@myvmission / @TheConqueror, flotsam

Virtual Yellowstone: sites unseen IRL

When my folks and I went to Yellowstone a couple of years ago, the one thing we didn’t really get to see was the Great Prismatic Spring.

I mean, we went there. We walked around it. So we physically saw it. Or the edges of it, anyway.

But it was a cold morning, fogged over in general and from the heat emanating from the spring and other geothermal activity in the area.

So we could see the surrounding tendrils of orange and red, but the inward yellows and then blues were not visible.

We realized that in the afternoon of the prior day, when we were exhausted and the traffic to get into the Midway Geyser Basin was jam-packed and unmoving and generally more than we were up to dealing with, was exactly when it’s best to see the Spring in full color.

Alas, we did not see it in all its glory, in person.

The Conqueror sent us a nice postcard as we virtually passed by, though.

Not the same. Not nearly the same.

For what it’s worth, we were able to mostly see the Excelsior Geyser crater. It’s completely massive in size. It was dormant when we were there ( the postcard says it generally is) but knowing how big it is IRL makes this notation quite impressive:

Lastly, I stopped by the Excelsior Geyser, a dormant geyser crater which today is a hot spring but back in the late 1800s, it would erupt to heights of about 300ft (91m) and just as wide. It used to erupt every 2 mins to 5 hours and lasted anywhere from 1-3.5 minutes. Dormant most of the 20th century, the Excelsior suddenly erupted in 1985 for two days straight, as high as 80ft (24m) and between 2004-2006 it did once more with eruptions up to 10ft (3m). For now, it's back to being dormant. 

I truly hope all that geothermal activity at Yellowstone is acting as a pressure release valve on the supervolcano underneath. Otherwise we are all pretty much screwed.

Anyway, I have another day of steps to try to get in. Off I go…

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