Geysers are natural hot springs that intermittently eject a column of water and steam into the air. They exist in many parts of the volcanic regions of the world such as Japan and South America but their greatest development is in Iceland, New Zealand, and Yellowstone National Park.
There are 120 named geysers in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, and perhaps half that number unnamed. Most of the geysers and the 4,000 or more hot springs are located in the western portion of the park. The most important are the following:
Norris Geyser Basin has 24 or more active geysers; the number varies. There are scores of steam vents and hot springs. Steamboat is the largest active geyser in the world, sending water more than 300 ft. into the air for 3 to 20 minutes. It emits water every few minutes, but its major eruptions are infrequent and erratic. Valentine erupts 50–75 ft. at intervals varying from 18 hr. to 3 days or more. Minuté erupts 15–20 ft. high, several hours apart. Others include: Fearless, Veteran, Vixen, Corporal, Whirligig, Little Whirligig, and Pinwheel.
Lower Geyser Basin has at least 18 active geysers. Fountain throws water 50–75 ft. in all directions at unpredictable intervals. Clepsydra erupts violently from 4 vents up to 30 ft. Great Fountain plays every 8 to 15 hr. in spurts from 30 to 90 ft. high.
Midway Geyser Basin has vast steaming terraces of red, orange, pink and other colors; there are pools and springs, including the beautiful Grand Prismatic Spring. Excelsior crater discharges boiling water into Firehole River at the rate of 6 cu. ft. per second.
Giant erupts up to 200 ft. at intervals of 21/2 days to 3 mo; eruptions last about 11/2 hr. Daisy sends water up to 75 ft. but is irregular and frequently inactive.
Old Faithful, the most famous geyser in the park, sends up a column varying from 116 to 175 ft. at intervals of about 65 min, varying from 33 to 90 min. Eruptions last about 4 min, during which time about 12,000 gal. are discharged.
Giantess seldom erupts, but during its active period sends up streams 150–200 ft.
Lion plays up to 60 ft. every 2–4 days when active; Little Cub up to 10 ft. every 1–2 hr. Big Cub and Lioness seldom erupt.
There are no geysers in the Mammoth Hot Springs area. The formation is travertine. Sides of a hill are steps and terraces over which flow the steaming waters of hot springs laden with minerals. Each step is tinted by algae to many shades of orange, pink, yellow, brown, green, and blue. Terraces are white where no water flows.
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