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Observations for 2019 May 30


The weather was finally nice all day. Went out to see the One BurstGrand for the morning eruption, and had to wait for an interval of over six hours. But by then had learned about the early morning Morning eruptions, so that was our next destination.

Arrived around 11:35 and ended up spending about ten hours sitting at the overlook. By sunset, Morning was nice and high, but we also started getting Morning's Thief boiling. Not a good sign.

Then we got a series of huge Thief eruptions about 12 minutes apart. This continued for about 45 minutes until Fountain finally started. Even then the Thief wasn't finished, as there were three more eruptions over the next seven minutes.


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Observations for 2019 May 29


It was head out first thing in the morning for Fountain Paint Pots. It was also clear overnight, so I had to scrape the frost off the windows of the truck, and then drive in the fog to get there. Fortunately, that mostly cleared out north of Biscuit Basin, and there were no bison on the road.

But there were bison in the parking lot. We were the third behicle there, and I didn't see them until I had packed up and was about to head out. Suzanne never saw them. They were right in front of the vehicles, maybe ten feet from the walkway. Just settled down there, comping away, and they ignored me.

The interval for Fountain wasn't unreasonably long, and we got a couple of Morning's Thief eruptions before it started. It lasted about 35 minutes, so we knew we were not going to be coming out for the next one.

So a few hours later we arrived at Grand with West Triplet and Percolator erupting. Which led to a Rift eruption. Which didn't really seem to matter. Although Grand did have a delay, and several large boops as much as 1/2 minute before the One Burst Grand eruption finally started.

After, I went down basin for really the first time this trip to see a Grotto and Grotto Fountain start. I got both, but was a bit disappointed that Grotto Fountain got to about three meters at most, and Grotto started within a couple of minutes.

From there I noticed that Link was having a minor eruptions, so I stopped by to watch it. It wasn't long before I felt and heard a thump. That was interesting, because I've never had that happen before during a minor, only during those major eruptions I saw in 1983. Then it happened again. For the third time I finally figured out what was happening. It was from the people slaming the door of the Riverside Pit Stop.

And here's what the new view of an eruption of Riverside. It belongs on a calendar sold by "Yellowstone Forever".

Arrived for the afternoon Grand just in time to see Turban have an eruption lasting 7m30s. This was undoubtely caused by a delay. It was three Turban eruptions later when the One Burst Grand eruption finally occurred. The only different thing about this eruption was that the restart was quick, about 8-1/2 minutes.

Later went over to Black Sand Pool for some more thumps, this time from a real geyser. There were some good, strong ones, and they didn't ever seem to correlate with the heavy boils the pool was having.

Went out for one more Grand eruption after it got dark. This too was one burst, with nothing to distinguish it.


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Observations for 2019 May 28


After last night's long duration Fountain eruption, it had an even longer eruption before dawn-- about 39 minutes long. That meant that we would be going out to the Lower Basin around noon today, to see what would happen.

First we went out to Grand, where we got a pretty non-descript one burst eruption. The it was out to the Fountain Paint Pots.

Waited about an hour, with nothing much happening, and definitely nothing out of the ordinary. But when Fountain finally started, the boiling in Morning increased almost immediately, It took a little over a minute for that to go from heavy boiling to surging to erupting. This was my first Morning eruption in several years, and the conditions were excellent. There were frequent breaks in the clouds, allowing the sun through. The wind was such that the steam from Morning went behind (as seen from the overlook) Fountain, which in turn was easily visible.

The eruption looked as I remembered them-- the pool lifting up several times a minute with plenty of noise in each explosion. Several times there were vertical shots well over 40 meters. At around 14 minutes, the surging died down, and the total eruption duration was 14m38.

Fountain continued to erupt, but we didn't stick around as there were enough of the more dedicated people there who like seeing it.

After a meal back at the cabin, it was again out to Grand. This time we got a Vent overflow delay. Two Turban intervals later West Triplet started, then shortly after Turban preceeded Grand by about a second. It was partly sunny, but the wind was aimed right at the boardwalks. From my usual spot to beyond West Triplet , the umbrella was needed. But when Grand ended, the wind cooperated, pushing the steam away so that we could see Grand's crater, and that it still had water in it. It took overa minute, the crater filled and we finally got our second burst. The water column was completely visible, despite the earlier wind directions.

Again, we then headed to the Lower Basin. In years past, there were cases of a second Morning eruption about five or six hours after a dual eruption, and we wanted to be there for that.

That time period came and went, and we ended up at sunset waiting for Fountain. After a couple of Morning's Thief eruptions, it was near dark and we left the area. There were a considerable number of people there, and we figured there were more than enough get the Fountain info.


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Observations for 2019 May 27


I think I now have a better understanding of how the Elusive Vachuda felt back in August 1982.

Got back even earlier than the previous days. Not much had changed overnight. We were getting a nice strong surge every hour or so, otherwise it was just lots of strong South Vent, with some North Vent that wasn't being affected by South as much.

The weather was fine up until around noon, when it started to deteriorate. There was a rain shower around 13:00, and then about an hour later it started coming down hard and continuous. The surges kept coming at about the same rate, so we stuck things out as long as we could, but by 16:00 we gave up. There was a social gathering over in the government area, and by then it seemed a reasonable alternative to four more hours of rain. We were pretty well bundled up and warm and dry, but knew that as soon as we started to leave and pack up, everything was going to get soaked. And it did.

So an hour and a half later, at 17:32, an obvious roar coming from the east was noticed. There was never a radio call about any increased activity, or even the start of the eruption, despite people with radios seeing the start. Rushed on over to the area to see what we could, but it was steam by the time I parked in the lot. Another short water phase.

The wind direction was the same as last time, with the platforms, especially the lower one, getting soaked. The walk down to the bridge was in a downpour, but at the bridge itself it was just the slowing decreasing rain. Cistern was flooded and brown from all the debris washing in.

Unfortunately, no one at that gathering in the government area saw "an eruption of Steamboat". Yes, we all saw a powerful steamphase right after the transisition. But what we saw was also to the equivalent to seeing 99% partial solar eclipse. It's close, but it's not seeing totality itself. What happens is impressive and unusual, but it is nothing compared to what we could have seen. In that regard, I felt cheated by what I saw. I waited three days, in far less than ideal conditions, to pretty much see what I'd seen way back in the 1990s.

After we got back to the Old Faithful area, discovered that Fountain had been observed during the day, and we were approaching the eight hour mark. So we took a quick trip back out, and caught an eruption soon enough after the start that we got to see an eruption of Morning's Thief. The lenght was fairly long, but not long enought to make us want to go out for the next eruption.


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Observations for 2019 May 26


Today was more of the same. Arrived at the same time as yesterday, but this time we weren't the first in the area. New Crater/Steamboat was a little improved from yesterday, but not by much. North Vent was holding its own against the stronger South, but most of the time wasn't very thick or tall. Every hour or so there's be an attempt at a surge, with a little bit of vertical in North Vent, but it rarely followed through.

During the afternoon there was some sun, and it got warm enough that I actually thought about shedding a layer. But then the sun would disappear behind a cloud, and I got to feel the real air temperature, which wasn't great. Around 18:30 the thunderstorms came in. The first wave was cloud-to-cloud, but not the second. We had a number of nearby strikes. One was of the flash-boom variety, and some were claiming they saw the strike over in the farther Back Basin. Then again, after the storm, some claimed to smell smoke, and the wind was coming from the parking lot then.

Finally gave up around 20:30 and headed back to old Faithful.


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Observations for 2019 May 25


Since the other choice was some One Burst Grand eruptions and maybe a short Beehive interval, instead decided that watching nothing happen at Norris was a valid alternative.

Arrived at the platform around 06:45 to a lot of strong South Vent minors and weak to no activity from the North Vent. That was pretty much the case the whole day. There were a few good surges where North did join in, and South put out a heavy stream of water, but they were isolated and infrequent. Around 18:00, the situation did change a little bit, in that North was now initiating some of the activity, and not stopping when South began. There were even a couple of surges where the North Vent showed signs of going vertical. But no eruption by the time we left at 19:45.

What was noteworthy was the lineup to get out of the park. We came to a halt well before Terrace Spring, and over the next 20 minutes slowly crept toward the junction. No one was making the turn, because it was brake lights all the way toward the campground entrance. I sure hope there was an animal jam just down the road, as the idea of being that sort of mess for the next 14 miles makes me glad I never have to go to West Yellowstone.

What was also interesting was that the lineup was devoid of busses and campers and RVs. On the drive from the junction to Old Faithful I counted only 5 of them. It was almost all small passenger vehicles. I guess it was everyone headed back to their hotel lodgings.


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Observations for 2019 May 24


No one knew when the dawn Grand eruption happened, so extrapolated from the previous evening's time. Also, someone reported an empty crater, which at least gave a maximum time. Turns out I guessed about right, as when the electronic times finally appeared, it was only about ten minutes from my estimate.

The weather looked wet when we left to go out, but while cold and a bit windy, was never actually raining. Took a quick look at Economic and vicinity, where I noticed that Wave was down a bit, and Economic is actually hot not just around the vent, but has a well defined runoff area in the middle of the orange to the south.

Was one of those Turban starts where Grand waits well over a minute to join in. The burst ended at around 8-1/2 minutes, which should mean another burst, but I have seen a One Burst Grand that short. But the pause was quick, and we got our second. Just that while the total duration was less than ten minutes, Grand made no attempt to even try for a third.

Considered going out to see activity in the Lower Basin again, but timing (Great Fountain erupted as we were eating the meal of the day) and weather (heavy rain) pursuaded us to stay behind. We also missed Beehive, seeing it from our cabin after we heard the roar of the eruption.

Got to see Grand start from behind Castle, because we weren't out there in time for the 5h32m interval. But there was a nice second burst. The rains had also died down, and the breeze was blowing to the east for once, so it was again easy to see the water column.


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Observations for 2019 May 23


The day started out sunny, windy and cold. Spent some time on Geyser Hill since it was approaching 24 hours since the previous Beehive eruption, but it wasn't going to cooperate.

After that, went out for another wet eruption of Grand. One where there wasn't much to see after the start again, because of the wind direction. The wind and rain starting didn't help, either.

The the eruption of Morning the day before, and a report of Fountain in eruption in the morning, it seemed like a good idea to go out there and see what would happen next. Turns out, not much.

Didn't know it at the time, but got there only 3-1/2 hours after a second Fountain eruption. That Clepsydra was shutting down should have been a good clue that we'd missed an eruption, but the whole area was wet because of the rain and snow, and nothing was steaming. It was also confusing as the water level in both Fountain and Morning were high. Water was visible in Fountain from the overlook.

During the next couple hours, Clepsydra kept shutting down, and the geysers kept rising. But the weather turned acceptible, if a bit windy. Eventually, by 15:30, Fountain had water visible well into the neck. That's when things stalled out. Jet was acting like it was erupting, but there was only noise, no water. Clepsydra came on and stayed on. A few hours later, approaching what we thought was well over ten hours, the water level in Fountain began to drop. There was increased boiling in Morning's Thief, which is supposed to be a sure sign of Fountain erupting eventually. By the time we left, around 19:30, Fountain was almost out of sight, and back to about where it was when we arrived.

So we got to see what happens between Fountain eruptions, without actually seeing any Fountain eruptions.


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Observations for 2019 May 22


It took the webcam noticing Beehive's Indicator to roust us out of our nice warm cabin and go out into the cold air. Arrived at Beehive just in time to see the Bubblers erupting just before Beehive's explosive start. The bubblers came back 2m50s into Beehive's eruption, and lasted about 50 seconds, reaching a height of about 1/2 meter during much of that time.

Later it was finally out to Grand to see it erupt. Got out in time for a long, over six minute duration Turban eruption, which was followed by a just barely Delay. Of course that resulted in a long One Burst Grand eruption, white steam on a gray background with the wind casuing the spray to land around West Triplet and Rift.

A quick check down basin showed nothing much of interest, other than Solstice was again, or still, in eruption.

Later went out for the evening Grand. The cold and wind wasn't too unpleasant, but the wind shifted just before the Grand eruption, and kept shifting during the eruption, so that all the walkway got wet at some point, and the steam made it difficult to actually see the eruption.

The first burst lasted a bit over 9-1/2 minutes, so the expectation was for a one burst with Vent and Turban continuing. But about a minute later, those two became quite vigorous, and then the steam parted enough to see the start of a second burst. That burst lasted 2m15s, so what was a short eruption became a long one.

I see that "vista enhancement" is possible in some areas of the partk. Over a dozen large trees that were blocking the view of the Inn from Old Faithful have been replaced by fresh stumps.


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Observations for 2019 May 21


It was a day to finally get out into the Upper Basin and see what was different from last October. It was also gray and breezy and not warm.

The bike rack placement is interesting. There's one as you approach Castle, down in the primary spray zone from the geyser and in prime selfie territory. It's also butted up against the curbing, so that one side is useless. It's about as far from the boardwalk as possible and still be "at Castle." There's a small one across from the southern Daisy trail. I guess it's purpose is to encourage people to not ride directly up to the benches at Daisy. There's a small one at Grotto, which will be inadequate should Giant reactivate. The final bikerack was dumped next to Backwater Spring, on the trail to the now closed Pit Of Eternal Stench.

The replacement Pit is interesting too. Gonna appear in more than a few Riverside eruption photos and videos, I would guess. (Which is somehow appropriate for Riverside.) Next to it is a big spoil pile of sinter dug out to make room for the vault below. That tends to offend me, as there is no reason for the NPS to be digging in thermal areas. Especially when that digging is done with active, flowing springs uphill from the hole. The overflow from Victory hasn't reached that far yet, but you can see the swath of dead trees from its previous activity pointed right at this new building.

Grotto was having a marathon eruption, but down by Oblong we saw Solstice in eruption. It's a feature I've never seen before, so I could be wrong, It's east of Oblong on the other side of the river, and the eruption looked a lot like Old Tardy or Terra Cotta A (the big one).

With nothing much else going on, and Fountain having long durations, we went out there for the early afternoon eruption. The weather forecast said that there could be showers in the early afternoon, and that's what we got. We waited an hour or so, and the rain finally came just when Morning's Thief had its first eruption. Previously I've seen that feature erupt to maybe 3 or 4 meters, but this was between 10 and 15, and quite impressive. There was a second one, just as large, before Fountain finally started.

We got one more Thief eruption, and that seemed even more massive and taller than the previous activity. Then it was wating out the Fountain eruption to get the duration. The wind and rain both picked up during this time, and unfortunately that was coming in the same direction as the view we needed. Fountain's steam made it impossible to see the eruption, and the boardwalk.

What got our attention, and the reason we were there was that Fountain durations were well over the magic 38m mark that said Morning might do something. This eruption lasted about 39m12, which made it shorter than the previous know durations for the week. With the weather the way it was, it was a relief to go back to a dry vehicle and head in.

One thing I noticed today, something which may have been there for years. It's that under the first 45mph sign as you head out of the Old Faithful area has a smaller sign posted below it. In tiny print, it says "Slower Traffic Use Turnouts". Over the next few weeks, will report any other, similar sightings.