Tourists caught dangling makeshift thermometer over Yellowstone geyser that was 'killed' by careless visitors

Minute Geyser at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A group of tourists have been caught trying to take the temperature of a geyser at Yellowstone National Park by trespassing off the boardwalk and leaning over the hot water with a digital thermometer taped to a stick. The incident, a video of which which was shared via Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone this week, took place at Minute Geyser, which once erupted every 60 seconds, but was 'killed' by careless tourists during the park's early days.

In the video, which you can watch below, the thermometer-carrying visitors can be seen wandering past a sign marked 'choked by ignorance', which refers to the geyser's sad history. Fascinated by the spouting hot water and not realizing the damage they were doing, early park visitors would throw coins and other items into Minute Geyser while waiting for stagecoaches.

As the National Park Service explains, over time, these items clogged up the underground channels feeding the geyser. Eruptions used to regularly reach heights of 40-50ft, but are now rare, and only originate from the geyser's smaller east vent.

Visitors are warned to never throw items into hot springs, or to leave established boardwalks and trails in geothermal areas, where the ground is often little more than a thin crust covering scalding hot groundwater.

Trespassing in these areas is a serious crime, and those who wander off the boardwalk can face hefty fines, as James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan found when he was ordered to pay $1,500 after entering a prohibited area near Mammoth Terraces.

"I deeply regret my transgression and offer my heartfelt apologies to all for trespassing in this sensitive area," a contrite Brosnan wrote on Instagram. "Yellowstone and all our National Parks are to be cared for and preserved for all to enjoy."

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.