Geysir

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GeysirMontage_600.jpg

Geysir, Haukadalur Valley, Iceland, 2010. Actually, Geysir (from which derives the English word geyser) is not so active these days; the pictures show the nearby Strokkur geyser, which erupts every 20 minutes or so. The eruption is preceded by a short-lived blue dome. The four pictures shown here are not all the same eruption. The blue dome in particular was somewhat hard to photograph.

14 Comments

Thar she blows!

There’s a small geyser in Napa County, just north of San Francisco, known as the “Old Faithful of California” or “Little Old Faithful”. The local electric utility uses some of the local geothermal energy to generate several hundred megawatts of electricity.

The “blue dome” is pretty typical of a geyser in a pool. A geyser consists of a near-vertical pipe, filled with water. Geothermal heat warms the water to the boiling temperature at the bottom of the tube, which is well above the 100 degrees C boiling point of water on a stovetop. Once the water at the bottom of the tube flashes to steam, it displaces the rest of the water in the tube upward, resulting in the “blue dome”. As this water flows away, the presssure on the rest of the water column is reduced, more water flashes to steam and the eruption occurs. Recurrence interval depends on how fast the tube refills and warms to the proper pressure-temperature conditions.

Geology teachers used to have the perfect analog to explain a geyser eruption - a coffee percolator. Now that we all use drip percolators, we don’t see it as well. Fortunately, many field camps still live in tents, cook over Coleman stoves and brew coffee the old-fashioned way - and learn about geysers by example.

Thanks! You may find a nice illustration here.

Now that we all use drip percolators, we don’t see it as well.

I forgot to add: But we get better coffee.

Just shows you that even intelligent designers need to let off some steam now and then.

Matt Young said:

Now that we all use drip percolators, we don’t see it as well.

I forgot to add: But we get better coffee.

Hard-core field geologists make “cowboy coffee”. Get the coffee pot and forget the percolator basket. Pour a half pound of coffee fill with water and boil. When a horseshoe floats, the coffee is ready. Drink it hot and black, and you are ready for the day’s field work.

Diesel submariner’s coffee:

Mount coffee maker in galley under the hydraulic valves for the snorkel mast and main induction valve. Boil coffee day and night while hydraulic oil drips into the coffee grounds.

Of course, before doing all that, make sure you have Java enabled in your browser…

If it’s not thick enough to tar a boat, the coffee’s not ready yet!

Mike Clinch said:

Geology teachers used to have the perfect analog to explain a geyser eruption - a coffee percolator. Now that we all use drip percolators, we don’t see it as well. Fortunately, many field camps still live in tents, cook over Coleman stoves and brew coffee the old-fashioned way - and learn about geysers by example.

I don’t even remember how coffee was made a century or more ago. Maybe someone can explain the process to people like me that are younger and don’t drink coffee anyway.

Dale Husband said:

Mike Clinch said:

Geology teachers used to have the perfect analog to explain a geyser eruption - a coffee percolator. Now that we all use drip percolators, we don’t see it as well. Fortunately, many field camps still live in tents, cook over Coleman stoves and brew coffee the old-fashioned way - and learn about geysers by example.

I don’t even remember how coffee was made a century or more ago. Maybe someone can explain the process to people like me that are younger and don’t drink coffee anyway.

I’m not old enough to remember stuff from a century ago, either, but am quite familiar with percolators. The Wikipedial entry on coffee percolators looked reasonably accurate. I much prefer drip brewed coffee and have recently been experimenting with cold-brewing. I fairness, “experimenting” might be too strong; at this point, it’s not really a scientific project since I haven’t yet developed a tasteable hypothesis.

On the other hand, I am actually trying things rather than speculating about what would (or did) happen, which puts me ahead of the DI.

I use a coffee siphon; the water only goes through the coffee one time, unlike a percolator, and it never gets grounds in your coffee.

According to the Wikipedia article percolators were invented by Count Rumford, who also discovered that heat is not a fluid in his cannon-boring experiments. He made other heat-related inventions. And was a Loyalist and had to leave the US after the Revolution. Very interesting man.

Poor Ol’ Pappy taught me to put in two tablespoons per cup and add the desired cups worth of water save one. Bring to a boil, move pot off fire, wait five minutes. The roiling of the boil ceases and the grinds steep. Then you add the final cup of cold water, gently. This settles out the grounds and dilutes the potent brew to human tolerance. Pour, share, enjoy.

*don’t forget to make sure the fire is all the way out before you leave camp*

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on March 7, 2011 12:00 PM.

Life from Beyond Earth on a Meteorite, or Pareidolia? was the previous entry in this blog.

Florida: This Year’s Antievolution Bill Appears is the next entry in this blog.

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