SALT LAKE CITY ― Last month, visitors and park rangers at Yellowstone National Park experienced quite a blast from the past.
It had been over 60 years since the park’s dormant Ear Spring geyser had last erupted. But on Sept. 15, the geyser exploded, shooting water 30 feet in the air.
And that’s not all, according to Business Insider — trash dating back to the 1930’s also spewed out of the spring, even though Yellowstone has strict rules against throwing trash into the geysers.
“Foreign objects can damage hot springs and geysers,” park rangers wrote in a Facebook post following the eruption. “The next time Ear Spring erupts we hope it’s nothing but natural rocks and water. You can help by never throwing anything into Yellowstone’s thermal features!”
Among the debris, park rangers found part of a cinder block, a 1930’s pacifier and a Hamm’s beer can. Plenty of coins were also picked up from around the geyser. Officials announced on Facebook that all the trash is being cataloged and may be added to Yellowstone’s archives.
"You might think that if you toss something in a hot spring or in a geyser that it disappears, but it doesn't disappear. It stays in that and what normally happens is you can actually plug up a feature and kill the feature. And that's happened in many places in the park," Rebecca Roland, a supervisory park ranger at Yellowstone, said according to CBS News.1 comment on this story
According to Science Alert, the park has experienced an upswing in geothermal activity in the past few months. The famous Steamboat geyser is nearing a record-breaking number of eruptions this year. In addition, the formation of a new thermal feature has led to the closure of a popular boardwalk in the Upper Geyser Basin.
Though some worried that the increased activity could be a warning of increased volcanic activity below the surface — Yellowstone National Park is situated above a giant super volcano — officials at the US Geological Survey stated that people have nothing to worry about.
"Changes in Yellowstone's hydrothermal features are common occurrences and do not reflect changes in activity of the Yellowstone volcano," reassured the US Geological Survey.