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Published on Jul 16, 2009
A cartoon animation of a geyser, showing how it erupts, as well as what happens out of sight, underground. Not much is known about the details of the plumbing systems, so this is only a symbolic representation. But it does address some of the common misconceptions (including the fact that the geyser is not heated directly by "lava", but by hot deep groundwater), and shows a little of what goes on in detail (rising steam bubbles and convection warming the entire water column until it is near boiling throughout). Yes, I need to do a much better, detailed one, with a running clock, a moving P-T diagram & temperature profile, etc. Maybe someday, but for now, here's a rough approximation.
For more information (including one way to build a working model), visit my university webpage:
Special thanks to the men & women of GOSA, who observe geysers as a passion of the heart, and share both that passion and understanding with the world. Credit for the entire idea is due to my 8-year-old daughter Ellie, who wanted Daddy to build her a working geyser. Thank you, Ellie - we did it!