The enigmatic and unpredictable Steamboat Geyser erupted for the first time in eight years, giving a small group of random Yellowstone National Park visitors a very rare and special experience.
Steamboat Geyser, located in the Norris Geyser Basin, is the Holy Grail for geyser gazers because of its total unpredictability. On Wednesday night at around 7:30 p.m., the geyser erupted for about nine minutes, forcing steaming-hot water upwards of 300 feat before ending with a long steam release. It is regarded as the tallest geyser in Yellowstone National Park.
And certainly the most unpredictable. As noted, it’s been since 2005 since Steamboat Geyser erupted, and there have been 50-year stretches without a recorded eruption. On the other hand, it erupted 29 times in 1964.
The geyser is in a popular viewing area known as the Norris Geyser Basin, and its eruption at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday drew dozens of excited onlookers, said Robb Long, a freelance photographer from Sioux Falls, S.D., who was visiting the park with his fiance and her family.
“It was an amazing experience. This thing sounded like a locomotive,” Long said. “Everybody was frantic, taking pictures. People were running down there trying to get to it before it went away, and park rangers were running around trying to gather up people so they didn’t get too close.”
Photo credit: Steamboat Geyser, in Yellowstone National Park’s Norris Geyser Basin in Wyoming, erupts on Wednesday, July 31, 2013. Steamboat Geyser — the world’s tallest — has erupted for the first time in more than eight years. Park geologist Hank Heasler says Wednesday night’s nine-minute blast sent steaming hot water an estimated 200 to 300 feet in the air. (AP Photo/Robb Long)