This blog provides commentary on interesting geological events occurring around the world in the context of my own work. This work is, broadly, geological fluid dynamics. The events that I highlight here are those that resonate with my professional life and ideas, and my goal is to interpret them in the context of ideas I've developed in my research. The blog does not represent any particular research agenda. It is written on a personal basis and does not seek to represent the University of Illinois, where I am a professor of geology and physics. Enjoy Geology in Motion! I would be glad to be alerted to geologic events of interest to post here! I hope that this blog can provide current event materials that will make geology come alive.

Banner image is by Ludie Cochrane..

Susan Kieffer can be contacted at s1kieffer at gmail.com

Thursday, June 25, 2015

New Old Faithful Geyser Video available

Jim Westphal (1930-2004)
The results of a video-probe that descended into Old Faithful in 1991 are available on YouTube here (copyrighted video). My colleague in this project was the incredible experimentalist, Jim Westphal of Caltech, we were aided by long-time collaborator and Yellowstone Park geologist, Rick Hutchinson, and the efforts of the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Park Service this year made it possible to get the best possible quality video on-line. The challenges in building this probe were numerous because so little was known about the geometry of the conduit at the time. Literature reports included estimates that the conduit was over 100' long, but the most reliable estimates were smaller than that. We knew that the conduit would be dark and filled with hot steam and we knew that the probe would have to pass through a constriction only 4" in dimension, but otherwise we were descending into the unknown.  In the early 1990's, the cumbersome video equipment of previous decades had finally become small enough that we could design an ice-cooled, self-illuminating, system to lower through the constriction into the conduit.  You can see the camera and the video system as well as the conduit down to about 40' in the video. Enjoy!

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