[Geysers] Fan and Mortar history

Michael Goldberg goldbeml at ucmail.uc.edu
Thu Dec 22 10:09:48 PST 2011

Dear Gary,

I'm not sure I have anything original to say on the subject after the 
other responses.  Never the less...

For the majority of geyser enthusiasts, I think that main goal of keeping 
eruption records is to become a better informed tourist.  My favorite 
comparison here is to tornado-chasing -- there's an ephemeral and wondrous 
natural phenomenon we would like to witness.  Observing patterns and 
connections gives us the best chance. [Clarification: I am not a tornado 
chaser. Unless one counts watching the Weather Channel once in a while.]

Tornadoes and geysers are also both sort of a microcosmos within a much 
larger complex system.  I imagine that the formation (or not) of a tornado 
within a discrete supercell has little effect on the meteorology of a cold 
front roiling an unstable air mass over hundreds of miles.  I certainly 
think the eruptive pattern of F&M tells us nothing about the greater 
hydrologic system (except that high river levels seem to quench activity 
in the Spring).

The event we've traveled to Yellowstone to see is too small to register in 
any big-picture view of the Park's ecosystem, hydrology, and volcanic 
history.  Even so it is still larger than life.

Fan and Mortar gets singled out for attention becuse it is in effect the 
charismatic megafauna of the geyser basin.  Someone with a week to spend 
in the Park and the determination to see a large and powerful specimen has 
reasonable hope of catching an F&M eruption.  For brief periods of time 
the same could be said of Giant Geyser, or of Steamboat.  We have pages of 
observation from these eras that are now gathering dust but one hopes they 
will be a useful guide the next time those features re-activate.

As a matter of perspective, I have spent no more than 20 days in 
Yellowstone in the past decade and will be lucky to equal that in the 
decade to come.  It is far beyond my means to maintain an intimate 
familiarity with all the Park's wonders and the scope of its natural (and 
human) history.  Keeping track of a few geysers is all I can really 
manage.  Fan and Mortar just happen to be a couple of my nearest and 
dearest friends in the geyser world.  I hope they will be there to greet 
me the next time come to visit.

I also hope my next visit is in 2012.

Based on F&M's recent history of 1-2 year dormant spells, I expect to be 
disapppointed one way or ther other.

Michael Goldberg
Michael.Goldberg at uc.edu

On Wed, 21 Dec 2011, Goh83642 at wmconnect.com wrote:

> Hi Tara, Michael, and all you gazers,
>   I have read a few of your logs and blogs about F&M and a question that
> comes to me is:  Over the history of the past 650,000 years and the volcanic
> activity of Yellowstone Park area, and the eons of time ahead of us, of what
> importance is the 10, 15, 25 years of sparatic activity and history of one
> geyser got to do with our knowledge or understanding of the region?  Other
> than collecting and applying statistics to the historical data, will you,
> with what probability, be able to predict the activity over the next 1, 5, 10
> years or more?  What is the destination or goal of your study?
>    I love Yellowstone Park, the geyser activity, the wildlife, the beauty
> of the entire region.  I have visited the Park over 200 times in my fifty
> plus years of "going to Yellowstone", follow the earthquake activity, winter
> snow fall, webcams, etc., but can't for the life of me figure out why the
> efforts that are put into tracking one F&M geyser?
>   I would like to obtain more information as to the knowledge that is hope
> to gain from all of this data?
>   Gary Henderson - Meridian, Idaho</HTML>
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