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Yellowstone National Park

Castle Geyser


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Castle Geyser in Yellowstone National Park

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Castle Geyser

Castle Geyser is a very old geyser. Estimates put the age of its 12 foot high cone at 5,000 to 15,000 years. It would take that long to build such a large cone. Even more remarkable is that Castle's cone sits on top of an even more massive sinter formation deposited by an even earlier spring. Castle is a cone-type geyser. Its interval is usually between 9 and 11 hours. Its maximum height is 60 to 90 feet. The 20 minute water phase of a major eruption is followed by a 40 minute steam phase. During the steam phase, the eruption mainly consists of forced steam with very little water (see the picture). The first 10 to 15 minutes of the steam phase is relatively forceful and fairly loud and interesting to hear. As with most steam phases, the change from water to steam is gradual and an exact time for the change can rarely be noted. Castle occasionally has minor eruptions which last only a few minutes. These minors start similarly to the major eruptions but abruptly stop after a few minutes. When this happens, Castle becomes unpredictable until it has its next major eruption.

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