- Geyserworld -
Alan Glennon, Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara


Geyser Wire
Updates from Google News

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Yahoo Travel

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Going to Yellowstone? There's an app for its geysers
The Seattle Times
Yellowstone National Park fans can get a heads up on when Old Faithful and five other geysers are set to erupt thanks to a new app available for smartphones and tablets. Yellowstone has the largest concentration of active geysers in the world. The ...
What Are You Waiting For? App for Yellowstone Geysers Makes Your Trip More ...Yahoo Travel
App for Yellowstone geysers now availableGreat Falls Tribune

all 88 news articles »
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Casper Star-Tribune Online

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App for smartphones, tablets provides eruption predictions for Yellowstone geysers
Casper Star-Tribune Online
Yellowstone has the largest concentration of active geysers in the world. The geyser app also features a link to a webcam so people can view live eruptions of Old Faithful and other nearby geysers. There's also a section that provides answers to ...


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There's an app for that: Yellowstone geyser eruption predictions available by ...
KTVQ Billings News
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK - The largest concentration of active geysers in the world - approximately half of the world's total - is found in Yellowstone National Park. You can now discover the natural wonder of the most famous geyser of all, Old ...


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Yellowstone Launches Geyser Prediction App
Outside Magazine
Project lead Brett Oppegaard, an assistant professor of communication at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, says NPS Yellowstone Geysers is a jumping-off point for a more digitally immersive park experience. Oppegaard, who developed the first ...

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Billings Gazette

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App contains Yellowstone geyser eruption times
Billings Gazette
You can follow the social media feed and see what's happening in Yellowstone by browsing the park's Twitter, YouTube and Flickr sites. Because every eruption is different, the app's photo gallery contains an array of geyser eruption photos. The NPS ...


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Yellowstone Park pushes smartphone app for geyser eruption predictions
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
The National Park Service has released a smartphone app that lists when Old Faithful and five other predictable geysers could erupt. The app also links to webcams so users can watch live eruptions, galleries of geyser photos, and information about ...

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National Parks Traveler

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Geysers In Yellowstone National Park? There's An App For Them!
National Parks Traveler
Now, the app -- NPS Geysers -- carries a little leeway with its predictions. After all, the geysers can be tardy with their eruptions. So, when it comes to Old Faithful, the app tells the predicted time of eruption, and tags on a +/- 10 minutes. For ...


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New Zealand Tour of the Pohutu Geyser
GoGirlfriend
Please welcome Natasha Amar, a Dubai based traveler exploring the world in cultures, cuisines & hiking trails. We're a community-based travel blog and we welcome submissions from everyone. Whether you're a budget-baller or a first class only kinda ...


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U.S. Olympic Coach Jon Drummond Receives 8-Year Ban
Outside Magazine
A new app designed to forecast geyser events in Yellowstone National Park will help ensure that visitors get what they came for. The app, called NPS Yellowstone Geysers, was announced in a press release this week. ... Project lead Brett Oppegaard, an ...

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East Idaho News

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New App Alerts of Geyser Eruptions
East Idaho News
Yellowstone National Park — When will Old Faithful erupt? Well, now there's an app for that. The National Park Service says their new geyser app for smartphones and tablets will let you know when Old Faithful or five other geysers at Yellowstone ...

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What are geysers and why are they so rare?
Last update: 9 August 2008

A geyser is a hot spring that periodically erupts, throwing water into the air. Though that sounds simple, geysers are extremely rare. As of August 2008, the total of active geysers on earth numbered approximately 1000.

Pink Cone Geyser, Yellowstone, photo by Alan Glennon Conditions must be just right for geysers to occur. Three components must be present for geysers to exist: an abundant supply of water, an intense source of heat, and unique plumbing. Water is common in nature, heat can come from volcanic activity, but the plumbing is critical. For water to be thrown into the air, geyser plumbing must be water- and pressure-tight. Geyser scientists and observers have identified the volcanic rock rhyolite as being particularly effective at hosting geysers. Rhyolite is high in silica, which can deposit a water-tight seal along the walls of the geyser plumbing. Most of the geyser fields in the world are found in rhyolite or similar silica-laden rocks (like ignimbrite). The mixture of water, volcanic heat, and plumbing is exceptional at Yellowstone National Park. Over one-half of the world's geysers are located within the park's boundaries.

It is increasingly apparent that geysers must possess a fourth characteristic to exist: remoteness. Within the last fifty years, volcanic heat and abundant water have been increasingly harnessed to turn turbines for electricity production. Geothermal energy can be produced at any site where volcanic heat and water are readily available. Unfortunately, geyser fields are ideal for this type of energy production. Geothermal energy production steals the geysers' water, and destroys geyser activity (for example, Wairakei, New Zealand). A growing threat to geysers stems from mineral extraction. Hot groundwater may precipitate gold or other valuable minerals, and extraction may require removing the geyser plumbing itself. For example, in May 2003, mineral exploration at South America’s second largest geyser field (Puchuldiza, Chile), caused cessation in the field’s geysers. Few realize the actual rarity of geysers. As a result, many geyser fields have been destroyed and many others are being threatened.

How do geysers work?

The following is an excerpt from Scott Bryan's GEYSERS OF YELLOWSTONE, 3rd edition, copyright 2001. It is reproduced here for educational purposes. Scott Bryan's book not only describes each Yellowstone geyser in detail, but also includes descriptions of geyser fields worldwide. It is probably the best book on geysers out there. Buy it or check it out!

The hot water, circulating up from great depth, flows into the plumbing system of a geyser. Because this water is many degrees above the boiling point, some of it turns to steam instead of forming liquid pools. Meanwhile, additional, cooler water is flowing into the geyser from the porous rocks nearer the surface. The two waters mix as the plumbing system fills.

Morning Glory Pool, Yellowstone National Park, Photo by Alan Glennon The steam bubbles formed at depth rise and meet the cooler water. At first, they condense there, but as they do they gradually heat the water. Eventually, these steam bubbles rising from deep within the plumbing system manage to heat the surface water until it also reaches the boiling point. Now the geyser begins to function like a pressure cooker. The water within the plumbing system is hotter than boiling, but "stable" because of the pressure exerted by all the water lying above it. (Remember that the boiling point of a liquid is dependent upon the pressure. The boiling point of pure water 212 degrees Farenheit (100 degrees Celsius) at sea level. In Yellowstone the elevation is about 7,500 feet, the pressure is lower, and the boiling point of water is only about 199 degrees Farenheit (93 degrees Celsius).

The filling and heating process continues until the geyser is full or nearly full of water. A very small geyser may take but a few seconds to fill whereas some of the larger geysers take several days. Once the plumbing system is full the geyser is about ready for an eruption. Often forgotten but of extreme importance is the heating that must occur along with the filling. Only if there is an adequate store of heat within the rocks lining the plumbing system can an eruption last for more than a few seconds. Again, each geyser is different from every other. Some are hot enough to erupt before they are completely full and do so without any preliminary indications of an eruption. Others may be completely full well before they are hot enough to erupt and so may overflow quietly for some time before an eruption occurs. But, eventually, the eruption will take place.

Because the water of the entire plumbing system has been heated to boiling, the rising steam bubbles no longer collapse near the surface. Instead, as more very hot water enters the geyser at great depth, even more and larger steam bubbles form and rise toward the surface. At first, they are able to make it all the way to the top of the plumbing system. But a time will come when there are so many steam bubbles that they can no longer simply float upwards. Somewhere they encounter some sort of constriction or bend in the plumbing. To get by they must squirt through the narrow spot. This forces some water ahead of them and up and out of the geyser. This initial loss of water reduces the pressure at depth, lowering the boiling point of water already hot enough to boil. More water boils, forming more steam. Soon there is a virtual explosion as the steam expands to over 1,500 times its original, liquid volume. The boiling rapidly becomes violent and water is ejected so rapidly that it is thrown into the air.

The eruption will continue until either the water is used up or the temperature drops below boiling. Once an eruption has ended. the entire process of filling, heating, and boiling will be repeated, leading to another eruption.

Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone - Alan Glennon 2004

In Depth


To reference this page, use the appropriate variation of the following format:

J. Alan Glennon. (2008) About Geysers, http://www.geyserworld.com, University of California, Santa Barbara, originally posted January 1995, updated August 9, 2008.

T. Scott Bryan (2001) The Geysers of Yellowstone, 3rd edition, University Press of Colorado: Boulder, pp.472.


For more information, contact:
J. Alan Glennon
Department of Geography
University of California
Santa Barbara, California 93106

e-mail: glennon(at)umail.ucsb.edu