The plumbing of Old Faithful Geyser revealed by hydrothermal tremor

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Abstract

[1] Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park (USA) has attracted numerous scientific investigations for over two centuries to better understand its geological structure, the physics of its eruptions, and the controls of its intermittency. Using data acquired with a seismic array in 1992, we track the sources of hydrothermal tremor produced by boiling and cavitation inside the geyser. The location of seismic sources identifies a previously unknown lateral cavity at 15 m below the surface, on the SW side of the vent, and connected to the conduit. This reservoir is activated at the beginning of each geyser eruption cycle and plays a major role in the oscillatory behavior of the water level in the conduit before each eruption.

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