Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Geyser Gazing – Daisy Does Its Thing

Well – Castle certainly was an impressive 20 minutes, and we didn’t even know it was going to erupt!
Fellow geysergazers CW and I were on a mission (check it out here and here) to see as many predictable geysers as we could during my last weekend in Yellowstone. Daisy! Riverside! Grand! Here we come!
Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone

With a fistful of prediction times the two of us charged like a herd of turtles down the boardwalks of the Upper Geyser Basin. Castle had been a sweet surprise, and we couldn’t help but contemplate: How did we miss knowing about this prediction?  We agreed that most likely there had been a minor eruption which serves to reset the geyser’s timing. 

Microbial life thrives in Daisy Geyser's runoff channels

We had our sights set next on Daisy. With a current eruption interval of two and a half hours and a plus–or–minus range of one hour I wondered how long we would have to sit and wait. But CW had a back–up plan nearby and its name was Black Sand Pool. 

CW the guru of Black Sand Pool

The hot springs of Yellowstone are constantly changing and Black Sand Pool is no different. Its infrequent yet powerful eruptions have altered and diminished over the years but its uniqueness remains. 

In order to fully appreciate this thermal feature today you must place your hands on the upright fence post and wait. You won’t have to wait long, just a few minutes, but soon you will feel a distinct trembling. And then the steaming water in the pool begins to burp and bubble. It lasts for only a moment, and rises barely a few inches, but you can stand there with your hands on the post and feel the momentary trembling and know that this miniature eruption (for surely that’s what it is) will happen again and again and again. 

That is, of course, unless it doesn’t. These amazing hot springs of Yellowstone are constantly changing, after all. 

Put your hands on the fence post and feel what happens!

Well, I could have stood there all day with my hands on that fence post, but it was nearing time for the next big event on our prediction schedule.  Moseying down the boardwalk towards Daisy we watched Grand Geyser erupt across the broad expanse of the basin.  We were slightly disappointed that we could not be in two places at once but nonetheless did a happy dance over the fact that we had at least seen Grand from a distance.

Grand Geyser erupts in the distance

It is said that all of the geysers in the Daisy Complex are connected to each other in their underground plumbing system of fractures and fissures. How far down does this connection extend? I don’t think anyone knows, really, but the evidence does point to a linked network. After the eruption of Daisy, we noticed that the water level of nearby Comet Geyser had disappeared below its edge. As Daisy erupted, Comet drained. Not all hot springs in Yellowstone have a similar connection, but many apparently do. 

This first video clip is a short one because, well, I don’t know why.  My nose itched?

On this second clip you can see (briefly, to the left of Daisy) that Comet had already drained during the eruption of Daisy.  If only I had known what was going on beforehand…

Daisy’s enchanting eruption lasted for maybe eight minutes max and we watched every second of it. It would be an hour or so afterward before Riverside would be doing its geyser thing. Predictably, CW and I decided this interlude would be an excellent time to go get some ice cream. 

Comet Geyser was full to the brim before Daisy erupted

No comments:

Post a Comment