Beehive geyser is a cone-type geyser. Its summer-time intervals during the past few years have ranged from a little over 8 hour to about a day. a few days with most intervals around a day or less. In the winter the intervals have often become longer and more erratic.
Beehive's duration is about 5 minutes. For most of its duration, it maintains its maximum height of as much as 200 feet. Because of the fine spray-like nature of the eruption, the top of the water column is often chopped off by strong winds but the eruption is still impressive.
Beehive Geyser was named by the first organized expedition into what is now Yellowstone National Park, the Washburn expedition of 1870. The name was derived from the shape of Beehive's 4 foot tall cone which the members of the expedition thought looked like an old-fashioned straw beehive.
Beehive is one of my favorite geysers. It is possible to stand closer to this geyser than any other major, frequent geyser. Up close you notice its power as the steam is forced out of its nozzle-like vent at nearly super-sonic speed. It sounds like a jet engine. At a distance you notice the beauty of its soaring veil-like plume. It is truly one of the best shows in Yellowstone.
During three seperate Summers in the 1990's Beehive went dormant (1992 and 1994) or became irregular (1998) for part of the Summer. At these times, Beehive's Indicator started having frequent, regular, "false indicator" eruptions. A False Indicator tends to play with an extraordinarily long duration, sometimes greater than 60 minutes, and does not result in an eruption of Beehive. In late-August 2010 frequent False Indicator eruptions also occurred, with resulting irregularity of Beehive.
From a distance you notice Beehive's size and beauty, up close you are overwhelmed by its power. Either observation point is inspiring.
Beehive is one of the tallest geysers in Yellowstone. Its fine, veil-like plume has been measured to 218 feet. Because of the fine nature of the plume, the top is often knocked down by strong winds but its 5 minute eruption is always one of the highlights of the Upper Geyser Basin.
Beehive erupts from a 4 foot tall, smooth sided cone that reminded the early Washburn Expedition of 1870 of an old fashioned straw beehive. Hence, the name. Beehive erupts from a small vent at the top of the cone. This 4 inch by 10 inch hourglass shaped vent acts as a nozzle, powerfully propelling the water and steam at great velocity to its airy height. When you are standing on the boardwalk near the eruption, you feel and hear the its power. The eruption sounds like a jet engine.
For much of the past few years, Beehive has erupted at least once per day. Unfortunately, Beehive has been known to go dormant at times.
If you want to see Beehive, and I highly recommend it, there are two things you should do when you get to the Upper Geyser Basin. First, go to the Old Faithful Visitor Center and ask about Beehive. Find out how often it is playing and when it was last seen. Second, keep an eye out for Beehive's Indicator Geyser. Near Beehive's cone is a small 10 to 15 foot geyser called Beehive's Indicator. Usually, this small geyser starts 10 to 25 minutes prior to an eruption of Beehive. Rarely, Beehive starts without the indicator. On some very rare occasions during the past few years the indicator has erupted without Beehive responding but this is quite rare. While you are at the Visitor Center, also ask about Beehive's Indicator to get current information to learn how to spot it.
|Beehive is closely related to a much smaller geyser located near Beehive's cone. This smaller geyser is called Beehive's Indicator. Beehive's Indicator will often, but not always, start erupting prior an eruption of Beehive Geyser. Usually, Beehive's Indicator gives enough warning so that anyone that sees it can make it to Beehive in time to see Beehive's eruption.
Beehive's Indicator is a cone-type geyser. It erupts from a small jagged hole about ten feet from Beehive's cone. The eruption is characterized by nearly steady jetting to 10-15 feet. If Beehive erupts, Beehive's Indicator will stop during Beehive's eruption. Beehive's Indicator often precedes Beehive by 15 to 20 minutes but can rarely precede it by as little as seconds to as much as 30 minutes.
Eruptions of Beehive's indicator do not always preceded an eruption of Beehive. Rarely in the past few years but more frequently at times in the past, Beehive has been known to erupt without being preceded by the indicator. Prior to all eruptions of Beehive, Beehive splashes. In a no-Indicator eruption, the eruption of Beehive is triggered by an exceptionally large splash from its cone.
Another type of Indicator eruption is termed a "False Indicator" ereuption. The term "false Indicator" is applied to erputions of Beehive's Indicator Geyser that do not result in an eruption of Beehive. False indicators look similar to a normal indicator eruptions (they may be somewhat weaker) but they last longer, as much as 60 minutes, instead of the normal maximum of about 25-30 minutes. False Indicators occur at about the time Beehive is expected to erupt but they do not not result in an eruption of Beehive. Prior to 1992, False Indicators were usually followed a few hours later by a normal Indicator eruption that resulted in an eruption of Beehive