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Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone

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avatar Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
May 25, 2009 07:47AM
Admittedly, this sounds like a dog bites man story See notes below for explanation, however.

Geology group treated to rare pool explosion
By Angus M. Thuermer Jr., Jackson Hole, Wyo.
May 23, 2009
Yellowstone National Park geologist Hank Heasler was lecturing a group of colleagues in Biscuit Basin on the rarity of hydrothermal explosions last week when – Boom!

A hot pool behind him exploded, spewing mud, rocks and hot water 50 feet in the air. Geologists know of only a handful of such unpredictable explosions in Yellowstone’s recorded history.

Heasler on May 17 was addressing a group of geologists, geophysicists, graduate students, U.S. Geological Survey employees and university faculty members on a tour of the basin led by University of Utah Professor Bob Smith. The group was just out of reach of the scalding water and debris. (cut)

See article for photos:
http://www.jacksonholenews.com/article.php?art_id=4624

Note: The significance of this event, if it was a hydrothermal explosion, is that this sort of eruption differs from a typical geyser eruption by producing geologic changes. The presumed mechanism is sudden steam formation within rock strata perhaps due to overling changes in pressure on top of the area. Imagine a pressure cooker with the lid removed suddenly. This mechanism is used to explain Mary Bay, Indian Pond, Duck Lake, and Pocket Basin in Yellowstone park. See wikipedian "Hydrothermal Explosion"



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
May 25, 2009 10:35AM
Aren't there also unnatural hydrothermal eruptions? I'm thinking of the case where a dog ran out of a car and jumped into a hot spring (with a friend of the owner subsequently jumping in from a vain attempt to save the dog). Supposedly the mixture of assorted disassociated lipids in the hot spring later exploded.
avatar Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
May 25, 2009 12:42PM
I don't know about that. Maybe. It is not uncommon for critters to fall in,but I haven't heard about that an eruption created by organic matter. In the case you mentioned, the human got out. Don't know about the dog.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
May 25, 2009 01:55PM
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Frank Furter
I don't know about that. Maybe. It is not uncommon for critters to fall in,but I haven't heard about that an eruption created by organic matter. In the case you mentioned, the human got out. Don't know about the dog.

http://asylumeclectica.com/asylum/morbid/archives/morb1001.htm

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Ratliff's dog died in the pool and was not rescued. Oils from its body later made the hot spring have small eruptions.
Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
May 28, 2009 08:56AM
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Frank Furter
I don't know about that. Maybe. It is not uncommon for critters to fall in,but I haven't heard about that an eruption created by organic matter. In the case you mentioned, the human got out. Don't know about the dog.

Actually, the human got out but shortly later died from 3rd degree burns across his entire body and internal parts. One-half second in these springs is all it takes to quickly deliver a miserable, lingering end. I cannot imagine a more painful way to go.
avatar Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
May 28, 2009 09:07AM
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bpnjensen
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Frank Furter
I don't know about that. Maybe. It is not uncommon for critters to fall in,but I haven't heard about that an eruption created by organic matter. In the case you mentioned, the human got out. Don't know about the dog.

Actually, the human got out but shortly later died from 3rd degree burns across his entire body and internal parts. One-half second in these springs is all it takes to quickly deliver a miserable, lingering end. I cannot imagine a more painful way to go.

The guy was eventually blinded, although I think that probably took more than a half second since he managed to swim towards the dog. The reports from witnesses were that his eyes had become white. If you've ever cooked whole fish, you'll know the eyes turn into this milky white color.
Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
May 28, 2009 08:53AM
FYI, this was not a true hydrothermal explosion, but simply a somewhat rare and sporadic eruption of an actual geyser, Black Diamond Geyser. Geysers that erupt only once in awhile can appear as though an explosion, with rocks and mud integrated with the expelled hot water. This same geyser has had similar episodes since about 2006. Photographic evidence exists of other recent play by this feature.

Bruce Jensen
avatar Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
May 28, 2009 02:40PM
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bpnjensen
FYI, this was not a true hydrothermal explosion, but simply a somewhat rare and sporadic eruption of an actual geyser, Black Diamond Geyser. Geysers that erupt only once in awhile can appear as though an explosion, with rocks and mud integrated with the expelled hot water. This same geyser has had similar episodes since about 2006. Photographic evidence exists of other recent play by this feature.

Bruce Jensen

I am inclined to agree with that explanation. However, the article, which appeared to represent the opinion of some well known geologists describes the event as a hydrothermal explosion. I suppose every geyser eruption could be called a hydrothermal explosion, but in my experience, that phrase referrs to the geologic events that are postulated to explain the geology at the sites I mentioned. Confusing.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
May 29, 2009 09:20AM
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Frank Furter
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bpnjensen
FYI, this was not a true hydrothermal explosion, but simply a somewhat rare and sporadic eruption of an actual geyser, Black Diamond Geyser. Geysers that erupt only once in awhile can appear as though an explosion, with rocks and mud integrated with the expelled hot water. This same geyser has had similar episodes since about 2006. Photographic evidence exists of other recent play by this feature.

Bruce Jensen

I am inclined to agree with that explanation. However, the article, which appeared to represent the opinion of some well known geologists describes the event as a hydrothermal explosion. I suppose every geyser eruption could be called a hydrothermal explosion, but in my experience, that phrase referrs to the geologic events that are postulated to explain the geology at the sites I mentioned. Confusing.

Hi, FF - Although the story was not quite clear on this, Hank Heasler, the Park Geologist, was apparently not interviewed for the story, but instead several of his companions were the sources of the information. A number of experienced geyser enthusiasts, among them present park volunteers and former seasonal rangers, have opined that while this eruption was forceful and violent (reports of "head-sized chunks" of ejecta), the vent appears to have been undamaged. Unlike, for example, the hydrothermal explosion of Porkchop Geyser several years ago, this geyser still issues periodically from the same vent, and the geyser gazers in question have observed a number of similar eruptions over the years.

As you rightly point out, YellNP has had many hydrothermal explosion features, and also as you say, there is an eruptive continuum from gentle overflow to mighty steam blast across hundreds of acres. This play, while impressive, was reportedly still relatively mild and repeatable.

Bruce
avatar Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
May 30, 2009 07:39PM
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bpnjensen
YellNP has had many hydrothermal explosion features, and also as you say, there is an eruptive continuum from gentle overflow to mighty steam blast across hundreds of acres.

I still want to see Excelsior erupt (from a safe distance of course).

Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
June 01, 2009 09:12AM
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eeek
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bpnjensen
YellNP has had many hydrothermal explosion features, and also as you say, there is an eruptive continuum from gentle overflow to mighty steam blast across hundreds of acres.

I still want to see Excelsior erupt (from a safe distance of course).

Oh, yes, indeedy! Have you ever managed to see Giant or better yet, Steamboat?
avatar Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
June 01, 2009 09:29AM
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bpnjensen
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eeek
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bpnjensen
YellNP has had many hydrothermal explosion features, and also as you say, there is an eruptive continuum from gentle overflow to mighty steam blast across hundreds of acres.

I still want to see Excelsior erupt (from a safe distance of course).

Oh, yes, indeedy! Have you ever managed to see Giant or better yet, Steamboat?

You've already seen my Giant photo. I have about 1.5 min of video too, but I'm not sure where I can have that 80 MB file hosted.
avatar Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
June 01, 2009 12:00PM
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y_p_w
I have about 1.5 min of video too, but I'm not sure where I can have that 80 MB file hosted.

YouTube will take up to a gig.
avatar Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
June 01, 2009 06:56PM
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eeek
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y_p_w
I have about 1.5 min of video too, but I'm not sure where I can have that 80 MB file hosted.

YouTube will take up to a gig.

I'm in the process of uploading it right now. Turns out it was exactly 1:31 but 162 MB in AVI format from my digital camera.

It's taking quite a while to upload, even with a cable modem.
avatar Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
June 01, 2009 11:59AM
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bpnjensen
Have you ever managed to see Giant or better yet, Steamboat?

No, they don't cooperate much.
Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
June 02, 2009 08:19AM
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eeek
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bpnjensen
Have you ever managed to see Giant or better yet, Steamboat?

No, they don't cooperate much.

Yeah, agreed. We saw Giant twice in 2007 (an excellent year with eruptions about weekly on average - still required constant vigilance), but last year it petered out and this year it's about shot too.
avatar Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
June 02, 2009 09:55AM
Removed duplicate post.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/02/2009 10:17AM by y_p_w.
avatar Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
June 02, 2009 09:59AM
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bpnjensen
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eeek
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bpnjensen
Have you ever managed to see Giant or better yet, Steamboat?

No, they don't cooperate much.

Yeah, agreed. We saw Giant twice in 2007 (an excellent year with eruptions about weekly on average - still required constant vigilance), but last year it petered out and this year it's about shot too.

OK, here it is. YouTube went down for maintenance last night and refused to complete twice after I'd already uploaded 162 MB each time.

I didn't catch it at the peak which is up to 250 feet in the first few minutes. I was actually waiting around Grand when people started yelling that Giant was going off. It might be hitting 100-150 feet in the clip I have. This was maybe 20-25 minutes after the eruption started, but the thing erupted for (I'm guessing at least) an hour. The typical eruption is about a million gallons of water, while Old Faithful might top at about 8400 gallons if the eruption duration is around 5 minutes. The sound is much like a waterfall.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/02/2009 10:18AM by y_p_w.
Re: Hydrothermal Eruption in Yellowstone
June 03, 2009 08:23AM
Excellent Giant video, YPW, and thank you SO MUCH for holding the camera steady! :-D
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