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Observations for 31 May — Giant

Like today (see previous posting.)

There was a small shower between the time I went to sleep and midnight, when I got up. Just enough to wet things down, and make sure they stayed wet all night. When I got out to Grand, it was still above freezing, and dead calm. Usually there's a slight, imperceptible movement of air down-valley, most noticible by the way all the steam clouds tilt slightly in that direction. Tonight, it was straight up. Comet and the sputs of the Daisy group were putting a steamcloud hundreds of feet in the air.

At Grand, this presents a problem. The runoff is all between you and the geysers, and so end up blocking your view. Being back-lit by the moon would make things visible, but that not an option (at least a legal one).. As seen from the northern end of the line of benches, I saw a solid wall of steam that was sharply deliniiated by Vent, extending all the way to the right along the runoff channel. All other views were worse. Oh, well.

Got back out into the basin around 05:30, light enough that it was obvious that today was, at least in terms of weather, going to be the best day of my visit. Out at Giant, though, the platform was dead. An hour sitting resulting in seeing nothing, and it was on to Grand.

I got there on what appeared to be a delay type overflow, and even Percolator quiet, so I was expecting a bit of a wait. Grand had other ideas, and instead erupted over a minute after Turban started. And the second burst missed being a "long" by 8 seconds.

After that, the choices were between the Monkey Cage at Giant or Daisy. So I got to see Splendid's "Side Boiler" for the first time. It was active most of the time during my 20 minute wait, and even started up about 8 minutes after Daisy, along with some weak side vent activity.

Now there was no choice, it was off to Giant. I plopped down back about halfway between the Indicator Pool and the junction to the platform, with a decent view of Mastiff and co., and decided it was time for breakfast (Cheerios mixed with left over trail mix). 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. No sooner than I started to feed than I heard comments from the Cage about how it looked like Mastiff was rising.

I stood up, and it was. (Here I've got a minor quibble: I had to give the announcement about rising Mastiff because despite there being over a dozen people in the Cage, all with a better view, no one else did. Every second counts.)

At that point, the hot period preceded fairly normally for the first four or five minutes, giving me plenty of time to put away the food, rearrange the pack and dig out items I expected to need, like the umbrella. But by then, one thing was obvious: Mastiff was not going to wimp out after a couple of small boils. While it stopped a few times, every time it came back stronger.

Around the 9 minute mark, Mastiff was in eruption on its own, with continuous water from both vents well above the cone of Giant. Giant, however, seemed like it didn't want to start, with splashes not much bigger than those I saw last week 24 hours before it finally erupted. Mastiff continued, with Catfish joining in. Somewhere in that direction one of the vents was jetting loud steam, but I couldn't tell which. Finally, after 11m20s, Giant had a splash big enough to set it off.

I'd stationed myself at the front right corner, as close as you can get. (If no one else is gonna take that spot, I sure will.) The wind was almost perpendicular to my line of sight, but still expected that I might need the umbrella. Even though for a few moments, the tip of the water column was directly at my zenith, and I could see the water slowly droping straight for me, the wind eventually moved the water just a few feet over. Tall?yes. How tall? No idea.

Only one marker sign moved, the "Giant" one, and even it moved only a few feet and landed upright. The wind was just enough to push the steam away, so we never didn't have a bad view of Giant once it started. I wanted to take some pictures, but my ancient camera decided that it was time to go from yesterday's "full charge" to "empty".

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.

Now that I've had my platform start for this trip, I can try other places, if the mood suits. I still want to try to measure the height of the first minute's water, and wouldn't mind seeing a start from Grand.

I expect the rest of the day to be pretty dull, so don't expect more than the briefest of a posting tomorrow

Other Geyser Times

31 May 2007

  • Rift 01:17
  • Giant hot period 09:28 d=11m20s, eruption

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Observations for 30 May (Evening)

First, a slight change of format. Up until now, I've been trying to make these postings "up-to-date",. But that makes it hard sometimes to keep straight what happened on what date. So from now on, and definitely until the posting situation gets a bit easier, I'll have a single day (or less) per report. Of course, should something interesting happen, like an eruption of Giant or an eight Burst Grand or Economic activity, it'll add an extra posting. The geyser log times will be up to date, of course.

So that makes this report pretty short. With Grotto in a marathon, the rest of my day was spent on errands which I'd expect to do the day before. The weather was cool and partly cloudy with a sprinkle or two. Radio chatter was down, too, it seemed. As of 19:00, Grotto was still active. It was my hope that come the mid-night Grand, it'd still be going, but stop while I'm out there.

I've found that my recent changes to entering geyser times wasn't working properly with Grand burst info and Castle minors. I think I've fixed that. If you see any other problems, let me know. Even though it might take a day or two to fix it.

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Observations for 30 May

Yesterday afternoon was another Rift delayed Grand interval in cold and wind. At least the last snow shower was a few hours earlier while waiting for Giant.

Note how yesterday's Giant hot period's alternated durations between long and medium.

Overnight was clear and calm and cold. The moon set just as the east was starting to show some light, so it never got totally dark. The Grand eruption was with the moon only a few degrees above the horizon, and a moonbow/fogbow in the steam over the main runoff channel. Like yesterday, the eruption appears to have been delayed by Rift, or perhaps more accurately, West Triplet. And I've never heard of a Rift interval of less than 10 hours before.

This morning there was only a single hot period, at 05:56, lasting 4m46s, as it appears that Grotto is having another marathon (starting around 02:57). As of the mid-day Grand eruption, it's still erupting.

Other Geyser Times

29 May 2007

  • Penta 19:07ie, steam phase
  • Grotto Ftn 19:02
  • Giant hot periods
    • 11:18 d=8m25s
    • 14:39 d=3m36s
    • 16:36 d=6m06s
    • 17:59 d=3m15s
    • 19:13 d=6m45s
    • 21:02 d=2m20s
  • Rift 16:21 d=43m05s

30 May 2007

  • Grotto 02:57
  • Giant hot period
    • 05:56 d=4m46s
  • Rift 01:59 d=38m39s
  • Uncertain 08:49

And nothing to do with geysers

Yesterday afternoon when I left my cabin to head out into the basin, I heard a noise to the left. Down the slope, about 20ft away, was a bison grazing away on the hillside.

While waiting at Grand, I thought I saw motion on the top of the hill. It turned out to be a coyote who ducked back into the trees.

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Unsolicited Advice to FRS Radio Users

Here are tips based on my observations on how these have been used the last week or so:

  • Talk slowly and distinctly. Speak up, because my volume control only goes up to 10.
  • Don't press the "Send" button and immediately start talking. Receivers can take a second or two to recognize your carrier signal, and start playing what you are saying.
  • Repeat any times, or even spell out the digits the second time.
  • Give people time to write down the first time before you announce the second.
  • Figure out what you are going to say before transmitting. Get to the point. Don't spend the first 15 seconds doing your William Buckley impression
  • To get the maximum range, hold so that the antenna is vertical. (Don't nod down to talk into a radio held at an angle.)
  • Put your radio where you won't keep hitting the [expletive deleted] "Call Button". You know, the one that makes a chirping sound in every radio at Grand or Giant. Even, better see if the instruction manual says you can disable it completely. Don't make me come find you...
  • If people keep asking you to repeat, or to have your reports relayed, that is a good sign that you're doing something wrong, or that your radio isn't working right.
  • If someone is calling out Giant hot period information, your Plume or Atomizer time can wait.
  • And if someone does call out one of those times during a hot period, they've already made their decision on where they'd rather be, so don't respond by telling them to get to Giant.
  • Why is it that people who, in person can't shut up, on the radios think that saying nothing during a Giant hot period is being descriptive?

Actually, the general behavior is a lot better than my last times here, without all the yakking between the same two or three people asking their friends to "switch to five." If anything, the yakking there is comes from the NPS, not gazers.

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Observations for 29 May

For the wait for yesterday (28 May) evening's eruption of Grand, the sky was dark and overcast to the west, while clear to the east. The wind was still as blustery and annoying as earlier in the day. As I waited, the gray got darker, and eventually, it started to snow wet, fat flakes. But at the same time, it began to lighten to the west, so that the disk of the sun could be made out. The shower was colored pink by this low lighting. By the time the shower ended, the sun would have been visible if it hadn't just set. That's when Grand erupted. It would have been a very pretty eruption if it hadn't been so steamy and windy.

The overnight Grand was in completely different circumstances. There was still some clouds obscuring a setting moon, but it was dead calm. The boardwalks were still covered with ice from the previous evening's snow. The eruption itself was unremarkable except for the fact that Percolator was dead and there were two bursts.

On to Giant afterwards, where it was obvious from the platform that there hadn't been a hot period in a few hours. Also, it appeared that Grotto was once again going into a marathon eruption. The platform also reflected this, as Bijou was chaotic in its behavior, and all the features seemed weak.

I placed my thermometer outside the cabin when I came back in at 06:15, and just a few minutes later, it read 29°F. Which means it was much colder out in the basin itself.

Of course, the problem with making plans based on what you think the geysers are going to do is that the geysers might have other plans. When I got out for the late morning Grand eruption, it was obvious that Grotto had quit. So no marathon, and it appears I'm going to have to drop some of the errands I'd planned for today.

So just as I'm about to post the above, the call goes out that "there's water rising in Mastiff". So at 11:18 we get an 8m25s hot period, and I get to add some exercise I hadn't intended.

Other Geyser Times

28 May 2007

  • Grotto Fountain 18:57 w/o Grotto
  • Rift 21:07ns

29 May 2007

  • Penta 06:31ie, steam phase

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Observations around Giant

One of the first things I noticed at Giant was the amount of erosion in two areas. In the first, the edge of the platform northwest of Feather and the rest of the sputs has been eaten back by what seems to be over a meter in places. This area of fresh, unweathered sinter is distinctly terraced.

Over by Catfish, the whole front of the base of its cone also shows fresh, laminated sinter which, I would assume, is being exposed and undermined by the action of Mastiff during both eruptions and hot periods.

If this is what frequent activity over a few years time can do, the the question, it seems to me, becomes, how long until a major change in one of these features occurs because of this erosion. One of the sput vents could have it's rim dropped by several centimeters. The whole southwest side of Catfish could be opened up and exposed, turning it into another breached cone just like Giant.

Another possibility is that the deposits within the actual vent of Catfish do not have the horizontal laminations characteristic of all the erosion going on, and thus will be more resistant to the attack on it.

Perhaps erosion plays a larger part in the formation of cones than is realized. A feature builds up a modest raised vent in the middle of a larger, flat platform. Then another feature erodes away those horizontal platform deposits, leaving the vent's vertical deposits intact. The second feature subsides, allowing the first feature to continue to build deposits on its cone, but now outside over the newly exposed platform. Eventually, it might be difficult to determine that the platform was ever much higher, and the cone not as tall.

A perfect example of this is not far away: Turtle. Note how the turtle shaped cap is sitting on a horizontally laminated pedestal. If it were to reactivate and begin depositing over the entire structure, evetually those laminations would be hidden and instead we would see a tall cone there.

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Observations for 28 May

Went up to Daisy and Splendid again on Sunday afternoon, early enough that I could watch the activity prior to Daisy's eruption. I was there for half an hour, and during that time, saw exactly one boil from Splendid's main vent, about a half meter high and lasting only a few seconds. Disappointing.

Later Sunday evening, Grand finally made up for all the nice short intervals it's had by tossing in a long interval, which these days is a measly 8h13m. (Ahh, for the good ol' days when a "long" was over 16 hours, and a short just 10.) I never really had a delay overflow, just alternated good looking overflows with ones that were obviously not going to result in an eruption. At the same time, the weather deterorated. It got cloudy and gray, and eventually we started getting sprinkles. FInally, at 20:03, it had what was a "Classic Two Turban Delay" — heavy overflow with waves, a drop as Turban starts and a short eruption of Turban (2m59s). That was followed by a short Turban interval (17m08s)and finally on the second Turban, the eruption. The eruption itself presented a nice contrast between the white watercolumn from Grand with the gray clouds as a backdrop.

This Monay morning was mixed. The weather was clear and could have been warm if the wind wasn't gusting up to about 40mph, or so it seemed. Grotto's marathon ended somewhere around 03:00-04:00 (best guess), and Grand went at 03:10, according to the monitor. So instead of spreading things about, Grand decided that it was time to experience a Rift delay. This resulted in everything interesting happening in a little over a half-hour span. First, this time someone saw the Indicator in eruption, which resulted in a stampede to the south. They returned in time for Grand to finally erupt. While it was a two burst eruption, it took Grand a full minute after the start of Turban to begin, and the total duration was only 9m29s, yet Vent and Turban quit afterwards

Within ten minutes of the end of Grand's eruption, Giant had its post-marathon hot period. The hot period was fairly strong, with Mastiff boiling mostly to one or two feet, with a max around four,but for almost the entire duration.It lasted 9m52s, then was followed by about 3m30s of a Feather restart but with weak Giant surging.

Other Geyser Times

28 May

  • Rift 10:09, d≈50m

And nothing to do with geysers

On my way to Grand last night, I saw a duck floating on the Firehole River, then shooting the rapids below the Sawmill bridge and drifting off downstream.

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Observations for 27 May

One of the reasons I like the early morning is because its a time unlike the rest of the day. Unlike early evening, road and people noise is non-existent. (People who like noisy machinery never seen to be early risers for some reason...) Also, it's the one time of day when the wind is truly calm. Usually on nice days, as the air rapidly warms, the winds start around 09:00 or so.

I like seeing the steam from an eruption of Grotto climbing hundreds of feet into the air, like something important is erupting. But even large pools can have their subtleties. This morning, for example, as Grand was having the heavy overflow before its eruption, there was absolutely no wind. It was so calm that the convection from Grand's pool's steam column was actually creating its own micro-wind, drawing in the steam coming from the runoff channels. These plumes weren't vertical, but all tilted toward Grand. Then a ever so slight breeze came up, and destroyed the effect.

Grand itself had four eruptions yesterday, and five in about a 28 hour period. For a day now, I've arrived at Grand and it will erupt on one of the next two Turban eruptions. I think several of these have been delay-type starts, but can't be sure because it's usually too dark (or steamy) to see clearly, and haven't seen a full Turban interval on those that I suspect.

Yesterday, coming out of a Grotto marathon, it took Giant about 13 hours to finally have a hot period for the crowd who spent a day there. At 19:58, it lasted 5m28s. There was another, weaker one at 21:50. By this morning, Grotto was back into what appears to be another marathon, with Giant's platform dead around 06:00. When this marathon ends, that's when the fun will begin.

Because of the marathon, it also appears to be no reason be hanging around down there, as I'm hearing more Geyser Hill radio reports than yesterday.

Saw an eruption of Daisy up close, started as I arrived, so I didn't see the preliminaries. But the sputs between Splendid and Comet looked little changed from what I remember seeing in years past. But Splendid was dead. It did nothing during Daisy's eruption, other than draining. Even after the eruption ended, nothing happened. There's only a narrow, barely wet algae filled runoff channel off to the north, and it appears that even that is due to Daisy's runoff.

Other Geyser Times

  • Uncertain 05:40
  • Grotto 05:30ie (marathon, still ie @14:00)

And nothing to do with geysers

From the NPS radios, a Sunday morning report of "two people skateboarding down from Craig Pass."

Why do new hiking boots always come with laces that refuse to hold a knot?

Somebody locked their doglet inside the car at the Lower Ham's. You could still hear the ankle-biter yelping down at Crested Pool.

At 10:30, as I'm headed down-basin, there's a bison in the Lodge cabin area blocking my way.

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Observations for 26 May (Afternoon)

One of the things I like about a Grand start on a delayed Turban interval is the explosive start. For the last 10 minutes or so all there is to see is a full, heavily overflowing pool that fluctuates slightly. Then suddenly, with only a couple of large pulsations, Grand suddenly rockets up to 10 meters high. It's as if Grand has been fighting for all that time to erupt, and had finally figured out how to unleash itself, and is going to make sure it keeps erupting.

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to guarantee against a one burst eruption.

(Years ago Grand would have "boops", where it would have several boils to 3 or 4 meters, as if the eruption was starting, only to suddenly subside. It was amusing to see people who knew enough to be dangerous suddenly taken aback when the pools dropped instead of erupted.)

For the last few days, in what had to have been not the greatest of conditions, we kept getting eruption times on every feature on Geyser Hill (especially Plume) from dawn until dusk. Or so it seemed. So today, it what started out as a beautiful day, a day in which we've yet to have any precipitation from the thunderclouds, and on a day when there's a large influx of observers for the Memorial Day weekend, Beehive erupts in the middle of the afternoon. No one saw the Indicator, the only radio call was at least two minutes into the eruption. Webcam observers probably got a better start time.

And I saw my first mosquito today, a sure sign that Spring really has started.

Other geysers:

  • Rift 11:03
  • Fountain 12:23
  • Great Fountain 13:50

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Today's Activity List

I've made a change to the GeyserLog page, so that now at the top will be displayed a list of "Today's Activity", with the latest eruption at the top. (Actually, it's the last 36 hours, so it'll usually show yesterday evening's eruptions, too.

Now that I've figured out that I can make such changes on the fly, I'll probably be making other little improvments or modifications.