There is an old saying about nature, “the only constant is change.” There are not many places where that is more true than here at Biscuit Basin. The basin was named for the sinter deposits that were in some of the hot springs prior to the Hebgen Lake earthquake in 1959.
One of those hot springs, Sapphire Pool, was famous for biscuit shaped deposits and clear blue water. Immediately following the earthquake, Sapphire Pool’s water clouded-up and began to boil. Weeks later, Sapphire started having powerful geyser eruptions that broke any remaining biscuits away. It wasn’t until 1971 that the water in Sapphire Pool cleared.
Today, Jewel Geyser is the most regular geyser in the basin. With frequent small eruptions that come every few minutes, Jewel can have burst of 40 feet or more.
The ever changing thermal activity reaches well beyond the basin. The changing features cause the amount and direction of the thermal runoff to change. When this silica laden water flows into forested patches it kills the trees. Called, “bobby-socks trees,” for their white bases, these trees take decades to decay.
Most summers, rangers from the Old Faithful Visitor Center lead hikes to Mystic Falls that begin right here at the bridge leading into the basin. The 2 mile roundtrip hike weaves through an area that burned in 1988. It is possible to find at least 5 different tree species that have begun to reestablish between the geyser basin and the falls.
This is Black Diamond Pool behind me. In 2006, a series of powerful eruptions occurred here. The only certainty pertaining to Biscuit Basin is that it will continue to change. Spend some time here and you might be amazed at the changes you see from one visit to the next.