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There’s nothing quite as spectacular as a geyser that shoots high into the air or a hot spring that offers brilliant colors. The world’s best geysers and hot springs are sprinkled worldwide, offering visitors a glimpse of this beauty on every continent – yes, including Antarctica! How many of these locations have you visited so far?
Geysers are some of the most incredible natural wonders in the world. They have been known to shoot water high into the air, giving a spectacular display for those who visit. Geysers can be found all over the world, with Antarctica being one of their favorite places to show up as well.
Here’s a list of geysers and hot springs that will take your breath away.
- Famous Geysers and Hot Springs
- #1A. Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park
- #1B. Steamboat Geyser, Yellowstone National Park
- #2. Dallol
- #3. The Blue Lagoon
- #4. The Valley of Geysers
- #5. Yellow Dragon Mountain [Huanglong, Sichuan]
- #6. Jigokudani Monkey Park
- #7. Pamukkale
- #8. Haukadalur
- #9. Rotorua
- #10. El Tatio
- #11. Washoe Valley
- #12. California’s Old Faithful
- #13. Ma’ln Hot Springs
- How do geysers work?
- Are geysers volcanoes?
- Types of Geysers
Famous Geysers and Hot Springs
#1A. Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park
You could spend two weeks exploring all the different hot springs and geysers at Yellowstone National Park, but the most famous geyser must be Old Faithful Geyser. It was discovered in 1870 and can shoot hot water and steam up to a height of up to 185 feet for up to 5 minutes.
Most geyser eruptions occur about once every hour and a half, although it can be as soon as 45 minutes between them in certain circumstances.
#1B. Steamboat Geyser, Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone’s geysers are one of the main reasons this national park is so popular, so it’s no surprise that we have another geyser on the list.
For an even more impressive sight, Steamboat Geyser is the world’s tallest active geyser. However, Steamboat Geyser eruption isn’t very predictable, and most eruptions only reach a height of about 15 feet. When it goes, however, it can throw hot water and steam over 300 feet into the air.
The last time there was a major Steamboat Geyser eruption was in 2013; before that, it was in 2005. There was one point in history when it was dormant for over 50 years.
To get to Steamboat Geyser, you must head to Yellowstone National Park. Once you’re there, it’s located in the Norris Geyser Basin. You can either drive or take a bus tour to get there. Other active geysers and hot springs located at Yellowstone National Park include:
- Castle Geyser
- Daisy Geyser
- Grand Geyser
- Lion Geyser
- Morning Glory Pool
- Norris Geyser Basin
- Porcelain Geyser
- Steamboat Geyser
- Twin Geysers
- Ulysses Geyser
If you’re looking to see some amazing geysers and hot springs, then be sure to add Yellowstone National Park to your list.
Located in Ethiopia, these hot springs sit over 150 feet below sea level. It’s one of the most remote places on the planet, and the only way to access the hot springs is by joining a camel caravan that heads out there to collect salt.
It’s actually part of a volcano that last erupted in 1926 and features acid ponds that are an incredible green color. How acidic are these ponds? Recently tested pH levels were less than 1, making it as strong as battery acid.
#3. The Blue Lagoon
This is the one that’s in Iceland, not the tropical one where couples froliced around all day. It was formed in 1976 after a geothermal power plant came online in Svartsengi.
It turned the waters around the area pale blue, and someone decided it might be a good idea to try bathing in the crazy blue water.
Not only is it said to be an incredible moisturizer, but some claim that regular use of it can even cure psoriasis. So wear your bathing suit, and cover yourself with mud because you’ll have an amazing time at these hot springs.
#4. The Valley of Geysers
This valley is the second-largest concentration of geysers in the world, and it sits in a basin in Russia that is about 4 miles long. Like most other geyser formations, it’s a caldera, but the water can be as hot as 480F under the ground.
The area is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is very remote – hiring a helicopter is the only feasible way. However, the effort will be worth it because the geysers pulsate in a way reminiscent of the Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas, NV.
#5. Yellow Dragon Mountain [Huanglong, Sichuan]
One of the most visually stunning sets of hot springs is in Huanglong, China, with numerous calcite pools that seem terraced into the hillside. There are thousands of different pools that make up the region, and the entire area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s not just the hot springs that are the attraction here, either. There’s a good chance you’ll also meet up with a Giant Panda.
#6. Jigokudani Monkey Park
The monkeys of Japan learned right away that the hot springs of Jigokundai were the place to be on a cold day. The name translates as “Hell’s Valley” because the frozen ground of the region often steams and bubbles.
Heavy snows are commonplace here, making it an even more difficult journey because of a very narrow 2km trail required to reach the hot springs. You’ll have to make your way there in winter to catch the monkeys enjoying the hot springs, limiting the exploration one can make.
The Cotton Castle of Turkey features a series of terraced travertines and hot springs bathed in brilliant white. Water emerges from the spring and then begins cascading down the terraces, leaving depositions of calcium carbonate in its flows.
The ancient city of Hierapolis was built on this site, and even though the heat reaches boiling temperatures often, some tadpoles can be seen in some of the pools.
You can’t access the terraces, but there is the main path that will take you out near the site. You can still bathe in some of the small pools as well.
This Icelandic valley is one of the most regularly visited locations for tourists on the island. The geyser basins are very dependable in eruptions, with the Strokkur Geyser, one of the biggest fountain geysers in the area, erupting every 10 minutes or so.
There are various pathways that will help you access Strokkur Geyser and over 40 other hot springs and mud pots that are within this region that have been documented since the 13th century.
An earthquake in 1294 is thought to have activated the area, and earthquakes have been shown to activate local geysers within the last decade.
Located in New Zealand, the entire Rotorua region is a geothermal playground for people to enjoy. Over a dozen lakes in the region are heated by the geothermal zone, providing plenty of fuel for geysers to spray.
The Cauldera is over 14 miles wide and offers the chance to enjoy sailing and even whitewater rafting. Much of the action occurs around the edges of the caldera, but don’t miss Okere Falls, a 23-foot drop routinely rafted over.
See Related: Best Whitewater Rafting in the World
#10. El Tatio
Located in the Andes Mountains, this is one of the highest geyser fields in the world. There are over 80 active geysers here, which means it’s also one of the largest fields in the world.
It’s a major tourist attraction and would generally be ranked much higher. Still, the fact that a mining consortium is exploring the fields and a lot of equipment in the field harnesses geothermal energy spoils the view.
#11. Washoe Valley
With a half dozen locations in the valley between Reno and Carson City, Nevada, these hot springs offer hiking and exploration in a more rugged atmosphere than in other places.
One of the unique stops in this valley is at Bowers Mansion, where a swimming pool was dug to take advantage of the hot well in the area. There are miles of paths for you to explore, as well as a playground and established picnic areas.
See Related: Things to Do in Henderson, Nevada
#12. California’s Old Faithful
Situated in some tall pampas grass, this geyser is not something you’d expect to see where it is. It’s a shallow pool of water that surrounds the area, and if you didn’t know any better, you’d stumble into the geyser.
Except for the bubbling of the water that comes when there’s about to be an eruption, you can get right up to the edge of this geyser safely as it shoots water up to 100 feet into the air. There’s a petting zoo and picnic area on the grounds, but beware of the guard llamas!
#13. Ma’ln Hot Springs
These springs are unusual because the hot water does not come from deep beneath the earth, as with most natural hot springs. Instead, the winter rains that fall on Jordan’s highlands provide it.
The lake formed by the spring floods is 1,000 feet lower than sea level and is located in a unique underground river system that includes waterfalls originating from subterranean springs.
There are Roman baths in the area and an entrance fee to the area, but you can bathe in the hot waters that King Herod of Biblical fame would routinely utilize for medical treatments.
How do geysers work?
Water and steam interaction are required to understand geothermal systems. Steam may be generated from water at a specific temperature. When heated water reaches a certain level, it generates steam. Because the steam in a surface environment takes up 1600 times the volume of the water, it expands dramatically when it transforms to heat.
A “steam explosion” occurs when a geyser erupts due to heated groundwater exploding into much greater steam. When groundwater is trapped deep and heated, it will be forced to the surface by the pressure of boiling water.
Are geysers volcanoes?
Water and steam, rather than rock and ash, are produced by geysers. Volcanoes erupt more frequently but have a larger physical presence. Even though the processes are different, the results may be comparable.
Underground chamber size and the formation of geysers can help explain the relationship between subterranean magmas and volcanic eruptions. Geysers are tiny laboratories that may be used to study volcanic eruption genesis.
Types of Geysers
Geysers are categorized by their height and the time they take to recharge. The following are the different types of geysers:
- Fountain geyser: Fountain geysers erupt regularly and have short intervals between eruptions.
- Geyserite: These geysers erupt irregularly, with long intervals between eruptions.
- Plume Geyser: These geysers have the longest intervals between eruptions and often do not erupt for years.
A cone geyser is the ratio of eruptions dependent on how much water is stored in the system at any given time. The more water available, the taller and more volumetric the eruption will be. If recharge is slow, then the eruption will last longer. Geysers that erupt frequently have less time to recharge between eruptions.
The geyser’s size, shape, and duration of eruption are all determined by the nature of the underlying magma chamber. Magma chambers can be large or small, but all must have a heat source to drive the eruptions.
The heat source for geysers is usually magmatic, meaning that it comes from molten rock or radioactive decay. Geothermal activity can also be affected by the tectonic setting of an area, such as whether it is located near a plate boundary.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.