river overlook to enjoy the first Beehive eruption I've seen this trip.

The Grand eruption that afternoon was a bit of a disappointment. Not only did we get a Rift delay, but the one burst eruption lasted 12m25s, which while extremely long, I believe is not a record.

Other Geyser Times

31 May 2007
  • Rift 13:54

And nothing to do with geysers

A few days ago the bison was below my cabin. Today, coming back, it was standing next to cabin #235, looking about as animated as the taxidermic specimen in the Upper Store.

Some additions to the posting on Giant, also added inline to that posting:

Before the hot period, as I sat down for breakfast, I noticed no activity from Bijou. Now I wasn't there that long, and it may have already gone into the shutdown, but the lack of activity wasn't attracting any notice.

Well into the eruption one of the NPS Naturalists announced that there was a peregrine falcon down toward Morning Glory. Someone needs to take her aside and get her priorities straight. Or at least to recognize the priorities of many of those people milling about.