By Andrea Romano
April 16, 2019
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Steamboat geyser, located in Yellowstone National Park, has been more lively than usual in the past year, but does that mean you could possibly see it erupt yourself?

The answer is pretty complicated.

According to the National Parks Traveler, the odds of seeing the Steamboat geyser erupt are better than ever. Since April 2018, the geyser has had several eruptions – the first seen there since 2003.

Steamboat geyser has spewed water up to 300 feet in the air before, making it the world’s tallest active geyser. Seeing the incredible natural phenomenon will certainly be a draw for park goers this summer, as it was last year.

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However, geysers are unpredictable.

Michael Poland of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory told the National Parks Traveler that the geyser is exhibiting some of the same eruptions that were also observed in the 1960s and 1970s, but that these “do not have any implications for future volcanic activity at Yellowstone.”

Still, according to The New York Times, the geyser hit a record 32 eruptions in 2018. Certainly, the increased activity will give you a better chance of seeing an eruption yourself, but there’s never a guarantee.

National Geographic cites the uncommonly snowy weather as a possible reason for the increased activity. The excess water (from melted snow) may have provided extra lubrication to help the geyser push out more water. While some have speculated the activity may be due to volcanic activity, Poland and other researchers emphasize that these worries are blown out of proportion.

“In a word, no. In two words, no way. In three words, not even close. Yellowstone doesn't work that way,” said Poland in regards to the volcanic speculations in a blog post for the U.S. Geological Survey, according to Forbes.

In 2019, Steamboat geyser erupted 11 times by the end of March alone. Last year, the geyser erupted three times in May, June, and August, twice in July, four times in October and November, and a whopping six times in September. 

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So, if you’re going on past history alone, the spring, late summer, and early fall seem to be the most active times to see the geyser. But, as Poland told National Geographic, “As soon as you start to recognize a pattern, it changes.”

For a detailed list of dates that the Steamboat geyser has erupted, you can see the records on Geyser Times. Steamboat geyser is located in Yellowstone National Park's Norris Geyser Basin, in Park County, Wyoming.