Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What Makes An Old Geyser Faithful?

Date:
June 16, 2008
Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Summary:
New research suggests that how often Old Faithful and other Yellowstone geysers erupt may depend on annual rainfall patterns. Geysers are rare hot springs that periodically erupt bursts of steam and hot water. Old Faithful has remained faithful for at least the past 135 years, showering appreciative tourists every 50 to 90 minutes (most recently an average of 91 minutes).

New research suggests that how often Old Faithful and other Yellowstone geysers erupt may depend on annual rainfall patterns.
Credit: USGS

New research suggests that how often Old Faithful and other Yellowstone geysers erupt may depend on annual rainfall patterns.

Geysers are rare hot springs that periodically erupt bursts of steam and hot water. Old Faithful has remained faithful for at least the past 135 years, showering appreciative tourists every 50 to 90 minutes (most recently an average of 91 minutes).

USGS researcher Shaul Hurwitz and his colleagues from Stanford University and Yellowstone National Park have discovered that changes of water supply to a geyser's underground plumbing may have a large influence on eruption intervals; that is, the time between eruptions. For example, geysers appear to lengthen and shorten their intervals on cycles that mimic annual dry and wet periods.

Multi-year precipitation records also strongly correlate with geyser behavior. Based on these results, the study proposes that an extended drought should result in longer intervals between eruptions, and perhaps even cessation of activity in some geysers. In contrast, in years with high precipitation, eruption intervals should be more frequent.

Additional information: Geysers are extremely rare; perhaps less than 1000 exist worldwide, with more than half of them in Yellowstone National Park. The famous Old Faithful Geyser was named in 1870 during the Washburn-Langford-Doane Yellowstone expedition and was the first geyser in the Park to be named.

Old Faithful eruptions can be viewed on any computer on Earth via a video camera deployed by the National Park Service. Instrumental data which records geyser eruption times is available at the Geyser Observation and Study Association web site. Long-term meteorological trends can be inferred from seasonal streamflow trends like those in the Madison River.

This study is a cooperative effort involving the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Park Service.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by U.S. Geological Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Climate-Induced Variations of Geyser Periodicity in Yellowstone National Park, USA. Geology, June, 2008

Cite This Page:

U.S. Geological Survey. "What Makes An Old Geyser Faithful?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080614080441.htm>.
U.S. Geological Survey. (2008, June 16). What Makes An Old Geyser Faithful?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080614080441.htm
U.S. Geological Survey. "What Makes An Old Geyser Faithful?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080614080441.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins