Geysers at Yellowstone National Park

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I could publish this post and not say anything and the photos would speak for themselves. The geysers that are found in Yellowstone are like nothing I had ever seen before and are truly amazing and beautiful.

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To explain how these work I took this excerpt from the National Park Service website:

Sprinkled amid the hot springs are the rarest fountains of all, the geysers. What makes them rare and distinguishes them from hot springs is that somewhere, usually near the surface in the plumbing system of a geyser, there are one or more constrictions.

Geysers are hot springs with constrictions in their plumbing, usually near the surface, that prevent water from circulating freely to the surface where heat would escape. The deepest circulating water can exceed the surface boiling point (199°F/93°C). Surrounding pressure also increases with depth, much as it does with depth in the ocean. Increased pressure exerted by the enormous weight of the overlying water prevents the water from boiling. As the water rises, steam forms (watch video exploring Old Faithful’s vent). Bubbling upward, the steam expands as it nears the top of the water column. At a critical point, the confined bubbles actually lift the water above, causing the geyser to splash or overflow. This decreases pressure on the system, and violent boiling results. Tremendous amounts of steam force water out of the vent, and an eruption begins. Water is expelled faster than it can enter the geyser’s plumbing system, and the heat and pressure gradually decrease. The eruption stops when the water reservoir is depleted or when the system cools.

There are more geysers in Yellowstone than anywhere else on earth. Old Faithful, certainly the most famous geyser, is joined by numerous others big and small, named and unnamed. Though born of the same water and rock, what is enchanting is how differently they play in the sky. Riverside Geyser, in the Upper Geyser Basin, shoots at an angle across the Firehole River, often forming a rainbow in its mist. Castle erupts from a cone shaped like the ruins of some medieval fortress. Grand explodes in a series of powerful bursts, towering above the surrounding trees. Echinus spouts up and out to all sides like a fireworks display of water. And Steamboat, the largest in the world, pulsates like a massive steam engine in a rare, but remarkably memorable eruption, reaching heights of 300 to 400 feet.

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This one was perhaps my favorite and is named “Morning Glory Pool”. Despite the beauty you need to be very careful around these as the water can be close to boiling temperature with a high concentration of sulphur and other chemicals.

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While this photo was also taken in the Geyer field we later visited a similar mountain stream that had several natural hot springs feeding into it. It was the greatest hot tub in the world and we spent about an hour in the water relaxing!

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Here is a photo of “Old Faithful” erupting, right on time, as it does every day every hour or so. When it erupts it can blast 5,000 gallons of water in the air as high as 185 feet. The anticipation was great and the explosion amazing to see.

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You could spend a day just here in the Geyer field looking at all the sights and beauty. It seemed that there was something to see at every turn.


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