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National Park - Old Faithful's Plumbing
of sign - Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park
taken June 2008
Old Faithful's steaming and spouting merely hint at the thermal
action below ground. After an eruption, the partially emptied
again fill with hot water. As steam bubbles rise, they clog
narrow sections of the geyser tube. Pressure and temperature
increase until steam abruptly forces its way upward, discharging
some water in preliminary splashing. This splashing apparently
enough water to start a chain reaction deep within the system.
As larger quantities of water flash into steam, the geyser
into full eruption. When the geyser tubes are nearly empty,
eruption ceases. The system then begins to refill, and the
geyser has its own unique eruption indicators. Between spoutings,
watch Old Faithful for signs of impending thermal activity.
For most of the interval, steam gently billows from Old Faithful's
cone. A few minutes before an eruption, intermittent jets of
spurt a few feet above the surface. When the spurt become
sustained and surge upward, a full eruption has begun.
average interval between Old Faithful's eruptions is growing
longer. Frequent earthquakes in and near Yellowstone may alter
underground plumbing, changing the routes of circulating
water. Vandalism - people throwing objects into Old Faithful's
also contribute to the slowdown.
No two eruptions are the same; the height and the duration
vary. Because the duration of Old Faithful's last eruption
time between eruptions, only the next discharge can be
predicted. Subsequent eruptions are impossible to predict.
on the sign
addition to the text this sign features a graphic description of how the Old
Faithful Geyser works and a picture of Old Faithful
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