Environment

Scientists Figure Out Why Old Faithful Erupts with Hot Water, Steam Every 90 Minutes

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Scientists have figured out the big mystery behind the most famous geyser in America. They now finally understand why Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park erupts every 90 minutes like clockwork.

Every 90 minutes or so, Old Faithful erupts with extremely hot water and steam built up underneath the surface. The reason, according to Our Amazing Planet, is that the underground plumbing leading to the geyser’s surface looks more like a bagpipe than a flute, as was previously thought.

Our Amazing Planet Reports:

A big chamber sits about 50 feet (15 meters) underground, located southwest of Old Faithful, researchers report in a study published online March 30 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The exact size can't be determined, but they estimate the egg-shaped void is at least 50 feet (15 m) tall and 60 feet (18 m) wide. The cavern connects to a pipe angled about 24 degrees that feeds Old Faithful's maw.

Geysers are extremely rare natural features, as there are only about 1,000 on Earth and half of which are at Yellowstone. In addition to the recent finding, Yellowstone opened the road to Old Faithful on Friday, which is earlier than usual this year due to lighter snowfall.

Sources: USA Today, Our Amazing Planet