Geologists believe the tallest geyser in the world erupted last week in Yellowstone National Park.
When it blows, Steamboat Geyser can send water and debris three times higher than Old Faithful, which park officials think it did last Thursday.
Seismic and temperature sensors in Norris Geyser Basin logged what park geologists believe to be a series of minor eruptions early morning March 15. A couple of park employees also reported seeing a steam plume later in the day, but no one witnessed the eruption proper because roads in that part of the park are currently closed for seasonal plowing.
Vicki Regula, a spokesperson for Yellowstone National Park, says Steamboat’s major eruptions can last for more than half an hour.
"It's like a big curtain of a waterfall that can carry huge amounts of mud, sand and rock that are shot upwards, and everything around the area then gets coated with a layer of silica."
Geysers erupt when water is superheated underground. The boiling water rises rapidly through cracks in the rock and explodes above ground.
Steamboat Geyser’s eruptions can reach 380 feet in height, making it the tallest active geyser in the world. Its last known major eruption, before last week’s activity, was in September 2014.