CRATER OF THE GIANT GEYSER, YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — The surface of this globe which we inhabit, compared with its diameter, is only about the thickness of the rind of an orange in proportion to its entire mass. Beyond a certain depth the earth’s temperature rapidly increases on account of the great heat of its interior. Wherever the crust on which we dwell is especially thin or weak, a portion of our planet’s pent up energies burst forth in the form of volcanoes, geysers, hot springs or earthquakes. That wonderful region now wisely reserved by our Government as a “National Park” is particularly remarkable for the number and size of its Geysers. Volcanic action here has evidently held high carnival in prehistoric ages of the past, and remnants of its furious outbursts are still seen in the almost innumerable masses of steam and water ejected from its area. Some of these geysers hurl into the air rocks and bowlders as well as water, the latter rising sometimes to a height of 200 feet. The temperature of the water is usually more than 170 degrees. One of these geysers, called “Old Faithful,” spouts regularly every hour throwing the water to the altitude of 130 feet, and holding it up by a succession of impulses for about five minutes. Another maintains its immense uplifted volume of boiling water for twenty minutes! The “Giant Geyser” has a rugged crater (outlined in this illustration), about ten feet in height and twenty-five in diameter. This is one of the most irregular of all the volcanic fountains here. It has been known to spout continuously for three and a half hours, its height varying from 90 to 200 feet. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)
On September 18, 1870 the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition entered the Upper Geyser Basin and observed geysers erupting. During their day and a half explorations, they named seven geysers in the basin, including Giant Geyser. Nathaniel P. Langford in his 1871 Scribner’s account described the Giant Geyser.
“The Giant” has a rugged crater, ten feet in diameter on the outside, with an irregular orifice five or six feet in diameter. It discharges a vast body of water, and the only time we saw it in eruption the flow of water in a column five feet in diameter, and one hundred and forty feet in vertical height, continued uninterruptedly for nearly three hours. The crater resembles a miniature model of the Coliseum. (from Wikipedia)
- The Geysers of Yellowstone, Fourth Edition
- Yellowstone’s Geysers, Hot Springs and Fumaroles (Field Guide)