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Observations for 2020 August 30


Checked out Oblong, just in case, but it was full and overflowing. The Giant Platform was mostly dry, with a few puddles probably left over from the rains the other day, or some big Giant surges. Over at Daisy there was a normal eruption.

Grand had another one of its fifth hour Turban Interval delays, but this time instead of making us wait for an hour, it had a second delay and then erupted. It was another two burst eruption, and Grand's vent held up for about fifteen seconds before draining and and immediate quitting by Vent & Turban.

Wasted some time at Artemisia, then went on down the trail to see if anything was visible. While most of the interesting features are completely hidden, I did see a Cauliflower eruption that had about a meter boil at the beginning, then a few more boils before dropping back down.

The weather deteriorated for the late afternoon Grand wait. There was a consistent 15-20mph wind the whole time, and despite the sunny, clear sky, it felt cold. No delays, and the interval was less than six hours. There was a large boop from Grand a couple of seconds before the eruption started with a bubble bursting. There was a rainbow coming and going the whole time as the wind shifted the spray that was headed toward Rift. We also got a second burst, a long one so not chance for a third. The surprising thing was that despite the eruption lasting over 11-1/2 minutes, Vent & Turban didn't quit.

Once again, West Triplet showed no attempt at erupting, just heavy overflow after each Grand eruption. Now over four days since and eruption, and even longer for Rift. During this time it also seems like Belgian has been full most of the time, and not shown the fluctuations and drops seen earlier.

In the Lodge Cabin area, the NPS has the fire crews doing some tree thinning within ten yards or so of the cabins. Lots of smaller trees are being removed, and branches from some of the larger trees, too. No evidence they are going to clean up all the deadwood littering the area, though.


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Observations for 2020 August 29


More Grand eruptions today. Came out at the 11 hour mark no knowing when the previous eruption had occurred. Was at Belgian when Turban started, and moments later saw what appeared to be a Grand Boop well over a meter high This was followed by another, maybe two meters high. Finally Grand started a One Burst Eruption.

Turns out the NPS had the electronic time (around 04:15), but never got around to publishing that information. Typical.

Later spent a hour at Fan & Mortar where I saw nothing but Garbage Mode, with the vents starting and stopping several times during that period.

The after ended the string of short intervals at Grand with a four Turban Interval delay. Once again this eruption was followed by overflow from West Triplet without an eruption. It's now been over three days since its last recorded eruption.

The night was warm, with a clear sky and a bright moon. Probably arrived just in time for a Turban Interval delay. This Turban duration was long, and the next interval didn't have overflow. The delay turned out to be beneficial, because before the next Turban eruption, Oblong erupted.

In the dark, it seemed like the Oblong eruption was short in both height and in duration, but could definitely see bursting and hear it. Several others went down for a closer look, and got there before the end. During the subsequent wait for Grand, it seemed at times like the steam picked up down there, but no followup eruption.

The One Burst Grand eruption was pretty standard for one lasting about eleven minutes. But during the eruption, I noticed Churn splashing, backlit by the moon with heavy steam. Was over by the time I got past the trees at Rift and Bulger, so I returned to Grand.

This time, West Triplet did not even overflow following the Grand eruption. It's now been well over three days since the last eruption of West Triplet was observed.


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Yellowstone Radio Part 2


For the first few days after the earlier radio report, things seemed pretty quiet. Mornings especially, when sometimes I'd wonder if the radio was even on. Only a few medicals in the afternoon. Then things got back to normal.

  • There were two reports of medical problems in between West Thumb and Old Faithful. So several local units headed southeast in an attempt to respond. The cardiac incident wasn't found, but the pickup truck with the seizure flagged down a responder at Kepler. One of the other responders was an ambulance from the Lower Basin. South of Midway, with lights flashing, it was involved in a minor rear-end collision. There's one NPS driver with lots of paperwork to fill out.
  • If you aren't going to store your food properly in your Madison campsite, that will attract official attention. So you should not leave your marijuana where it's visible when someone comes around to confiscate your improper storage. That person got two citations, one for "possesion of less than three grams" along with the storage violation.
  • You only get one verbal warning for speed. Even if it was last year, you are getting a citation the next time.
  • There was the pair of cultists out at the boardwalk around Old Faithful with loudspeakers exhorting the people there to repent of their wicked ways. At first they refused to stop, so Responding Ranger called for backup, with lights on. They relented and left area. They were driving a Prius with Washington plates, so is a good chance that they were Seattle Democrats who "believe in science."
  • There was the group of nine who were first reported engaged in "thermal tresspass" out by Grand Geyser, "cussing out" those who requested they stay on trail. They were officially met where the bridge trail to Geyser Hill meets Old Faithful loop. I didn't hear what happened next, but assume it wasn't much.
  • There were the motorcyclists who had already gotten citations for crossing the double yellow line over by Lake. Their next work of genius was on the road between West Thumb and Lake, where they would slow down for a while, use a turnout letting people pass, then speed up and pass them, starting the cycle again. Except one of the cars they were annoying was off-duty medical with a radio. So they were met at Kepler Cascades by Old Faithful Patrol. They only got a warning, unfortunately.
  • Visitor assist for a phone lost down a storm grate at the Scaup Lake turnout. They could see it, but could not reach it.
  • I missed the start of the traffic stop, but you know things are getting interesting when the Ranger is asking for VIN information, including license plate number and registered address. Did hear the result, after the stop had lasted about an hour-- mandatory court appearance for failure to pay fees, no vehicle registration, no display of plates and no proof of insurance.
  • The first one-way trip to Mammoth I've heard of this trip was someone who got stopped for reasons unknown. But they found "crystaline substance", marijuana pipe, meth pipes (one broken), cuts on subjects hand and blood on broken pipe and around front seat. They also did a field blood draw.
  • There was the vehicle at Gibbon Picnic that spilled several quarts of oil due to a leaky drain plug.
  • Waiting at Norris, heard about the couple who'd brought in a dog burned in a thermal feature to the Old Faithful Clinic. Were described as "non-coperative" about where the incident occurred, but found out later that could've been due to a language problem. Never did learn more because it's hard to hear the radio when New Crater/Steamboat is erupting.
  • The OB (Out-of-Bounds) Camper in the Madison gov't housing area. Seems she got "separated from her party" and decided trying to hide among other parked cars would help and she'd escape notice. Ended up in one of the emergency sites at Madison, so I guess it worked.
  • There was the traffic stop of an SUV southbound across Fountain Flats. They were given a verbal warning for "child out of sunroof."
  • The "biker" who may or may not have taken some beers from the Lodge cafeteria without paying after causing a scene over the use of masks. He was contacted outside during eruption of Ol' Filthy and given verbal warning about tresspass. (In other words, leave when you are told to leave.)
  • Not much radio traffic about the Lone Star Fire, even on the "fire" channel. Must be using other frequencies.

Also, it appears that if you are caught operating a drone, you will be scheduled to make a return visit to see the Magistrate at Mammoth. Have heard that happen three times now.


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Observations for 2020 August 28


Went out in a foggy Upper Basin with the expectation of waitiing a few hours for Grand. Turned out it was less than one, although that was a two Turban Interval delay. The eruption itself was my third consecutive two burst eruption, which is something I haven't experienced in quite a while. The second burst had a distinct false pause about a minute in, but instead restarted and lasted for another minute. During the eruption West Triplet overflowed, but I don't know if it actually erupted.

In the afternoon we finally got back to having One Burst Grand eruptions. I think this was probably a four Turban Interval delay, but can't be sure. The first Turban eruption I saw lasted over six minutes, which is a good sign of a delay, and the next interval had no overflow.

It was an all Grand day, it turned out. Went out after dark for the moonlight One Burst Grand eruption. This one was short, less than ten minutes and Vent & Turban seemed to quit at the end for well over a minute, then came back without a pause in Vent.


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Observations for 2020 August 27


After came in last night, the thunder and lightening started. There was more in the early morning hours, which meant there wasn't much incentive to get out despite Giantess still being active. This rain did have the nice effect of getting rid of most of the smoke in the air, although there was still a hint when I first got out and about.

Sawmill Geyser vent

Thanks to an electronic time, knew that we were actually well into the interval as we headed out for the One Burst Grand eruption. I noticed that Sawmill was perhaps even higher than noted earlier this visit. The catch basins may have been just rainwater, but hard to tell. At Grand only waited for one Turban interval. After the eruption, West Triplet was overflowing heavily for a while, showing no attempt at erupting.

On Geyser Hill, waited through a rain show to finally get some daylight activity from Giantess. At over a day, it was still bursting nicely. Infant was still boiling heavily up to a meter, and it smelled almost exactly like Emerald Pool at Norris.

Plume Geyser vent

Walked around to check out Plume. The only difference was that the water level was actually visible in the two front/lower vents, and the deep sputtering was visible and sounded a lot wetter.

For the afternoon Grand, there wasn't any attempt at a Turban Delay. We also had a relatively short first burst and a quick second. After this eruption, West Triplet didn't try to overflow.

The early nighttime eruption also had two bursts. Caught us by surprise, as the interval was under 5-1/2 hours. But it had two bursts, and again, West Triplet overflowed after the Grand eruption with no attempt at erupting on its own


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Observations for 2020 August 26


After last night's fiasco, headed back to Norris when we found no report of any eruption. This time not only was it dark, but foggy as we pulled into the parking lot. The fog got worse out in the basin, such that as the sun rose, it was difficult to see from the platform what was going on with the vents. We did know that there was some sort of push around 07:07 that got us excited, as if it was starting to erupt.
But nothing.

And that was the way it went for the rest of the day. There would be what appeared to be the start of the push from the North Vent, only for the South Vent to take over.

Around 11:00 we got a radio call informing the gathering that Giantess had started erupting a couple of hours earlier. There was general disappointment with this, but no one left to head back south the the Upper Basin.

At around 17:15, I went down to Cistern to take a look at what it was doing. It wasn't overflowing much, even though the boiling over the vent was fairly heavy. The day had been so disappointing that I was considering leaving to got and see some of the activity of Giantess. As I rounded the last hairpin turn and got within sight of the platform, New Crater started another push that actually got the inhabitations shouting. I started video recording, and made my way back to my chair as this push died. I left the camera running, fortunately, as a second push started a few seconds later, and this one led to the actual eruption at 17:36.

I rushed back to get a height measurement. I got 65% of 130 meters, or 84.5meters (277ft). This matched the impression of those who saw the start from a distance, that it wasn't one of the taller eruptions.

The wind direction was perfect. Most of the parking lot was spared being drenched, and we never were in danger of getting wet. If the wind had been a bit more to the north, we probably would have had a dirtier eruption, and perhaps even a choke. As it was, North only showed a hint of brown for a while.

Stayed for about 90 minutes, until the clouds and wind shift encouraged us to leave. Got back to the Upper Basin with it not quite dark, and headed over to Geyser Hill. The parking lot was mostly dry when we left, although the exit end loop was damp along the edges.

Did the loop around the hill before heading over to the benches near Vault. At Plume, it looked like there was quite an area that had gotten wet, but Plume itself sounded unchanged from what I'd seen earlier. Over between Depression and Heart I thought I caught a whiff of low tide. I expected more, considering there had been quite a bit of time for grass to grow in the various runoff channels.

Caught a couple of Giantess active periods, and an eruption of Vault. Most interesting was the activity of Infant. It was well above the rim, and the muddy looking water was boiling and erupting up to a meter high almost continuously. It also had a sweet smell a lot like Emerald, not the putrid smell I normally associate with it.


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Observations for 2020 August 25


On the drive to Norris in the dark, had a bison encounter. It was standing in the southbound lane in Fountain Flats just across from the Thud Group. It didn't move until was right next to it, despite flashing lights and honking horn. Other than that, the drive was uneventful.

When we arrived there was someone on the Upper Platform, prone and in a sleeping bag. I rudely woke him up and he quietly disappeared.

Uneventful also describes the day at Norris. There was a datalogger report of something big happening around 03:00 and New Crater/Steamboat was in some sort of recovery mode the rest of the day. Most of the activity consisted of strong North Vent activity which shut down when South Vent joined in. Only late in the day did it start showing real signs of life, with the biggest attempt right as everyone was headed out ahead of darkness and a windy storm and a stream of incoming drunken louts. Even then, despite the mass of water from South, the North Vent would die instead of getting stronger.

Which brings us to the big event of the day. During the drive back to Old Faithful, it is always fun being cut off from any information about what is happening at Norris for almost an hour. So the first thing anyone does, with a certain amount of dread, is check to see what happened at Norris during that time. I've been fortunate in that until tonight, I've not had to see a posting saying I've missed an eruption.

Except tonight's posting had a time that made no sense. It only about an hour old. I double checked my logbook, and supposedly the eruption started just as I'd left the platform. It always takes at least fifteen minutes to uncover the truck and head out, so there was no way this report was accurate. I flagged it immediately.

Needless to say, quite a few people saw this report and got upset by it. The report was not appreciated and caused a bit of anger at the sloppiness that got it posted in the first place. People who report this information need to remember that those of us actually here in Yellowstone rely on GeyserTimes for accurate information, and it is the duty of those making reports to insure they are accurate before making them. There is nothing to be gained by attempting to be "First!" if that information is flat out wrong, as it was here. It's not a game.

In the morning I expect to check GeyserTimes and see if I need to head back to Norris, or if I can sleep in. I want to be sure I can trust that info, and not have to independently confirm it at a time when I am barely awake.

As mentioned earlier, it was stormy on the drive back, with occasional showers. Unfortunately, it appears that there really wasn't enough rain to have an effect on the fire, and the wind was probably not helpful.


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Observations for 2020 August 24


Arrived at Norris at dawn, not really expecting much until the afternoon. Turned out to be late afternoon, with over a period of 20 minutes there being three significant attempts at erupting starting around 16:27. There was a second, even better period starting just about the time to leave, with three more attempts in a period of six minutes starting at 20:13. Then nothing as it got dark.

It was hard to tell the smoke from the clouds during the day, although by evening there was some patchy blueness to it. Back at Old Faithful, the smoke could be seen as fogginess and was definitely a smell in the air.


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Observations for 2020 August 23


The fires didn't dominate the day. The general smokiness wasn't changed much, but this morning there was a definite smell of burn wood in the air that disappeared as the day progressed. It wasn't until about noon that the plume of smoke from down south became obvious. By evening it would have been clearing if not for the local fire.

The morning Grand was a Turban Interval delay, and it was on the third Turban eruption that we finally got the One Burst Grand eruption. That burst lasted just over 9-1/2 minutes, then Grand held water over the vent for nearly a minute before draining. With that, Vent & Turban also quit.

The afternoon saw another Turban delay, this one for five intervals. Grand finally erupted as West Triplet quit. Fortunately, we got a second burst this time. With a first burst lasting less than eight minutes, we definitely expected one. That burst was fairly short, and Grand showed no attempt to have a third, even though the duration was still under ten minutes. Again, Vent & Turban quickly quit once the eruption was over.

One interesting non-thermal item of the day were the otters just below the Sawmill bridge. They were seen first just after the morning Grand eruption. They got out of the river, only to disappear into one of those dead holes just upstream on the west side. The grass looks beat down between that hole and the river, like they've done that before. They weren't seen the rest of the day,


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Observations for 2020 August 22


Went out early for Grand based on a double interval. Didn't find out until later that the first interval was particularly long, and we'd arrived not much after first overflow. No delays, but the One Burst Eruption had an interval of about 6-1/2 hours.

The mid-day Grand was similar. A Delay Turban was followed by three Turban intervals before we finally got the One Burst Eruption. This one also lasted just under ten minutes.

After Grand, decided to go to Artemisia to kill some time. Walked up, dropped my pack and started to get out the water bottle when I felt the first thumps. Unfortunately, the wind was pretty strong, and shifting, so there wasn't any place to stand where one didn't get the full force of the steamy fog. And it was hot.

Returning from there, glanced at Fan & Mortar, and they looked dead. By the time we got to Castle, there was a radio call about splashing in the Main Vent. Went back, and there was some huge splashes, as wide as the vent and well above the highest part of the rim. Unlike yesterday, Bottom Vent didn't dominate, but even so, the Fan vents started out nice but by the time Angle Vent started, it was obvious that there wasn't much of a chance for an eruption.

After the Fan & Mortar event, noticed that there was a large smoke plume to the south among the general haze. Turns out there's a small fire near Lone Star. The NPS closed the trail and evacuated the campsites by helicopter. We had intended to go out that way tomorrow, looks like that is off.

Went out for a Grand in the dark, and had the place to myself. Interval was just under six hours, and no signs of any sort of delay. Best of all, Grand quit at just over eight minutes, and followed up with a nice illuminated second burst. Total duration was only 9-1/2 minutes, so could've had a third if it had tried.