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World's tallest geyser in Yellowstone erupts for fifth time this year

(Xinhua)    15:18, May 14, 2018

LOS ANGELES, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone National Park Sunday has erupted for the fifth time this year and scientists have said these frequent eruptions may mark a new period of activity for it.

In a Facebook post Sunday, the Geyser Observation and Study Association confirmed the eruption, saying it had started in the early morning of the day.

A geyser, a kind of rare geological phenomenon that exists in only a few places on Earth, erupts when magma heats up the gases and water in a reservoir beneath the Earth's surface.

Geysers can gush water into the air for minutes and then spew steam for days. The Steamboat is the tallest active geyser in the world, capable of shooting water 300 feet (91 meters) into the air.

Steamboat has remained dormant for as long as nine years. Its first eruption since 2014 took place in mid-March, followed by two other eruptions in April and another on May 4.

Bob Smith, a distinguished professor at the University of Utah who has studied the geysers at Yellowstone for 61 years, was quoted by National Public Radio as saying that these eruptions were unusual since all happened in such a short time and he has never seen something like that before.

Though scientists don't know why Steamboat erupted, they say it is unlikely the geyser would trigger a catastrophic eruption of the supervolcano underneath Yellowstone National Park, which lies on top of a giant volcanic hot spot and sprawls across three states including Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

The supervolcano in Yellowstone erupted 70,000 years ago.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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