Oh, don’t be ridiculous! Three geyser basins can’t affect
the river that much! After all, they are really rather
minor details when you consider that the stream flows for 30 miles,
or 48 kilometers!
Let me give you an example of a single thermal feature called Excelsior
at Midway Geyser Basin. Once upon a time, Excelsior was a geyser, though
now it usually behaves as a bubbling hot spring that overflows constantly.
In the 1950s, scientists attempted to estimate how much of this runoff
entered the river. Their best guess was that between 3,000 to 4,000 gallons
of thermal water poured into the Firehole—
So what? Three or four thousand gallons is nothing compared to
the total volume of the river.
You didn’t let me finish. Scientists estimated that Excelsior spills
3,000 to 4,000 gallons of scalding water into the Firehole River every
minute of every day! I confess this is the first time I’ve
ever heard Excelsior called a minor detail!