Cascade Geyser after many years of dormancy was seen again for the first time January 9, 1998. The first eruptions seen were muddy in nature implying that the geyser had recently reactivated. At this time, intervals were 3 to 4 minutes, durations were 19 to 23 seconds and heights were measured at 30 to 45 feet. Eruptions were in a series of bursts described as looking like an abnormally tall, long-lasting, one-burst Plume eruption. The last known eruption occured in mid-October 1998.
Cascade is located near the edge of Geyser Hill at the edge of a steep precipice over the Firehole River. It is named for the cascade of water which falls into the river during an eruption.
During this most recent activity, researchers examining the geyser at close range, with NPS oversight, noted that:
"There are two vents in the crater but the eruptions seemed to issue only from the one nearer the river. Water was 2 1/2 to 3 m[eters] below overflow during the quiet period, rising some before the eruption, but remaining well below overflow even during the eruption. The cascade of water into the river results from vertical splashes falling back to the crater rim and spilling over."
Eruptions continued into June 1998 but as time passed, intervals increased from the 3 to 4 minutes seen in January. A report from March 16, 1998 indicated intervals ranged from 11 to 19 minutes and heights were 15-20 feet with occasional spikes of 25 to 40 feet. By late Spring, Cascade had become erratic until it finally fell dormant again in June. Historically, Cascade has only been active for a few months with the interval increasing until the geyser finally falls dormant again.
The following history of Cascade Geyser was compiled by Rocco Paperiello.
1886-1887, & 1889:
Apparently Cascade was active 1886-87 and 1889. No records have been found for 1888 or 1890, but the geyser may have been active in 1890 since Beehive Geyser was apparently dormant that year.
There is an 1891 reference to a "Young Frequent Geyser" located "1000 feet from Old Faithful", a "new performer" which erupted that season at six minute intervals. Whether or not this referred to Cascade Geyser is not known. Cascade is about 800 feet from Old Faithful. Since Beehive is known to have been fairly active this season, perhaps "Young Frequent" was not present Cascade Geyser.
Cascade Geyser is known to have been active in 1896. Because there was a mention in a guidebook that year, Cascade may have been also active some in 1895 (allowing for the fact that guidebooks often required a year to become published and hence often reflected information acquired a year in advance of their publication date). The 1896 reference: "This comparatively new geyser plays with much regularity, about every ten minutes, in which the water is hurled thirty or forty feet high, and a great quantity of steam passes off at each eruption."
This compares quite favorably with what T.W. Burglehaus wrote to Arnold Hague that summer--that "Riverbank" Geyser was playing every eleven minutes to forty feet. And a final reference that year stated that Cascade Geyser played thirty feet high in September.
Cascade Geyser was again active in 1897. Geologist Walter Weed recorded that it erupted every 17 minutes. Journalist Henry Finck appears to have seen Cascade ("only a few years old") erupting that summer, and he lamented the dormancy of nearby Beehive Geyser and blamed it on the activity of Cascade. This checks perfectly with the known dormancy records of Beehive for 1897.
G.L. Henderson stated that Cascade Geyser was active in 1898 ("erupts at intervals of from 30 to 40 minutes"), and Walter Weed was back in 1899, recording that Cascade Geyser was active that season too.