Posted on

Observations for 30 July 2018


After last evening's hot period, I was wondering what I would find on the platform. As far as I could tell, nothing had happened overnight. The platform was still wet, but the pools were separate, especially around the Southwest Vents. That indicated that there hadn't even been a long Bijou pause/Bathtub overnight.

About an hour and a half after I arrived, there was a radio call of splashes in Fan's Main Vent. Shortly after, Bijou had a long 5m30s pause. So for a short period of time, there was radio traffic concerning both of the major geysers. For me, the end of the pause meant nothing would be happening there and I was free to go down to Fan & Mortar on the off chance that it would finally erupt.

It took its time, but it did. The activity in High and Gold would build and then die down, then repeat. It did this over a period of about ten minutes. Finally, one of the surges got so strong that East Vent had to erupt. That was quickly followed by starts in Upper and Lower Mortar and in Main Vent. Because of the wind direction, I stationed myself beside the trees to the north, where I could record the preliminary activity and the start.

The wind direction wasn't too bad, as there wasn't really any wind. The drifting steam did provide bright rainbows in the morning sun, and at one point I got to see a full circle, and recorded some of it.

Afterwards, it was back to the Bijou Cage. About an hour and a half after the previous activity there was another long Bijou Pause, this time with some Southwest Vents activity. This took place shortly after Grotto had started. The end of Grotto (via Rocket) came and went, and there was no hot period, not even a long pause.

It was an hour later that Bijou finally slowed down and paused, and show went into a hot period. This one was strange. It was stronger that the simple Feather only ones, but definitely weaker than what we'd like to see. Mastiff never did any surging, and there wasn't as much overflow as it usually puts out. Feather's Satellite was never seen, but Cave was active. Feather's duration seemed shorter too.

After that, it was time to see Grand, and it did reward us by quickly having a two burst eruption.

About 4 hours after the hot period, back in the cabin, was surprised by someone announcing water in Mastiff. That was it, but it still said that it was time to get back out. Once again, there was a long pause at about the time Grotto started. An hour later there was another one. Rocket came and went, and all Bijou was doing was having one minute or so long minors.

It was about an hour and a quarter after Grotto ended that a pause slowly built into a hot period. It took about three minutes before the Southwest Vents came on. This time there was strong activity. When full, Mastiff was pouring out water, and surging to 4 or 5 feet at times. With the restart, Giant showed several cone filling surges, but the water level between surges was never at the bottom of the rim as it was during the eruption the other day. And with that, it was time to head back in.


Posted on

Observations for 29 July 2018


Today I almost had the chance to see, by myself, an eruption of Giant in daylight in July. Well, sorta.

After yesterday, I figured something might happen at Giant overnight, and the platform looked more than wet enough for at least a minor hot period. The morning was also quite foggy. Unlike yesterday, the smoke did not reappear, although we did get some showers in the afternoon.

Not knowing when or how large it had been, I waited for the next activity. That turned out to be a 49s long Feather-only hot period at 13:59. That was 22 hours after the previously observed hot period, which sorta fits the pattern I've been using to make decisions. This hot period came just 15 minutes after the start of a Grotto eruption.

I returned in time for the next Grotto start, at 17:59, but other than a long pause (2m34s), there wasn't any activity on the platform. I wanted to see what happened at the end, so I quickly went back to the cabin to prepare for a wait in the dark.

As I returned, Rocket started erupting. That was good timing. I also noticed that Spa was starting to erupt. No water in the runoff when I saw a burst, and a few minutes later, there was water well down it.

Within minutes of the end of Grotto following that Rocket eruption, Bijou paused. Feather came on 6 minutes into the pause. It was still pretty light, so I was able to record the major part of the hot period when Feather's Satellite started. Feather was only on for a little over 3 minutes. Then the platform was quiet for the better part of a minute when suddenly Feather and several other vents, including Post Hole, all started splashing.

The surging in Giant started about then, and while it looked nice, it never built up into something that looked like there could be an eruption. It was obvious that the water level was well down in the vent, unlike the last eruption hot period when it seemed like the level was above the vent rim.

This activity, at least, gives me an idea as to what tommorrow will be like-- up early to check on the platform and confirm that it probably had some sort of minor hot period. Then wait for the next hot period. If no minor, then that could be in mid-morning, otherwise I'd expect it mid-afternoon. Could be an interesting day.


Posted on

Observations for 28 July 2018


The basin was vacated for Norris. Started the morning down at the Bijou Cage, where I saw an eruption of Giant. Nothing much happened at the start or end, but a couple of hours later there was a Bathtub with Feather overdrooling.

The One Burst Grand eruption was nicely backlit, but came three seconds under ten minutes.

The rest of the day was devoted to trying to catch the first hot period of the current interval. The platform in the morning did not look like there had been anything from the vents by Feather than a bit of overflow. Finally succeeded in the early afternoon, when we got to see a 1m30s Feather only hot period. The only problem with this activity is that it didn't seem to be related to the start or stop from Grotto.

The afternoon the smoke suddenly reappeared. It tinged the clouds a reddish-brown. It got blustery and it rained a couple of times, which didn't seem to clear away the smoke.

After the minor hot period, waited quite a bit at Giant, but nothing much else happened. So went over to Grand for an early evening eruption. Unfortunately, the moon was completely obscured by a cloud bank to the south.

Radio Rant:

For the third time, the NPS was talking over the announcments of events down at Giant. This time it was for a possibly injured coyote across the river from Liberty Pool. The previous time was for something that Law Enforcement should have been handling (one that was interfering with announcents leading up to the last Giant eruption). I can't remember what was the first time anymore, other than it could've waited.


Posted on

Observations for 27 July 2018


Another day started with a wait at Norris. After seven hours we left having seen one event worth getting the least excited about.

Back in the Upper Basin, went out to Grand. Earlier, while we were at Norris, it had the first three burst eruption since we got here. The eruption we saw was the first sub-nine minute eruption since we got here.

Then spent some time down in the Bijou Cage. Saw a couple of Grotto starts, but nothing much else happened. Never saw water in Mastiff, and never saw the Southwest Vents even try to start. While waiting, suddenly smelled smoke, and could see the plumes to the west.

Finally it was time for Grand. Originally was hoping for a nice moonlight eruption, but thanks to the smoke, the moon was a dark red ball on the horizon shedding no light. Had just walked up, after seeing Bulger's Hole fill but not erupt, when Grand started explosively. This interval was 5h34m, which is the shortest interval since we got here. It also lasted less than ten minutes, so not having to wait was nice.


Posted on

Observations for 26 July 2018


The day started at Norris. Spent about seven hours watching nothing much happen. We were intending to leave at noon, but that's when something finally did happen. It was the first and only time during the day, it turns out, that New Crater/Steamboat gave any sign of an impending eruption. As it was, we waited an additional hour and a half.

Back in the Upper Basin, did get a two burst Grand eruption right after we got back. Later went down to Bijou Cage and saw a 4-1/2 minute Bijou pause where nothing else happened. The day ended with the rising full moon illuminating a One Burst Grand eruption.

I also did discover that the phone in the Norris parking lot works. There is a dial tone, and I was able to make an 800 call. This means that someone could buy a calling card can be able to call someone somewhere else who could rely information.


Posted on

Observations for 25 July 2018


With all the charismatic megafeatures not due for attention for a couple of days, was another opportune time to leave the basin. Rode out to Lone Star in the morning, after catching another One Burst Grand.

Arrive with Lone Pine quiet. According to the log book, we had at least two hours to kill, but that was okay. We'd brought things to do. The mosquitoes weren't too bad, compared to what I've experience there in other years. Black Hole was active for the first half hour or so, with frequent, short eruptions. At some point before the overflow from Lone Start started, it quit.

The minor was earlier than we expected. After the minor, I noticed that the Perforated Cone was making lots of noise, and even showing a droplet or two every so often.

If the time of the previous major in the log book is to be believed, the interval between major eruptions was about 2-1/2 hours.

We got back in time for the next One Burst Grand eruption. After that, there wasn't really anything to do. Decided to forego the next, post-sunset Grand as it was cloudy and there was no moonlight.


Posted on

Observations for 24 July 2018


Updated: 2018 Aug 08: Uploaded video at Giant Eruption 2018 Jul 24.


This is the time of the month to go out for moonlight Grand eruptions. So we were out for a steamy one burst that really didn't have much to recommend it. Then Beehive erupted without an indicator, so we didn't even get to see that.

Today's plan was to wait in the Bijou Cage for a hot period, probably the first since the previous Giant eruption. I arrived around 08:30 after a steamy Grand eruption. The platform looked much like it did yesterday morning. There was obvious runoff down from Mastiff. All the catch pools by the Southwest Vents were wet, which implied that there had at least been a long Bijou pause. The only anomaly was there was quite a bit of wetness around Feather and friends, implying, perhaps, a weak hot period.

The weather was mostly cloudy, and felt a bit humid. When the sun showed through gaps in the clouds, it felt hot and uncomfortable. I deployed an umbrella to make it easier to read a book on the iPad screen and to keep the sun off of me.

Grotto started right after Grand, before I could get to the cage. Within twenty minutes of arriving, there was a four minute pause that turned into a bathtub with some Southwest vent activity. Like yesterday, Bijou went into a noisy steam-phase, but it wasn't as powerful as the one yesterday.

After Rocket and Grotto shutting down, the next Bijou was at 10:07. This started a series of short pauses, durations about a minute every fifteen minutes or so.

Then, at 11:42, we had a nice 6 minute bathtub pause where Feather overflowed but didn't try to erupt. That was my cue to take a break, as previous experience said that it would probably be about an hour before the next platform event.

I took longer than that to get back, so I missed the Grotto start and the subsequent medium length (3 minute) Bijou pause at 12:41. I chose to skip the Grand eruption, which meant I missed a two burst eruption at 13:51. Rocket had a major eruption just before Grand, and Grotto was off by 14:01.

It was about this time that Mastiff's south vent (the one in the back) had one of its massive jetting surges. The kind of activity that seems to keep the water flowing all the way to the front of the platform.

The cloudiness had mostly disappeared by then, but the wind had picked up.

I've got to the point were I expect good things to happen soon after Grotto quits, and this was no exception. Bijou paused at 14:21, and water finally appeared in Mastiff about two minutes later. About 30 seconds later the Southwest Vents started to put out water. This was a slow start, and I was assuming (hoping) that we'd get Feather so we could finally have our first hot period.

It wasn't until 14:26 that Feather, which had been overflowing and burbling for several minutes, finally started up. Almost immediately, the Satellite and Cave started erupting. Mastiff was surging to several feet, wide thick boils like the ones before an eruption. Bijou turned back on at 14:28, which seemed a bit early. It was about that point that I realized that I might want to start recording the hot period, as it seemed like it was going to be a good one, perhaps similar to the one a week ago that should've started an eruption.

Even with all that activity, it was hard to believe that this was going to be more than just the first hot period in the series leading up to an eruption. I was already trying to figure out how much time I would have before getting back out-- would it be 6 hours for a minor, or could I risk waiting until tomorrow morning?

At this point I can refer to the video for events. (Posting will have to wait until I get home for the proper bandwidth.) As Mastiff dropped, Giant started to surge. The first couple of surges were angled, then the activity died down. Giant started surging again when Feather's Satellite shut down and Feather tried to stop. But then switched to vertical as Feather built up again. At times it looked like the entire contents of Giant's vent were lifting as a unit.

By this point, many of the vents on the platform had restarted, and Mastiff was having powerful "depth-charging" bursts. The entire platform was active again.

Then the cone filled with water several times, each time a bit higher. The surges started shooting the subsiding previous surge, with each surge higher. It was a surge that was at least twice as high as the cone that appeared to start the eruption, and even that had another, higher jet come through it to finally start the continuous activity.

After a couple of minutes, I went back to the 60 meter baseline marker to take a height measurement. It was quite windy, so the tops of jets were being pushed away from me. Because of all that, the best reading I got was 60%, which translates into 36 meters or about 120 feet. It was probably higher, maybe 150 feet, about as tall as a good start of a Grand eruption.

There was quite a crowd gathered there. Since the activity proceeded slowly, it allowed a number of gazers to join us for the start, or at least to be within sight of the start. The only problem was that once again, the NPS personnel kept breaking in and making it difficult for those in the cabin area to hear what was going on.

None of the signs moved. Obviously a few of them are too well situated.

After we return home, I should be able to make video of this start available.

The rest of the day was kinda anti-climatic. Did go out for the sunset Grand, but while the clouds to the west were pretty colors from an incoming thunderstorm, the one burst Grand itself was gray on gray.


Posted on

Observations for 23 July 2018


Spent four hours, up 'til noon, in the Bijou Cage. Bijou paused twice, both times for about 4 minutes. Water rose in Mastiff, but not even enough to be considered a bathtub. (My definition of a bathtub is when there is water visible in Mastiff while seated at the bench. It's a lot more objective since eye level for most people is within a inches of the same height back there.) The second long pause happened just about the time Grotto quit, without having an eruption of Rocket.

During all that time Mastiff was surging nicely from the southern/back vent. Enough to keep a trickle of water running down the front of the platform. On several occasions, it looked like Posthole and Feather had water visible in them. I'm taking all this, especially the lack of frequent one minute long Bijou pauses, as a sign Giant is several days away from the first hot period this interval.


Posted on

Observations for 22 July 2018


It was such a dull day that the mornings thermal activity consisted of doing laundry and a walk through the West Thumb Geyser Basin. The only geyser we saw was a small one when we stopped at the Potts overlook.

Other than that, there was a couple of Grand eruptions, one in the evening and another just after midnight. Now is the quiet time to enjoy a few moonlight Grand (or Beehive) eruptions before the waits for New Crater/Steamboat and Giant begin.


Posted on

Observations for 21 July 2018


Since there was no reason to go to Norris, and we were wide awake, decided to go out into the basin and check a few things out.

Biking in front of the Inn I encountered a coyote on the biketrail. It skittered off toward Old Faithful. Castle was in eruption, and defintely a major. We stayed there for a while, as even though the moon was only a quarter, there were nice moonbows in the steam.

Down at Fan & Mortar, we found that it still hadn't erupted. Riverside was also in eruption, so we briefly illuminated it from the bridge.

Then off to Grand. Where it had a delay that insured that the eruption would be after the moon set. So we provided our own illumination for a nice two burst eruption.

The next morning we overslept a bit, waking up when Grand was almost in the eruption window. It was a cool, overcast morning, and we didn't miss the eruption which went on the first Turban eruption after we arrived. On the Fan & Mortar where it still hadn't erupted. The sky threatened to rain, but never did more than a few drops.

The day at Fan & Mortar was the same as the previous few days-- no events, nothing to get excited about. It's almost like the geyser has gone dormant, or the next event is going to be the eruption event.

I'd already decided that tomorrow was going to be the day where I was going to start spending time in the Bijou Cage. None too soon, as there was some sort of minor hot period mid-afternoon. Probably just an eruption of Feather, as the runoff areas of both Mastiff and the Southwest Vents were mostly dry where there were definite puddles on the platform

Out for Grand at sunset for a moonlight eruption. That's when get yet another delay for the day. This time, the Turban interval was over 40 minutes, with audible boops from Grand around the 37 minute mark. Around the same time, the call came from Fan & Mortar that it was finally having some sort of event. As the delay wait continued, the event to the north kept getting better.

Grand erupted on the second Turban and I cleared out right as the eruption ended. I'd just gotten onto my bike at Castle when the call that "Upper Mortar is erupting" came through. So I missed the start, but did get down for most of the eruption. The moon was high and just past quarter, so it was well illuminated even when the spotlights were off.

This means that for the first two weeks we've been here, there have been five eruptions of the big geysers we wanted to see. All have been in the dark.