subterranean connection between them. We did not observe both craters
discharge at the same time, but one began when the other ceased.
Neither was in action for more than an hour. A solid stream was thrown
up more than sixty feet; that from the larger crater being about five feet
in diameter, and that from the smaller one not more than three feet.
The larger mound of incrustations was about ten feet high, and twenty feet
through at the base. There were several holes in it large enough
for a man to crawl through, which some of the party did, when the geyser
was not in action. The smaller mound was not more than five feet
high, and shaped like a hay-cock, with a portion of the top knocked off.
the two mounds were about twenty feet apart, and connected by a ridge,
or neck of incrustations, two feet high. "The Grotto" was about a
hundred yards from the river. A quarter of a mile farther back, and
just at the edge of the timber, we found a mound in the shape of a cone.
At the vertex was a small opening, not more than a foot in diameter.
This geyser did not appear to have discharged for some time. The
ground was quite dry all around, and a number of incrusted pine twigs,
leaves, and cones were found, which retained their shape perfectly, but
were hard, smooth, and white as alabaster. At that point, much ballast
was obtained for the pack animals.
Crossing the river, we named the "Fantail" geyser
from the fact that it discharged two streams from its vent which spread
out very much like a fan.
One of the most remarkable geysers was "The Giantess."
for yards around the ground rose gradually to its crater, but immediately
about it was no formation rising above the surface, as was the case with
all the other geysers which we saw in active operation. When quiet,
it was a clear, beautiful pool, caught in a subsilica urn, or vase, with
a hollow, bottomless stem, through which the steam came bubbling, just
like the effervescence of champagne from the bottom of a long, hollow-necked
glass. The mouth of the vase, represented by the surface, was twenty
feet by thirty; and the neck, fifty feet below, was fifteen feet by ten.
The water, at times, retired to the level of the neck, or vent, and at
other times rose nearly to the surface. when in action, "The Giantess"
became a fountain with five jets, shooting the spray to a height of two
hundred feet. At the surface the largest jet was about two feet in
diameter, and it kept in solid column for more than a hundred and fifty
feet before breaking into drops and spray. It burst forth just before
sunset, and the last rays of light gave prismatic tints to the glistening
drops, when, having reached their utmost altitude, they trembled at their
coming fall. The clouds of steam, which in this, as in all other
instances, accompanied the boiling water, became a golden fleece lit up
by wreaths of rainbows. Though inferior to "The Giant" in immensity
of volume, and perhaps in grandeur, "the Giantess" was by far the most
beautiful sight we saw in the geyser basin.
"The Beehive"--named for the shape of its mound--was
quite small, but threw its water higher than any other geyser we saw.
The stream was less than two feet in diameter, and ascended two hundred
and twenty feet, from accurate measurement by triangulation. It remained
in action only a few moments.
We saw many other geysers in action, but those I
have particularly described were the most notable. They were all
intermittent, few of them continuing in action more than half an hour at
a time. there were also many mounds from which the water was evidently
discharged at times, but they were quiet during our stay. We were
probably very fortunate Go
to next page
to Table of Contents
back to Yellowstone Historical Almanac
Go back to
Yellowstone History Guide
Go back to The Magic
of Yellowstone front page