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September 23, 2020

Mud Volcano, 2020.

Mud Volcano, 2020 August 11, Video by H.Koenig.

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September 22, 2020

Giantess Geyser, 2020 August 26

Giantess Geyser, 2020 August 26, Video by H.Koenig.

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September 21, 2020

Grotto Fountain and Grotto Geysers, 2020

Grotto Fountain and Grotto Geysers, 2020 Video by H.Koenig.

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September 20, 2020

East Sentinel Geyser, Upper Geyser Basin, 2020

East Sentinel Geyser, Upper Geyser Basin, 2020 Video by H.Koenig.

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September 19, 2020

New Crater/Steamboat Geyser, 2020 August 14

New Crater/Steamboat Geyser, 2020 August 14. Video by H.Koenig.

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September 18, 2020

150 years

I don't normally care much for anniversaries, but here's just a quick note that it was 150 years ago on 1870 Sep 18 that a number of geysers were named, including Old Faithful, Beehive, and Grotto.

Then again, get ready for the hype for 2022 March 01, which fortunately, will be at a time when the park will be mostly shut down.

Imperial Geyser, 2020

Imperial Geyser, 2020 August 06 Video by H.Koenig.

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September 17, 2020

New Crater/Steamboat Geyser, 2020 August 03

New Crater/Steamboat Geyser, 2020 August 03. Video by H.Koenig.

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September 16, 2020

Cauliflower Geyser, 2020

Cauliflower Geyser, 2020 Video by H.Koenig.

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September 15, 2020

New Crater/Steamboat Geyser, 2020 August 26

New Crater/Steamboat Geyser, 2020 August 26. Video by H.Koenig.

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September 14, 2020

Castle Geyser and Lone Star Fire, 2020 September 05

Castle Geyser and Lone Star Fire, 2020 September 05. Video by H.Koenig.

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September 13, 2020

New Crater/Steamboat Geyser, 2020 September 09

New Crater/Steamboat Geyser, 2020 September 09 Video by H.Koenig and Suzanne Strasser.

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September 12, 2020

Receiving the Blessings from Lord Rift at the Portable Inflatable Temple of Darkness, 2020 Aug 18

Receiving the Blessings from Lord Rift at the Portable Inflatable Temple of Darkness, 2020 Aug 18. Video by H.Koenig.

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September 11, 2020

Yellowstone Radio Part 3

The radio adventures in the first couple of days since the last posting were dominated at times by the Lone Star Fire closures and the chaos that those closures caused. It didn't help when one of those closures is on the Saturday of a holiday weekend with the road at Mud Volcano also closed. Since then, things got back to normal.

  • Call about theft from motorcycle saddlebags. Took a while for NPS to make contact, but when they did, the missing items were quickly recovered and the culprit identified-- a raven.
  • Massive search for man who got irate in Snowlodge lobby, threw a drink and stormed out. Was described as intoxicated when he then abandoned his family in their car in the parking lot and disappeared. Search included off trail areas between paved bike trail and highway, trails to Biscuit, and even a helicopter. Was eventually found on the overpass. Not sure what happened next, although it appears his family ended up staying in Snowlodge cabin that night.
  • Person stopped at Fairy Falls parking area for "resource" who had a prior local record for "MVA" . Given a written warning for rock collection.
  • Call at 09:30 about a tent set up "in meadow at exit to Firehole Lake Drive" with the car well off the road. Three were cited for OB (out-of-bounds) Camping and one for Car Off Road, all with a court date in October.
  • Dead bat at the Lodge. Correction, live bat, at least it's moving a bit. And tourists seem to be overly interested in playing with it.
  • If you call about a lockout from your vehicle, and you have an expired driver's license, you will get your vehicle opened and a citation for the expired license.
  • During the Labor Day weekend traffic mess, there was a call about a dead deer next to the southbound lane just south of the entrance to the Fountain Flats Drive.
  • The Craig Pass road may have been reopened the morning, but the trailheads and picnic areas were still closed, to keep people out in case they suddenly needed to close the road again. (As happened on Sunday). That didn't stop people from getting cited for being in closed area.
  • The last day at Norris started with the morning report of a collision between cement truck (hauling 11 cubic yards) and an RV trailer right at the entrance to the Madison Campground. Callout and canceling of OF fire crew, as well as a traffic mess and debris all over the place.

September 10, 2020

Observations for 2020 September 09

Arrived at 07:00 to temperatures even colder than yesterday. Except today it was supposed to eventually be nicer. And it was. There was less wind, which made a big difference.

At around 09:00, for the first time this interval, New Crater/Steamboat started looking interesting. Suddenly there was an increase in the flow down from South Vent, and that was sustained for the next half hour. Only once or twice did the North Vent try to join in, so it never looked like an eruption was about to start. The flow down the runoff seemed to decrease as suddenly as it started.

For the next five hours, there wasn't much going on, and on the whole, it looked a lot like the previous couple of days, except with better weather. Unfortunately, the wind tended to move around a lot, with the middle plaftorm being a prime target. But around 14:30, we got another pickup in runoff. Not as noticeable as earlier, but within the next 10 minutes or so, there was a flood of water going down the runoff channel.

It got to the point were I decided that this was my chance to get a start from somewhere other than the lower platform, so I headed down to the bridge. There I found a torrent of water coming down. Surges were moving debris down into the catchbasin above the bridge. I found it hard to tell what was going on, not being familiar with the view, and the steam didn't help. But after a couple of minutes, it became obvious that either we were about to get the start of an eruption, or we could head home because nothing was going to happen until dark.

We got the eruption, about three seconds after 15:00. The surging built into a pair of water columns that were easily visible because the wind shifted so that the parking lot received a small shower. After a few minutes, I headed up to the middle platform, where it was still dry, and remained so for the duration of the water phase.

Then the wind started shifting so that the upper platform got wet, then the lower, then the switchback, then all the way to the bottom. For the duration of the eruption, the only safe place was the "Decker Island" area, and maybe Echinus.

A couple of hours into the eruption, I noticed that there was a second steaming tree down near the North Vent's runoff channel. I've seen the other steaming tree all summer, but never noticed this spot of hot ground.

September 09, 2020

Observations for 2020 September 08

After yesterday, the cold but clear at Norris as a relief. Except there was a wind that pushed the steam onto the platform and down to the bridge. Not that there was anything to see, but did make for some nice rime ice on the tree next to the platform. The activity seemed unchanged when we left at sunset, although except in the shadows, all the snow and ice was gone.

September 08, 2020

Observations for 2020 September 07

The weather when arrived at Norris was clear and cold. Over the next few hours, the clouds started to appear. The sun made an appearance at around 09:00 and then the clouds made it disappear, so it stopped warming up. At around noon, it started to get noticeably cooler and a north wind started.

That shifted the steam so that it was now blowing down toward the bridge when it wasn't obscuring our view from the lower platform. By 14:00 the precipatation started, and quickly turned from sleet to snow. We left the platform at 16:20 by which time there was about an inch of slushy snow everywhere. New Crater/Steamboat had been quiet all day, and showed no signs of even trying to give us a decent minor. The drive home was the first in a while where there wasn't a notice of an eruption while we were driving home.

The drive back was loads'o fun. There was a continuous line of cars from the Madison Junction to Fountain Paint Pots. Only part of that was because of a bison heard at Nez Perce. There was a tree overhanging the road at the Firehole Picnic area, and a lone bison starting another blockage just north of Biscuit Basin.

September 07, 2020

Observations for 2020 September 06

By moonlight, we could see Rift erupting as we approached Castle. I figured that that meant we would need to wait until Rift ended. Which was the case. First we had to wait through a series of four Turban eruptions to get to the Turban delay. Then it took two more Turban intervals before the eruption itself. At some point between the start of Vent and the time a pause could have happened, Rift quit. The night was mild and only a bit hazy from the smoke, and probably the last nighttime Grand for the trip.

The next One Burst Grand Eruption was even more obnoxious. At a little over eight hours, it turned into the longest Grand eruption interval so far this visit. There wasn't any Turban interval delay, just a series of non-descript Turban eruptions and intervals, with nothing to show for any of them. None of the other vents in the area were active, so they can't be blamed either. The only indication of an impending eruption was that the Turban intervals were getting shorter. After the Grand eruption, I did notice that for the first time in a while, Belgian Pool was down about 2cm.

Beehive had a short Indicator eruption, catching us by starting as we approached Anemone, with the wind in our direction. It took a bit of running and berating tourons to get out into the dry area to the north. At least the umbrellas were useful this time. This was around the time that we were starting to see the smoke plume rising to the south.

It appears that Fan & Mortar are going to have weak events from now until the next eruption. There were two today, and decided to ignore the first, but go on down for the second. The opening of Upper Mortar has been so split that it is now easy to see the end-of-event splashing and roaring down deep in the former vent.

And by this time, the whole southern horizon was a mass of smoke plumes visibly growing and rising. Over at Grand for the final One Burst Eruption of the day, were after one Turban interval we got a two Turban Interval delay. Much shorter than the previous waits. There was a hint of rainbow at the top of the Grand watercolumn, but otherwise it was another windy eruption.

September 06, 2020

Observations for 2020 September 05

Earlier this visit I'd walked north from Artemisia to kill some time. Not much to see along this trail, as the trees are thick and the trail is still an old roadway. But caught an eruption of Cauliflower, and decided I should try to get an interval. Today was the day to do that.

Turns out the interval I saw was 43 minutes, and the duration and size of the eruption was a heavy boiling that lasted about 90seconds. This matches my memories from long ago, so it appears Cauliflower's basic behavior hasn't changed much.

From there headed over to Grand. Had a two Turban interval delay before we got a nice two burst eruption. This time, at least, the eruption was long enough that not getting a third wasn't a disappointment.

Went out early evening for Castle, and managed to have it start while on the bike between the Lodge and the Lower Store. But it was still an interesting eruption. The Lone Star Fire had flared up yesterday, and today was huge. Behind Castle, with its intermittent rainbows, was a huge, billowing black cloud.

Went over to Grand early, and may have missed an early Turban interval delay. As it was, four Turban intervals later, just as the sun was setting, Grand had another long Turban interval. So the One Burst Grand Eruption took place just before it became too dark to see much, two Turban intervals later.

But the real fun of the day was the fire situation. Mid afternoon the NPS closed the road from Kepler Falls over Craig Pass. That this is the Saturday of a three day holiday weekend meant there were lots more people around today, including those who aren't intending to stay in the area overnight. This closure, along with the overpass detour, created a huge traffic mess. The mess was made worse because of numerous animal jams as people stopped to get a selfie of a bison along the road.

At one point, the road from Faithful all the way to the West Entrance was gridlocked. It didn't help that there were people with cardboard signs saying "Old Faithful Closed" encouraging people to make improper u-turns and further block traffic. And, the road near Mud Volcano was again closed to do more cleanup after a gasoline tanker spill in that area. (Who exactly was the genius who decided that work couldn't wait until Tuesday?).

September 05, 2020

Observations for 2020 September 04

Decided that there wasn't much point to getting out to Grand as it was getting light, so surprised to find out that it had a well over seven hour interval. That messed up plans for the morning, so didn't really get out til it was close to noon. Mostly got started because there was some minor event at Fan & Mortar, and wanted to see what was going on, but arrived after everything died down.

As it was, Castle started erupting as I was tying down my bike. It had all the earmarks of being a minor eruption, as it was constantly stopping and suddenly restarting. One pause, around the 4-1/2 minute mark lasted for almost a minute. But by 15 minutes it was obvious that the transition to steam had started.

Over at Grand, it was a short, two Turban interval wait with no sign of any delays. The eruption itself as two bursts, which is always welcome.

From there, wandered back down to Fan & Mortar to kill some time. Nothing much happened. On the way back, noticed that Spa was boiling in the northern vent, and near overflow, waited for a bit, and it finally did get to overflow. But within ten minutes, the boiling had quit, and it was back below overflow. Grotto was quiet during all this.

Went out for the afternoon Beehive (they are all afternoon Beehives). From there it was obvious that the fire to the south had flared up, and was getting bigger as we watched. No smell of smoke yet, but expect that to change tonight. Last night we caught whiffs of smoke while waiting for Castle.

The evening Grand was entertaining in multiple ways. I saw Turban in eruption as I was walking up, and when I arrived, West Triplet was in overflow, ending about a minute later. The next interval turned into a Turban Delay,

At around the 28 minute mark, Grand, which had been having waves, booped. Then over the next minute, it had several more, before starting to drop. Turban finally erupted about 6 minutes later, and Grand was low. I made a few notes about the activity, taking about a minute, and when I looked up, Grand was not only full again but having another boil. That lead into an explosive start for Grand.

With the sun low, there were some nice rainbows. And it was a pleasant surprise when Grand quit at the 8m24s mark. Except it really didn't try to refill, and then drained, making this one of the shorter eruptions I've seen.

We waited a bit for a possible afterburst, but Grand gave no sign of that happening. So it was about seven minutes before I got down to WestTriplet. It was in a heavy overflow, with thumping and large waves being generated over the vent. Also, a brochure which had been sitting in the vent area for several days finally started to fall apart, with lots of shreds being circulated by the convecting. None of them were escaping down the runoff.

Over the next six minutes, the thumping and upwelling got stronger, and we started getting small splashes. These quickly built into splashes that I consider to be eruptive activity. Then about three minutes later the splashing got really strong, and continuous, and it was obvious that West Triplet was in a full eruption, the first since 26 Aug. During all this, the remainder of the brochure finally drifted into the vent, and it became part of the shreds being circulated.

It was only three minutes later that Rift started. This seemed to start out slower that the typical Rift eruption, and I wouldn't have been surprised if it had been one of those rare eruptions that never overflow. But it too got stronger as the eruption progressed, and the runoff looked normal.

I've seen Grand have this sort of "low pool eruption" before, but this is the first time I can remember actually seeing West Triplet come out of a dormancy period. Interesting that the eruption started in a way (very gradually) that is much different from normal, and how Rift came alive so much faster than normal.

Went out before midnight for another Grand eruption. The smoke filled the basin, not quite as bad as some of the geyser fogs, but still not pretty. While waiting for Grand, at one point Rift started steaming heavily, and making rumbling noises at depth. This lasted for about four minutes, at a time when Sput D was active. An interesting followup to the earlier eruption.

This Grand eruption had a first burst that lasted 7-1/2 minutes, and the whole eruption was only 9m06s. The second time in a row that we were cheated out of a burst.

Also, the bison have made their reappearance, choosing to use the roads to move around, causing lots of problems.

September 04, 2020

Observations for 2020 September 03

With the weather still nice, went out for another moonlit Grand eruption. This time we got a Turban Delay, but Grand managed to erupt anyhow, and gave us a second burst.

It was still pretty cool out when started waiting for the next One Burst Grand eruption. Castle started as we walked up toward Crested. Waited for an eruption that never looked like it was going to be a minor eruption.

After Grand and Castle, decided that wasting time at Fan & Mortar was the thing to do. In two hours (a full Daisy interval) nothing much happened, which is not surprising since the previous eruption was only a few days ago.

Beehive had it's regularly scheduled afternoon eruption, and after that I saw a Bulger major eruption that had a brief moment of water visible in the Hole. The last 90 seconds or so of that eruption had Bulger stopping briefly, even starting to drain, only to start back up. The Grand eruption was after a two Turban Interval delay, and did give us a nice second burst.

It seemed like a good idea, to go out at sunset and catch one of, and maybe both, of Fountain and Great Fountain. Arrived to the Lower Basin and just as we turned into Firehole Lake Drive, heard a call announcing the start of overflow. Pulled up and sure enough, there it was. That gave us a timeframe for visiting Fountain. Over there, nothing happend during the time we had, so we returned to Great Fountain to catch it, and maybe, if lucky, return for the end of Fountain.

Arrived to find a vent that was barely in overflow. Turns out right after we left, there had been some sort of major drop, and the overflow had only just restarted. So waited, and watched for Fountain. Which also took its time. Well after sunset before it erupted, and still no Great Fountain heavy boiling. Fountain finished and we were still waiting. It was almost completely dark before we finally got "the big boil", and then had to wait almost eight minutes for bursting to start. Fortunately, the crowd there was well behaved, and no one had the genius idea of illuminating it, so we got to see the bursting silhouetted by the last light.

On the drive back, past Hot Lake, the car in front of us suddenly stopped. Odd, but then we saw why-- there was a badger crossing the road and headed toward Narcissus.

By then it was almost time to go to Grand. It seems that it had a Turban delay as we arrived, and we finally got the One Burst Eruption four Turban intervals later. On the second Turban eruption, we even got a long, heavy overflow, but not enough to be a Delay in its own right.

Finally decided since Grand was so late that we'd not try for the next one before dawn, but wait for Castle. After over half an hour, it finally started. Then quit for a short minor eruption just about the time we got into position to enjoy the moonlight on the water column.

September 03, 2020

Observations for 2020 September 02

Update: Added photo.

With a bright full moon and no need to go to Norris, it was time to see Grand in the dark instead of just hearing in. Came out and waited just two Turban intervals for a nice One Burst Grand eruption,

While waiting for the next eruption, I noticed muddy footprints on the wet boardwalk. Between the rows of benches on the north side were a faint line of paw prints, about 8 to 10 cm across. There was a second set on the main walkway area. They both appeared at the north end, crossed over the runoff channel, and disappeared at the sign location.

It was supposed to be a windy day, and already there was a strong, cool breeze moving the steam around during the One Burst Grand eruption. In the afternoon we did have to endure a four interval Turban delay for what was pretty much a repeat.

The final Grand of the day was again in the dark. There was a small crowd gathered, including people who had just seen Castle have one of its pause-type major eruptions. Many of those drifted away during the several Turban eruptions we had to wait for. But the conditions were fairly warm, for September night, despite the steady wind. Grand finally rewarded us with the fourth One Burst Eruption of the day.

Of interest is that West Triplet still hasn't erupted in over a week, and each eruption of Grand was followed by a strong overflow from it. And, as noted before, the fluctuations in Belgian seem to have stopped. There is even some runoff coming down from Crystal at times.

September 02, 2020

Observations for 2020 September 01

Day started cold, but not as cold as the forecast. At Norris it was overcast well into the morning, so it never really warmed up until around noon.

Of course there's no fun in finding out that you wasted another day in a place you don't particularly like only to have the geyser you waited for erupt as you were near Madison Jct. just as it got dark and cold again.

September 01, 2020

Observations for 2020 August 31

A cold, wet day where the original plan was to head to Norris. Except based on the reports and instruments, there wasn't any reason to go and kill a day there. So instead it was spent mostly staying warmer and drier.

Did head out for a couple of Grand eruptions, The first One Burst Grand had an interval just under six hours, and there were only light sprinkles during the wait of a couple of Turban eruption intervals.

The evening Grand was dry, but conditions seemed worse. It looked and felt like October, with a cold wind and gray, low overcast clouds and everything steamy. But Grand cooperated, and gave us a nice second burst after a short 8-1/2 minute first burst. And once again, West Triplet came up to overflow, but did not erupt. Also I've noticed that Belgian Pool still has not fluctuated much in the last few days.

Made an attempt to see Great Fountain, as it was near the end of the NPS window. But when we arrived, it was not even in overflow, and it was going to get dark in about an hour. With the heavy overcast, no chance of any sort of sunset light show, so we left.