Midway Geyser Basin plus...
Sep 26, 2012
|Today's post picks up the second part of day one spent in Yellowstone at the Midway Geyser Basin. The wind had kicked up and the temperature dropped enough for a long sleeved shirt as we walked the boardwalk past the enormous Excelsior Geyser Crater and the park's largest hot spring, Grand Prismatic. And oh man, can you feel the heat rising from it. And the steam to boot, don't know why I bothered to try and curl my hair!
Excelsior Geyser isn't really a geyser anymore. Until about 1890 Excelsior erupted as high as 300 feet. In 1985 it erupted again for 45 hours reaching heights of 75 feet and then fell dormant again. The Excelsior Geyser pool discharges 4,000 to 4,500 gallons of 199 °F (93 °C) of water per minute directly into the Firehole River. The amount of steam coming off of it make it impossible to get a full, good shot today. Possibly the only known photograph of Excelsior in full eruption was taken by Frank Jay Haynes in 1888. A postcard was made of that photo & I am posting it today. I found it very intriguing. Please let me know what you see when you look at it ok? Then I'll tell you what I see!
The most impressive sight at Midway Geyser Basin is the Grand Prismatic Spring. The Spring is 250x380 feet & impossible to get the whole thing in one picture. The temperature ranges from 147 to 188 degrees and is about 160 feet deep. It is the third largest hot spring in the world & the largest in the United States. After leaving Midway today we drove a bit & found the walking path on the other side of the Spring. Our intention was to climb the hill behind it for a much better, larger view. It began to rain before we were half the way to our destination so we ultimately decided to turn back. There was a large bull bison right in the middle of our walking trail as well & he was a BIG deciding factor! Anyway, I 'borrowed' a great pic from the Internet to show you what we would have seen. Well maybe not quite as awesome as this pic is! It's a beauty!
We also enjoyed viewing the large Opal Pool with a wide range of colors as well as the Turquoise Pool with it's brilliant gem-like deep turquoise blue color. This pool is 100x110 feet and has a temperature range of 142 and 160 degrees. Very nice...
Heading back to the truck we crossed the short wooden bridge across the scenic Firehole River. Along the banks are orange and white deposits from the hot spring water running down into the river from the geysers and springs that make up Midway Basin. I could sit on the bench along that river and watch the people and the scenery for hours. But, time is short and we have to move on.
Moving on to Black Sand Basin which contains a small collection of jewel-like geysers and colorful hot springs. Emerald Pool is the most colorful and famous of these springs. It is a deep emerald green fringed by an outer ring of yellow and orange. Another colorful pool is Opalescent Pool. This recently formed pool inundated a stand of lodgepole pine, creating a stand of white skeletons amidst a rainbow-colored pool. An unusual geyser formed on the bank of Iron Creek. Cliff Geyser formed a rim or wall-like ridge of sinter around its crater from which it erupts 30 to 40 feet high.
And finally, Old Faithful. We arrived about 6 minutes before the predicted eruption time...Good timing! Old Faithful is certainly the most well-known geyser and is also called the most predictable geographical feature on Earth, erupting almost every 91 minutes. Eruptions can shoot 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of boiling water to a height of 106 to 185 feet lasting from 1.5 to 5 minutes. The average height of an eruption is 145 feet. The highest recorded eruption was 185 feet. Between 1983 and 1994, four probes containing temperature and pressure measurement devices and video equipment were lowered into Old Faithful. The probes were lowered as deep as 72 feet. Temperature measurements of the water at this depth was 244 °F (118 °C), the same as was measured in 1942. And finally, I found this extremely interesting. In the early days of the park, Old Faithful was often used as a laundry. "Old Faithful is sometimes degraded by being made a laundry. Garments placed in the crater during quiescence are ejected thoroughly washed when the eruption takes place. Gen. Sheridan's men, in 1882, found that linen and cotton fabrics were uninjured by the action of the water, but woolen clothes were torn to shreds". Now that's an interesting way to do laundry ladies!!
All too soon it was time to make our way home. But along our journey we encountered a curious coyote, the White Dome Geyser, a cow elk right along the side of the road, a small herd along the river & finally one lone bull several miles further down the road on the Madison River. Notice the bulls are always lying down and the cows are busy eating when they're not tending to their young. Doesn't that sound familiar, lol!
Next post will cover the Upper & Lower Yellowstone Falls and our close encounter with a bear! It was awesome and got a couple of good pics to boot. So please stop back by when you have a few minutes. Goodnight....PS Short video today if you have the time!