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Observations for 01 August 2014

I like early morning Grand windows. While it is the coldest part of the day, it’s also usually calm, and devoid of people, and the fog makes the place look a bit surreal. This particular morning was typical, and the geyser activity was pretty unremarkable. A West Triplet eruption and a few Turban eruptions (including another case of the short, vigorous Turban eruption) preceded a steamy one burst Grand eruption. A second burst would have been nicely lit at the top, but no such luck.

Since Beehive hadn’t erupted, and several of the Indicators had been really short, and because it was a beautiful clear morning, it made perfect sense to head over to Geyser Hill for Beehive. The wait there wasn’t long, and the Indicator reverted back to the nicer duration of 17 minutes in this case. It was dead calm, so once again there was a downpour just to the left of the cone.

During the Indicator wait there was a radio report on the start of Great Fountain overflow. Since I go out there so rarely, and because it was another hour and a half before there would be any reason to head out to Grand, I was persuaded to go there.

It turned out to be a pleasant trip. There were no problems driving north from the Old Faithful area. We arrived at the parking area moments before the so-called “big boil” and the pause began. The wind was such that anywhere on the benches would be down wind, steam and in the line of fire of any large burst precipitation. So watched the start of the eruption from the road embankment. There were a few good bursts, and the water running over ridges was as entertaining as ever. By the end of the third burst, it was time to head back for Grand.

The drive back went along well. The long line of people we’d followed out of the Firehole Lake Drive pulled off at various turnouts or at Midway so that we had clear road the last few miles. But when we got within radio range, heard a garbled report.It sounded like Fan & Mortar were near an eruption, and we were way out of position to catch it. As it turns out, it was just the start of an event cycle, and that cycle wasn’t very good.

So headed to Grand. Where spent almost three hours watching Turban erupt. West Triplet and Rift did nothing, and gave no sign that they wanted to erupt. Percolator was quiet. Several times the noise from the sky threatened rain, but we never got any. During that time, it was almost cool enough to make me want to put on a jacket. But later, when the sun was back out, it was sweltering enough that I wanted the clouds back. In other words, a typical summertime afternoon Grand wait.

The eruption finally took place after three Turban short-long duration cycles. With the dead calm air and sun shining, the high starting burst was quite pretty. But then the eruption settled into the usual pattern, until it seemed that Grand was going to quit at about 9-1/2 minutes. That false pause lasted a good five seconds or so, ending abruptly with one of those thin, high jets I associate with false pauses. Finally, shortly after the eruption ended, West Triplet was finally observed in eruption.