Steamboat Geyser Erupts for 8th Time Since March, and Scientists Aren't Sure Why

Steamboat Geyser Erupts for 8th Time Since March, and Scientists Aren't Sure Why
Yellowstone's Steamboat Geyser's rare eruption

The Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone National Park erupted for just the tenth time in the last five years this week, and while scientists work to figure out why, people are flocking to Yellowstone to get a look at the rare phenomenon.

"This eruption, in particular, touched deep into that with just the unbridled glory and majesty and power and the eyes are filled with tears again," said John Warnock, a visitor from Colorado who witnessed the event.

Warnock posted up and patiently waited on the world's largest geyser. "We got out here at 5:30 on Sunday morning, spent the day until 7:00 and then we returned at 5:30 this morning," Warnock said. "And boom, it took off."

Some visitors lose patience when Old Faithful doesn't start right on time. But Steamboat Geyser has a different story. Nobody knows when it will erupt.

When Warnock heard that the world's largest geyser had erupted seven other times this year, he came to Yellowstone from Colorado with high hopes.

"I had such high expectations but I missed the mark by a million miles. I am a satisfied person. My heart is full, my cup is overflowing," said Warnock.

At 9:00 a.m. on Monday, Steamboat Geyser started showing signs of life.

"Both vents opened up. Water was going at least 300 feet, maybe higher," Warnock said.

It was a moment that Warnock says he'll never forget.

"It just is amazing and I feel so blessed that the Lord loves me an awful lot to see this," he said.

Here's what we do know: the Steamboat Geyser at Yellowstone National Park can go years without erupting. When it does erupt, it can discharge water nearly 300 feet in the air.

What we don't know, or at least what the U.S. Geological Survey wouldn't say for sure until recently, is why it's erupted eight times this year. The most recent one happened on Monday.

It's been concerning for some because some scientists think Yellowstone is a supervolcano that will some day erupt. This has caused some to fear Steamboat's eruptions may be connected to the suspected supervolcano.

But the USGS says fear not: Geysers are supposed to erupt, and most, like Steamboat, do so erratically. The USGS also says there's no unusual volcanic activity at Yellowstone — at least, not right now
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