Since erupting, Steamboat has spewed air three times the height of Old Faithful, which might have some people alarmed. However, current faculty at BYU-Idaho and geology professor Robert Clayton said it’s nothing to be alarmed by.
“Its just groundwater moving around, getting hot and then decompressing,” Clayton said. “It very sporadically erupts; (referring to Steamboat) the last time was back in 2014.”
Clayton also said that in order for a volcano to erupt, three things need to happen: earthquakes, changes in ground elevation and gas emissions.
A common example of these three signs happening, in relation to an eruption, can be related to the recent eruption of Kilauea.
“All three of those were signs that they knew an eruption was possible,” Clayton said. “Signs of earthquakes, the ground was moving and gas emissions were very high.”
According to National Public Radio Inc., Steamboat Geyser erupted three times in the past two months. What puzzled but not alarmed scientists is that all three of the eruptions have happened so close to each other: the first one occurring on March 15, the second on April 19 and the last on April 27.
Geysers occur when magma heats up water and air underneath a reservoir beneath the surface of the earth. It’s much like a teapot kettle. One simply filling the teapot with cold water and heat it up on the stove. When the water and steam are hot enough it pops open the tea kettle nozzle, according to National Public Radio Inc.
Scientists believe the reason Steamboat is so unpredictable compared to Old Faithful is due to “underground plumbing.” Old Faithful has a simple system, while Steamboat has a more complicated one, according to National Public Radio Inc.