GOSA (The Geyser Observation and Study Association)

Upper Geyser Basin

Major Geysers


There are many geysers in the Upper Geyser Basin besides those that are predicted by the Park Rangers. Some of these are among the largest in the world. Of the major geysers not predicted by the Rangers, the easiest to see throughout most of the 1990s has been Beehive Geyser and Fan and Mortar Geysers. In 1997 Giant Geyser and Splendid Geyser could also be added to this list. The frequency of these geysers could change at any moment. You will want to inquire when you get to the park to find out what their current behavior is.

[ Map ]

[ Beehive Geyser ] [ Castle Geyser ] [ Daisy Geyser ]
Fan and Mortar Geysers ] [ Giant Geyser ] [ Giantess Geyser ]
Grand Geyser ] [ Link Geyser ] [ Old Faithful Geyser ]
Riverside Geyser ] [ Splendid Geyser ]

Beehive Geyser

Beehive geyser is a cone-type geyser. Its summer-time intervals during the past few years have ranged from a little over 8 hour to about a day. a few days with most intervals around a day or less. In the winter the intervals have often become longer and more erratic.

Beehive's duration is about 5 minutes. For most of its duration, it maintains its maximum height of as much as 200 feet. Because of the fine spray-like nature of the eruption, the top of the water column is often chopped off by strong winds but the eruption is still impressive.

Beehive geyser was named by the first organized expedition into what is now Yellowstone National Park, the Washburn expedition of 1870. The name was derived from the shape of Beehive's 4 foot tall cone which the members of the expedition thought looked like an old-fashioned straw beehive.

Beehive is one of my favorite geysers. It is possible to stand closer to this geyser than any other major, frequent geyser. Up close you notice its power as the steam is forced out of its nozzle-like vent at nearly super-sonic speed. It sounds like a jet engine. At a distance you notice the beauty of its soaring veil-like plume. It is truly one of the best shows in Yellowstone.

During three seperate Sumers in the late 1990's Beehive went dormant in the Summer. At these times, Beehive's Indicator started having frequent, regular, "false indicator" eruptions. A False Indicator tends to play with an extraordinarily long duration, sometimes greater than 60 minutes, and does not result in an eruption of Beehive. These eruptions seem to take enough energy from Beehive to render that geyser dormant. Fortunately this behavior hasn't been seen for a couple years.

What to look for:

Beehive is closely related to a much smaller geyser located near Beehive's cone. This smaller geyser is called Beehive's Indicator. Beehive's Indicator will often, but not always, start erupting prior an eruption of Beehive Geyser. Usually, Beehive's Indicator gives enough warning so that anyone that sees it can make it to Beehive in time to see Beehive's eruption.

Beehive's Indicator is a cone-type geyser. It erupts from a small jagged hole about ten feet from Beehive's cone. The eruption is characterized by nearly steady jetting to 10-15 feet. If Beehive erupts, Beehive's Indicator will stop during Beehive's eruption. Beehive's Indicator often precedes Beehive by 15 to 20 minutes but can rarely precede it by as little as seconds to as much as 30 minutes.

Eruptions of Beehive's indicator do not always preceded an eruption of Beehive. Rarely in the past few years but more frequently at times in the past, Beehive has been known to erupt without being preceded by the indicator. Prior to all eruptions of Beehive, Beehive splashes. In a no-Indicator eruption, the eruption of Beehive is triggered by an exceptionally large splash from its cone.

Another type of Indicator eruption is termed a "False Indicator" ereuption. The term "false Indicator" is applied to erputions of Beehive's Indicator Geyser that do not result in an eruption of Beehive. False indicators look similar to a normal indicator eruptions (they may be somewhat weaker) but they last longer, as much as 60 minutes, instead of the normal maximum of about 25-30 minutes. False Indicators occur at about the time Beehive is expected to erupt but they do not not result in an eruption of Beehive. Prior to 1992, False Indicators were usually followed a few hours later by a normal Indicator eruption that resulted in an eruption of