Volcanic Springs

Geysers, Hot Springs,
Mud Pots, and Fumaroles

Upper Geyser Basin, Cascade Group and Westside Group

On the way from Morning Glory Pool to Biscuit Basin you hike through the Cascade Group. The first and most important geyser along the trail is Artemisia Geyser. It got its name from the appearance of the widespread geyserite lining, whose color resembles the grayish-green of the sagebrush Artemisia tridentata. Artemisia's interval ranges between 9 and 34 hours. Eruptions last up to half an hour and reach 9 m (30 feet) height in maximum.

Artemisia Geyser erupting and quiet (roll mouse over picture):

Artemisia Geyser Yellowstone

Artemisia Geyser
Beyond Artemisia the two small cones of Atomizer Geyser can be spotted. Its play is quite complex. Some hours after an overflow three to five minor eruptions occur about one hour apart, reaching up to 9 m (30 feet) height. 15 min to one hour after the last minor, the major eruption starts from the west cone, jetting a fine spray of water through a narrow aperture up to 15 m (50 feet) and lasting approximately 10 minutes. Meanwhile the smaller east cone does only emit steam. The interval between major eruptions is typically near 15 hours.

Atomizer Geyser, east cone in front, west cone in background:

Atomizer Geyser Yellowstone

Atomizer Geyser Yellowstone

Atomizer Geyser starting:

Atomizer Geyser Yellowstone

Atomizer Geyser Yellowstone

Atomizer Geyser in eruption:

Atomizer Geyser Yellowstone

Atomizer Geyser Yellowstone
Upslope of Artemisia Geyser the trail gives access to the rusty orange Iron Spring and its quite similar neighbor. (Edit 2017: the path to Iron Spring has been closed to public access)

Iron Spring:

Iron Spring Yellowstone

Iron Spring Yellowstone

Spring next to Iron Spring:

Spring next to Iron Spring Yellowstone

150 m (165 yards) farther north the next cluster of springs around Gem Pool appears. Gem Pool itself is a deep blue, gorgeous spring, which is very well named.

Gem Pool:

Gem Pool Yellowstone

Gem Pool Yellowstone
The quiet Pinto Spring in direct vicinity discharges into Gem Pool.

Pinto Spring:

Pinto Spring Yellowstone

Pinto Spring Yellowstone
Sprite Pool, a few feet to the north, is an intermittent spring, showing weak splashing occasionally.

Sprite Pool:

Sprite Pool Yellowstone

Sprite Pool Yellowstone
The Continental Divide Trail between Daisy Group and Biscuit Basin provides the closest approach to those features of Cascade Group that line Firehole River and also to thermal features across the river, which are belonging to Westside Group. Here the meaning of "close" is relative because the trail always keeps a quite large distance to the features while the thermal groups themselves are closed to public access. So observation possibilities are limited to the rims of some springs you can spot from the shoulder of the trail and to eruption columns of geysers in this area, if you are lucky enough to witness an eruption.

View to Westside and Cascade Groups from the Continental Divide Trail:

Westside and Cascade Group Yellowstone

Westside and Cascade Group Yellowstone
The only feature next to the trail is the unnamed blue-green pool UWGNN009.

Pool UWGNN009:

Westside Group Yellowstone

Across Firehole River an extended steam plume indicates the position of Seismic Geyser on top of the slope. It was created by the Hebgen Lake earthquake in 1959 and played up to 23 m (75 feet) high up until 1971, when a satellite vent opend up and the eruptions declined and finally ceased in the 1980s. Now Satellite Geyser owns the much larger pool in center, Seismic Geyser is located on its southeast side (on the picture to its right) and on the northeast side the pool of Aftershock Geyser adjoins.

Steam plumes of Aftershock Geyser, Satellite Geyser and Seismic Geyser (from left to right):

Aftershock Geyser, Satellite Geyser and Seismic Geyser Yellowstone

Aftershock Geyser, Satellite Geyser and Seismic Geyser Yellowstone
One of the most interesting geysers of the Westside Group, Fantail Geyser, lies down the slope a few feet above the water level of Firehole River and is hard to spot. If it would be accessible, the terraced arrangement of blue pools, each surrounded by delicate, beaded geyserite rims, would make a great photo motif. The picture below, taken with a long telephoto lens, does no justice to the beautiful setting. In this case a view from above, for example by using Google Maps, gives a better impression of the arrangement. Fantail Geyser had major eruptions from two vents up to a height of 23 m (75 feet) during the 1980s.

Fantail Geyser splashing:

Fantail Geyser Yellowstone

Fantail Geyser Yellowstone
A short way downstream on the east bank of Firehole River the bulged vent of Broken Cone Geyser can be seen. It plays only a few feet high at irregular intervals.

Broken Cone Geyser:

Broken Cone Geyser Yellowstone

Broken Cone Geyser Yellowstone

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