What Would Happen If Old Faithful Stopped?


Shelby MacNeil, Contributor

Could this famous geyser in Yellowstone National Park ever come to a complete stop?

One of the reasons Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, U.S.A., is so famous is because of its nationwide known geyser, Old Faithful. For the past few decades, this wonder has been erupting hot spews of water almost every hour, which attracts tourists from all around the country. Now for the question, what would happen if Old Faithful stopped? 

How would Yellowstone’s, and ultimately America’s environment suffer? What would cause Yellowstone to stop completely? Well, these are interesting questions because there could be many contributions to these growing problems. Some of which consist of drought, climate change, and reduced snowfall. Our most concerning problem right now is drought. It is proven that Old Faithful stopped erupting for decades nearly 800 years ago because of drought. Scientists are now saying that this could happen again, due to increasing climate change and drought. 

Now, geologists examining petrified wood from the park have found evidence that 800 years ago, Old Faithful stopped erupting entirely for several decades, in response to a severe drought. With climate change making drought more common across the western United States, the researchers say a similar shut down might happen again.” – Colin Barras (https://www.science.org/content/article/drought-once-shut-down-old-faithful-and-might-again)

Scientists believe that within the next century if Yellowstone’s temperature rises 10F, Old Faithful will most likely shut off completely. This is concerning according to geologists that have recently been studying the geyser Old Faithful. 

“If temperatures at Yellowstone rise 10F (5.6C) by the end of the century, as they are projected to, this vast ecosystem will be disrupted. Old Faithful will almost surely shut off completely, and the snowpack that feeds rivers throughout the west may disappear.” – Adam Popescu (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/02/yellowstone-geyser-old-faithful-stop-erupting-ramifications)

With the increasing worry that Old Faithful will shut down, we can contribute to the geyser keeping its legacy by paying attention to climate change. This is one of the leading problems that may shut down this famous geyser. With our actions of helping prevent it, we can preserve landmarks that make a difference in society and traveling.