Yellowstone (Part 3) Geysers and the Hydrothermal Systems

The most famous geyser in the park, and perhaps the world, is Old Faithful Geyser, located in Upper Geyser Basin. Castle Geyser, The Grand Geyser, Lion Geyser and Beehive Geyser are in the same basin.  There is a 1.5 mile board walk through this basin.  We were fortunate to have seen three of these erupt in our two visits.

Old Faithful erupting taken by Sweet Husband

Old Faithful erupting taken by Sweet Husband

The Grand Geyser erupting in the distance.  Notice the size of the people next to it.

The Grand Geyser erupting in the distance. Notice the size of the people next to it.

The Grand Geyser erupting in the distance.  Our friend Tee-gie in the foreground.

The Grand Geyser erupting in the distance. Our friend Tee-gie in the foreground.

The Grand

The Grand

During one of our visits to this basin we were walking toward the Castle Geyser just as it began to erupt.  Concurrently one of Yellowstone’s famous storms was moving in at the same time.  When the storm met the eruption it formed a Geyser Spout (pictured below).  We just stood there in awe, snapping pictures as fast as we could without a thought of getting wet or hit by hail, which is common in these passionate, but short storms.

Castle Geyser with geyser spout

Castle Geyser with geyser spout

Castle Geyser with storm approaching

Castle Geyser with storm approaching

Speaking of passionate storms, a co-worker was in Norris Valley when one came rolling in.  There was a large heard of Buffalo, with calves grazing when the hail began to hit them.  They immediately began to stampede into the nearby forest.  What a sight that must have been.

This is also the location of the second oldest Lodge, Old Faithful Lodge.  The Lodge was built as a series of detached buildings through 1923 and was consolidated into one complex by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood in 1926-27.  The Lodge includes a common lobby, dining spaces and a recreation hall, known as Geyser Hall, of log construction in the National Park Service Rustic style. The hall is arranged with a central nave-like structure, with subsidiary side aisles.  This Inn also featured musical entertainment each evening, but we never got to experience that venue as it was a little further drive and much more crowded.

The open nave of the Old Faithful Inn

The open nave of the Old Faithful Inn

The open nave of the Old Faithful Inn.  The central object is a four-sided fireplace with a copper clock.

The open nave of the Old Faithful Inn. The central object is a four-sided fireplace with a copper clock.

Old Faithful Inn

Old Faithful Inn

The park contains the largest active geyser in the world—Steamboat Geyser in the Norris Geyser Basin. It erupts more often than Old Faithful, but doesn’t last as long and does not reach the heights of Old Faithful (pictures below).

Steam Boat Geyser

Steam Boat Geyser

Steam Boat Geyser

Steam Boat Geyser

A study that was completed in 2011 found that at least 1283 geysers have erupted in Yellowstone. Of these, an average of 465 are active in a given year.  Yellowstone contains at least 10,000 geothermal features altogether. Half the geothermal features and two-thirds of the world’s geysers are concentrated in Yellowstone.  Some of these are under Yellowstone Lake, some require quite a hike to see, and naturally we did not see them all.  At 7,000+ feet above sea level, I do not hike well…I did not breathe well for the first 2 weeks.

Yellowstone experiences thousands of small earthquakes every year, virtually all of which are undetectable to people. There have been six earthquakes with at least magnitude 6 or greater in historical times, including a 7.5‑magnitude quake that struck just outside the northwest boundary of the park in 1959. This quake triggered a huge landslide, which caused a partial dam collapse on Hebgen Lake; immediately downstream, the sediment from the landslide dammed the river and created a new lake, known as Earthquake Lake. Twenty-eight people were killed, and property damage was extensive in the immediate region. We had friends (co-workers) in the park who hiked to this Lake. Pictures below are borrowed.

earth quake

I was told in March, 2014 a magnitude 4.8 earthquake struck almost the very middle of Yellowstone near the Norris Basin at about 6.30am; reports indicated no damage. This was the biggest earthquake to hit the park since February 22, 1980.

Norris Basin is where you get to see most of the Bison (American Buffalo).  They are the monarchs of the park.

IMG_2405 IMG_2889 IMG_2894

The General Store we worked in was built to float with the movement of the earth.  I got used to it, but almost every customer asked if the building was moving. The more people walking around in the store, the more it moved, too.

I finish by letting the beauty in pictures of the mud pots, hot springs, etc. speak for themselves.

Mammoth Hot Springs.  Called for it shear size.  It is constantly flowing and growing with mineral deposits.

Mammoth Hot Springs. Called for it shear size. It is constantly flowing and growing with mineral deposits.

Life around the hot springs

Life around the hot springs

Mud Pot

Mud Pot

Hot Springs

Hot Springs

Fumaroles

Fumaroles

Fumaroles

Fumaroles

Morning Glory Hot Spring

Morning Glory Hot Spring