Yellowstone caldera eruption fears have spiked as the supervolcano’s largest geyser erupted for the eight time. So far, scientists aren’t certain why the Steamboat geyser continues to erupt, adding to the fears.
After years of silence, Yellowstone’s Steamboat geyser, a better show than Old Faithful, has spewed boiling water hundreds of feet in the air eight times since March. Steamboat, the tallest geyser in the vast Yellowstone National Park, isn’t reliable at all, unlike the more famous Old Faithful that belches steam with regularity. But the fact is, Steamboat has been more faithful, at least lately, spewing eight times since March 14, after being silent for nearly four years. But that regularity is terrifying and puzzling scientists.
Until this recent series of eruptions, the last time Steamboat blew was in September 2014. Steamboat’s latest eruption was Monday morning when the geyser shot boiling hot water hundreds of feet into the air. Steam billowed from the geyser for hours longer. Steamboat is located in the Norris Geyser Basin, known to have the hottest and most changeable thermal area in nearly 3,500-square-mile wilderness park that sits on a volcanic hot spot called a caldera. That accounts for the geyser’s towering columns of steam (it’s very, very hot underground) but leaves a major fear-provoking question unanswered: Why now, and is it a sign the giant volcano is waking up?
Scientists don’t know why the Steamboat geyser has become more active, but they still insist that no major eruption is on the horizon. “It is a spectacular geyser,” Michael Poland, the U.S. Geological Survey’s scientist in charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, wrote to CNN in an email. “When it erupts, it generally has very big eruptions.”
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