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 Yellowstone
Twig Geyser

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 Yellowstone
Bearclaw Geyser

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 Yellowstone
Jet Geyser

Neighbor 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 Geyser Yellowstone
Super Frying Pan

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 the Yellowstone Visitor Center. Usually, it is erupting each 3.5 to 7.5 hours up to 15 m (50 feet) high, on rare occasions even higher. Eruptions may vary significantly regarding power and height, though. 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 Yellowstone
Fountain Geyser

Ejecting big quantities of water to a height of 45 m (150 feet) and more, Morning Geyser is the largest geyser of the Fountain Group, but very rarely active. On average the play occurs less than once per year.

Morning Geyser Yellowstone
Morning Geyser

The pool at the northeastern corner of Morning's crater is a geyser of its own, called Morning's Thief. Its activity is infrequent and erratic, but far more common compared to Morning. Durations are generally short, spanning from a single burst for less than a second up to a few bursts for less than a minute. Most eruptions are triggered by the start of Fountain Geyser, then both geysers play simultaneously for a short while. Rarely, Morning's Thief Geyser starts with a big blue bulb as known from Strokkur on Iceland, but much larger.

Morning's Thief Geyser Yellowstone
Morning's Thief Geyser, blue bubble, August 11th, 2017

Eruptions of Morning's Thief Geyser may reach 15 m (50 feet) height, and obviously this geyser has increased its power over the last decade. The suspicion that activity of Morning's Thief may rob energy from Morning Geyser and prevent it from erupting could not be proven yet.

Morning's Thief Geyser Yellowstone
Morning's Thief Geyser erupting on August 11th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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 look at New Bellefontaine. In the RCN database of Montana State University this geyser is listed simply as Bellefontaine Geyser. On the lefthand side at the base of the sinter cone of New Bellefontaine Geyser there is a little hole, belonging to rarely active Fitful Geyser.

New Bellefontaine Geyser and Fitful Geyser Yellowstone
New Bellefontaine Geyser and Fitful Geyser

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.

Pool between Clepsydra and New Bellefontaine Geyser Yellowstone
Hot pool between Clepsydra and New Bellefontaine Geyser

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 Yellowstone
Jelly Geyser

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 thermophilic bacteria near the western base of the sinter mound of the Fountain Group. It belongs to a large and beautiful hot pool with the designation LNN012. Unfortunately, the look at the hot pool itself is largely obscured by the sinter mound. South of LNN012 Mask Geyser can be spotted at a fairly large distance.

Mask Geyser and pool LNN012 Yellowstone
Mask Geyser, the rear of the two small craters on the lefthand side, and LNN012, marked by an orange rim of thermophilic microorganisms (roll mouse over picture for enlarged look at LNN012)

Mask Geyser Yellowstone
Mask Geyser, seen through the heat-flickering air

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 Yellowstone
Old Bellefontaine Geyser

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 neighbors (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 Yellowstone
Frolic Geyser, the leftmost blue little pool

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