2019-August-14

2019
Aurum Geyser, 2019 August 03

Aurum Geyser, 2019 August 03. Video by H.Koenig.

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I was testing out an app I wrote which would add a timestamp. Since my phone is old, the processor can't always keep up, so it drops frame and that causes some jerkiness. But I did get a full eruption, including the preliminaries.

2019-August-13

Videos
Morning Geyser, 2019

Morning Geyser, 2019. Video by H.Koenig.

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2019-August-12

Videos
Bulger's Hole, 2019 July 31

Bulger's Hole, 2019 July 31. Video by H.Koenig.

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2019-August-11

Videos
Aerial Survey Flight, 2019 August 02

Aerial Survey Flight, 2019 Aug 02. Video by H.Koenig.

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Note: The audio for this video consists of the aircraft engine noise. You won't hear any conversations, as those were through microphones and headsets. So you might want to use the "mute" button.

2019-August-10

Videos
New Crater/Steamboat Geyser, 2019 July 30

New Crater/Steamboat Geyser, 2019 July 30. Video by H.Koenig.

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Includes the first five chokes.

2019-August-09

Activity Report
Observations for 2019 August 08

Usually on the day I leave, Grand likes to toss in a long interval to make me regret that decision.

After another short interval after my fifth Grand yesterday, and five days of intervals well shorter than that of Riverside's, we decided that we should try and provoke that longer interval. But Grand refused to cooperate, and instead had another One Burst Grand with an interval just over five hours. And nothing from West Triplet. Things have, or are, changing there, so it should be interesting when we return in a few weeks.

2019-August-08

Activity Report
Observations for 2019 August 07

It's been a while since I went out to Grand at night. With the shortened intervals of the last few days, decided to tempt fate until the next long delayed interval.

When I walked past Churn, I noticed that it was below overflow with a bit of a rim. I assume it erupted, but I didn't really miss it.

Arrived with Turban in eruption. There wasn't any overflow that I could hear before the next Turban eruption, about 15 minutes later. Grand erupted before the next Turban, and that interval was also short, about 17 minutes. Otherwise it was a normal One Burst Grand eruption, with an interval around 5-1/2 hours.

'Came out for the next eruption, and was amused to consider that I was arriving at around the 5h10m mark, and that I could be missing the eruption. But the pool was full. Again, there was a Turban eruption that was not preceeded by any audible or visible overflow. The next Turban eruption was less thatn 20 minutes later, and lasted less than four minutes. When Grand started, Turban preceeded it and the interval there was only about 17 minutes, and maybe a minute after I first heard the overflow.

The eruption itself was annoying in it's own way. The first burst ended abruptly at the 7-1/2 minute mark. When the second burst also ended in a reasonable amount of time, instead of lasting several minutes, I was sure I was about to see my first three (or more) burst Grand eruption in years. Instead, nothing happened. The total duration, including the pause, was just under nine minutes. Which in its way was probably close to a record for the least amount of water in a Grand eruption.

Midday I came out to find West Triplet in eruption, along with Sput D. This continued for thirty minutes, so the duration was even longer, and of course, that meant we got to see the start of Rift just as West Triplet ended.

The Turban intervals and durations were unremarkable until then. Then we got a couple of short Turban eruption durations (4m08s and 5m11s) and shorter intervals. Grand itself went only 17-1/2 minutes after Turban, but the overflow had started around the 15 minute mark. The One Burst Grand lasted just over ten minutes, and to play with us, had over a minute of the crater full and sloshing around. (There was a small contingent who were positioned to run to Beehive, ahead of the post Grand crowd, who had to wait this out.) When Vent & Turban did quit, the pause was only 8-1/2 minutes long.

Since Beehive was showing signs of being near erupting (the primary one being it was afternoon), I walked over to Geyser Hill. The Indicator started as I passed Liberty Pool, and this time it was so long that I was able to get there with plenty of time.

The fourth Grand of the day was preceeded by a Turban eruption with no overflow from Grand. That was followed by a delay. Unlike the night before, Grand went from heavy boil into a blue bubble to start the eruption. This time there wasn't any West Triplet activity while I was out there.

That left 6h10m for Grand to have a fifth eruption for the day. Based on recent intervals, that should be plenty of time. But based on past experience, I wouldn't count on it, as Grand does seem to have a tendency to toss in a long (in this case, about seven hour long interval) when you really want a short. (Like when you are packed and leaving, and want to get in that "one last Grand".)

The eruption this morning was in the dark, but this time the clouds parted and there was a nice first quarter moon illuminating the basin. I arrived in time for more anomalous Turban behavior. In this case, the strong overflow decreased as I waited, and was almost non-existent when Turban finally erupted 11 minutes later. I would guess that this was probably a delay, well before the five hour mark. But it wasn't much of a surprise to have Grand erupt on the next Turban, twenty minutes later. A pretty undistinguished One Burst Grand, with nothing from West Triplet again. The main negative is that it was too early, so there was some jerk with a bright light out there illuminating the eruption.

So I did see five eruptions of Grand in one day. In about a 22 hour period, with an hour padding on each side of the period of eruptions. I get the feeling, based on the behavior lately that there will be many more such opportunities in the next few weeks.

2019-August-07

Activity Report
Observations for 2019 August 06

This morning's One Burst Grand was actually a little different. First, it took Vent about a minute longer than expected to start. Then, despite the One Burst Grand lasting just over eleven minutes, Vent & Turban continued. This was also a double interval of almost exactly eleven hours.

But while waiting for that eruption, Churn erupted. This was another full height play, lasting about a minute and about ten minutes before Grand. Immediately after I checked, and Churn was down below overflow with a 30cm rim. Sawmill was also low, at least 30cm and exposing some of the orange slime lining the vent. During the Grand eruption there was a second Churn eruption, again full height and duration. This activity is consistent with that of years past, where Churn would erupt in a short series about twenty minutes apart, when Sawmill was in a drain. Waited for a third eruption, but nothing happened.

The next One Burst Grand was fairly undistinguished, although it did continue the trend of intervals of under six hours. West Triplet did erupt during that eruption, but it lasted a little under nine minutes.

It was the next eruption of the day where things got interesting. I saw Turban in eruption as I was tying down my bike at Castle. When I got over to the area, I found that it looked like West Triplet was much higher than normal, just below overflow. About ten minutes later it overflowed weakly for about two minutes, with no activity from any of the sputs. After that, the water level in Grand rose to a good, strong overflow, and then showed waves.

At the 4h56m mark in the Grand interval, there was a strong boop from Grand. Over the next three minutes there were more of these boils. Finally the 5h01m mark, and at least 36 minutes after Turban last started, a boop turned into an actual eruption. This is the shortest interval I have ever seen out of Grand. Late in the One Burst Eruption West Triplet started to overflow. This continued after Grand and Vent and Turban quit. Finally after about eight minutes, West Triplet started splashing. This eruption of West Triplet was accompanied by some weak spitting from Sput D and Percolator, and lasted about 21 minutes. Vent & Turban quit when West Triplet did.

2019-August-06

Activity Report
Observations for 2019 August 05

Not a lot of excitement the last few days, and today continued that trend.

Stopped by the Giant platform for a bit. While it's pretty dead, Giant was a bit amusing. It appears the water level in the cone is high. Not only were there a number of angled surges well above the "bite" and over the side of the cone, but a number of times where there was vertial jetting, too. Often I saw what appeared to be the top of a heavy boil taking place just out of site. But Bijou never stopped in a half hour, and only once did I see any water jetting from Masttif

Having seen the end of a Grotto eruption around 09:00, decided that I could/should be there for the next start. I've seen several Grotto Fountain eruptions from Grand, but it's been years since I've seen it up close.

Wasn't disappointed. In the hour I waited, there was an episode of Grotto huffing with a splash or two early on, then quiet. When Grotto Fountain started, it was sudden, going from a strong boil to full eruption in a minute or two. The height itself was impressive. I remember higher, but this was still in the 15 meter range. South Grotto Fountain joined in midway throught, with intermittent splashing, and after ten minutes, Grotto finally joined in. That didn't seem to be all that strong. The Grotto eruption was still going on three hours later.

There were a couple of One Burst Grand eruptions. What distinguishes them is that that in both cases there was a delay. Three Turban intervals in the morning, but Grand did manage to erupt on the delay in the afternoon. But before that last eruption there was a Turban interval of 24m54s, which was really close. In general, I've noticed that most Turban intervals are well over 21 minutes, and as much as 24 is not unusual. What is unusual are the ones below 20 minutes, and those only after a delay it seems.

I've come to the conclusion that the most obnoxious groups are not the Asian flag tours, but family reunions. These are large groups of people in their own little world, oblivious to the fact that they aren't the center of attention. They are loud and obnoxious and try to take over areas, and they are having such a good time that everyone else is a killjoy if they object to their noise and rudeness. At least the Asian tours seem to keep moving.

2019-August-05

Activity Report
Observations for 2019 August 04

Grand is slowly getting later each day. I expect it soon to suddenly be back to its old habit of erupting just before dawn.

But this morning it did provide us with two bursts. The first burst was only 8m30s, while the total eruption duration was less than 10 minutes. It made no attempt to try for a third burst, but at least Vent and Turban continued,

As I was getting on the bike, Castle started. It was a surprse to me, and it was preceeded by a couple of large surges that looked more like the aftermath of a minor.

Down at Fan & Mortar there was a cycle of activity, but it was weak. When the River Vent started, almost immediately the High and Gold Vents started, too. Then they looked really strong for a minute or so, before dying down. So again, looks like not much going on there.

In the afternoon, we could have had a second burst from Grand, but despite the One Burst being only nine minutes long, there was no attempt at refilling the pool. West Triplet started during that time, and continued for 33 minutes, but there was no Rift eruption with it. Sput D and Percolator started up about halfway through, and then quit when West Triplet quit. That was also the time when Vent & Turban also quit.

Was considering going out to the early nighttime Grand, but we had the first strong thunderstorm of the trip, and decided I didn't like the idea of sitting in the cold and damp.

If the purpose of geyser predictions is to help visitors see geyser eruptions, then the ones for Grand couldn't be better for having the opposite effect.

The window the NPS is using is an hour and a half long, from five hours to six and one half. Not only is this too short, but it is centered wrong. Worse, they round down, so there are times with the window starts as soon as 4h50m. So the NPS is getting people out to Grand too early, making them wait the better part of an hour when there is little to no chance of anyone seeing an eruption. Then they end the window early, when there is still an excellent chance that Grand will erupt. This is especially important when there's a long Turban interval delay.

The benches go from near empty to full within ten or so minutes of the opening of the window. If Grand hasn't erupted when the NPS window closes, gaps form in the fomerly full benches.

From what I've seen, the range for Grand eruptions is 5h45m to 7h15m. (I have seen a 5h36m) This could be easily adjusted to 5h30m and 7h30m. The problem is that I don't know of any way to communicate this information to anyone in the NPS who is in a position to fix the problem, or who even cares. It just reinforces the impression that the NPS really doesn't care about visitor services, or even wants to try to provide decent information to those who have no idea what is going on.

2019-August-04

Activity Report
Observations for 2019 August 03

After yesterday's adventures it was time to get back to normal.

Grand has finally shifted enough that there was no reason to not be out for the early morning eruption. I like that time of day, so it was disappointing for it to be going when it was just dark enough to not be seen well.

While waiting, I did get to see a minor Churn eruption in progress. What I saw was some boiling to about 1/2 meter for about 5-10 seconds. About 20 minutes later, after the One Burst Grand eruption, I got over there to find that Churn was just below overflow, and that Sawmill was high, but nowhere near overflow.

Decided to spend some time down basin, just because there's so little going on down there that it's hard to get motivated to make a bike ride specifially to watch nothing.

At Fan & Mortar, I didn't see much organized activity. When Angle finally died down, River Vent came on almost immediately. The runoff from Bottom Vent was dry.

But I did see the otters, a blue heron and an osprey which was perching on trees and seemed to be letting the otters do its fishing.

From there I rode up on Spa just starting to overflow. There was increased overflow and boiling while was there, but I didn't stick around. Grotto had quit about an hour earlier, so not sure what this means.

After another One Burst Grand it was off to Aurum to take advantage of the shorter intervals. Didn't take long to get an up close recording of the full eruption.

In the evening, arrived to see Rift sputtering away. It was accompanied by Sput D and Percolator, but eventually both of those quieted down. Grand itself had a Delay, and then Rift finally quit about an hour after I'd arrived. So instead of a nice sunset eruption, instead we got a One Burst Grand as it was slowly getting dark.

2019-August-03

Activity Report
Observations for 2019 August 02

On Wednesday we drove out to Cody. I know that I haven't driven to there from Fishing Bridge since the late 1980s, so it was almost a new experience.

We were in Cody because the next morning we had been invited to join a photographic survey of thermal areas in the park. Which we did. The original plan was to leave at around 07:00, but that got pushed back after we experienced the thick fog for the last New Crater/Steamboat eruption.

We left from the Cody airport in a 4-seater Cessna 182 plane. It was a beautiful day. It was completely clear and while a bit windy on the ground, nothing much higher up. We were supposed to be up at 09:00 for a two hour flight, but there wasn't a reason to hurry, so did get off the ground until 09:30. There was little to no turbulance during the 15 minutes it took to get to Sylvan Pass and our first view of Yellowstone Lake. From there is was only five minutes or so to get to West Thumb, our first destination.

At each destination we circled a couple of time about 2000 feet up. It's quick and fast, but still fun to recognize landmarks and features from up there.

We visited, in turn, West Thumb, Heart Lake, Shoshone, the Upper Basin, Midway and the Lower Basin, Gibbon and Geyser Creek, Norris, the Canyon (there are geysers in there...) Crater Hills and Mud Volcano.

There wasn't much geyser activity to be seen. Did see a large puff from the location of Minute Man in Shoshone. Then saw some nice, huge bursts from Imperial as we flew past. Also think I saw steam from Avalanche in Geyser Creek.

It's much easier to see pools from the air than the cones. The pool color (black, brown, green or blue) offers a constrast to the slightly gray white of the geyser areas. If something was steaming, we could pick out the cone or feature. Most striking are the deep blue of deep pools like Giantess or Columbia at Heart Lake.

And yes, Grand Prismatic does look like the calendar pictures. By the time we passed over, around 11:00, it was warm and clear and there wasn't much steam to obscure the brilliant colors. While the calendars may be enchanced and Photoshopped, it really doesn't need much. The primary way the calendars are exagerating is that even as large as it is, from our height it wasn't any bigger than the full moon.

At Norris we could seen the steam coming from New Crater/Steamboat from miles away despite ground reports saying it was dry. The huge grayish brown area of dead and dying trees surrounding the vent (mostly to the northeast and the parking lot) just can't be appreciated from the ground in the same way.

After all that, we headed back to Cody via the pass north of Sylvan. (I need to find the name). From there you can see a large arch in the Absaroka Mountains. (Again, I need to find the name). We arrived back at about noon, so we got in (and paid for) an extra half hour.

Eventually, after we get home, I'm going to try to take our videos and post some of the better parts.

If there were disappointments, it was that it's just too fast. You only spend a few minutes at most at each area, and from the air, each area is only a minute of so from the next one. Our biggest gap was going from Heart Lake to Shoshone. Also, photography is hard and can be disappointing. Suzanne was on the photographer's side, so she was able to get some good shots and video, but often I was looking over her shoulder and trying to position the camera so it was recording something, which can be distracting.

If given the chance again, I'll take it.

After we got back to our cabin, we did go out for the evening One Burst Grand. While tying up the bikes at Castle, we did see an eruption of Tilt, which lasted long enough for us to walk up on the end.

2019-August-02

Activity Report
Observations for 2019 August 01

The Grand intervals lengthened out a bit, so that the morning eruption occurred in daylight, but that also meant the first eruption I would see would be around noon. So rode down basin just to check things out. I stopped at the bike-rack at Castle and the geyser started almost immediately. It was a nice backlit full steam eruption.

From there I rode down basin to find not only Grotto, but Spa in eruption. Grotto was well into a Marathon eruption, as Bijou was only splashing weakly, and the Marathon Pool was down.

While watching Spa, Riverside started, so I watched it for a while from the bridge, where Fan & Mortar wasn't doing much.

Solstice was still in eruption, too.

At Grand, things were quiet except for Turban. Finally had something other than a One Burst Grand, as there was tall second burst. West Triplet also erupted starting shortly after Grand, and quit sometime after the end. I didn't observe any activity from Sput D or from Percolator.

Walking away saw Bulger start, but no activity from Bulger's Hole, and Old Tardy started during that eruption, too. From the bike rack, I also saw a nice eruption of Tilt.

2019-August-01

Activity Report
Observations for 2019 July 31

While walking out to the One Burst Grand, as I passed by Crested Pool I saw my first Churn eruption of the year. While there have been reports of Churn erupting this year, from what I'd head it was only a big boil a meter or so high. This looked like those of previous years. It lasted about a minute, and several of the shots were easily to four meters, if not more. When I walked up, Churn was just below overflow, with a 30cm wide white rim around the pool. The Churn eruption was also during an eruption of Oblong.

At Grand West Triplet erupted, along with Sput D and Percolator. The sput eruptions were longer than when West Triplet was just overflowing. And then soon we got Rift to erupt.

After Grand I waited for the end of Rift for a while, but it just kept on going. But as I left, I noticed Bulger starting an eruption, and as I rounded the trees next to the walkway, I saw Bulger's Hole in full eruption. It was full of milky water about 10cm below the rim. It was throwing burst of water at the back several meters high. It continued for over five minutes, even after Bulger itself had stopped. Then it slowly drained down, making some gurgling sounds.

After a report of Fountain having a 36 minute duration, went out to see what it might do next. Other than a tall eruption of Morning's Thief, not much. It really does sound (and look) a lot like high tide crashing against a rocky shore.

For the evening Grand, we didn't get a delay, but the Turban durations were short, and it wasn't until they got longer that Grand showed any signs of activity. During the wait nothing other than Turban erupted, another sign that the West Triplet Overflow mode was over.

2019-July-31

Activity Report
Observations for 2019 July 30

Arrived at Norris at 05:30. it was foggy the whole way, as it had rained during the night, and there was still some lightning visible to the north.

An hour and a half later it was still overcast and foggy, and I hadn't yet gotten around to digging something to eat out of the pack. It was at 07:12 that we got a long, strong and sustained minor. That got me to put away things and wrap up the pack in its rain cover. The heavy surging continued, so next it was time to get the chair and pack out of the way.

The activity continued, and based on our experiences of the past year or so, it quickly became obvious that this was what we'd been waiting for. In the next few minutes we got stronger and longer play than all day yesterday (or the day we waited last week, or the three days Memorial Day weekend). Finally there was a surge that kept building and climbing, until it became obvious that each burst was higher than the last.

It quickly became apparent that there wasn't going to be a chance to see much of the water phase. I'd would have liked to try for a height measurement, but after about a minute realized that there was something else I could do. I moved quickly (more of a trot than a run) down the switchback and past Cistern and over to the runoff bridge, with the video recording the whole way.

If any water washed over the bridge, it was brief and didn't leave much dampness. Otherwise the two main runoffs were pretty impressive, more than I'd seen before. (Those times were well into the steam-phase, too.) Coming back I saw the start of water coming down all the runoff channels that run under the switchback walkway.

The water coming from North Vent seemed gray, but not reddish or brown.

Standing on the upper platform, I realized that it would make a lot more sense to get the tripod and the other phone and set it all up to try and record any chokes from before the start, rather than trying to react to what the geyser was doing. Sof went back down to where my pack was, and of course the first choke happened as I was trying to dig everything out. But I did manage to catch the next three, as well as another one on my regular phone. There were a total of eight, and I'd have gotten some more if somehow the phone hadn't gotten into "slo-mo" mode. A rant on how phone camera interfaces are overloaded with useless gimicks and poorly designed for use outside in bright light might be appropriate. (For most people, it appears a button labeled "Selfie! Me!" would suffice.)

Telling when there was going to be a choke seems to depend on noting the activity of the wall of rock north of the North Vent. If there is heavy water landing there and running over the edge creating waterfalls, North Vent will start chugging, and eventually choke. If the wind is shifted, say toward a platform, then the steam coming from North Vent is continuous, and there won't be a choke.

The corridoned off area of the platform only appeared to have one or two small rocks on it that weren't there when we arrived in the morning. (I was tempted yesterday to put a huge rock or two in that area, just to get a reaction...) A small rock did land next to me there, but it someone made it back onto the ground.

By the time we left, at around 10:10, Cistern had dropped below overflow, but because none of the runoff made it into the feature, it was still clear blue.

Out to Grand for the afternoon One Burst Eruption. Arrived to find Rift marker gone and West Triplet down much more than during the past week. An hour later I saw the first eruption of West Triplet I was aware of since 22 July. The only eruption of Sput D I saw was during West Triplet, and it was accompanied by Percolator, another geyser not seen in a week.

Grand itself had to have a two Turban interval delay, followed by a Turban start. The eruption was a little over ten minutes long and Vent & Turban continued. While waiting a dark, ominous storm cell passed north, through the Lower Basin, but was never really a threat here.

2019-July-30

Activity Report
Observations for 2019 July 29

A day spent at Norris, where New Crater/Steamboat didn't do much. Will find out tomorrow (or later) if all that time was wasted.