Will the world end when Yellowstone erupts

Steamboat announces no eruption of the Yellowstone super volcano

Geyser "Steamboat"

Yellowstone National Park is known for its geysers. And nobody blows their water higher than "Steamboat": He blows the boiling liquid up to 115 meters into the air. But it is not the most reliable geyser in the region, because it pauses for years as it did between 2014 and 2018. It has been particularly active since then, and yet geologists have given the all-clear that this eruption phase is no sign of an awakening of the Yellowstone supervolcano. This is what Mara Reed from the University of California, Berkeley, and her team write in "PNAS".

This article is included in Spectrum - The Week, 01/2021

Even if the bottom under "Steamboat" was getting warmer, no other sleeping geyser in Yellowstone had awakened. And the water itself did not get any hotter either. "We find no signs that a major eruption is imminent," says Michael Manga, who was involved in the study. Using their data and laboratory tests, however, the scientists can now say what is causing the amount of water being ejected: the deeper the water reservoir is, the higher the liquid will shoot out. In the case of the “Steamboat” it is 25 meters below the surface, while in two geysers in Chile it is only two and five meters deep in the ground. They therefore only bubble about three feet up in an outbreak.