Yellowstone’s most famous geyser could shut down, reveals study

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Jul 02, 2021, 03:41 PM(IST)

Representative picture. Photograph:( Others )

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The Greater Yellowstone Area is among the world’s last intact temperate ecosystems. It includes two national parks, five national forests, half a dozen tribal nations and stunning biodiversity. 

A recent study has revealed that rising temperatures, reduced snowfall and increased rain might shut Yellowstone Park's most famous geyser. 

The Greater Yellowstone Area is among the world’s last intact temperate ecosystems. It includes two national parks, five national forests, half a dozen tribal nations and stunning biodiversity. 

Also, it is a supervolcano that is home to 10,000 hydrothermal features, including 500 geysers.

If the temperatures at Yellowstone rise 10F by the end of the century, as predicted, this vast ecosystem will be disrupted. The geyser will almost shut off completely, and the snowpack that feeds rivers throughout the west may disappear.

This is not the first problem that such a problem is being witnessed. About 800 years ago, extreme heat and drought made the geyser come to a complete standstill for decades. This shift changed everything from what plant species grew in the area to what the land looked like.

Also Read | Scientists believe they have discovered Alaska’s Yellowstone ‘super volcano’

Researchers are now trying to use the park’s recent past as a 'climate roadmap'. This will help them to predict what might happen next. 

However, reading the map will not be easy or clean. 

In 2018, Chris Schiller, a post-doctoral research associate at Montana State University, ventured out to find out what made one lake in the geyser basin go from thermal to freshwater centuries ago.

In the lab, Schiller’s team discovered evidence of fire, drought and temperature shifts in the sediment. 

The research helps in filling in the gaps in prehistoric climate and vegetation. These are all indicators of how this land has changed. 

As per a recent Yellowstone climate assessment, in recent decades, the average temperature in the park has been as high or higher than in any period in the last 20,000 years. Also, this could be the warmest of the last 800,000 years.

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