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Observations for 2020 August 03

Headed up to Norris at dawn with the expectation that there wouldn't be much reason to stay past noon. When we arrived at 06:20, what we saw did nothing to persuaded me otherwise. New Crater/Steamboat was pretty quiet. Down at the bridge there was a steady trickle of water, augmented by widely spaced surges from South Vent.

Over the next 3-1/2 hours we never saw anything that looked promising. The weather deteriorated, with a thick gray cloud cover, and no warmth. As for the geyser, there was no vertical activity from North Vent, nothing sustained and definitely nothing approaching any sort of notable surge. The only thing I saw that was moderately encouraging was that it appeared that occasionally the play was nice and wide, and wasn't being killed by South Vent. Was considering moving my deadline from noon to 10:00.

So it was a complete surprise where we got a really nice burst out of North Vent at 09:56. One that kept building, turning into a surge as South Vent joined in. In a matter of seconds, it was obvious that an eruption had started.

Everyone was completely unprepared. It took me 40 seconds to dig out my phone/camera, attach the handle and start recording. I did have the presence of mind to almost immediately run down to the runoff and see what it looked like. I captured the appearance of the North Vent runoff channel filling, impressive how calm that started, only to be a raging stream a few seconds later.

At that point, returned to my seat where I at least covered the packpack in its raincoat. At first it looked like we could get some chokes, as slight the wind was toward the north. The North Vent was brownish and not steady, while the South was taller and continuous.

Then the wind shifted, toward the platform. I had to abandon the area to get out of the rain and into my raingear before becoming soaked. But that also meant that nothing was being washed into the North Vent. It became clear and clean for the rest of the time we were there. The wind kept slowing shifting from down to the bridge to the upper platform. No spot was safe.

After returning to the Upper Basin, went out for Grand. It first had what appeared to be a Turban Delay, which the long duration and subsequent lack of overflow before the next eruption tended to confirm. After two intervals, there was a second delay. This time Grand did erupt on the next opportunity. It was less than 17 minutes later, and overflow from Grand was just starting. Grand filled over the next minute until it finally had a series of increasingly larger boils. One Burst, as usual.

Last night, while waiting for Grand, I thought there was a period of time where the steam from Oblong had increased, and it might be trying to erupt. As it turned out, it did erupt a few hours later. There was a second one while we were still at Norris. So after Grand, when down to check things out. I couldn't see or smell any evidence, despite knowing there had been eruptions.

Also while down there, checked out the Giant platform. Grotto had had a long marathon yesterday lasting until around dawn today. It looked like Bijou started erupting while we were waiting for Grand. The platform was totally dry, which indicates that despite the changes going on around it, Giant isn't ready, yet, for a hot period.