A 200 foot geyser erupted yesterday in the very heart of Cades Cove located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from a sinkhole that officials say has increased in size during recent weeks. Both geyser and sinkhole are possibly related to seismic activity along the New Madrid Fault, said park geologist I. Dig Rocks, adding “the fault produces frequent earth tremors that are usually of no consequence.”
A Representative from the United States Geological Survey said this is not always the case citing early 1800 earthquakes along the fault which caused the mighty Mississippi River to flow backwards creating Reelfoot Lake, a 15,000 acre body of water located in the Northwest corner of Tennessee.
Hundreds of visitors flocked to the area to view the phenomenon first hand; ignoring barricades and venturing dangerously close to the geyser. Concerned park officials are trying to keep them at a safe distance. “We are worried that someone may be injured,” says one official. “We don’t know if this is as big as the geyser will get or if it could blow up and take half the valley with it.”
Local resident Ima Mazed was one of the curious. “I have seen Old Faithful in Yellowstone, but it is nothing compared to this,” she said.