Outstanding geysers around the world
Below are listed selected geysers of the world. Geysers are arranged by the part of the world and in an alphabetic order:
- Allalobed geysers and hot springs – Afar, Ethiopia. Group of beautiful hot springs and very active, up to 6 m high (sometimes even 30 m) geyser.
- Analavory geysers – Itasy, Madagascar. Cold geysers! Four warm gaseous water "geysers" with colourful cones. The water for these spouting springs reportedly is coming from the pipelines of the nearby mine – on the way the hot water is dissolving the lime and depositing it at the outflow. When the vents of outflow are blocked, the water may rise up to several meters high, but otherwise the water spouts 20 – 30 cm high.
- Buranga Hot Springs (Sempaya Hot Springs) – Western Region, Uganda. Perpetual spouter! The most impressive geothermal region in Uganda with hot springs and a geyser-like fountain of hot water – Mumbuga erupting spring. In dry season here appear also fumaroles.
- Dallol hot springs and geysers – Afar, Ethiopia. One of the visually most outstanding places on Earth, the hot springs have a high salt concentration, which has shaped terraces and other formations of very bright, unusual colors. Among the hot springs there is also salt geyser – possibly the only one in the world.
- Loburu geysers and other geysers of Lake Bogoria – Rift Valley, Kenya. In several geothermal areas around the Lake Bogoria there are more than 10 active geysers, up to 5 m high.
- Cisolok geysers – West Java, Indonesia. Two geysers in the stream of Cipanas River, reaching up to 5 m high.
- Beppu hot springs – Oita prefecture, Japan. A group of boiling mud pots and hot pools – jigoku. Tatsumaki jigoku geyser erupts up to 20 m high. Whole area long since ago has been turned into resort and it is not easy to distinguish what here is man-made and what – natural.
- Chaluo geysers – Sichuan, China. Group of fumaroles, boiling springs and 4 geysers.
- Dagejia geysers (Dagyel Chuja, Tagejia, Tagajia, Dagajia) – Shigatse, Tibet. Possibly one of largest geyser fields in the world, reported to have some 100 geysers. Dagejia Geyser spouts up to 20 m high and is the largest geyser in Tibet.
- Fang Hot Springs – North, Thailand. Group of boiling springs, some are periodicaly spouting a fountain of boiling water and steam. Earlier here was a geyser.
- Garm-Chashma – western part of Kuhistoni-Badakhshon, Tajikistan. Sacred place fo Garm people (there was sanctuary above the springs) – travertine mound with 400 m wide terraces formed by thermal springs. Here are located nine – ten spouting springs with 0.1 – 1.2 m high fountains, temperature of water is roughly 59° C. Geyser pearls (at the end of the 19th century). Water has powerful healing properties, especially for diverse forms of dermatitis.
- Mutnovsky geyser valley (Dachnie Hot Springs, Malaya dolina geizerov) – Kamchatka Krai, Russia. Field of fumaroles, some are beating in the beds of cold springs, creating small fountains. These are not true geysers, but certainly – interesting natural landmarks.
- North-Western solfatara field of Shiashkotan – Kuril Islands, Sakhalin oblast, Russia. Interesting geothermal field where in 2007 was discovered a geyser-like spring named "Chornij Drakon" (Black Dragon). Here is located also a spouter "Geizernij", which on a regular basis spurts 1 – 1.5 m high jet of gas and water.
- Onikobe geysers – Miyagi prefecture, Japan. In this location geysers are known for at least 1,700 years, but natural geysers have gradually weakened. Now the largest is Benten – Onikobe Geyser, which has formed in man-made borehole. It is erupting up to 8 m high. Nearby are some more springs with fountains.
- Peting Chuja and Naisum Chuja – Tibet. Some of most mysterious and less known geyser fields in the world, located in hard to access valley of La Chu (Laha) River. It is considered that here 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.
- Pong Duad (Pong Duaed, Tha Pai) – Chiang Mai, North, Thailand. Hot springs and up to 2 m high geyser located in dense forest.
- Prikolny geyser – Kamchatka Krai, Russia. Newly discovered geyser in Uzon caldera, first noticed in 2009. Up to 5 m high, reusing the same water.
- Rehai hot springs – Yunnan, China. Area with interesting geothermal features – hot springs and also up to 19 geysers.
- Silangkitang geysers and other Tapanuli geysers – North Sumatra, Indonesia. Group of geysers. The largest geyser beats from a large pool.
- Valley of Geysers – Kamchatka Krai, Russia. One of largest and most unusual geyser fields in world, the only large geyser field in Asia. Consists of more than 200 geysers, most erupting at verious angles. Massive mudflow covered approximately two thirds of geysers but the valley still is very interesting natural monument. Geyser Velikan is up to 40 m tall.
- Caldeiras Las Furnas – São Miguel, Azores, Portugal. Numerous hot springs around Furnas. Some of them are boiling intensely and earlier were erupting up to 1 m high. Now these springs are less active.
- Haukadalur geothermal area with Geysir and Strokkur – Suðurland, Iceland. Two spectacular geysers 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.
- Hveragerði geothermal area – Suðurland, Iceland. Group of hot springs, mud pools and geysers. Group includes geyser Grýla.
- Hveravellir geothermal field – Norðurland eystra, Iceland. Contains Ystihver – a geyser erupting at regular intervals – earlier 15 – 25 m high, now somewhat lower. Earlier here were some more geysers.
- Deidei geysers (Dei Dei) – Fergusson Island, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. A group of three interconnected geysers erupting every minute up to 4 – 5 m high.
- Kasiloli geysers – West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea. Group of 14 active geysers, eruptions are up to 3 m high.
- Orakei Korako – Waikato, New Zealand. Geothermal area with unique, colourful sinter terraces and geysers. Largest geyser field in New Zealand with some 35 active geysers. Lower terrace – Emerald Terrace – is the largest sinter terrace in New Zealand. Part of it is flooded by hydropower station, submerging some 200 hot springs and 70 geysers.
- Poghorovorughala geothermal area – Savo Island, Central Province, Solomon Islands. Active geothermal area with boiling alcaline springs, boiling mud pots and fumaroles. In the area are located also some spouts of hot water – low geysers. Many springs produce unusual carbonate – opal – anhydrite deposits. Such alcaline springs are rare.
- Valley of Wabula – Pangula, West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea. Powerful geyser with up to 10 m tall eruptions of gas-charged, boiling water.
- Wai-O-Tapu – Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. One of the most beautiful geothermal areas worldwide. Besides Lady Knox geyser, mud pools, numerous hot springs and sinter terraces it contains highly unusual hot spring – Champagne Pool, constantly filled with carbon dioxide bubbles. Crater of this spring is 65 m across, depth – approximately 62 m. Along the rim of this spring are deposited bright orange arsenic and antimony salts. Champagne Pool contains several species of endemic microorganisms.
- Whakarewarewa geothermal area – Bay of Plenty, 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. Area contains seven active geysers including the up to 30 m high Pohutu Geyser.
Yellowstone geyser basins
The most impressive geysers of the world are located in Yellowstone National Park. Some geysers are scattered over the park (reportedly in 17 diverse places), but the majority is grouped in nine geyser fields:
- Gibbon Geyser Basin – Wyoming, 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.
- Heart Lake Geyser Basin – Wyoming, United States. Comparatively little visited area, contains such geysers as Rustic (up to 14 m), Spike, Deluge Geysers
- Lone Star Geyser Basin – Wyoming, United States. Contains Lone Star Geyser – 11 – 12 m tall and 11 more geysers.
- Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone – Wyoming, United States. 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.
- Midway Geyser Basin – Wyoming, United States. Contains such interesting features as Excelsior Geyser – a large pool, which a century ago exploded up to 91 m high and the amazing Grand Prismatic Spring – colourful spring (not a geyser).
- Norris Geyser Basin – Wyoming, United States. Very interesting and rich geyser field at the site where two fault lines intersect. Here the geysers contain highly acidic water, what is rare in the world. Here is located the tallest active geyser in the world – Steamboat Geyser, which 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.
- Shoshone Geyser Basin – Wyoming, 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).
- Upper Geyser Basin – Wyoming, 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 for several times in year up to 60 m high, eruption lasts for 1 – 43 hours.
- West Thumb Geyser Basin – Wyoming, United States. Contains Fishing Cone – a geyser cone in lake water. One of amazing geysers here is Overhanging Geyser – located on an overhanging cliff above the Yellowstone Lake. It is amazing to imagine how the hot water is accessing this geyser. Geyser field includes also geothermal features under the lake level.
Other North American geysers
- Comanjilla geysers – Guanajuato, Mexico. Group of geysers. The tallest – Geyser Humboldt – reaches 1 m height. In total here are 11 geysers.
- Crystal Geyser – Utah, United States. Cold water geyser, created artificially by an exploration well in 1935, which reached a groundwater rich with dissolved carbon dioxide. Geyser is erupting up to 40 m high.
- Fly Geyser – Nevada, United States. Artificially created geyser, existing since 1916. Water is squirting up to 1.5 m high, geyser has created 3.7 m high cone.
- Ixtlán de los Hervores – Michoacán, Mexico. Geothermal field, where earlier used to be up to 14 geysers (it is possible that few still exist near Salitre village). Now here are several artificial geysers. The tallest of these artificial geysers – Ixtlan Geyser – reaches height up to 30 m.
- Soda Springs Geyser – Idaho, United States. Cold water geyser, powered by carbon dioxide. This geyser is released artificially, reaching up to 45 m high. Around the town are numerous natural springs of gaseous water.
- Mount Recheshnoi Geyser field – Umnak, Alaska, United States. The only location in Alaska with true geysers. In 1988 here were 5 geysers, the highest was 2 m tall.
- Candarava hot springs – Tacna, Peru. Large group of some 44 hot springs. Three springs are intermittent spouters up to 1 m high.
- Colca Canyon geysers – Arequipa, Peru. Several geysers (?) and perpetual spouters scattered in the magnificent Colca Canyon. The best known is "Infiernillo" – a perpetual spouter.
- El Tatio – Antofagasta, Chile. This is a large geyser field with at least 85 active geysers erupting up to 6 m high, especially impressive in early morning. At least 100 geysers and 30 perpetual spouters have been active here in historical times.
- Los Tachos and other hot spring areas near Domuyo Volcano – Neuqen, Argentina. In several areas south-west from Domuyo are located intensely boiling springs. Some of the springs are perpetual spouters and there are rumours about some geysers as well.
- Puchuldiza geyser field – Tarapacá, Chile. Here in the 1970s – 1980s were observed four – five geysers reaching up to 4 m high. In the 1990s the activity of geysers was damaged by drilling, but at least one geyser is active here next to several perpetual spouters.
- Puente Bello geysers – Moquegua, Peru. 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.
- Rio Putina hot springs, Calacoa – Moquegua, Peru. Group of geysers, loud steam vents and perpetual spouters along the Rio Putina stream.
This category includes natural geysers, perpetual spouters and cold water geysers of the world.
What are natural geysers?
Hasty hydrogeologist would say: geysers are thermodynamically and hydrodynamically unstable hot springs. "Normal" people would say – geysers are hot springs which at more or less regular intervals shoot up a fountain of boiling water and steam. Sometimes these fountains are even 100 m tall… or even 450 m!
A recipe for a natural geyser
Geysers are a rarity – there are just a few places in the world with true geysers. This is because there are needed four preconditions for a proper geyser:
- Constant supply of ground water. Permanent flow of groundwater is not that common on Earth – many locations are too dry for this. Continuous flow of groundwater is rare on the summits of volcanoes – locations, which otherwise would be good candidates for geysers. Sometimes not too much groundwater is needed – the climate around El Tatio geysers (Chile) is dry but geysers here are economical and reuse most of the water.
- Source of heat – magma close to the ground surface – close enough to heat the groundwater above the point of boiling. One should remember that higher up in the mountains the boiling point is at lower temperature, f.e. in Yellowstone (2300 m above the sea level) the boiling point is at 93° C.
- Suitable configuration of groundwater reservoir. Underground reservoirs of geysers are very hard to access, but research thus far shows, that reservoirs of geysers might be very complex, consisting of smaller channels and large voids.
- Tough surrounding rocks. The hydrothermal processes in the geyser create high pressure and fragile rocks quickly lead to collapse of geyser. Even the sturdiest rocks can not last these pressures forever – due to this the life time of most geysers is not very long. Most geysers of the world have formed in rhyolite – a specific volcanic rock with a similar chemical composition to granite.
How works a geyser?
When the temperature of water exceeds a boiling point, water turns into steam which takes at least 1500 times more space than the water. If the boiling point is exceeded in the whole mass of water, an explosion happens.
Thus – after the eruption of geyser the reservoir has been emptied. Colder water starts to fill up the reservoir – and it starts to heat up. At some moment whole reservoir is filled with water. At the deepest part of the reservoir the rocks are hotter and water gets heated beyond the point of boiling. The pressure of the water column above it at first does not allow for the steam to rise up.
Now the water column in the geyser is unstable – and even a single bubble or small stone leads to a sudden eruption, or the eruption starts by itself at certain moment. The steam suddenly pulls upwards and together with the upper layers of the water flies up in the air. As the water column gets rid of the colder layers of water, the remaining steam also blows up. This continues for some time, until the geyser reservoir is empty. Now it can start again…
Types of geysers
There are distinguished two kinds of natural geysers:
- Cone geysers are erupting from the summit of a small cone – they look like small volcanoes. This cone is shaped by geyser itself and consists of geyserite – siliceous rock. Geysers in Dallol (Ethiopia) though have created cones of salt.
- Fountain geysers are beautiful pools without bottom, filled with unusually lucid water. These pools erupt with splashing action.
What are perpetual spouters?
There are springs which permanently shoot up a boiling water and steam. Here the mechanism is simpler – as the water gets in the reservoir, it is turned into steam almost instantly and is blown up in the air.
Such springs are very interesting natural landmarks – but they are not geysers. Geysers have periodic, visually very impressive explosions, perpetual spouters are permanent and not high.
Unfortunately most tourists and, what is worse – tourism industry – calls them geysers. Wrong!
What are cold water geysers?
Water in many springs is rich with carbon dioxide. If the configuration of the spring reservoir is similar to the one of true geysers, the effect can be similar: at the depth of spring reservoir is accumulated the CO2 gas. It can not rise upwards due to the pressure of water column above it. At some moment the pressure gets that high, that the water column above the gas is pushed upwards, like a cork from the bottle of champagne. Ola! A fountain of genuine carbonated water gets off!
Cold water geysers are man-made – these are just boreholes which have reached deep layers of carbonated water. Sometimes the upper end of the metallic borehole gets covered with sediments of lime and dissolved iron from the borehole itself – there forms a weird looking cone in orange and brown color.
In some of these springs the water is not cold – it might be even hot. Nevertheless such geysers are powered by carbon dioxide and not steam.
These landmarks are partly artificial and definitely not true geysers.
In Geysers: What They Are and How They Work, T. Scott Bryan explains the geological setting that produces the pressure, heat, and abundant water necessary for a geyser to form and introduces readers to the variables that shape each geyser’s distinct personality. Some geysers spout just inches above a pool of water and others blast hundreds of feet in the air from conical vents. Some remain quiet for decades only to explode unexpectedly several times in a single month while others regularly erupt at scheduled intervals.
This new edition of The Geysers of Yellowstone is the most up-to-date and comprehensive reference to the geysers of Yellowstone National Park, describing in detail each of the more than five hundred geysers in the park. The entire text has been revised and geyser descriptions have been updated based on activity observed through early 2018. Information about a number of significant new geyser developments has been added, as well as recent knowledge about some of the world’s geyser fields outside Yellowstone.