Steamboat Geyser, Yellowstone National Park

Hot Spring · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
Steamboat Geyser, in Yellowstone National Park's Norris Geyser Basin, is the world's tallest currently-active geyser. Steamboat Geyser has two vents, a northern and a southern, approximately 20 feet (6.1 m) apart. The north vent is responsible for the tallest water columns; the south vent's water columns are shorter.
Prior to 1904, Waimangu Geyser, in New Zealand, had some taller eruptions capable of reaching 1,600 feet (490 m), but in 1904, a landslide changed the local water table, and since then, Waimangu has not erupted. Excelsior Geyser in Yellowstone's Midway Geyser Basin, and Semi-Centennial Geyser just north of Roaring Mountain on the Grand Loop Road were reported to be as tall as Steamboat, both with eruptions reaching 300 ft (91 m). However, Excelsior has not erupted since 1985, and now functions as a hot spring, and Semi-Centennial's one eruption of this height was reported in 1922 and has been dormant since.

Steamboat's major eruptions generally last from 3 to 40 minutes (a couple of durations surpassing an hour were observed during the 2018 active phase), and are followed by powerful jets of steam. During these eruptions, water may be thrown more than 300 feet (91 m) into the air. Steamboat does not erupt on a predictable schedule, with recorded intervals between major eruptions ranging from three days to fifty years. The geyser was dormant from 1911 to 1961. In 2018-2019, the geyser entered a prolonged period of frequent activity with more than 40 eruptions reported in a one-year period.

Minor eruptions of 10 to 15 feet (3.0 to 4.6 m) are much more frequent.

After an eruption, the geyser often vents large amounts of steam for up to 48 hours. Sometimes during this part of an eruption, water may return to Steamboat, causing it to jet water once again, though to lesser heights. Cistern Spring, located nearby, will drain completely following a major eruption of the geyser; the spring refills within a few days.
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Steamboat Geyser reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
121 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Even the small frequently seen eruptions are cool, only .25 mile one way hike. Big eruptions are days apart.  more »
  • Another unique geyser to see. I never realized how rare this type of volcanic activity can be: the only geysers in Europe are on the island of Iceland.  more »
Google
  • I love this Geyser. Didn’t even see it go off but it is still constantly active.
  • The beautiful geyser in the Yellowstone national park

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