Aug 07

Old Faithful Gets Its Name

Old Faithful was most likely discovered first by indigenous tribes well before European settlers ever arrived. But the story of Yellowstone National Park begins nearly 150 years ago, when an expedition led by Henry Washburn travelled along the Yellowstone River to see what the West held in store.

The bubbling, boiling thermal features surprised and fascinated the explorers, but none so much as the geyser they saw consistently shooting a stream of water over 100 feet into the air. When they noticed they could predict the timing of these eruptions within a few minutes, Washburn dubbed the geyser “Old Faithful” – and the rest is history!

Old Faithful was a key part of earning Yellowstone its status as the world’s first national park, as Congress was equally impressed by its beauty, power, and predictability. These days, due to earthquakes and other geologic shifts, Old Faithful’s eruptions may be spaced a bit further apart, but the geyser is just as trustworthy as ever.

We’ve gathered here three recent eruptions of the famed geyser – the last three eruptions of the day. Be sure to turn your sound up to hear visitors’ excitement and joy as Old Faithful takes off.

And don’t miss the “Predicting Old Faithful” video at the end!



Photos: Top right – Old Faithful Eruption, William Henry Jackson, 1872; Top left – Henry Washburn portrait taken by William Henry Jackson, NPS Archives, No date.