All About Geysers: How They’re Formed and Where to Find Them
Whether it’s large or small, no one can deny the fact that geysers are an amazing natural phenomenon. Due to the fact that they’re underground, it’s easy for them to come across as mysterious miracles. However, understanding how geysers work is not as complicated as you may believe. If you’re interested in learning more about geysers, keep reading.
What Exactly Are Geysers?
In a nutshell, geysers are hot springs; they’re vents in the Earth’s surface that periodically emit jet-like streams from below the surface. Due to their temporary features, geysers are generally located in areas with active volcanic activity.
There are two types of geysers: cone and fountain. Cone geysers blast narrow streams of water. A popular example of a cone geyser is Beehive at Yellowstone National Park. Fountain-type geysers are more common; they range in size and shoot water from pools in numerous directions. Great Fountain is an example of a fountain geyser, as it has a large opening at the surface that fills with water pre-eruption.
The Science Behind Geysers
Geyser formation begins when surface water seeps into the ground and meets underground rock and magma (or molten rock). The heated groundwater attempts to come back to the surface to cool off, but it doesn’t convert to steam due to the high pressure. An eruption happens once the confining water can finally make its way through the vent’s narrow channel; this is why we see an impressive steam explosion.
Interesting Facts About Geysers
⦁ They irregularly eject hot water and steam; you typically can’t predict when a geyser will erupt.
⦁ Thousands of gallons of boiling water can shoot up to a few hundred feet in the air.
⦁ They’re the considered the hottest hot spring. In fact, geysers are too hot for anybody to touch. The water temperature is at least a couple hundred degrees, and the steam temperature rises much above that.
Where to Find Geysers
A geyser is truly a rare sight since they only occur where hydrogeological conditions are perfect. Throughout the world, there are about 1,000 geysers spread out among five countries: Chile, Iceland, New Zealand, Russia, and the United States.
Specifically for the U.S., in Wyoming you’ll find geysers at Yellowstone—there are more geysers here than anywhere else in the world. The national park proudly houses Old Faithful, the world’s most famous geyser. You can view Old Faithful in the Upper Geyser Basin in the southwest area of the park. Although geysers are generally unpredictable, you’re sure to witness regular eruptions from Old Faithful. When visiting Yellowstone, you’ll also want to check out the Steamboat Geyser, located in the Norris Geyser Basin. It’s the tallest active geyser in the world!
With all this new knowledge about geysers, it’s easy to understand why these fascinating wonders are worth a visit. If you ever get the opportunity, consider visiting these incredible phenomena up closer—you won’t regret it.