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Geysers of the World   

Geysers of Yellowstone   



  Clepsydra Geyser
Feature Type: Geyser
Geyser/Spring Type: Cone geyser

Lower Geyser Basin
Fountain Group

Clepsydra is a pretty geyser often erupting to 30 feet. It was named for a mythical water clock. In the early history of the park, it sometimes erupted with clock like regularity. After the 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake it went into a "wild phase". Since then it has erupted almost constantly, only occasionally stopping after an eruption of nearby Fountain Geyser.

During the spring of 2017, however, Clepsydra's behavior appears to have changed. On several occasions it was observed to be quiet and not erupting even though there had been no recent eruption of Fountain. In some cases intervals of some tens of minutes, with eruptive activity occupying roughly half of the interval, have been reported. At the same time, a steam vent opened nearby that, in late May, turned into an actual geyser, at first erupting muddy water that cleared over a few days. It's not known yet whether either this feature, or the change in eruptive pattern, will persist beyond the spring season, but Clepsydra has turned into a feature well worthy of an observer's careful attention.

What to look for:
Clepsydra is nearly unique among Yellowstone's geysers in that in most recent years (see above for the 2017 exception), the thing to look for has been a time when it is not erupting. As noted above, it is in a near-continuous state of eruption and pauses for a while only at the end of some, but not all, Fountain Geyser eruptions. If you've paused on the boardwalk to enjoy a Fountain eruption and have some time, hang around to see if Clepsydra stops, which will happen within a few minutes (either way) of the end of Fountain if it's going to happen at all. Your reward for your persistence will be a view of the particularly attractive and colorful yellow-gold geyserite that makes up Clepsydra's cone.

Click for a larger image

Click for a larger image

Clepsydra as seen from the back.

This off trail picture of Clepsydra Geyser required the permission of the National Park Service. Park visitors are not normally allowed into this area. The picture is from Life at High Temperatures by Dr. Thomas D. Brock.

Click for a larger image

Click for a larger image

Please note - this site is currently under constuction. Please visit for more information.  Last update 01-29-2017

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