Behold Yellowstone's Garbage-Spewing Geyser

Video screen capture. Geyser Observation And Study Association / YouTube

In its first eruption in decades, Ear Spring geyser showered the landscape with 90 years of trash tossed in by tourists.

Among many of its natural wonders, Yellowstone National Park is famous for its majestic geysers – of which there are more there than anywhere else on earth. With their eruptions of hot water and steam, they are a sight to see; nature's fountains that can explode like furious fireworks, reaching heights of up to 400 feet.

Old Faithful may be the most famous of these spectacles, but a sleepy little geyser named Ear Spring has made the news when last month it delivered more than hot water and steam. After having been dormant for some 60 years, the geyser blew its top on September 15 – and with its spout of 30 feet, rained down all kinds of curious things. Namely, garbage tossed in by tourists, some of it dating back to the 1930s.

yellowstone geyser

Ear Spring after an eruption of water and debris on September 15, 2018 (William Keller / USGS)/Public Domain

"After Ear Spring erupted on September 15, employees found a strange assortment of items strewn across the landscape around its vent!" Yellowstone National Park notes in a Facebook post. "Some are clearly historic: they'll be inventoried by curators and may end up in Yellowstone's archives."

As you can see in the Facebook photo below, there are all kinds of trash tidbits – trash that managed to survive in a boiling hot spring, mind you. There are cigarette butts and plastic utensils, a film wrapper and pull tabs; a baby pacifier from the 1930s makes an appearance, as does a chunk of cinder block (???) ... and of course, the ubiquitous plastic straw.


It boggles the mind.

For the record, just in case you were considering tossing a baby pacifier in a geyser – it is against the park's rules to toss trash in geysers.

"Foreign objects can damage hot springs and geysers," the park notes. "The next time Ear Spring erupts we hope it's nothing but natural rocks and water."