Old_Faithful

Detail shots, eruption sequences and scenic images of Old Faithful Geyser, an icon
 of the American West and the most well-known geyser at Yellowstone National Park.

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OldFaithful_Eruption_0555M


Old Faithful Eruption 0555 M

A plume of superheated steam rises above boiling water
erupting from Old Faithful Geyser in the Upper Geyser Basin.

Upper Geyser Basin is a one square mile area which contains over 150 geysers,
including fountain geysers which erupt from pools and cone geysers like Old Faithful.
Old Faithful Geyser was the first geyser to be named at Yellowstone National Park.

The word geyser is derived from Geysir, a geyser in Iceland that was the first known to
Europeans and the first described in a printed source. The earliest reference was in 1294.

OldFaithful_UpperGeyserBasin_0381


Old Faithful Upper Geyser Basin 0381

Steam rising from Old Faithful Geyser and other geysers in the Upper Geyser Basin.

Old Faithful Geyser was named by the Washburn Expedition in 1870 for its regular eruption schedule.
While this cone-shaped geyser does not erupt in exactly spaced intervals, its schedule is predictable.
Over the years, intervals have increased, possibly because of earthquakes affecting the subterranean
water levels. after the 1959 earthquake the interval became radically longer, gradually increasing with
later earthquakes. Intervals range from 35 to 120 minutes. Average interval was 66 minutes in 1939,
gradually increasing to a 92 minute average interval today. 90 percent of Old Faithful’s eruptions are
predictable within a plus-or-minus 10 minute window, based on the length of the previous eruption.

OldFaithful_UpperGeyserBasin_0384


Old Faithful Upper Geyser Basin 0384

If the duration of the previous eruption was two minutes, the next eruption will be in approximately 58 minutes.
An eruption of 3.5 minutes yield an interval of 76 minutes... an eruption of 5 minutes yields a 95 minute interval.
The longer an eruption lasts, the more heat and water are expended from the subterranean reservoir, requiring
more time to restore conditions required for eruption. Geyser geezers know to watch the crowds to determine
when an eruption is imminent. As the time approaches, people gather around the benches 300 feet away.

OldFaithful_UpperGeyserBasin_0386


Old Faithful Upper Geyser Basin 0386

Old Faithful eruptions can throw 4000 to 8000 gallons of water between 106 and 184 feet high.

Old Faithful is not the tallest geyser in Yellowstone. Steamboat Geyser in Norris Geyser Basin can
throw water 300 feet in the air, but it erupts very irregularly. There was a gap of eight years between
the last two major eruptions of Steamboat (May 23, 2005 to July 31, 2013), but minor eruptions of
10 to 15 feet are far more frequent. Grand Geyser, which is also in the Upper Geyser Basin, is the
tallest predictable geyser known. It erupts shortly after an eruption of the nearby Turban Geyser,
and often stops for a minute or so before restarting with an even more spectacular fountain. If
Grand’s pool empties, it takes about five hours to refill before the next eruption can begin.
Grand Geyser’s fountain can reach a height of 200 feet. It is typically 150 to 180 feet tall.

OldFaithful_UpperGeyserBasin_0393


Old Faithful Upper Geyser Basin 0393

Columns of steam rise over Old Faithful and other geysers in the Upper Geyser Basin.

Old Faithful is fed from a large egg-shaped chamber about 50 feet underground which leads
to a pipe rising at a 24 degree angle towards the maw of the geyser. After an eruption, there
is a 15 minute recharge period when water flows back into the chamber. As steam bubbles
fill the chamber, they oscillate water in the conduit, eventually leading to a steam explosion.
This bubble trap is what causes the smaller eruptions before the major explosive eruption.

OldFaithful_0394


Old Faithful 0394

In 1882, Old Faithful was used by General Sheridan’s Army as the
world’s most predictable laundry. While they found that it shredded
wool, cotton and linen garments were cleaned without any damage.

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OldFaithful_atSunrise_0323


Old Faithful at Sunrise 0323

Steam over Old Faithful before an early morning eruption.

OldFaithful_atSunrise_0329


Old Faithful at Sunrise 0329

Old Faithful erupting just after sunrise.

OldFaithful_atSunrise_0334


Old Faithful at Sunrise 0334

OldFaithful_atSunrise_0336


Old Faithful at Sunrise 0336

On a calm day, the boiling water of an eruption can be obscured by the huge cloud of accompanying steam.

OldFaithful_atSunrise_0344


Old Faithful at Sunrise 0344

OldFaithful_atSunrise_0351


Old Faithful at Sunrise 0351

The end of an Old Faithful eruption. In the left image you can see the water subsiding below the steam at the
lower right side. In the right image the water has completely subsided and only steam is coming out of the vent.

OldFaithful_Eruption_9595


Old Faithful Eruption 9595

OldFaithful_Eruption_9596


Old Faithful Eruption 9596

On a windy mid-afternoon, the steam is blown away from the vent and you can see the water burst clearly.

GeyserRainbow_OldFaithful_9598


Geyser Rainbow Old Faithful 9598

A rainbow appears in the water droplets carried away from Old Faithful by strong gusts of wind.

OldFaithful_Eruption_9599


Old Faithful Eruption 9599

An Old Faithful eruption on a windy day. The sinter cone around the geyser vent is formed from silica
which has precipitated out of the volcanic rhyolite rock and deposited inside the walls of the conduit and
outside of the geyser vent, gradually forming a cone over time. The sinter deposited on the walls generally
forms constrictions near both ends of the vent. The constriction above the subterranean chamber constricts
water circulation, allowing pressure to build up. The constriction near the vent acts as a nozzle, creating a jet.

OldFaithful_Eruption_9600M


Old Faithful Eruption 9600 M

An Old Faithful eruption subsiding on a windy day at Yellowstone.

All of the landscape (horizontal) large version images linked from the thumbnails are
1500 pixels wide. Portrait (vertical) images are 1200 pixels tall (1290 pixels with title bar).
Some portrait images are designated “M”, these are 1200 x 1500 pixels (plus the title bar).

OldFaithful_Eruption_9601_16x9


Old Faithful Eruption 9601 16x9

A 1600 x 900 image (plus title bar) of a subsiding Old Faithful eruption on a windy day.

OldFaithful_Eruption_9605


Old Faithful Eruption 9605

A wider angle view of a subsiding Old Faithful eruption in the mid-afternoon.

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Following are individual images and a composite of an early morning Old Faithful eruption.

OldFaithful_Eruption_0536


Old Faithful Eruption 0536

OldFaithful_Eruption_0539


Old Faithful Eruption 0539

An early morning eruption of Old Faithful Geyser on a slightly windy day in autumn.

OldFaithful_Eruption_0540M


Old Faithful Eruption 0540 M

Old Faithful bursts into life on a day with enough wind to blow the steam
away from the erupting water, allowing for more attractive photographs.

OldFaithful_Eruption_0542M


Old Faithful Eruption 0542 M

These larger, M-designated images are 1200 x 1590.

Old Faithful eruptions are preceded by a preplay phase (typically lasting 10-20 minutes),
which consists of small, discrete 10-20 foot eruptions, each eruption lasting a few seconds.
These preplay phase eruptions typically average one per minute and are thought to trigger the
main eruption by bringing the water in all or part of the conduit onto the boiling curve by reducing
the hydrostatic pressure in the water column. The pressure reduction propagates downward
until all of the water column is at or above boiling, which triggers the main eruption phase.

OldFaithful_Eruption_0544


Old Faithful Eruption 0544

OldFaithful_Eruption_0546


Old Faithful Eruption 0546

OldFaithful_Eruption_0548M


Old Faithful Eruption 0548 M

Boiling water and steam rising more than 200 feet in the air over Old Faithful Geyser in
Upper Geyser Basin early one autumn morning in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

OldFaithful_Eruption_0547


Old Faithful Eruption 0547

OldFaithful_Eruption_0556


Old Faithful Eruption 0556

Old_Faithful_Eruption_XXL


Old Faithful Eruption XXL

A 2000 x 685 version of the XXL Composite image (8276 x 2577)
showing a five shot sequence of an early morning Old Faithful eruption.

OldFaithful_Sunburst_0403


Old Faithful Sunburst 0403

Rays flare from the sun which is hidden behind a cloud of steam rising over
Old Faithful Geyser in the Upper Geyser Basin at Yellowstone National Park.

Below are two more images of the Upper Geyser Basin with the sun in the frame. Shooting directly into the sun
is a challenging proposition... the more the sun is in the frame the more difficult it is to control the exposure and
the lens flare. The long rays are created by using a small aperture (the two images below were taken at f/22).

OldFaithful_Sunburst_0598


Old Faithful Sunburst 0598

OldFaithful_Sunburst_0602


Old Faithful Sunburst 0602

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Lamar Valley & Misc Scenics         Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces

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