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Geothermal fields

Morning Glory Pool in Upper Geyser Basin
Morning Glory Pool in Upper Geyser Basin./ alh1, Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

WorldBlue Described geothermal fields

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WorldYellow What is included in this category?

This category includes the most impressive geothermal fields in the world.

Porcelain Springs in Norris Geyser Basin, USA
Porcelain Springs in Norris Geyser Basin, USA./ Yellowstone National Park, Flickr / public domain
What are geothermal fields?

There are many locations on Earth where the heated rocks – magma – are closer to the surface of the ground. Most of such locations are along the borders of tectonic plates and in so-called hotspots. The surface water there seeps through the ground, reaches heated rocks, gets overheated and rises back, upwards, on its path dissolving diverse substances and creating various interesting natural phenomena.

Locations with such thermal water and gases are geothermal fields.

Unusual effects and phenomena of geothermal fields

A lot of diverse factors make geothermal fields unusual:

  • Heat. In geothermal fields, the water is warmer as usual, and frequently – a lot warmer! There are hot springs, lakes, rivers, waterfalls! Groundwater heats the ground – you can build a tent there and… after some hours the tent will be like a sauna! A frequent sign of a geothermal field is steam plumes that rise from the ground.
    Salt springs in Dallol, Ethiopia
    Colors of salt springs in Dallol, Ethiopia / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
  • Colors. Overheated water dissolves diverse minerals and in the heated water thrive diverse algae and other microorganisms. As a result, on the ground surface, we see bright, unusual colors: geothermal fields are colored bright yellow (sulfur), white (lime, silica), diverse hues of orange and brown as well as green (iron), but there are other bright colors as well. Colors in geothermal fields frequently are unusually clear and bright. Very beautiful are the colors under the water level – geothermal springs might be unusually lucid.
  • Noise. Sometimes it is quite noisy in geothermal fields, especially loud can be fumaroles. For example, Roaring Mountain in Yellowstone National Park could be heard miles away in the early 20th century.
    Mammoth Hot Springs, United States
    Mammoth Hot Springs, United States / Jim Trodel, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Unusual landforms and geological phenomena. Only in geothermal fields can be found geysers, mudpots (acidic hot springs), travertine terraces and other unusual formations.
  • Rare minerals – in unusual conditions form unusual minerals. Thus, for example, the only place in the world, where rheniite – one of two rhenium-containing minerals – is found, is a geothermal field at Kudriavy Volcano, Iturup, Kuril Islands.
  • Rare species of organisms – the permanent heat helps to maintain species that otherwise would not survive. Thus, for example, a snail Physella wrighti lives only in Liard Hot Springs in northern British Columbia, Canada. In the thermal springs of Cuatro Ciénegas Valley, Mexico, live more than 70 species that are met only there.

WorldViolet Top 25 locations with the most impressive geothermal fields


Dallol hot springs and geysers


One of the most unusual places on Earth is Dallol Volcano. It is dubbed to be the most colorful place on Earth and the hottest place in the world. This is the only volcano in the world below sea level and without water over it. This place has got the only geysers of salt and acid in the world – and lots of them!

Dallol / Kalogeropoulos, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0


Valley of Geysers


One of the largest and most unusual geyser fields in the world, the only large geyser field in Asia. Consists of more than 200 geysers, most erupting at various angles. Massive mudflow covered approximately two-thirds of geysers but the valley still is a very interesting natural monument. Geyser Velikan is up to 40 m tall.

Valley of Geysers, Russia
Valley of Geysers, Russia / / CC BY-SA 2.0
Peting Chuja and Naisum Chuja


Some of the most mysterious and less known geyser fields in the world, located in hard to access valley of La Chu (Laha) River, distance between them – some 30 km. It is considered that there are some 14 active geysers. Naisum Chuja at the end of the 19th century had two geysers spouting up to 18 m high. During the harsh Tibetan winter the water freezes, forming weird ice towers.

Dagejia Geysers


Possibly one of the largest geyser fields in the world reported having some 100 geysers. Dagejia Geyser spouts up to 20 m high and is the largest geyser in Tibet.

Dagejia Pohutu geyser
Dagejia Pohutu geyser / Geothermal Geological Brigade of Tibet

Australia and Oceania


New Zealand

One of the most beautiful geothermal areas worldwide. Besides Lady Knox geyser, mud pools, numerous hot springs, and sinter terraces it contains a highly unusual hot spring – Champagne Pool, constantly filled with carbon dioxide bubbles. Along the rim of this spring are deposited bright orange arsenic and antimony salts.

Champagne Pool, New Zealand
Champagne Pool / Photo by Mehlführer C, Wikimedia Commons. CC-BY-2.5
Orakei Korako

New Zealand

A geothermal area with unique, colorful sinter terraces and geysers. The largest geyser field in New Zealand with some 35 active geysers. The lower terrace – Emerald Terrace – is the largest sinter terrace in New Zealand. Part of it is flooded by a hydropower station, submerging some 200 hot springs and 70 geysers.

Orakei Korako, New Zealand
Orakei Korako, New Zealand / Pavils G., CC-BY-SA-3.0
Whakarewarewa geothermal area

New Zealand

Geothermal area in Rotorua city with unique cultural properties. The facilities offered by geothermal fields have been used by Maori since at least 1350 AD – they developed bathtubs, made food here. The area contains seven active geysers including the up to 30 m high Pohutu Geyser.

Pohutu Geyser, Whakarewarewa geothermal area
Pohutu Geyser, Whakarewarewa geothermal area./ denisbin, Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0
Waimangu geothermal area

New Zealand

Geothermal area, created by Mount Tarawera eruption in 1886. The area contains many interesting features. Frying Pan Lake is the largest hot spring in the world – the area of this hot lake is 3.8 ha. Warbrick Terraces and Marble Terraces are sinter terraces in the process of formation. Inferno Crater is the largest geyser-like lake – a light blue steaming lake with a fluctuating water level.

Inferno Crater, Waimangu geothermal area
Inferno Crater, Waimangu geothermal area./ rumolay, Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0


Haukadalur geothermal area


One of the most famous geothermal fields. Two spectacular geysers – Geysir and Strokkur – are located close together. Geysir has given the name to the geological phenomenon of geysers. Geysir has been up to 100 m high in the past. Strokkur is very intense, erupting 25 – 35 m high every 4 – 8 minutes. In the area are some more geysers and hot springs.

Geysir and Strokkur erupting simultaneously, June 1984
Geysir and Strokkur erupting simultaneously, June 1984 / Roger Goodman, Flickr.CC BY-SA 2.0.
Hveravellir Geothermal Field


Beautiful geothermal field and popular tourist destination. Area contains several notable hot springs and geysers, such as Gjósandi, Bræðrahver, Grænihver, Rauðihver, Öskurhóll, Fagrihver and others. Here are at least six geysers.

Hveravellir Geothermal Field. Öskurhóll in the forefront with Bláhver behind it.
Hveravellir Geothermal Field. Öskurhóll in the forefront with Bláhver behind it./ Aurélien Coillet, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Stórihver Geothermal Area


Impressive geothermal area in the picturesque mountains north of Mýrdalsjökull glacier. The large, blue pool of Stórihver is some 15 m wide. Several boiling springs. It is possible that some springs could be geysers.

One of hot springs in Stórihver Geothermal Area
One of hot springs in Stórihver Geothermal Area./ Venema, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

North America

Norris Geyser Basin

United States

Very interesting and rich geyser field at the site where two fault lines intersect. Here the geysers contain highly acidic water, which is rare in the world. Here is located the tallest active geyser in the world – Steamboat Geyser. It erupts rarely, but then – up to 116 m high. Amazing is the beautiful Echinus Geyser – the largest acid geyser in the world with interesting formations around it.

Norris Geyser Basin
Norris Geyser Basin./ jemartin03, Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0
Midway Geyser Basin

United States

This geothermal area contains such interesting features as Excelsior Geyser – a large pool that a century ago exploded up to 91 m high. Here is also the amazing, colourful Grand Prismatic Spring.

Grand Prismatic Spring, in Midway Geyser Basin
Grand Prismatic Spring, in Midway Geyser Basin./ Mike Goad, Flickr / public domain
Upper Geyser Basin

United States

One of the largest geyser fields in the world with almost 300 geysers. Here are located some of the iconic geysers in the world – Old Faithful Geyser (32 – 55 m high), Beehive Geyser (45 – 60 m high). Giantess Geyser erupts several times in year up to 60 m high, eruption lasts for 1 – 43 hours.

Old Faithful geyser, United States, Wyoming
Old Faithful geyser, United States, Wyoming / / CC BY-SA 2.0
Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone

United States

The second richest geyser area in Yellowstone. Here are such geysers as Great Fountain (up to 67 m tall), Clepsydra, White Dome (geyser with high cone, erupting up to 9.1 m), Fountain.

Clepsydra Geyser, Lower Geyser Basin
Clepsydra Geyser, Lower Geyser Basin./ Mike Goad, Flickr / public domain
West Thumb Geyser Basin

United States

This geothermal field contains Fishing Cone – a geyser cone in lake water. One of the amazing geysers here is Overhanging Geyser – located on an overhanging cliff above Yellowstone Lake. It is amazing to imagine how the hot water is accessing this geyser. The geyser field includes also geothermal features under the lake level.

Fishing cone geyser, Wyoming, United States
Fishing cone geyser, Wyoming, United States / J.Peaco, US NP Sevice, public domain.
Valley of Desolation


A spectacular geothermal area with steam vents, fumaroles, hot springs and boiling mud pots.

Valley of Desolation, Dominica
Valley of Desolation / Jean & Nathalie, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Cuatro Ciénegas Valley (Cuatro Ciénegas Valley)


An unusual part of Chihuahua desert with thousands of geothermal spring pools. Extremely high biodiversity including more than 70 endemic species not found outside this valley. Most unique are stromatolites in spring lakes, endemic plants in gypsum dunes, fishes in lakes.

Cuatrociénegas, Poza Azul
Cuatrociénegas, Poza Azul. / Luna sin estrellas, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Ixtlán de los Hervores geothermal field


In this geothermal field earlier used to be up to 14 geysers (it is possible that few still exist near Salitre village). Now there are several artificial geysers. The tallest of these artificial geysers – Ixtlan Geyser – reaches a height up to 30 m.

Ixtlán Geyser, Mexico
Ixtlán Geyser, Mexico / , Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Shoshone Geyser Basin

United States

Pristine geyser field with very well preserved, beautiful sinter formations. Contains 110 thermal features, including Union Geyser, Minute Man Geyser (up to 12 m).

Shoshone Geyser Basin. Rosette Spring in the forefront, further are seen Minute Man Geyser and Shield Geyser.
Shoshone Geyser Basin. Rosette Spring in the forefront, further are seen Minute Man Geyser and Shield Geyser./ Greg Willis, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0
Heart Lake Geyser Basin

United States

Comparatively little visited area, contains such geysers as Rustic (up to 14 m), Spike, Deluge Geysers.

Heart Lake Geyser Basin
Heart Lake Geyser Basin./ Yellowstone National Park, Flickr / public domain
Gibbon Geyser Basin

United States

This thermal field contains many very interesting geothermal features and unusual geysers. Contains Monument Basin – a weird valley with silent geyser cones of diverse forms.

Monument Geyser in Gibbon Geyser Basin
Monument Geyser in Gibbon Geyser Basin./ James St. John, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

South America

El Tatio


A large geyser field with at least 85 active geysers erupting up to 6 m high. The field is especially impressive in the early morning. At least 100 geysers and 30 perpetual spouters have been active here in historical times.

El Tatio geysers, Chile
El Tatio geysers, Chile / / CC BY 2.0
Sol de Mañana


This visually impressive field of sulfur springs contains pools with boiling mud. Some abandoned boreholes emit pressurized steam up to 50 m high.

Sol de Mañana, Potosí in Bolivia
Sol de Mañana, Potosí / Phil Whitehouse, / CC BY 2.0
Puente Bello geysers


Group of perpetual spouters and geysers in magnificent location where the river is crossed by a large natural bridge with road over it. One geyser reaches up to 25 m high.

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