Massive Yellowstone geyser erupts for first time in 8 years

By Amanda Watts and Melissa Gray


(CNN) — Everyone knows the story of Old Faithful. Here’s the story of Old Unreliable.

The Steamboat geyser at Yellowstone National Park is the world’s tallest active geyser, but it’s unpredictable, sometimes waiting months or decades between eruptions. Once, in the 1960s, it erupted 29 times in a year.

It’s rare to be there when Steamboat wakes up. Its eruptions are massive and impressive, reaching as high as 400 feet and lasting as long as 40 minutes. And the show doesn’t end there: A thick column of thundering steam spews for hours after an eruption, as if it’s a giant steam engine.

Steamboat must have decided it was showtime again on Wednesday. For the first time in eight years, and without warning, the geyser suddenly erupted in a massive spectacle, stunning those on the observation deck, who raced to pull out their cameras.

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