Extremities:  Geology and Life in Yellowstone and Implications for Other Worlds

GREAT FOUNTAIN GEYSER

The Great Fountain geyser is one of Yellowstone's highlights. It erupts as regularly as Old Faithful, though its plume is not so tall. On the other hand, its circular pool and silica palisades are much more artful than Old Faithful's mound. Great Fountain geyser has a supporting role in a TV commercial for Nexium©, a medicine for acid reflux disease. Great Fountain is not a particularly good analogy for heartburn, because its water is not acidic. Mud Volcano would have been better.


Collage of GF Pool

Great Fountain Pool, waiting for the eruption. The vent is at the center of the circles, which are silica sinter deposited out of the hot waters. Palisades of mineral deposits are nearly ubiquitous at hot springs and geysers — we saw smaller palisades of silica at Grand Prismatic spring, and palisades of calcium carbonate at Canary Springs (Mammoth).
     
While we waited for Great Fountain, White Dome Geyser erupted for us.
  
Great Fountain Erupts

While we waited for Great Fountain, White Dome Geyser erupted for us.
  
Great Fountain erupts!

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Last updated Nov. 15, 2002.
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