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Yellowstone News: Steamboat Geyser Eruptions

The most famous of Yellowstone National Park’s geysers is Old Faithful. However, Old Faithful is not Yellowstone’s tallest geyser. That honor belongs to Steamboat Geyser, which erupts up to 300 feet in the air during its major eruptions. In contrast, Old Faithful only erupts to heights of 185 feet.

However, unlike Old Faithful, Steamboat Geyser does not regularly erupt. Park rangers at Yellowstone can predict eruptions of Old Faithful to within 10 minutes, but there is no way to predict eruptions at Steamboat Geyser. Since eruptions of Steamboat Geyser have been recorded, the length of time between eruptions has ranged from four days to fifty years.

Before 2018, the last eruption of Steamboat Geyser had occurred on September 3, 2014. For almost four years, the geyser was silent.

And then, on March 15, Steamboat Geyser erupted.

And on April 19, it erupted again.

On April 27, Steamboat Geyser erupted for the third time in six weeks.

Simply put, things at Steamboat Geyser are very active right now.

For those who might be worried that these eruptions indicate that the volcano underneath Yellowstone is about to erupt, it is unlikely this is about to happen. In 2003, Steamboat Geyser erupted three times over the course of six weeks. During the 1980s, Steamboat Geyser erupted even more often. Steamboat Geyser is located in the Norris Geyser Basin, the hottest and most changeable of Yellowstone’s many geyser basins. It is likely that Steamboat Geyser is just a geyser being a geyser, and it will go back to its normal, erratic eruption schedule soon.


Are you interested in learning more about Yellowstone National Park? Check out 101 Travel Bits: Yellowstone National Park, available for purchase here.

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