April 19, 2021
Hello to all of you,
It has been too long since the previous Nature News. Life certainly throws curve balls, and those curves take longer to “get around” but I’m excited to share some updates from this amazing place on earth.
You are all probably aware that Yellowstone Park sits on this North American Plate over a huge magma plume.
This is the reason many apocalyptic predictions ( myths) show up in your news feed that the next “super volcano eruption “is imminent” and we’ll all be impacted.!!! All of the super cool stuff with geysers and hot springs exist here because of that. The largest geyser in the world erupts in Yellowstone. It is in the Norris Geyser Basin. Norris GB happens to be in a very dynamic period right now due to surface deformation and more. All of this is monitored with GPS technology through the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. You’ll see a link at the bottom of this that takes you tot he website where you can find real time data on seismic and deformation activity. It’s so interesting!!
Steamboat Geyser, considered the largest geyser in the world, has had periodic eruptions since records have been kept of this kind of activity in Yellowstone. Yellowstone NP website describes Steamboat like this:
“The 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake, 7.5 on the Richter Scale, was centered outside the western boundary of Yellowstone. Two years later, for the first time in 50 years, Steamboat Geyser erupted. Some scientists believe this rejuvenation was a direct result of thermal energy shifts caused by the 1959 earthquake; others say it was coincidental. As of this day there is still no clear correlation between Steamboat’s eruptions and earthquake activity.”
Over the years, Steamboat’s eruptions have been sporadic. Some years saw frequent eruptions, such as 1982–1983, when dozens of eruptions occurred. Quiet periods throughout the 1990’s and late 2000’s were marked by years of dormancy between single eruptions. One thing is known, Steamboat Geyser’s future eruptions will continue to be unpredictable.
An eruption of Steamboat is a Yellowstone Community event and locals as well as visitors will drop what they are doing to rush to Norris Geyser Basin in hopes of seeing the last of this rare 30 minute event. However, even if one misses the water phase, the 24 hour steam phase is equally as impressive. An “app” exits called Geyser Times that allows folks in the geyser geek community to know the periods between eruptions of all major geysers and guesstimate when the next eruption may happen.
This week friend Jill was at my home and wandered into Yellowstone the first day of “Summer Season”. We looked at Geyser Times and with that information, she stopped at Norris Geyser Basin. Steamboat was not spouting much more than minor eruptions and she decided to do a bit more walking in the basin. On her way back from the lower (Porcelain Basin) a photographer encouraged her to go witness the steam phase as the eruption has just occurred! She was able to see the last bit of this unlikely event and experience the steam phase; perhaps a once in a lifetime occurrence for anyone who doesn’t live here!
Norris Geyser Basin was humming and the entire Yellowstone Community knew it was time to visit Norris Geyser Basin in the next 24 hours to experience the steam phase.
With each eruption of Steamboat Geyser, a hot spring located below Steamboat drains. Cistern Spring and Steamboat Geyser are connected in some fashion, but the specific details of this connection are not known
Below is an NPS photo of Cistern Spring (located below Steamboat Geyser). This drains with each eruption of stamboat!
for more info about connection with cistern spring and steamboat geyser:
Is this week. in honor of Earthday, I want to share a poem by Wendell Berry below
The Peace of Wild Things
Written and read by Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
© Wendell Berry. This poem is excerpted from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry and is reprinted with permission of the author and Counterpoint Press.
Watch a poetry film version of this on our YouTube channel.
Earth Day 2021 look for events in your local community…this is more important to recognize than ever before. Reach out and stand up for the planet.
A few links to fun Earthday sites and activities below:
Celebrate with fun kids activities and Nat Geo
Celebrate Earth Day with NASA
click on link below
Encouraging everyone to do some “tree hugging” and acknowledge this amazing planet we inhabit
For more information about the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory:
One more note:
During the pandemic I’ve had an opportunity to do some online seminars with Road Scholar. Recently I was part of a 3 day program with 2 other terrific naturalists from the Yellowstone area.
Another is scheduled later in May. Here’s a link if you have any interest in checking this out: