wonderful geysers yet discovered in any country. the basin in which
they were situated was over two miles long, and about a mile wide.
It was nearly destitute of vegetation, but there were a few clumps of trees
scattered through it, and in one place we found grass enough for our horses.
The basin was chiefly on the west side of the river, but there was a narrow
strip, with an average width of three hundred yards, on the east side,
which was literally alive with geysers and steam-jets. We remained
two days in this wonderful basin. The most prominent geysers which
we saw in operation we named as follows: "Old Faithful," which was farthest
up the river on the western bank; "the Castle: which was a third of a mile
below "Old Faithful;" "The Giant," which was a half-mile below "The Castle;"
"The Grotto," a short distance below "The Giant;" then crossing the river,
lowest down was the "Fantail," and much higher up, nearly opposite "Old
Faithful," were "The Giantess" and "Beehive."
All around the geysers the ground was covered with
incrustations and subsilica; and immediately about the vent of most of
them the incrustations rose several feet above the surrounding level, assuming
grotesque and fanciful shapes.
"Old Faithful" was the first geyser we saw throwing
up a column of water. It was named on account of its almost constant
action. It did not intermit for more than an hour at any time during
our stay. It had a vent five feet by three, and projected a solid
column of water to a height of eighty or ninety feet. All around
it were found pebbles and small stones, which, when broken open, proved
to be simply pieces of wood, thoroughly incrusted, and perfectly hard and
smooth on the outside, having the appearance of an ordinary stone.
About the crater of "The Castle" was the largest
cone, or mass of incrustations, in the basin. For a hundred yards
around, the ground, flooded with subsilica, of glittering whiteness, sloped
gradually up to the cone, which itself rose thirty feet, nearly perpendicular.
It was quite rugged and efflorescent, and on its outer sides had a number
of benches, sufficiently wide for a man to stand upon. These enabled
us to climb up and look into its crater, which was irregular in shape,
and about seven feet, the longest way, by five feet, the shortest.
The outside of the mound was nearly round, and not less than thirty feet
through at its base. We called it "The Castle," on account of its
size and commanding appearance. It was in action a short time on
the morning after our arrival, but only threw water about thirty feet high.
The water did not retain the shape of a column, like that thrown out by
"Old Faithful," but rather splashed up and slopped over. This geyser
did not appear to be doing its best, but only spouted a little in a patronizing
way, thinking to surprise us novices sufficiently without any undue exertion
on its part.
The mound around "The Giant" was about twelve feet
high, and had a piece knocked out of one side of it, so that we could look
into the crater, which was shaped like a hollow cylinder, and six feet
in diameter. "The Giant" discharged a column of water, of the same
size as its crater, to a height of a hundred feet. It played as if
through an immense hose. We thought it deserved to be called "The
Giant," as it threw out more water than any other geyser which we saw in
operation. Its cone was also large, and the water was very hot; as
in fact, was the case with the water of all the geysers. The day
of our arrival, it was in nearly constant action for about three hours,
after which we did not see it again discharge.
"The Grotto" has two craters, connected on the surface
by the incrustations which surround them. We did not ascertain whether
there was any Go
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