Tuesday 1 September 2020

Giantess Geyser errupts in Yellowstone National Park for the first time in six years.

The Giantess Geyser in Yellowstone National Park errupted on Tuesday 25 August 2020, producing a jet of water about 60 m high. This is the first time the geyser has errupted in six and a half years. This is an long pause between eruptions for Giantess, which typically erupts 2-6 times per year, but not unusually so; the geyser is known to have periodic multi-year hiatuses with the last having happened in the 1980s. Giantess is the second largest in the Yellowstone National Park, after the Steamboat Geyser, whih is the largest in North America and the second largest in the world.

Erruption of Giantess Geyser on 25 August 2020. Yellowstone National Park.

The Yellowstone National Park lies on top of the caldera of an active volcano. The geysers and hot springs are fuelled by water from the surface peculating through the ground until it encounters hot rocks or magma, which heats it rapidly. This hot water then rises back to the surface to fuel the geysers and fill the volcanic pools of the park. As it passes through the rocks the water absorbs chemicals from the surrounding minerals, with water with different mineral properties in different parts of the park, creating a variety of brightly coloured pools.

Yellowstone is home to one of the world’s largest active volcanic systems. Cataclysmic eruptions in the past few million years created huge volcanic depressions called “calderas.” The youngest, the Yellowstone Caldera, was formed 640 000 years ago. Since then, about 80 eruptions of rhyolite (thick, sticky lava) and basalt (more-fluid lava) have occurred. The caldera’s interior is largely covered by rhyolites, most erupted in the past 160 000 years. Large hydrothermal (steam)-explosion craters formed in the past 14 000 years are located near Yellowstone Lake and in major geyser basins. Recent earthquakes (1973 to 2002) were concentrated between Hebgen Lake and the Norris Geyser Basin and along faults. USGS.

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