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Geysers of the World   

Geysers of Yellowstone   



  Lone Pine Geyser
Feature Type: Geyser
Geyser/Spring Type:

West Thumb Geyser Basin
Lake Shore Group

Lone Pine Geyser is is currently the largest frequent geyser at West Thumb Geyser Basin. It is located a few hundred yard north of the main boardwalk portion of the basin. Between the road and Yellowstone Lake. Its picturesque appearance and unexpected location along the lake often leads to traffic jams during its eruptions.

Lone Pine is a cone-type geyser. Eruptions can reach 75 feet in height. Currently (mid-2010) it is somewhat predictable, with intervals usually between 24-27 hours. Unfortunately for most of 2010 eruptions have occurred during nighttime hours. Durations are about twenty minutes.

What to look for:
Major eruptions start from a full, overflowing pool. There is little warning before the eruption. Only slight bubbling and convection currents can be seen over the vent. A few minutes before the eruption, the boiling increases and then the eruption starts. Minor eruptions can occur an hour or two after the major eruption. These eruptions start from an apparently empty crater and last about five minutes. The pool refills and begins quietly overflowing 4-5 hours after the major eruption. The occurrence of minors does not seem to affect the refill rate significantly. Once full, the pool overflows quietly until the next eruption.

Electronic Monitor Files
Lone Pine eruptions for 1997.txtLone Pine eruptions for 1998.txt
Lone Pine eruptions for 1999.txtLone Pine eruptions for 2000.txt
Lone Pine eruptions for 2001.txtLone Pine eruptions for 2002.txt
Lone Pine eruptions for 2003.txtLone Pine eruptions for 2004.txt
Lone Pine eruptions for 2005.txtLone Pine eruptions for 2006.txt
Lone Pine eruptions for 2007.txtLone Pine eruptions for 2008.txt
Lone Pine eruptions for 2009.txtLone Pine eruptions for 2010.txt
Lone Pine eruptions for 2011.txt 

Some of the temperature data used to derive the eruption times and durations used in this section were collected by Ralph Taylor under a National Park Service research permit, and the remainder was collected by personnel working for the Geology Department of the Yellowstone Center for Resources (including Ralph Taylor). The loggers are a combination of loggers owned by the NPS and Ralph Taylor. Analysis of the raw temperature data to extract the eruption data was performed by Ralph Taylor. The eruption time files on this website may be used provided that Yellowstone National Park is credited for the temperature data and Ralph Taylor is credited for the eruption times.

Activity Recorded by Data Logger - by Ralph Taylor  

A data logger has been deployed at Lone Pine Geyser since July of 1997. From then to the winter of 2002-3 the electronic record only contains June-September data. The record since the summer of 2002 is complete except for a gap from early 2004 to 21 July 2004 caused by a logger failure. During the summer months data is recorded every minute; during the winter months data is recorded every three minutes.

During winter (about December to March) ice formation sometimes makes eruptions difficult or impossible to detect. Some eruptions leave only a one or two degree Celsius rise in temperature in the record; others are undoubtedly missed completely.

The sensor for Lone Pine is located in a runoff channels about five meters from the edge of the pool and about ten meters from the pool along the stream. The sensor easily detects the temperature rise from the initial overflow wave at the eruption start but does not record the actual eruption duration as the water is sprayed far into the air and does not follow the runoff channel.

Activity in 2011  
The overall statistics for 2011 are shown at Lone Pine Geyser 2011 Statistics. A pdf of this summary is at Lone Pine Geyser Recent Activity Summary.

The activity of Lone Pine Geyser in 2011 to date is shown in the graph at the right. The blue line shows all of the eruption intervals and the yellow line shows the 1-week moving median interval. The graphs for the current year are not updated from October to June but are updated weekly from June to the end of September.
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The second graph expands the time line for the past three months. Lone Pine's intervals were over 24 hours for much of the winter but have dropped to below 24 hours (for most intervals) through the spring months.
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The next graph shows Lone Pine's intervals for the month before the last download.
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The next graph shows the interval distribution for 2011. The width of the peak shows the uncertainty in intervals. Blue shows the intervals for the whole year to date, maroon shows the previous month, and yellow the previous week. Note that in this and the other histograms displayed here the labels shown on the X-axis represent the upper boundary of the class, not the midpoint. Geyser times are traditionally truncated. The graph at the right has class widths of 60 minutes. The bar appearing above the label "22:00," for example, contains intervals from 21h01m through 22h00m.
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The year to date interval statistics for 2011 are summarized in the graph at the right.
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For much of the summer of 2010 Lone Pine had a strong preference for nighttime eruptions. The graph at the right shows the percentage of all eruptions that occurred in each hour. As of June 2011 the eruptions have been scattered through the day and nighttime hours.
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Activity since 1997  
One way to present the eruption interval data is to graph the interval as a function of time. The graph shown at the right shows all of the electronically recorded intervals since 1997.
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The interval graph shows the large variation in interval from one eruption to the next. A better idea of the change in intervals over time can be seen from the graph of the 1-week moving median intervals, shown at the right. From both graphs the sharp drop in intervals from late winter of 2002 to about June of 2002 shows clearly. The large increase in intervals starting in November 2002 is believed to be caused by the Denali earthquake. At the time the Lone Pine intervals increased and became more erratic, nearby Occasional Geyser reactivated, and possibly has contributed to the increased Lone Pine intervals.
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Activity in 2010
Activity in 2009
Activity in 2008

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

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