Old Faithful loses a pair.
The Yellowstone National Park geyser has long been emitting scorching hot groundwater every 90-94 minutes, about 17 times a day.
But this was not always the case, a new study has found. The results showed that Old Faithful had virtually ceased to flare up for decades during a severe drought that occurred about 800 years ago, according to the journal Science.
Compared to future climate models, which involve melting ice and extreme drought, their results suggest that “Time of Eternity” – another nickname for the iconic hot spring – may soon cease to interest.
The hot water and alkaline environment of Old Faithful are too harsh for most vegetation. Therefore, when the researchers found pieces of petrified wood on the geyser̵7;s mound, they believed that the samples should be dated to the period before the regular eruption. Indeed, 13 pieces of bark were about 600-800 years ago, according to a report published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters last week.
“When I submitted the samples for radiocarbon dating, I didn’t know if they would be hundreds or thousands of years old,” said study author Shaul Hurwitz, a geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey.
One specimen was found alive at least 80 years before the fossil, indicating that Old Fayff stopped erupting water for about 100 years, coinciding with a previously established medieval climate anomaly that brought unknowingly warm and prolonged dry weather to cooler regions. Inside Science.
“It was” aha! “The moment when they all grouped over a century-long period in the 13th and 14th centuries,” Hurwitz told Science.
Based on his previous research, Hurwitz and his colleagues believe that climate change, encouraged by humans, has already added one to two minutes between the Old Faithful eruptions. As the climate continues to dry, they predict that “geyser eruptions may become less frequent or stop altogether.”