Steamboat Geyser

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Steamboat Geyser
Major eruption, Steamboat Geyser, circa 1960s
Location Norris Geyser Basin,
Yellowstone National Park,
Park County, Wyoming
Coordinates 44°43′25″N 110°42′11″W / 44.7236795°N 110.7031823°W / 44.7236795; -110.7031823Coordinates: 44°43′25″N 110°42′11″W / 44.7236795°N 110.7031823°W / 44.7236795; -110.7031823[1]
Elevation 7,598 feet (2,316 m) [2]
Type Cone geyser
Eruption height 10 feet (3.0 m) to 300 feet (91 m)
Frequency Irregular, unpredictable
Duration 3 to 40 minutes
Temperature 71.3 °C (160.3 °F) on 1998-06-26 [1]
Norris Geyser Basin

Steamboat Geyser, in Yellowstone National Park's Norris Geyser Basin, is the world's tallest currently-active geyser. During major eruptions, water may be thrown more than 300 feet (90 m) into the air.[3]

Steamboat's major eruptions last from 3 to 40 minutes, and are followed by powerful jets of steam. Steamboat does not erupt on a predictable schedule, with recorded intervals between major eruptions ranging from four days to fifty years. The geyser was dormant from 1911 to 1961. Minor eruptions of 10 to 15 feet (3–5 m) are much more frequent. After an eruption, the geyser often vents large amounts of steam for up to 48 hours.[4] Cistern Spring, located nearby, will drain completely during a major eruption of the geyser; the spring refills within a few days.

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.[5] Excelsior Geyser in Yellowstone's Midway Geyser Basin likewise was taller, with eruptions reaching 300 feet (91 m). However, Excelsior has not erupted since 1985,[6] and is now classified as a hot spring.

The last eruption of Steamboat Geyser occurred on July 31, 2013.[7] The last nine major eruptions were on the following dates:[8]

  • October 2, 1991
  • May 2, 2000
  • April 26, 2002
  • September 13, 2002
  • March 26, 2003
  • April 27, 2003
  • October 22, 2003
  • May 23, 2005
  • July 31, 2013

Steamboat Geyser has two vents, a northern and a southern, approximately five meters apart.

Images of Steamboat Geyser
Major eruption on May 23, 2005 
Major eruption on May 23, 2005 
Minor eruption 
Steam venting on May 24, 2005 


  1. ^ a b "Steamboat Geyser". Yellowstone Geothermal Features Database. Montana State University. 
  2. ^ "Steamboat Geyser". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. 
  3. ^ Bryan, T. Scott (May 1995). The Geysers of Yellowstone (3rd Edition ed.). University Press of Colorado. ISBN 0-87081-365-X. 
  4. ^ "Steamboat Geyser". National Park Service. 
  5. ^ Jones, Gregory L. "Tall Geysers". WyoJones' Geyser Pages. Retrieved May 24, 2006. 
  6. ^ "Excelsior Geyser". Geyser Observation and Study Association (GOSA). 
  7. ^ Brown, Matthew (August 1, 2013). "Yellowstone's Steamboat geyser sees rare eruption". Associated Press. Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Steamboat Geyser Tallest Active Geyser in the World" (PDF). National Park Service. August 2010. Retrieved 2013-02-24.