A total of 48 Yellowstone Steamboat Geyser eruptions took place in 2019 – smashing the previous record set in 2018 of 32 eruptions. Prior to that, the highest amount of Steamboat Geyser eruptions in a year was 29 set all the way back in 1964. The geyser, which is the world’s largest active geyser, has at points been spewing hot steam some 300 feet into the air.
Yellowstone Volcano Observatory Chief Scientist Michael Poland said: “This is sort of classic behaviour for a geyser.”
However, Mr Poland conceded for all the opportunities to study Steamboat’s eruptions this year, experts are still unsure what causes it to blow.
He continued: “It gets really chaotic when you get close to the surface.
“There’s nothing definitive that we can tie it to. And, we have some ideas, but it’s very difficult to test them because we don’t have the data that we need, and especially going back in time, lots and lots of data, to really nail down what we think might be happening.
“You never know what you’re going to learn here because it’s so wide open. Even though we’ve been studying it for 150 years, there’s still a tremendous amount to learn here.”
Geysers like Old Faithful and Steamboat erupt whenever water and steam get trapped in a tight spot deep below the geyser’s blowhole.
The mix of water and steam builds in pressure until it finds its way to the surface where a tall stream of scorching hot water blasts hundreds of feet in the sky.
While the Steamboat eruptions are no “cause for concern”, scientists do say an eruption at Yellowstone volcano is a matter of when, not if.
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However, when that day does come, there would be chaos across the United States, with repercussions being felt all around the world.
Mr Walsh wrote that earthquakes around Yellowstone would gradually increase in both frequency and intensity as magma rushes towards the surface, exploding out like champagne in a bottle, covering the region in lava within a 40-mile radius.
This would only be the beginning of the destruction, Mr Walsh wrote.
He said: “Yellowstone as we know it would cease to exist.