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  Big Anemone Geyser
Feature Type: Geyser
Geyser/Spring Type: Fountain geyser

Basin
Upper Geyser Basin
Complex
Geyser Hill

[Anemone Geyser Description provided by Steve Gryc.]

Anemone Geyser's frequent eruptions should make this feature one of your first stops as you walk around Geyser Hill. Anemone has two vents. (There was a third vent but it is now filled with gravel and can't be seen). The vent closest to the boardwalk is the larger of the two and is informally referred to as "Big" or "North" Anemone. The vent is a round, shallow, funnel-shaped crater delicately colored with pastel pink, orange, and yellow. The spiny sinter deposits in the crater may have reminded the namer of this geyser of a sea anemone, though the round shape and colors remind this writer of the anemone flower. The larger vent gives rise to the larger eruption, though its eruptions are most often much briefer than those from the smaller vent. You can hear the water rise in Big Anemone before it quickly fills the crater and begins its bursting action. The eruption is brief, usually between 25 and 45 seconds, and quickly builds to a maximum height of about 6 to 8 feet. After the eruption the water quickly drains from sight, often with an amusing sucking or gurgling sound. Intervals between eruptions average between 6 and 10 minutes, though long eruptions from the smaller vent often have the effect of lengthening this interval.

The smaller vent, referred to as the "Little" or "South" Anemone, is colored a pale yellow and is similar in shape to the larger vent. The play from Little is considerably less vigorous than that from Big. but the eruption often lasts much longer. Splashing rarely exceeds 4 feet and is frequently less. Occasionally the splashing will stop briefly and then resume. Sometimes Little will fill and drain without erupting. Little's durations and intervals vary more than Big's. Durations of under a minute and over a half hour have been observed with intervals varying between 6 to 35 minutes.

The relation between the two vents is dynamic, and geyser gazers have noted several different modes of eruption between them. Long eruptions of Little can delay action in Big. After the Hebgen Lake earthquake of 1959, constant eruptions of Little caused Big to become dormant for a time. In recent years Big has dominated the action. During some seasons an eruption of Big will be quickly followed by an eruption of Little. At other times there will be several eruptions of Big each hour with one or two intervening longer eruptions of Little. The two vents can overlap eruptions; usually Little will start such dual eruptions with Big adding its normal short eruptions within a minute of Little's start. In dual eruptions Little's duration is usually between 3 and 4 minutes which is shorter than its normal solo eruptions.

Anemone Geyser is small and unspectacular, but its frequency and interesting patterns of eruption, along with its attractive craters, make it a worthwhile object of attention.

Anemone is one of the easiest geysers to see in the Upper Geyser Basin. There is usually an eruption here every 10 minutes or so. Albeit, these eruptions are small but they can teach you a lot about the workings of a geyser. Anemone is a good place to start when exploring the geyser basin.


Anemone consists of two vents that often play independently. The front, or north vent is often called Big Anemone and the back or south vent is often called Little Anemone. Big Anemone usually erupts every 7 to 10 minutes for about 45 seconds to a height of about 10 feet. Little Anemone usually erupts every 20 to 35 minutes for up to 10 minutes to a height of about 5 feet.

At Anemone, it is easy to view the normal cycle of a geyser's eruption. First, the water starts to rise in the vent. On some geysers this rise is slow on others it is fast. Next, the water begins to overflow. Some geysers do not require this step, others require a long period of overflow. Then, the geyser erupts. The eruption can end in two ways. At Anemone, the geyser runs out of steam before it runs out of water. When the energy is depleted, the steam that is driving the eruption collapses back into liquid water. This sucks the water at the surface vent back down into the plumbing system of the geyser to be reheated for the next eruption. At anemone, the suction caused by the collapsing steam is fairly strong causing a sucking sound when the water is pulled down the vent. In other geysers where the water runs out before the steam, the geyser will have a steam phase where it is mainly steam emitted from the vent with very little water. Castle is a good example of a geyser with a steam phase.


What to look for:
At Anemone, it is easy to view the normal cycle of a geyser's eruption. First, the water starts to rise in the vent. On some geysers this rise is slow on others it is fast. Next, the water begins to overflow. Some geysers do not require this step, others require a long period of overflow. Then, the geyser erupts. The eruption can end in two ways. At Anemone, the geyser runs out of heat energy before it runs out of water. When the energy is depleted, the steam that is driving the eruption collapses back into liquid water. This sucks the water at the surface vent back down into the plumbing system of the geyser to be reheated for the next eruption. At anemone, the suction caused by the collapsing steam is fairly strong causing a sucking sound when the water is pulled down the vent that sounds similar to the flushing of a toilet. In other geysers where the water runs out before the steam, the geyser will have a steam phase where it is mainly steam emitted from the vent with very little water. Castle is an example of a geyser with a steam phase.







Anemone_3.wav
This is an audio clip of the start of an eruption of Big Anemone Geyser. You can hear it start slowly and build in strength.
Audio recorded by Steve Gryc

Click for a larger image
 



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