Western Trips

Friday, June 1, 2012

Geyser in California Video / Calistoga

california geyser
California Geyser erupting
Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga California is a wonder in the midst of the Napa Valley wine country. While many of us are well aware of Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park, there's a great natural wonder right in the middle of beautiful Napa Valley that attracts thousands of tourists annually. There's a total of three geysers in the world named Old Faithful. Your Napa Valley vacation or day road trip really wouldn't be complete with out a stop at Old Faithful in Calistoga. As a side note, Calistoga California has long been a destination of tourists for their natural hot springs baths. The history goes back to the local Indians who would travel to Calistoga for the healthful mineral water.

Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga California has it's name for a reason. The geyser erupts about every thirty to forty minutes and spews a column of water in the air about 60 to 100 feet high. Old faithful at Yellowstone National Park erupts anywhere from about one hour to two hour intervals. The eruptions are the result of underground water passing over hot magma which heats the water to past boiling temperatures. The water actually comes from an underground river. Similar to boiling water in a steam engine, the super heated water builds up pressure and when the pressure reaches a certain point the eruption occurs. The eruption is the underground pressure being released through fissures and fractures in the surface.

calistoga geyser
Steam being vented before geyser eruption
So how does the Old Faithful Geyser in California relate to earthquakes? The relationship has proven to be as a predictor of earthquakes.As we mentioned, Old Faithful is exactly as the name implies by erupting every thirty or forty minutes. It has been observed by scientists that when this pattern is interrupted and the geyser's schedule of eruption changes, an earthquake is likely to occur within the next few weeks within a large radius from the geyser. The radius is about 500 miles. The exact correlation between the geyser activity and earthquake activity is an ongoing study. There apparently is still a lot to learn. Currently there are sensors and devices set up at Old Faithful which will relay the eruption data to scientists elsewhere which with other data can determine tectonic shifts. This is all used for trying to predict earthquakes.

Jacobs Four Horned Sheep
At the site of Old Faithful in Calistoga, there's a wealth of fun for the entire family. The surroundings are ideal for a family picnic. In addition to viewing the geyser erupting every half hour or so, there's some interesting animals for all to see. Tennessee Fainting Goats, llamas and Jacob's Four Horned Sheep are great to view and photograph.

The location of California Old Faithful is 1299 Tubbs Lane, Calistoga, CA. This is about three miles north of the Calistoga downtown area. The geyser is just east of California Hwy 128.

Two additional articles with photos we have written and that make excellent northern California wine country destinations are The First Winery in Sonoma County and a visit to the Sonoma Mission in Sonoma California. Below is a video of the California Geyser erupting.

There are many other fun stops all around Calistoga including Chateau Montelena winery, about two miles from the city center and Indian Springs Spa right in town and popular for their mud baths. Add the Sharpsteen Museum to your Napa Valley wine country vacation planner. The Sharpsteen Museum presents a complete collection of Calistoga California history. Included is an exhibit depicting the original Hot Springs Resort, a general store of the early period and much more.

(Photos are from author's private collection)

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