Yellowstone’s Steamboat Geyser erupts for 5th time this year

Steamboat Geyser at Norris geyser basin in Yellowstone National Park, USA

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo.  — The world’s largest active geyser has erupted again in Yellowstone National Park.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the Steamboat Geyser erupted early Sunday, its fifth eruption this year.

The agency says in a series of tweets there’s no indication of any volcanic activity in the park and most geysers are intermittent. But it says the string of eruptions is a good sign summer visitors will get to see some “spectacular geysering.”

Steamboat has gone dormant for as long as nine years. Its first eruption since 2014 occurred in mid-March, followed by two other eruptions in April and another on May 4.

Earlier this month scientists deployed 28 seismographs around the geyser to gather data in hopes of catching it erupting again to learn more about it.

Scientists aren’t sure whether the new activity is due to a new thermal disturbance or whether the geyser is merely entering a period of more frequent eruptions, as in the 1980s, when numerous eruptions from the geyser were separated by weeks or even days. Multiple eruptions also occurred in 2003.

Or, the USGS notes, “the current eruptions may simply reflect the randomness of geysers.” It could be years until it erupts again.