YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyoming — One of the hottest pools in Yellowstone National Park erupted for the first time in recent memory over the weekend.
That, combined with new thermal activity in the Geyser Hill area of the Upper Geyser Basin, has led officials to close some boardwalks and trails.
Erupting vents have splashed water on the boardwalks, and surface fractures have been reported.
According to the Associated Press, Ear Spring went from being dormant on Saturday to spewing steam and water between 20 and 30 feet high, a height not recorded since 1957, said park spokesman Neal Herbert.
On Saturday tourists and surveillance cameras captured the rare eruption around 4:50 p.m. Ear Spring contains permanently seething water at or above boiling point. The ear-shaped pool has been known to erupt to a height of around 2 feet, but officials say that only happens one or two times each decade.
Geyser Hill lies across the Firehole River from Old Faithful and features dozens of hot springs, geysers and fumaroles (openings where steam and volcanic gasses are emitted).
For the public’s safety, some boardwalks and trails in the Geyser Hill area have been temporarily closed, according to a news release from Yellowstone National Park. Boardwalks around Old Faithful remain open.
The eruption of Ear Spring comes the same year that the Steamboat Geyser is experiencing record-breaking activity. So far the geyser has erupted 19 times in 2018 with the latest eruption happening Monday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Yellowstone National Park reports this is the most active year for Steamboat since 1982.
Officials stress there have been no signs of impending volcanic activity in the park.