A quick update from Yellowstone National Park, and this time at least it does not involve anyone taunting bison.
Ear Spring, a normally docile spring, erupted recently for the first time since 2004, shooting steam and water 20 to 30 feet into the air, which a press release from the Park indicated is a height not reached since 1957. After that initial bazooka of an eruption, the spring has continued to erupt at a near constant height of around two feet.
The Park has been forced to close some walkways in the area due to splashing HOT water and surface fractures, so if you are headed there with your cameras, take note.
The spring gets its interesting name from its resemblance to a human ear.
Ear Spring is located on Yellowstone’s Geyser Hill, and is one of dozens of geysers, pools and hot springs in the Park’s Upper Geyser Basin, across the Firehole River from Old Faithful.
We all know that one, right?
As we’ll all remember from a previous post on Yellowstone, hot springs are produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater that rise from the Earth’s crust. While some of these springs contain water that is a safe temperature for bathing, others are so hot that immersion can result in injury or death. Definitely remember this tidbit when considering whether or not to attempt to bathe in a Yellowstone hot spring!
Meanwhile, geysers are springs characterized by intermittent discharge of water ejected turbulently and accompanied by steam. A fairly rare phenomenon, the formation of geysers is due to particular hydrogeological conditions that exist only in a few places on Earth, Yellowstone certainly being one of them. Generally all geyser field sites are located near active volcanic areas, and the geyser effect is due to the proximity of magma.
OK, so this is happening now, and in March Steamboat Geyser began erupting for the first time since 2014. Steamboat Geyser is the world’s largest active geyser with eruptions that can reach up to 300 to 400 feet. In comparison, Old Faithful erupts to an average height of 130 feet.
So that obviously means the super volcano is about to erupt, yes?
The Park says absolutely not, so we can save that worry for another day.
Kenton Krueger has spent the past several years guiding guiding backpackers, hikers and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks as well as in the Grand Staircase Escalante in southern Utah. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, former pilot, newspaper photographer and writer. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.
Don’t miss the next session of BCJ Live!
Big Alaska: Stories & Slideshow
with Grant Ordelheide
Tuesday, February 1st, 2022
11 am – 12 pm Mountain Time