Bends in Plumbing Cause Geysers to Erupt

February 25, 2015 11:58 PM

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Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park erupts every 35 to 120 minutes. But it’s only been in recent years that scientists have figured out what actually causes the landmark — and the other 1,000 or so active geysers of the world — to spew water and steam high into the air, instead of merely bubbling at the surface like hot springs do.

What they’ve discovered is that it’s all in a geyser’s plumbing — in particular, the twists and turns in the underground passageways through which the heated water moves.

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