Volcanic Springs

Geysers, Hot Springs,
Mud Pots, and Fumaroles

Fountain Group - page 2

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The Fountain Complex expands over the geyesrite flat northwest of Paint Pot Hill and encompasses at least 14 geysers. Most of them are close enough to the boardwalk to be observed easily. Starting in the east the first one is Twig Geyser, erupting mainly before and during Fountain Geyser is active.

Twig Geyser:

Twig Geyser Yellowstone

Twig Geyser Yellowstone
Located between Twig Geyser and the boardwalk Bearclaw Geyser only attracts attention when it's erupting, if at all. The small geyser spouts only a few inches high out of three separate vents.

Bearclaw Geyser:

Bearclaw Geyser Yellowstone

Bearclaw Geyser Yellowstone
Across the boardwalk from Twig and Bearclaw another quite active geyser can be found, Jet Geyser. Jets window of activity, as true for most geysers of the fountain complex, is strongly linked to the other geysers and has more or less fixed positions in Fountains interval.

Jet Geyser:

Jet Geyser Yellowstone

Jet Geyser Yellowstone
Neighbour on the west side to Jet is Super Frying Pan (also called Sizzler Geyser), interacting in an analogical manner with the other members of the system. Eruptions occur at least once in a Fountain interval.

Super Frying Pan:

Super Frying Pan Geyser Yellowstone

Super Frying Pan Geyser Yellowstone
All remaining geysers of the Fountain complex are located on the other, northwest side of the boardwalk. Star of the show is Fountain Geyser, at least if Morning Geyser is not active. Fountain Geyser is one of the predicted Geysers of Yellowstone visitor center. Usually it is erupting each 3.5 to 7.5 hours. Eruptions may vary significantly regarding power and height. In July 1952 nine visitors, watching the play from the old walkway, were scalded by an unexpectedly strong, angled torrent of water. As a consequence the boardwalk has been rerouted at a larger distance from the geyser.

Fountain Geyser:

Fountain Geyser Yellowstone

Fountain Geyser Yellowstone
Morning Geyser is the largest geyser of the Fountain Group, but very rarely active, on average less than once per year.

Morning Geyser:

Morning Geyser Yellowstone

Morning Geyser Yellowstone
The pool at the northeastern corner of Morning's crater is a geyser of its own, called Morning's Thief. Its activity is infrequent, but far more common compared to Morning. Mostly the eruption is triggered by the start of Fountain Geyser, and both geysers play simultaneously for a short while. Sometimes the eruption of Morning's Thief starts with a big blue bulb as known from Strokkur on Iceland, but much larger.

Morning's Thief, blue bulb:

Morning's Thief Yellowstone

Morning's Thief Yellowstone

Morning's Thief erupting:

Morning's Thief Yellowstone

Morning's Thief Yellowstone
If you stand on the boardwalk close to Morning and Fountain Geyser and look in direction of Kaleidoscope Group far out on the sinter flats, then the crater of Sub Geyser is in your sight line. Seemingly empty, the crater still contains water, but the level is deep down and out of sight. Although quite rare, some eruptions reach a sufficient height to be seen from the boardwalk.

Sub Geyser crater in foreground right, Kaleidoscope Group in background:

Sub Geyser Yellowstone

Sub Geyser Yellowstone
The top of some eruptions are all to be seen from Stalactite Geyser. As a member of the Fissure Springs it lies southwest of Sub Geyser and even a bit farther away from the boardwalk.

Stalactite Geyser, seen from the observation platform at Paint Pot Hill:

Stalactite Geyser Yellowstone

Stalactite Geyser Yellowstone
One of the lesser impressive geysers on location is Spasm Geyser, though it's located next to the boardwalk. Often its crater is empty, but it can erupt continuously for several hours and is sometimes active more than once during Fountain's play.

Spasm Geyser, active and quiet (roll mouse over picture):

Spasm Geyser Yellowstone

Spasm Geyser Yellowstone
Clepsydra Geyser, named after the Greek term for water clock, shows by far the highest level of activity in the Fountain Group. If there weren't short pauses at the end of Fountains play, Clepsydra would have to be classified as perpetual spouter. The geyser entered this so-called "wild-phase" after an earthquake in 1959. Also in terms of colors Clepsydra always makes a very grateful object for photographers.

Clepsydra Geyser, active and quiet (roll mouse over picture):

Clepsydra Geyser Yellowstone

Clepsydra Geyser Yellowstone
Second busiest geyser on location after Clepsydra is New Bellefontaine Geyser with intervals of only a few seconds. Unfortunately, it is outshined by Clepsydra, which is more spectacular, closer to the boardwalk, and largely obscures the view on New Bellefontaine. In the RCN database of Montana State University this geyser is listed simply as Bellefontaine Geyser. On the left side at the base of the geyserite cone of New Bellefontaine Geyser there is a little hole, belonging to rarely active Fitful Geyser.

New Bellefontaine Geyser and Fitful Geyser:

New Bellefontaine Geyser and Fitful Geyser Yellowstone

New Bellefontaine Geyser and Fitful Geyser Yellowstone
The pool between Clepsydra and New Bellefontaine Geyser seems to have neither a name nor a designation. Nevertheless, it is quite colorful and well worth a shot with a telephoto lens.

Hot pool between Clepsydra and New Bellefontaine Geyser:

Pool between Clepsydra and New Bellefontaine Geyser Yellowstone

Pool near Clepsydra Geyser Yellowstone
Jelly Geyser south of Clepsydra has been dormant almost all of the time in the last years. All to be usually observed is a changing water level from nearly empty up to overflowing.

Jelly Geyser:

Jelly Geyser Yellowstone

Jelly Geyser Yellowstone
The next three geysers are all quite distant from the boardwalk westerly on the sinter flat and therefore usually gaining not much interest from visitors. But many may have noticed a bright orange rim of thermophile bacteria near the western base of the geyserite mound of the Fountain Group. It belongs to a large and beautiful hot pool with the designation LNN012. Unfortunately, the view on the hot pool itself is largely obscured by the geyserite mound. South of LNN012 Mask Geyser can be spotted at a fairly large distance.

Mask Geyser, the rear of the two small craters on the left side, and LNN012, marked by an orange rim of thermophiles (roll mouse over picture for enlarged view on LNN012):

Mask Geyser and pool LNN012 Yellowstone

Mask Geyser and LNN012 Yellowstone

Mask Geyser, seen through the heat-flickering air:

Mask Geyser Yellowstone

Mask Geyser Yellowstone
Compared to Mask Geyser, Old Bellefontaine Geyser (listed as New Bellefontaine Geyser in the RCN database) is located much closer to the trail and easier to observe. Eruptions are rare and typically very brief.

Old Bellefontaine Geyser:

Old Bellefontaine Geyser Yellowstone

Old Bellefontaine Geyser Yellowstone
The last and southernmost of the three remote geysers is also the one hardest to spot, even if it is just erupting. Frolic Geyser is not so far away from the boardwalk as Mask Geyser, but it is only a very small pool within a cluster of other small pools (many thanks to geyser expert Rocco Paperiello for his help to find the feature on location). At least one of its neighbours (UNN-FTG-4) is also a geyser, another one a perpetual spouter. The activity seems to be highly variable from season to season.

Frolic Geyser, the leftmost blue little pool:

Frolic Geyser Yellowstone

Frolic Geyser Yellowstone

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