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Yellowstone Volcano Update — July 2023 — NEW THERMAL FEATURES at Yellowstone!

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Geysers and hot springs are some of the most dynamic geologic features on the planet. They are always changing and sometimes that change happens in places where we can see and appreciate it. This has been the case on Geyser Hill, near Old Faithful, in Yellowstone National Park.

The activity started May 24, 2023. Aurum Geyser began erupting for the first time in two years, and Beehive Geyser began erupting a little more frequently. In early June, a small feature formed next to the boardwalk near Doublet Pool. Another thermal feature that formed in 2018 but had been dormant came back to life on May 30. And at about the same time, a nearby small feature formed, throwing debris up onto the boardwalk.

This recent increase in activity is similar to that which occurred in September of 2018. That time period is well known for a rare eruption of Ear Spring, which hadn't erupted in decades. When it erupted in September 2018, it brought decades of human trash to the surface—cinder block, coins, cans with pull tabs, even a baby's pacifier—things people had thrown into the spring or had fallen in.

The Geyser Hill activity has calmed substantially since early June and things seem to be to returning to normal. What drove this short period of increased activity? Some may be tempted to think it's magma imparting heat to the surface but that's not the case. If that were true, we would expect to see changes throughout the basin, not just in one small area of Geyser Hill. We would also see abundant earthquake activity and dramatic ground deformation. This is really more of an example of the dynamic nature of Yellowstone's hydrothermal system. It's like the plumbing in an old house, always springing leaks. This is Yellowstone being Yellowstone.

We would like to acknowledge all of the citizen scientists who made observations related to this new Geyser Hill activity. We're grateful for their contributions.

During the month of June 2023, the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, which monitors and operates the Yellowstone seismic network, located 78 earthquakes. Deformation trends continue, with a slowing of ground subsidence and transition to slight uplift, which occurs every summer as water from snowmelt and runoff percolates into the subsurface causing the ground to swell like a wet sponge. There was one Steamboat Geyser water eruption on June 9, 2023. Yellowstone Volcano remains at normal, background levels of activity.

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