Steamboat Geyser has erupted for the seventh time since March 2018, continuing to surprise scientists and observers. This is the fourth eruption in May 2018.
Steamboat Geyser erupted yet again on May 27, 2018. The latest eruption is the seventh since March 15, 2018, and the fourth this month. Located in Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser Basin, Steamboat is the tallest active geyser in the world. According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Volcanoes Division, Steamboat “appears to have entered a phase of more frequent water eruptions, much like it did in the 1960s and early 1980s.”
The Latest Eruption
The latest eruption started around 7:33 p.m. MST, according to seismograph activity:
Again? Yes. @YellowstoneNPS #SteamboatGeyser erupted at 7:33 PM MST. That’s 7 times since March 15. We’ve got a counter on our Yellowstone Volcano Observatory home page. See signal on this @UUSS_Quake_Info webicorder (continuous signal at the bottom). https://t.co/653XydhbWk pic.twitter.com/2c1BogpcbL
— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) May 28, 2018
Before 2018, Steamboat Geyser’s last major eruption occurred on September 3, 2014. Steamboat Geyser roared back to life on March 15, 2018, with subsequent eruptions on April 19, April 27, May 4, and May 13, and May 19.
Researchers at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory believe that Steamboat may be entering a new phase of activity, with smaller, more frequent eruptions. They noted, for instance, that the past few eruptions have been weaker than the September 2014 eruption.
Cause for Concern?
Even though this activity is unusual, scientists say that this shift in Steamboat Geyser’s activity does not mean the Yellowstone caldera (the pool of magma that feeds Yellowstone’s hot springs and geysers) is due to blow.
Steamboat has had an erratic eruption history. Notably, it went fifty years without an eruption, between 1911 and 1961. But, it has also had more active phases like the current one.
The recent activity is likely to increase visitor interest in the Norris Geyser Basin as the summer season begins in earnest.