Tag Archives: geyser

It’s Trivia Tuesday 3-29-2022!

Old Faithful erupting at Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
Heart Spring in the foreground and the Lion Group of geysers in the background at Upper Geyser Basin
The scalloped edges of Doublet Pool at Upper Geyser Basin
A bright bacterial mat leading toward a hot spring at Biscuit Basin.
Geyser Beads

It’s #TriviaTuesday Folks! So, how many of you have ever visited one of the geyser basins in Yellowstone National Park, marveling at the colorful hot springs and the energetic geysers? Do you know how to tell if what you are looking at is a geyser or hot spring (if there is no sign to identify it)? Especially if a geyser, when not erupting, looks like a hot spring?

According to a cool little video on the NPS site for Yellowstone, you should look at the edges of a thermal feature. “Hot springs often have ledges or walls of sinter (silica deposits) around them, because as the water level fluctuates, it leaves behind silica deposits. The edges may even be scalloped or lacy, such as what you see when looking at Doublet Pool in Upper Geyser Basin.

“Beadwork,” or pebbly-looking sinter indicates a geyser. “As the water splashes with each eruption, it deposits silica, creating a bumpy appearance.” At some geysers that look like hot springs, you’ll notice rounded, riverstone-like pebbles beneath the water. These rounded stones are called “geyser eggs” and are formed by silica deposition and water movement.

Colorful orange and yellow bacterial mats are also good indicators of hot springs, since that means the water is warm enough for thermophilic (heat-loving) bacteria to thrive, but not hot enough to be a geyser.

The thing is, the landscape beneath and above Yellowstone is always changing. Excelsior Crater Geyser used to be a geyser, and is now a hot spring – well, it’s a hot spring right now that hasn’t erupted in several decades, but it could become a geyser again if the conditions change.

And now, you are that much smarter for the day. 🙂

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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The Yin And Yang Of Castle Geyser In Yellowstone National Park

Back in 2021, I wrote an article for the National Parks Traveler about finding the yin and yang of an image.

To read that article, click on the image above.

In such images, you’ll see a sort of half-and-half of color, or light, or texture, or something else that engenders the thought of yin/yang: “two complimentary forces making up all aspects and phenomena of life.”

To be honest, I don’t always look for that. It just sort of comes up accidentally, so that when I edit the image on my computer, I only then notice those “two complimentary forces.” Seems that when I look for yin/yang, I don’t find it, but it pops up when I am least expecting it. Sort of like everything else in life, I suppose.

Anyway, it was a cold, very steamy winter morning walking along the snow-and-ice-covered boardwalk looking toward Castle Geyser. I was trying to suss out whether it had already erupted (possible), was in its eruptive stage (no), or was simply steaming heavily due to the frigid temp of the morning (most likely). It was past 9:00 a.m. Mountain Time. The sun had moved over to the right side of the image, out of the composition, shining a yellowish light onto the right side of the image, while the left side was still sort of in a blue shadow stage.

Moral of the story is that you can look and look for something – like yin/yang – and not find it until it pops up on its own, after the fact – like after you’ve pushed down on the shutter button.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Can Lessons Learned From The White Island Eruption Be Applied To Yellowstone?

Geyser Eruptions CROP

Each of the two times I’ve visited Yellowstone National Park, I stood on the boardwalks of Upper Geyser Basin, marveling that I was standing above turbulent geothermal activity right beneath my feet, covered by fragile ground. I think people forget that, sometimes, which is why they do stupid shit like go off the boardwalks and try to get closer to the geysers and hot springs.

Today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler has the latest Yellowstone Caldera Chronicles column about New Zealand’s White Island eruption and the lessons learned that might be applied to Yellowstone. It’s a pretty interesting read, written by a U.S. Geological Survey research hydrologist.

To read the article, click on the image above

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

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Solitary Geyser

Solitary Geyser

A morning alone with Solitary Geyser, Yellowstone National Park

This pretty geyser is indeed, solitary, sitting all by itself and located a short hike from either the Upper Geyser Basin boardwalk or on the way up or down the trail from Observation Point. This is one of those geysers that people tampered with way back when they didn’t understand geysers or geology that well. They wanted to use the hot spring water so they put a pipe in it, which lowered the water level several feet and caused the then-hot spring to turn into a geyser that erupted every few minutes. They removed the pipe and the water level rose again, but it continued to be a geyser that now erupts every 5-7 minutes (give or take). It’s not a huge geyser, though. It sort of “burbles” and erupts about 3-4 feet (so the nearby sign says). It was difficult to even see it erupt on that chilly day because of all the steam. I could only tell it was going to erupt by watching for ripples in the water in the far left corner of the geyser, which occurred just before that “burble” of an eruption.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

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Opalescent Pool And Black Sand Basin Landscape

Black Sand Basin Landscape

I first visited Black Sand Basin in Yellowstone National Park during the evening on the previous day from this shot. It was overcast and getting dark and I didn’t even notice this little side area next to the entry drive to the parking lot. I didn’t see this until I visited the next morning, a lovely, sunny day. I’ve been reading: TravelBrains’ “Yellowstone Expedition Guide” and learned this interesting fact: the trees you see here are dead, of course. The bottoms of their trunks are white because they absorbed the hot water in the area, which is filled with silica in solution. That silica comes out of solution and is what has colored those trunk bottoms. It’s the first step in petrification of the trees. Oh, and Black Sand Basin gets it’s name from the black obsidian sand grains in the area. Cool, huh?

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Biscuit Basin Landscape

Biscuit Basin

During my road trip move from TX to central WA, I made Yellowstone National Park one of my stops along the way. Of course, it was summertime, probably the worst time in the world to visit that particular park. I couldn’t find a parking space at Upper Geyser Basin (and those of you who have gone there know how big that parking lot is) so, disgruntled, I drove on toward Gardiner, my hotel stay for the night. On the way, I saw the turnoff to Biscuit Basin and decided to try my luck there. A car was backing out of a small parking space so I quickly squeezed my own little car in. The landscape in this show was one of the first sights that greeted my eyes as I headed toward the boardwalk. The geology of Yellowstone never fails to amaze me.

I’m heading back there this fall and can’t wait!

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

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More Than Just Geysers And Wildlife

Sunrise Over Upper Geyser Basin

The National Parks Traveler published my latest “Photography In The National Parks” column. This one deals with what you might see and photograph in Yellowstone National Park, beyond the wildlife and geysers you expect to see.

To read the article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

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It’s National Public Lands Day

Sunrise Over Upper Geyser Basin

Sunrise and sunstar over Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

It’s National Public Lands Day, today, Saturday September 22nd, 2018.  Where will you be?  Perhaps visiting a national park, monument, recreation area or historic site?

The image above was not taken during National Public Lands Day, but rather during a very early summer morning while touring the boardwalks around Old Faithful, in Upper Geyser Basin.  The back-lighting very nicely accentuated the steam rising from the geysers and hot springs, and I wanted to try for a sunstar as well, bumping the aperture up to f/18.

During the summer months, cooler mornings are the best times to view lots of steam as well as avoid the inevitable crowds, who usually don’t get out there until sometime starting at 8:00 a.m.  Cool mornings (and wintertime) create more condensation in the air, which makes the landscape steamier than during the hotter portion of the day.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

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A Rare Eruption At Ear Spring

Ear Spring

Ear Spring in a quieter phase, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Ok, not my most inspired image, but it’s appropriate to this morning’s article in the National Parks Traveler, about a rare and surprise eruption from Ear Spring.  To read the article, click on the photo above.
Morning is a wonderful time to tour Upper Geyser Basin with neat light and slim-to-no crowds. However, some of the hot springs and geysers are shaded, which will create a blue or cyan cast to your photos. I increased the yellow and red color balance, but it’s still on the shaded side.
 
Ear Spring is, as you can see, shaped like an ear. It does bubble a little bit. It would have been pretty cool to see it erupt. Due to the eruption, however, parts of the Geyser Hill boardwalk and trails have been closed.
 
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Grand Geyser Erupting

Grand Geyser Eruption

Grand Geyser Eruption, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
 
It’s hard not to cheer whenever a geyser erupts. You sit or stand and wait, based upon when the schedule says the geyser *might* erupt. And then, when it does, there is this powerful gush of hot, steaming water reaching high up into the sky, or covering a large swath of area around the opening. It’s evidence reminding us of the geologic forces just beneath our feet. Geysers erupting are truly amazing sights and I felt lucky enough to have witnessed three different geysers erupt on the day I visited the Upper Geyser Basin.
And, here’s a little word of advice for you:  if you are nuts enough to visit an extremely crowded place like Yellowstone National Park in the summer, then the best time for light and few crowds is the early morning, between 6am – 7:30am.  I know, not much of a window there, right?  And, you should only pick one spot at which you want to be that morning.  Because if you have in mind to concentrate on more than one spot, then you are going to have problems trying to find parking, I kid you not.
Another word of advice:  if you want to tour the visitor center in relative peace while you are at Upper Geyser Basin, then do it while the hordes are awaiting the eruption of Old Faithful.  If you wait until after the eruption, you will be elbow-to-elbow with all the crowds merging into the visitor center.
I already knew I wanted to experience all that I could around Old Faithful, so I spent the entire day at Upper Geyser Basin (where Old Faithful is located), and had a wonderful day, despite the crowds (and there were thousands of people there).
 
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
A Chilly Morning At The Upper Geyser Basin
A quiet, pre-sunrise morning overlooking Old Faithful

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