The Steamboat geyser at Yellowstone erupted for the 34th time this year, as of Tuesday September 3, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). This breaks the annual record of 32, set last year, with three months still to go. The previous record before that was 29, set in 1964. The geyser, which is the world’s largest active geyser, has at points been spewing hot steam some 300 feet into the air.
Steamboat Geyser roared back into life in April 2017 with the first triple eruption in 15 years, sparking interest from the scientific community.
The USGS said in its August monthly newsletter: “August 2019 was another record-setting month for Steamboat geyser, which experienced water eruptions on August 12, 20, and 27.
“The August 27 eruption was the 33rd of 2019, breaking the record for eruptions in a calendar year that was set in 2018.”
Geysers like Old Faithful and Steamboat erupt whenever water and steam get trapped in a tight spot deep below the geyser’s blowhole.
Yellowstone volcano: Steamboat geyser breaks annual eruption records – in September
Steamboat has already erupted 34 times this year
The mix of water and steam builds in pressure until it finds its way to the surface where a tall stream of scorching hot water blasts hundreds of feet in the sky.
Michael Poland, the USGS scientist-in-charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, told CNN: “They’re mostly random and experience phases of alternating eruptive activity.
“So while fascinating, it’s not unusual, nor cause for concern.”
While the Steamboat eruptions are no “cause for concern”, scientists do say an eruption at Yellowstone volcano is a matter of when, not if.
The geyser, which is the world’s largest active geyser, has at points been spewing hot steam some 300 feet into the air
One expert is warning that the next major eruption is close. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the chances of a Yellowstone eruption on a yearly basis is around one in 730,000.
With 640,000 years having past since the last major eruption, Yellowstone is edging closer to exploding – but it could still be thousands of years away.
Journalist Bryan Walsh wrote in his new book End Times, which explores the ways in which life on Earth could come to a halt: “We’re closer to Yellowstone’s next super eruption than we are distant, but that day – should it come – is still likely tens or even hundreds of thousands of years away.”
However, when that day does come, there would be chaos across the United States, with repercussions being felt all around the world.
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Yellowstone would explode like champagne in a bottle, covering the region in lava within a 40-mile radius
With 640,000 years having past since the last major eruption, Yellowstone is edging closer to exploding
Mr Walsh wrote that earthquakes around Yellowstone would gradually increase in both frequency and intensity as magma rushes towards the surface, exploding out like champagne in a bottle, covering the region in lava within a 40-mile radius.
That would only be the beginning of the destruction, Mr Walsh wrote.
He said: “Yellowstone as we know it would cease to exist.
Yellowstone predicted ash cloud
“But the true existential threat would come from the ash, lava, and volcanic gasses that would shoot upward with a force equal to a thousand Hiroshima-sized nuclear bombs, sufficient enough to reach a height of fifteen miles or more.
“Depending on the prevailing weather systems, much of the midwest would receive a few inches of ash which would fall like black rain, plunging the region into darkness.”
However, alarm bells should not start ringing just yet as the USGS reports that the chance of Yellowstone erupting is a tiny 0.00014 percent.