Yellowstone’s Steamboat geyser erupts for 1st time in 8 years

BILLINGS, Mont. — Old Faithful it’s not.

Yellowstone National Park’s Steamboat Geyser — the world’s tallest — has erupted for the first time in more than eight years.

The nine-minute blast sent steaming hot water an estimated 200 to 300 feet in the air, park geologist Hank Heasler said Thursday.

Unlike the park’s popular and famous Old Faithful geyser, which spews water like clockwork every hour-and-a-half, no one knows when Steamboat will erupt next.

In the past, it’s gone as long as 50 years without a major event. In 1964, it erupted a record 29 times. The last blast came in 2005.

Steamboat is one of more than 500 geysers at Yellowstone, which boasts the largest collection of hydrothermal features in the world.

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.”

Yellowstone’s geysers are fueled by cold water that feeds into a natural underground plumbing network, where heat from the park’s volcano forces chemical-laden water to the surface and causes the periodic eruptions, Heasler said.

Early accounts of Steamboats eruptions came from first-hand observations, with the first recorded in 1878. Since 2005, the park has used electronic monitors to more closely track the geyser.

More in Local News

District takes steps to secure school campuses

Safety measures have been enhanced at Hawthorne and Silver Firs elementary schools in Everett.

Local police join thousands honoring slain Canadian officer

Abbotsford Const. John Davidson was killed Nov. 6 in a shootout with a suspected car thief.

Hard work is paying off for Mariner High senior

Mey Ly has excelled in school since moving here from Cambodia; she also serves as an intrepreter.

1 arrested after SWAT team moves in on Marysville house

The incident was connected to an earlier robbery.

Darrington School Board race might come down to a coin flip

With a one-vote difference, a single ballot in Skagit County remains to be counted.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

No easy exit from Smokey Point shopping complex

There’s just no easy exit on this one. A reader called in… Continue reading

County Council upholds ban on safe heroin injection sites

At Monday’s public hearing, more than 15 people spoke in support of the ban. No one spoke against it.

Lynnwood, Marysville, Sultan consider ban on safe injection sites

If approved, they would join Lake Stevens and Snohomish County, which have temporary bans.

Most Read