Midway and Lower Geyser Basin

Grand prismatic spring is the largest hot spring in the US and the third largest in the world. It is 370 feet diameter, 160 feet deep and discharges ~ 560 gallons of water per minute. I guess for largest they mean in surface area. It is so large that from the main area where there are boardwalks around you can’t get a view of the entire spring, only small sections at a time.

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Excelsior right next to Grand Prismatic was once a large and reliable geyser that was known to reach up to 300 feet high and 300 feet wide. It is not active these days as a geyser, but is a very productive hot spring discharging between 4,000 and 4,500 gallons of 200 degree water per MINUTE into the Firehole River. Not only was the bubbling impressive, so was the runoff into the river.

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Relative early morning arrival at the Fountain Paint Pots, Lower geyser basin showed the steam rising from multiple orifices. It is amazing that with such thermal (volcanic) activity you are allowed to be here. But I guess it hasn’t had a large eruption in 600,000 years, wonder if it is due??

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Speaking of time of day, the roaring mountain definitely shows a difference in am and pm. Probably just this time of year, in the morning you can see a lot of steam vents, but with the warmth of the afternoon sun there are only a couple visible. Would be really interesting to see all of these hot geysers and springs in the winter with snow???

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Clepsydra Geyser erupts almost constantly, and splashes from multiple vents. Not high splashes while we were there maybe 25 ft??

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Fountain Paint Pots (mud pots) change by season and availability of water. They range from thin watery pools to very thick almost dry plots that can splash mud onto the walkway. They were extremely dry when we were there. Much of the area was completely dried out with cracked and hardened mud…

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As mentioned above Grand Prismatic spring was hard to see from ground level. So, we took the hike behind and above for a bird’s eye view. Wow just wow… Can’t help repeating the phrase but don’t know what else to say… This view has been accessible to visitors that ventured off the path to Fairy Falls. It had been used so much that in 2016 the park made it an official trail with viewing platform.   Most springs have run off concentrated on one side and therefore the colorful thermophile only on one side, note how Grand Prismatic has the colorful runoff in almost 360 degrees. Must have a very flat rim.

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A couple of things you might notice or have already noticed from pictures. “Bobby Socks” Lodgepole pines drowned in the super-heated water of shifting thermal activity. Silica penetrates the trees and harden their bases. The white silicified portions of the dead trees resemble the 1950s bobby socks.

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Peace and Love

 

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