[Geysers] Fascinating Vixen

Karen Webb caros at xmission.com
Tue Jul 12 16:54:28 PDT 2016

We saw 2 consecutive eruptions on our way out of the park July 9. 
Interval was 17 minutes, but the pool seemed to be draining after the 
second (we had line of sight to Vixen for another 15-20 minutes and know 
it didn't erupt again within that time frame). Durations were 3+ minutes 
on the first eruption and 5 for the second; both built to fairly good 
height---would estimate 20 feet on the largest bursts if you counted to 
the top droplet of water. This was all "other than expected" from the 
reports I've been reading and what was in the log book at Norris (most 
reports did seem to include series where the eruptions were 2-3 minutes 
apart). Both eruptions occurred from a full but not overflowing pool, 
but we did get the almost continuous stream of bubbles in the minute or 
so before each eruption. Actually, the pool oscillated a bit at about 
the mid-point of the interval, then dropped and settled shortly before 
the bubbles started. It's not much, but I hope it helps anyone who's 
plotting data!

Karen Webb

On 7/6/2016 3:09 PM, M.A. Bellingham wrote:
> Hello Gazers -
> Late last fall I couldn't make sense of the Vixen intervals just
> before road closing, which continued through this spring.  I set out
> to learn what I could to maximize my time there, and learn the
> pre-eruptive behavior so I wouldn't have to wait around for 90 minutes
> (like waiting for Vixen prior to Oct. 2013… first gurgle is X minutes
> until eruption, and so on).
> What I found was a very interesting pattern, which is still
> continuing, with some variants, as of July 4th.
> As far as I know, Vixen has not had cyclic behavior since 1984
> (Paperiello, “Report on the Norris Geyser Basin for 1984”).  It might
> have happened - - infrequent reports calling it “erratic” might be due
> to limited observations and not seeing the 'big picture'.  We may
> never know; for example, a mention in 1927 states "some days quite
> dormant and others a spurting spit-fire." (I am going to continue
> looking at historic accounts with a new eye and see what I can find.)
> I myself have been guilty of only staying for a few hours and then
> leaving for Whirligig, but generally the behavior and intervals would
> remain consistent from week to week. Although Norris features change,
> once you figured it out, it was good for a while, so I do not think it
> has done this in the last two decades.   If you know otherwise, I
> would be happy to be wrong and have more information!
> This activity "basically" includes a rest period as the pool slowly
> fills from low in the tube, followed by an eruption from a very very
> full platform. The longest rest-refill period in these last 2 weeks
> was about one hour (shorter than it was earlier in the season). This
> is followed by a group of "medium" intervals, say 20-30 minutes,
> shortening as we go along to, for example, 15, 12, 10, 8 minute
> intervals.  At some point the bubbles indicating a pending eruption
> begin ASAP after the end of the previous and game on!  Short intervals
> continue for quite a while, about 2-5 minutes apart, depending on
> duration. Some brief duration eruptions are in the same minute, others
> are of longer duration, but the similarity is that the restart action
> begins quickly after the end of the previous.  All this time the pool
> is slowly lowering and the eruptions do not start from the full
> platform.
> In discussion with several gazers who have sat through this
> cycle with me, we haven't yet agreed on which is the start and which
> is the end of the cycle.  That's a discussion about geyser series
> behavior that we can hash out… when the roads close!!
> At this point I have seen about 1200 eruptions this season, around 20
> visits, with many “closed” sets.  Statistically, I know that isn't
> huge, but it's definitely fun once you understand the pattern.
> Stop in and see it!!  If you want to be helpful, getting data on the
> LONG intervals is, to me, more important than enjoying the frequent
> eruptions, but when those kick in, it is the fun reward for staying!
> Closed intervals are great, of course, but if you see just one (or
> none), a comment about the length of time it was NOT in eruption and
> the pool level on the platform while you were there would also
> be helpful.  During past eruption-behavior changes, good observations
> on GeyserTimes have really helped narrow down the day (or in one case,
> half a day) of when dramatic changes occurred, even if the observer
> didn't stay long.
> Help if you can, it's for the historic record.  Thanks.
> And PS!  If you want to see this, I'd get down there, you never know how long it
> will last!   It is Norris, after all.
> MA
> M.A. Bellingham
> mabellingham at gmail.com
> _______________________________________________
> Geysers mailing list
> Geysers at lists.wallawalla.edu

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