Yellowstone geyser goes quiet

Steamboat_Plume NPS:Dave Krueger

Steamboat Geyser, considered the world’s tallest active geyser, which has been erupting semi-regularly for the past two years, has slowed down dramatically and has been silent for over a month. According to a website tracking each eruption, the last time Steamboat erupted was May 31st when it continued spewing water into the air for an impressive 10 minutes.

The previous eruption had been fully 26 days prior to that.

Yellowstone Volcano Observatory Scientist in Charge, Michael Poland told Jackson Hole Radio News, “This is the sort of thing that is expected, Steamboat goes through periods of elevated activity and then returns to periods of less activity, so we knew the current show would eventually end.” Poland says he is uncertain whether the availability of water is the primary or a secondary reason for the recent lack of eruptions.

Poland says, “Recent research suggests that Old Faithful even turned off for about 150 years during a period 650-800 years ago when there was a major regional drought, the same one that led to the large-scale abandonment of Native America cultures in the Southwest.  So, I suspect that might play a role.”

If it does go to sleep, Poland says it will offer the opportunity to study what goes on in a geyser during its dormant period.

photo NPS/Dave Krueger

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