JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Yellowstone has been doing things this year it hardly ever does.
The 2018 season started with a bang this spring when Steamboat Geyser went off for the first time in more than three years on March 16. Since then, the reclusive geyser has been gushing at a record pace, now 21 eruptions and counting. In 1982, Steamboat blew 23 times. It also went off 26 times in 1963, 29 times in 1964, and 22 times in 1965.
Then came the surprise eruption of Ear Spring on September 15. That long-forgotten geyser had been dormant for some 50 years. It has experienced mild eruptions of some 5-6 feet in height but not since 1957 has it blown its top to the 30 feet witnessed two weeks ago.
Following the eruption, park employees found numerous items coughed up by the geyser dating back to the 1930s. Yellowstone officials say the strange assortment of artifacts was strewn across the landscape around the vent of the geyser. The items will be inventoried by curators and may end up in Yellowstone’s archives.
Most of the items found were coins, mostly eroded by the thermal feature’s high temperatures. For decades, tourists have thrown things in the geyser—a practice that is strictly forbidden today.
“Foreign objects can damage hot springs and geysers. The next time Ear Spring erupts we hope it’s nothing but natural rocks and water,” Yellowstone authorities stated.