Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Old Faithful of California

It seems just normal. For someone who is not fascinated by nature and its phenomenon, this is just another 'ordinary fountain'. The landscape is barren, a dry and rusty mountain in the background. Bamboos and tall pampas grass and in the middle lies a small pond with moss underneath. It looks very ordinary place until the water gushes out

Magnificent and spectacular; hot water accompanied with steam; shoots up to 60 feet in the air; around 177 degree Celsius hot. In awe, I witnessed a geothermal geyser for the first time in my life. I have always wanted to visit Yellowstone National Park or New Zealand to witness these hot springs. Never knew one existed right here in California; that also in the famous wine county of Napa valley. Thanks to my dear friend and his wife who took me there.

The backdrop of Mount St. Helena, Old Faithful towers up high in the air for a period of 2-3 minutes at regular intervals of 10-20 minutes; and then recedes. Its calm and barren all over again until it shoots out again. Its called Old Faithful because it is regular and periodic and erupts without fail.

Factors like moon, tides, barometric pressure and the tectonic stresses determine the interval and the height of the geyser shoots. These geysers can be utilized to harness geothermal power and hot thermal springs are good source of minerals that could be used for health spas and volcanic ash rich in minerals for mud bath.

They can be observed for probable earthquake occurrences. 2-14 days prior to earthquake, the geyser gives warning by delaying its regular performance to long intervals. A geyser exists only where conditions within earth's crust are right for it. Natural supply of water, heat source and series of fissures, cavities and fractures Surrounding formations of rock must be very strong to maintain the intense pressure of steam explosion.

When the water from deep within flows over the hot magma or lava waste, it boils and collects in cavities. Under ordinary conditions, the water, the heat and the underground structure remain still and constant. Thats why the water shoots out at regular intervals. Any deviation in this pattern relate to earthquake and that's how the geyser can predict  earthquakes.

We spent around an hour or so; saw 7-8 performances of the geyser. Its mystic; out of nowhere from the earth's crust, boiling water and steam erupts and then calms down. The mount St. Helena in the background is composed of 2.4 million year old volcanic rocks. The area has volcanic rocks all around, and its breath-taking and gorgeous. I felt the water in the pond, the water at the border was warm; I could guess how hot it must be at the center!

Isn't nature mystical?

The pond, behind is mount St. Helena

Geyser just started.

The height at which it shoots up

A well nearby


  1. nice pics. It is mystic:P
    Have you been witness to an Earthquake? Anything below 4 on Richter is a good experience:P

  2. the color of the sky, the mountains, surely it must be paradise...
    and to top it the spring of steam...

    i think in nz they use the associated soil for healing purposes but not sure:)

    i don't know why but i liked your well pic a lot. sort of a lovely contrast and i do love pictures of well...

  3. Simply amazing phenomenon. Must be a simply 'wow' experience!
    Lovely pics too...

  4. Ah!!1 nice. I thought the only Old faithful was at the yellowstone national park!! I always admired it. I even have a keychain and a sticker on my fridge. Good to know one exists in california too. Hav fun :)

  5. Mamma Nature sure has some awesome tricks up her sleeves... Amazing pictures.. You are one lucky person to experience all these!

  6. Lovely pictures. Beautiful background.
    Btw, loved the dog picture in your last post. Reminded me of Elliot Erwitt's dogs.

  7. Liked the geyser picture. Beautiful indeed.

  8. Just wowing at the phenomenon..Liked the way you narrated it..

    Dropped here to say yo a hi..


    Keep going on..


  9. kish,

    thanks. Yes I have witnessed an earthquake during my last trip to the Bay area. It was in October 2007; it measured 5.6 and it was a nice experience :-)

  10. WD,

    Yes it was. :-) Yeah they use the ash and the soil for healing; same here.
    This area has health spas and mud bath.

    I loved the well picture as well. Its somewhat nice :-)

  11. Shilpa,

    Yup! it is.
    I loved the experience. Thank you.

  12. Chandana,

    Thanks. You are right, even I had the same impression that they exist only in Yellowstone in USA. I was pleasantly surprised to find it here.

  13. A.K,

    I liked your statement. She has lotta such tricks. And thank you, glad you liked the pictures. I am hella lot lucky I must say. :-)

  14. Balachandran,

    Thank you. Glad you liked the pictures. Oh thanks, I loved that dog as well.
    She was cute. :-)

  15. chitra,

    thanks. Glad you liked them. Its really beautiful

  16. Tomz,

    Oh yeah!! Its phenomenal. Thank you.
    Hi hi...:-) Welcome to B Log and keep dropping by.


  17. Beautiful pictures- professional

    One of the best post from you...really liked it.

  18. this visit must have been heavenly for you - I bet..not only these, but I saw all the pics and you have got an eye for the beauty. I even mentioned which were my favourite ones :) great going.. :)))

  19. A,

    Thank you. Professional you said? i did a decent job.

    Glad you liked it.

  20. Neha,

    Oh yes!! Can you imagine my excitement?
    But I had to down play my excitement as I didnt want my hosts to think I am insane and thus behaved well :-P

    Thank you, I appreciate you seeing each of the pics in detail and also asking questions about it. It shows how much interest you took in seeing all those 250+ pictures. :-) More pictures on your way!!

  21. beautiful pics
    with narration
    make it wonderful read
    As you are traveling,working their,sure you got lot of pics if you want to make youtube video using those pics let me know I will do it.

  22. Wow! u are giving me my much needed US gyaan..:P

  23. interesting ! To say the least... !


  24. Lovely pictures with a sequence i.e., calm pond, just started geyser and full height of geyser. Lovely. It appears, you have made a circle around the pond to take all these shots. Colours in the pictures are superb.

  25. kalakitinga...!velai seiringalo ilaya... nala oora suthringa :)he he nsoi!

  26. sm,

    Thank you. Glad you liked it.
    There would be lot more pictures. Sure, I will approach you.

  27. The Blue Periwinkle,

    Welcome to B Log. :-) Thanks

  28. Naidu sir,

    Thanks a lot. Oh yes, tried to get best shots. :-)

  29. Reminds me of Himachal.
    However, here green is not luxurious, this green looks rich ;)
    Nice B Log!

  30. You must be posted there in the US to wire back such notes on the wonders and news around there. Care to think about a journalist profession besides the software?
    Good brief post.

  31. Gr8 photos..and u said it. Nature is indeed mystical..

  32. The pics with the description are awesome.

    Quite mystical..
    Never miss such experiences and do tell us about all of them.



  33. Amazing pics!
    I was reminded of our geography classes where we were taught about volcanoes, natural geysers, lava, tectonic plates and the like. The only difference is, I used to day dream in class, this one had me glued. Simply beautiful :)

  34. Interesting how some flaws below the earth's crust can create such a magnificent exterior - the calm before the storm indeed! The pond looks very serene, and when the hot water and steam erupts, you understand that all is not calm underneath. Mysterious ways of nature, but beautiful to look at. Loved those pictures. The well picture is beautiful!

  35. Absolutely! Nature is Mystical and Gorgeous. I never knew that California has hot springs. I have heard few of my friends going gaga over the beauty of the place. Just seeing your beautiful pictures prove them right. The pictures are amazing!

  36. Thank you, that was extremely valuable and interesting...I will be back again to read more on this topic.

  37. California is indeed beautiful. i went to san jose for a short trip of two weeks, so precisly have two weekends to roam around. Visited san francisco and san jose downtown only (obviously apart from shopping at Great Mall;)).Your post give me a list of few more places to visit. Thanks

  38. It looks beautiful, and I always love discovering new sights close to home!

  39. Tarun,

    Thank you. Keep visiting :-)

  40. anil,

    :-) Hahaha thank you. Yeah being here; I get more chances to roam around as this place has excellent connectivity. Wow I would want to get into travel journalist for sure. I should think about it. Thank you.

  41. Ramesh,

    Thank you. Glad you liked them.

  42. Nipun,

    Thank you. Glad you liked them. :-) I shall sure share my travel experiences with you.

  43. Destiny's child,

    thank you. Oh yeah!! Me too got reminded of geography classes. :-) I am glad that my post didnt let you day dram :-) Glad!!

  44. RGB,

    Isnt it? I wonder the same. In nature, even flaws are beautiful and not a waste. And its not calm after all as you said. Thank you.

  45. Harini,

    Yup!! Oh yeah even I did not know until now. CA is beautiful :-)

  46. neha,

    Yes it is. Oh yeah never miss the Great Mall girl. :-) Hope you get a chance to see more of the Bay area and CA sooner :-)

  47. Emily. Ruby Slipper Traveller,

    Welcome to B Log. Thank you. It was gorgeous. All the best to you, hope you discover new places more!

  48. Hi to your this one..and liked it.nice captures.I also should plan to this place..i haven't gone to a hot water spring yet.

  49. raji,

    Welcome to B Log. Thank you. Glad you liked it. You should visit a hot water spring definitely!!

  50. Hi,California is lovely and all the more is because of ur narration.awesome pictures too!

  51. Savitha,

    :-) Yup! thank you. glad you liked me narration and the pictures.

  52. Wow! I can now so imagine how nice it should be to see them! Gorgeous!

  53. Vaish,

    Yes it was mystical :)


I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!