Abstract

The geysers of Yellowstone National Park, United States, attract millions of visitors each year, and their eruption dynamics have been the subject of extensive research for more than a century. Although many of the fundamental aspects associated with the dynamics of geyser eruptions have been elucidated, the relationship between external forcing (Earth tides, barometric pressure, and precipitation) and geyser eruption intervals (GEIs) remains a matter of ongoing debate. We present new instrumental GEI data and demonstrate, through detailed time-series analysis, that geysers respond to both long-term precipitation trends and to the seasonal hydrologic cycle. Responsiveness to long-term trends is reflected by a negative correlation between the annual averages of GEIs and stream flow in the Madison River. This response is probably associated with long-term pressure changes in the underlying hydrothermal reservoir. We relate seasonal GEI lengthening to snowmelt recharge.

You do not currently have access to this article.