Archive for October 17th, 2009

On geysers and a caldera

geyser_in_Yellowstone.jpg

Only on rare opportunities do most of us need to spell the word “geyser.” Apparently our word comes from the name of an Icelandic geyser—Geysir—which is in the Haukadalur Valley in southern Iceland. Still, I have to think to get the spelling right, although I saw it on signs many times today!

While we were in the old caldera where Yellowstone’s geyser activity is found—apparently the greatest concentration of geysers in the world!—we saw lots of volcanic features (not cones, although the caldera is considered an active volcano), and, of course, the famous Old Faithful. Here’s what really surprised me about the old caldera: the continental divide loops into it, so that the floor of the caldera has two drainages, one to the east and one to the west. I found this counter-intuitive.

FYI: That’s the caldera rim framing the skyline to the left of the geyser.