Let’s Go Wait for Grand
On our recent trip to Yellowstone, one night my husband and I decided to head out to Grand Geyser after dinner – figuring we would catch a lovely evening light eruption. The evening was warm and the breeze was fairly gentle. Basically wonderful weather. As we headed down the old asphalt path that used to be the road, we noticed birds and kept our eyes out for any other wildlife we might spot. Turning at Castle Geyser, the boards clanked beneath our feet. Steam rose from all the various geysers and hot springs and floated nearly straight up with little wind to shift it around. We stopped at the Sawmill Group which was in a deep drain. Heading over to Spasmodic, it was sending up spray and steam from a vent in the main hole on the right that must be tucked into the wall of the crater closest to us. We were ready to go and enjoy Grand Geyser’s show.
But when we arrived at Grand, the crater was empty, but splasing. I know we didn’t see or hear Grand erupt from the time we left the Old Faithful Inn. Surely it hadn’t erupted while we were dining – right? I had it firmly in my mind that Grand would not have erupted so early. But you know how assumptions go – Grand Geyser had erupted. It must have – the crater was empty. Vent and Turban were in eruption. I knew it had after play eruptions at times, but I still couldn’t accept that it had erupted that early.
Grand Without Grand?
I asked another visitor who arrived just before we did if they had seen an eruption of Grand. They hadn’t, but mentioned that Vent Geyser had started right after they arrived. So, we stayed and watched. I called someone who could look up to see if anyone had already reported a Grand Geyser eruption on Geyser Times. No, nothing there. Mike mentioned that the whole thing looked like a Grand eruption with Vent and Turban joining in, but without Grand. I recorded a video of part of it – it did have a lovely rainbow. But I was confused and when we got back to the room (blasted denial), I sent an email to the Geyser Email Listserve with details.
Some of the experienced Geyser Gazers probably chuckled at my email – some likely scoffed, but a few kindly gave an explanation and some more information about this encore show – in fact, more information than I had known before. Remember, there are never any stupid questions except those that go unasked. Nobody will ever really know all there is to know and things change, so asking and sharing information is the best bet. And I’d much rather learn and risk a bit of embarrassment than to not ask and continue to wonder.
Our Survey Says…
The answers all said, watch the afterplay. It can start anywhere from a few minutes to nearly half an hour after Grand Geyser’s main eruption and go on for quite awhile. During this, Vent and Turban may restart as well. It may just be splashing like in the video, but Grand’s splashing can also build and turn into an afterburst – which can reach 100 feet tall or more. These apparently haven’t been reported in years, and likely haven’t occurred, but Grand isn’t always done after the big show.