The first known geyser in the world, called “Geysir”, is located in the Haukadalaur Valley, north of Lake Laugarvatn in South Iceland. Geysers are geothermal hydrogeology formations found in nature, in different parts of the planet, the territory most influenced by this phenomenon being Yellowstone National Park.
What is a geyser
The word geyser derives from Icelandic, specifically from the word “geysir”, which in turn comes from the German word “geysa”, which can be translated as “torrent” or “jet”. A geyser is a volcanic opening in the earth’s crust that is directly connected by natural conduits to internal cavities or underground deposits. Through the geyser steam and water at a high temperature are released intermittently and turbulently, one could say that even violently.
Why is a geyser produced? How is it formed? These normally originate after a volcanic eruption . This occurs when masses of groundwater come into contact with the magma in the mantle and begin to heat up rapidly. The rate at which they heat causes them to increase in volume and, due to the build-up of pressure, is generated through the porous and fractured rocks. Once the water reaches the surface, both the water and the gases come out violently, reaching an average height of up to 50 meters .
Depending on the characteristics of a geyser, it is divided into two types :
It is one that erupts from a pool of water, that is, the water comes out of a large body of water, usually in a series of very intense explosions and the water is expelled in different directions. These eruptions can be defined as violent eruptions due to the great pressure that is produced. An example of a fountain geyser can be the “Great Fountain” located in Yellowstone National Park.
In these, the water is expelled to the outside by a mound formed by silicon agglomerates or, also, known as geyserite (normally these mounds are cone-shaped, that is why the name “cone geyser”). When this type of geyser erupts, the water usually comes out in stable jets that usually last from a few seconds to many. A well-known example of a cone geyser is the “Old Faithful” also located in Yellowstone National Park.
To the question “where do geysers occur?”, It can be said that they are natural phenomena that occur in unique landscape ecosystems. These are the best known places with geysers :
- In Yellowstone National Park, United States , they found almost half of all geysers on the planet. One of them is the Steamboat geyser, the most powerful in the world since it can expel water up to 91 meters. However, it is not very active and its eruptions are unpredictable. Other examples of famous geysers in Yellowstone are the Old Faithful, which erupts every 90 minutes or so, the Castle geyser which erupts roughly every 14 hours, the Grand geyser has an eruption interval of 6 hours and 45 minutes, the Daysy geyser highlights for launching the water totally vertically and its eruption interval is 2 hours and 45 minutes and, finally, it is worth mentioning the Riverside geyser standing out for its beauty, despite not being among the largest.
- In addition to Yellowstone National Park, there are other places in the world where you can find these spectacular phenomena. For example, in Chile , exactly in the Andean mountains, there is the largest geyser field in the southern hemisphere called “El Tatio”.
- In Iceland there are two well-known geysers, the Great Geysir and the Strokkur, located in Haukadalur.
- In New Zealand it is very famous as the Pohutu within the Te Puia tourist complex.
- There are also geysers in other parts of the world such as Peru, Russia and Japan , among others.