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Geysers of the World   

Geysers of Yellowstone   



Feature Type: Geyser
Geyser/Spring Type: Cone geyser

Upper Geyser Basin
Grand and Castle Group

Rift is a small but important geyser located in the trees south of Grand Geyser. It was first seen to erupt in 1924. While dormant some years, in recent years, it has been a relatively regular performer.

Rift is often preceded by an eruption of West Triplet Geyser.

Rift erupts in a number of jets along a fissure in the sinter. In the last few years, the central portion, around the largest vents, has subsided some so that Rift now erupts through a shallow pool. This pool is present only during the eruption.

Intervals for Rift range from less than 12 hours to more than two days. Durations often last more than two hours and can last up to four hours. Heights of the tallest jets rarely reach four feet.

Because of its long duration and steady flow of water, Rift puts out a large amount of water during an eruption. In fact, some years, eruptions of Rift have been known to delay an eruption of Grand Geyser by about two hours. No one knows why this affect only seems to occur some years and not all years but when it does occur, it is highly observable.

Rift erupts from what appears to be a long dead hot spring. On examination, it is easy to see the half buried sinter rim of an old hot spring that appears to encircle Rift.

What to look for:
Rift will steam heavily prior to erupting. On windy or warm days this may not be as apparent as in quieter, cooler conditions. One can often observe the energy output shift toward the right side of the Grand complex prior to an eruption of Rift. This may include West Triplet, Percolator and many smaller vents commonly referred to as the "Sputniks" that are located in the gravel between Grand and Rift.

Electronic Monitor Files
Rift eruptions in 2002.txtRift eruptions in 2003.txt
Rift eruptions in 2004.txtRift eruptions in 2005.txt
Rift eruptions in 2006.txtRift eruptions in 2007.txt
Rift eruptions in 2008.txtRift eruptions in 2009.txt
Rift eruptions in 2010.txt 

Some of the temperature data used to derive the eruption times and durations used in this section were collected by Ralph Taylor under a National Park Service research permit, and the remainder was collected by personnel working for the Geology Department of the Yellowstone Center for Resources (including Ralph Taylor). The loggers are a combination of loggers owned by the NPS and Ralph Taylor. Analysis of the raw temperature data to extract the eruption data was performed by Ralph Taylor. The eruption time files on this website may be used provided that Yellowstone National Park is credited for the temperature data and Ralph Taylor is credited for the eruption times.

Activity Recorded by Data Logger - by Ralph Taylor  

When some additional data loggers became available in the late summer of 2002 we deployed one on Rift Geyser and one on West Triplet Geyser.

Rift Geyser is located to the south of Grand Geyser at the foot of the hill east of the Grand complex. Rift is known to be one of the interconnected geysers of the Grand Geyser complex. Other members of the complex are Grand Geyser, Turban Geyser, West Triplet Geyser, Percolator Geyser, and Vent Geyser.

The sensor for Rift is located about two meters downstream of the geyser formation in the runoff channel. Initially, I had placed the sensor in the actual geyser pool, but there were difficulties in keeping the sensor in place. The violent agitation of the water during an eruption tended to bury the thermistor in loose gravel and stones, resulting in false readings when steam escaped from the geyser between eruptions. The sensor was relocated in 2006, and since that time eruption times are in agreement with visual observations. Before relocation there were instances of eruptions being detected that were actually steam; also the eruption start and end times were inaccurate at times.

The record for Rift is complete except for a gap from 1 April to 28 June 2005 caused by a failed logger and another gap from 15 January to 27 June 2008, also caused by a failed data logger.

Activity in 2010  
The full statistics for the year are shown at Rift Geyser 2010 Statistics. A pdf of this summary is at Rift Geyser Recent Activity Summary.

The first graph shows the eruption intervals for 2010 plotted against the eruption start time and date.
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The next graph shows the intervals over the past three months.
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The next graph shows the distribution of the intervals for the current year (blue), the most recent month (maroon), and the most recent week (yellow).
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The next graph shows the durations plotted against time and date of the eruption start.
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The next graph shows the Rift Geyser eruption durations for the past three months.
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The duration distribution histogram is another look at the pattern of durations. The labels shown on the X-axis represent the upper boundary of the class, not the midpoint. The durations represented by the bars over the label 1:20, for example, represents the percentage of durations between 1h10m and 1h20m.
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The final graphs plot the duration on the X axis and the subsequent interval on the Y axis. There is a weak relationship indicated showing that longer durations tend to be followed by longer intervals. This relationship is not nearly as strong as that for Grotto or Spouter Geysers.
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Activity Since 2000  
The graph at the right shows all of the electronically recorded intervals for Rift Geyser. The long gap in the spring of 2005 resulted from a logger failure. Note the gradual decline in the intervals between 2002-3 and 2005-6, and the five-month increase in intervals during the summer and fall of 2003. Starting with the data from mid-2005 there were frequent very short intervals (less than 3 hours), which are discussed above. Also, the overall activity of Rift has remained the same since mid-2005.

In April of 2009 Rift became dormant, coincident with a dormancy of West Triplet Geyser.

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The next graph shows the moving 1-week median intervals. this graph suppresses the extreme values and gives a somewhat clearer picture of the changes, especially the increase in summer and fall of 2003.
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Another look at the long-term changes is shown by the graph of monthly interval statistics. The monthly mean and median have declined, along with maximum and minimum values.
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The next graph shows the monthly statistics for durations.
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Activity in 2009
Activity in 2008
Activity in 2007
Activity in 2006
Activity in 2005

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Please note - this site is currently under constuction. Please visit for more information.  Last update 01-29-2017

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