It May only be Yellowstone National Park’s 2nd most famous geyser, but scientists are keeping an eye on Steamboat Geyser.
Unlike Old Faithful, Steamboat, located in the Norris Geyser basin, is famously unpredictable and scientists make note of its activity. This winter, with heavy snows impacting some of their equipment, it has been a challenge.
The geyser had gone mostly dormant for fifty years and stayed pretty quiet until gurgling back to life in 2018. The geyser was recorded going off a record 49 times in 2019.
Activity has subsided in the past couple of seasons and so far, this year they have recorded 2 major gushes in January but are not sure about eruptions in February.
But while scientists are waiting for a break in the winter weather to access monitoring equipment that has been offline, they may have another way to find out.
Mike Poland, scientist-in-charge at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory said water flow measurements may hold a clue.
Poland said, “A stream gauge measures water height when Steamboat erupts. That showed a couple of spikes in January.”
Poland said the even though they haven’t seen a similar kind of spike in February, it’s possible that there is a Steamboat eruption perhaps hidden in the spike.
He says they will know more once they reestablish communications with the monitoring stations.