Yellowstone volcano’s Steamboat Geyser is erupting at unprecedented rates, matching records more than 50-years old for the amount of scolding water blown from the ground, park officials have revealed.
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The iconic volcano landmark is the world’s tallest and most active geyser but recent activity has gone off the charts. Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) geologists monitoring the supervolcano complex have noted almost weekly water eruptions from the geyser this year. Steamboat has so far erupted a total of 29 times in 2018, matching the record for most eruptions in one year from 1964. If the ongoing rate of eruptions continues, officials believe Steamboat will break the record in just three days reports the Express.co.uk.
The geyser, in Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin, has an average eruptive frequency of four days to 10 years with each one typically lasting between one and four minutes and coming at intervals of two to five minutes at a time. During an eruption, it can spew near-boiling jets of water as high as 300ft.
The YVO said: “Steamboat geyser seems to have settled into a pattern of near-weekly water eruptions, with activity on November 7, 15, 21, and 28. There have now been 29 total Steamboat water eruptions in 2018, which ties the record for the most eruptions in any given calendar year, previously set in 1964.”
From May 23, 2005, to July 31, 2013, Steamboat remained quiet for eight years and 212 days, but from March 15 this year, ending a three-year dry spell, the geyser has shown persistent and almost clock-like activity. The last five eruptions were recorded on November 28, November 21, November 15, November 7 and October 31.
The increased frequency of Steamboat eruptions also corresponds with a high amount of seismic activity in the Yellowstone area, report YVO scientists.
A total of 126 earthquakes were recorded through the park and outlying areas through the month of November. The strongest of the deep tremors was a magnitude 2.4 quake on November 4. Park officials said earthquake sequences like this are “common” and account for about 50 percent of all seismic activity in the park.
Yellowstone earthquake activity currently remains at “background levels”.