"Great Fountain" Geyser, throwing up clouds of steam and boiling water, Yellowstone Park.
figureposted on 01.01.1904, 00:00 by No Author
This is one of the famous spectacles of the Lower Geyser Basin. For several acres all around here the ground is like what you see underfoot, covered with a more or less brittle shell of "geyserite", a silica deposit from the overflow of the springs. It is grayish and yellowish in color and here and there it gives way with the "crunching" effect of an ice-crust. The water that you see in the pools is a clear, beautiful blue, its color caused by the presence of a peculiar growth of algae (water plants). The big pool of the geyser yonder is thirty feet across. For two, three, sometimes four hours, it is perfectly quiet, maintaining a level twelve or eighteen inches below the rim of the crater; then it begins to rise, slowly filling its basin to the brim. it commences to bubble gently--it bubbles more vigorously, more rapidly--it reaches a stage of boiling furiously--then all at once up shoots this superb fountain, over fifty feet in the air, streams and beads of glittering liquid, clouds of steam rising toward those clouds overhead. Then or fifteen minutes the rage lasts, then the fountain falls back into the pool, the steam blows away, the bubbling grows quieter and quieter, and at last the spring settles down again a foot or more below the rim and goes to sleep like a child tired out by a spasm of rage. In earlier years tourists used to stir up the passions of the spring by throwing in stones and scraps of geyserite; soap was accidently discovered to hasten the time of an eruption; but at present the Park regulations forbid any such experimentation. (See H. M. Chittenden's "Yellowstone national Park.") From Notes of Travel, No. 13, copyright, 1904, by Underwood & Underwood.