Yellowstone National Park's Steamboat Geyser Is Nearing a Record-breaking Number of Eruptions
Things are really popping off at Yellowstone National Park.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Steamboat Geyser, located inside the famed national park at the Norris Geyser Basin, in Park County, Wyoming, is well on its way to having a record-setting year for eruptions. As CNN noted, we are only halfway through 2019, but the geyser has already erupted 25 times. To put that number into perspective, in all of 2018 the geyser erupted a mere 32 times.
The USGS reported that the geyser erupted seven times in June alone — on June 1, 7, 12, 15, 19, 23, and 28.
But, as a tourist, please don’t visit the park and this geyser thinking you’ll see a show put on by Mother Nature. According to the experts, there is just no way to predict when an eruption will occur..
"They're mostly random and experience phases of alternating eruptive activity," Michael Poland, the USGS scientist-in-charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, told CNN.
Poland also explained that while it’s interesting that the geyser is exploding so often there is no need to worry. "While fascinating, it's not unusual, nor cause for concern,” he said.
But if you do happen to be in the area when Steamboat Geyser erupts, you may want to step back a few feet. According to the Billings Gazette, the geyser has been known to spew water up to 300 feet high, making it the world’s tallest active geyser. It can also shoot dangerous rock and sediment fragments into the air, meaning it really is important to adhere to the distance barriers set up by officials. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to get a photo of the eruption as they can last for up to 40 minutes at a time.
As to why the geyser is so active this year, experts simply don’t know as it remains one of Earth’s great mysteries.
“I think this is what makes Steamboat, and geysers in general, so fascinating,” Michael Manga, a geyser researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Billings Gazette, “is that there are these questions we can’t answer.”