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Soda Springs Observations for 2021 April 23

Found a feature that really does erupt "every hour on the hour."

Site of the Soda Springs Geyser

This is the CO2 geyser in Soda Springs, Idaho. It's located in a small city park off the main street, behind the businesses, and about the same distance from the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

The eruption we saw started about 54 seconds after noon, and lasted almost exactly eight minutes. There appears to be a perpetual spouter erupting to about a meter when the upper vent is quiet. It wasn't as tall during the eruption, but after the eruption seemed to be perhaps twice as high.

The eruption comes from a nozzle above the spouter. I didn't try to measure a height, but estimated it to be around 15-20 meters. Both the start and the end of the eruption are abrupt. At the end the water was still falling well after the stop.

The travertine mound it has built up is an impressive, a dark orange lump that wouldn't look too out of place at Mammoth. It seems to grow pretty fast, as over on the side it's been removed because it was starting to encroach onto the nearby cemetery. The boardwalk near it is heavily encrusted with mineral deposits, and there was even a mineral encrusted snowbank off to one side.

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Mickey Hot Springs Observations for 2021 April 21

Mickey Hot Springs isn't on the edge of nowhere, it's right in the middle. It was about 150 miles from Winnemucca, and the last 30 miles or so was on gravel road.

It was windy the whole drive, but fortunately we arrived mid-day on a cloudless day, so it wasn't too bad. Had never been there before, so discovering new features was fun.

The "Morning Glory Pool" was overflowing slightly into the bathtub dug into the runoff channel. Below that, down slope we could hear the activity before we could see it. There are two noisy fumaroles at the north end of the active area. South of them were a number of erupting and overflowing features.

There were two small pools separated by a meter or two which were intermittently erupting to about a half meter. The one of the east (#28?) had a large splash zone, implying stronger activity, while the one on the wet was overflowing nicely, and probably the primary contributor of much of the runoff to the south along a well defined channel. In addition, above it was another smaller, unconnected pool which occasionally burst a few centimeters high. That, it appears, is the "Mickey Geyser", #23.

Erupting features

The other splashing vent appears to be the southern end of #26.

The fumaroles were #27 and #30, the latter appears to be larger and more active than what I saw in photos taken earlier.

We saw evidence of dead mudpots, but nothing recent. Large areas between the northern area and the active features were covered in a fine, white power which seemed like something produced by mudpots.

Perhaps it's due to the isolation, but the area was free of the usual trash and casual vandalism I've seen in most other thermal areas. There are some obviously engineered catch basins for bathing, but they are at least not modifications to existing features or runoff channels as far as I could tell.

Also, it's worth noting that we had excellent cell phone data connection (Verizon) in the area.

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Steamboat Springs Observations for 2021 April 18

Steamboat Springs is long gone. There's now a fence right along the property line, restricting access to the BLM portion of the terrace. This means that only those features on private land are accessible without crossing the fence, which separates #10 from #42, for example.

Sign on fence blocking access to thermal area.

Not that it matters. All the vents are dry, and there's no evidence of any activity anywhere. A few of the cracks have plants growing in them. Perhaps on a cold day there might be whiffs of fog coming from hole.

The vents themselves are mostly recognizable, although I didn't do a full inventory. For some reason there is a long, capped pipe sticking out of #42w, perhaps there's a thermal probe of some kind down there.

Vent of #42w and #42 in the background.

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Long Valley Observations for 2021 April 17

Passing through Long Valley, Calif., so Suzanne and I had to visit Hot Creek. My last visit there was thirty-five years ago, so things have changed. We spent a bit more than an hour there.

The walkways and access is now completely different. Back then, there were trails down near the creek next to the erupting features, and a bridge across the creek. Swimming was also permitted back then. This time the area is fenced off, and signs on the road announced that the area was closed at night.

The previous visit, all the activity was on the south bank of the creek. One of the craters was erupting as much as seven or eight meters high, and there were several other hot pools near it. Those craters are now all dead, with the geyser showing greenish water well below the rim.

In line with those craters, on the north bank was where there was activity, There are three pools that were not there during the previous visit, two of them hot and blue. They appear to be on a linear trend line from the old activity. The water levels of the blue pools were different, with the higher pool, about a quarter to half meter higher. It was continuously pouring water into the lower pool, and all three were pouring that water into the creek. We saw no change in the flow during our visit, although one time, due to the way the runoff can be hidden by the surrounding ground, I thought it had quit because I couldn't hear the runoff.

There were also at least two areas that appeared to be convection in the creek itself. Again, didn't notice any change in the brief time of our visit.

On the way out, stopped at the Casa Diablo powerplant. It too is changed, not surprisingly. The old US-395 road is now blocked off, and where the old hot ground and steam vents were on the northeast side of the road is now occupied by a generator complex. There's no good views of the area. Within the fenced in area, near where the old Casa Diablo Geyser used to be was something steaming heavily. This activity seemed to vary, but again, fences prevented any good views. There is still one area of thermally altered ground open to the west of the complex.