The world's hot springs and geysers exist as a result of geothermal energy bubbling under the earth's surface. When the energy is forceful enough, it pushes its way to the surface, providing incredible sights of boiling water eruptions, bright colors, and odd rock formations. Best of all, however, is the ability to bathe in geothermal water, which is typically very rich in minerals. Here are 10 world-famous hot springs and geysers:
10. Valley of Geysers, Russia
The second-largest geyser in the entire world can be found on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. The Valley of the Geysers was discovered by a local scientist back in 1941 and has since become a popular tourist attraction. About half of all the existing geysers in the valley were buried by a landslide that occurred in 2007.
9. El Tatio, Chile
Located high in the Chilean Andes, the El Tatio geyser field lies at an altitude of 13,780 feet above sea levels. The geyser field’s climate combined with the high altitude make it one of the most extreme environments in the world. It contains over 80 active geysers and is the third-largest geyser field on earth.
8. Rotorua, New Zealand
Known as New Zealand’s thermal wonderland, the city of Rotorua sits on the shores of Lake Rotorua and is surrounded by various geysers and hot springs. Many of them are located in parks and nature reserves. Wai-O-Tapu is a particularly good place to see geothermal activity thanks to its colorful hot springs and the Lady Knox Geyser.
7. Huanglong, China
The colorful pools of Huanglong (or Yellow Dragon Mountain in English) were formed by calcite deposits that amassed over hundreds of thousands of years. The area also features diverse ecosystems, snow-capped peaks, and hot springs aplenty. Peal Boiling Lake, a medical mineral spring that’s constantly at a perfect 21-degree-Celsius temperature, can be found in the southern part of Huanglong.
6. Geysers of Haukadalur, Iceland
Iceland is renowned for having massive amounts of geothermal activity, and Haukadalur features some of the best geysers in the entire country. The Geysire geyser is capable of shooting boiling water some 70 meters into the air and erupts about three times per day. The smaller Strokkur geyser, which is located nearby, erupts every 10 minutes or so.
5. Pamukkale, Turkey
Pamukkale, or “cotton castle” in Turkish, looks like a landscape on another world. The travertine terraces were formed by sediments deposited by water with very high mineral content, and people have bathed in the resulting pools for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks event built a city at the top of Pamukkale, and its ruins can still be seen today.
4. Jigokudani Monkey Park, Japan
This hot spring area isn’t just frequented by humans – snow monkeys enjoy bathing in it too. Jigokudani, or Hell’s Valley in English, was formed by steaming water bubbling out of the frozen ground. The snow monkeys descend from the surrounding steep cliffs to bathe in the warm water in the winter.
3. Dallol Ethiopia
Ethiopia is home to an alien-like landscape called the Danakil Depression, and Dallol is a volcanic explosion crater that was formed within it. Numerous other craters can be found in the surrounding area, but Dallol was created by a volcanic eruption back in 1926. This remote region also experiences the highest average temperatures on earth.
2. Blue Lagoon, Iceland
The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is a national symbol and is actually a by-product of a nearby geothermal power plant. Water is vented from the ground near a lava flow and used to turn turbines that generate electricity. The hot water, which is rich in minerals, is eventually fed into the lagoon. Due to its high temperature, it can be enjoyed year-round.
1. Yellowstone Geysers and Springs, USA
Yellowstone National Park was actually the world’s first and lies on top of a gigantic geothermal hotspot. Incredibly, it contains half of all the world’s geothermal features, numbering over 10,000. One of the most spectacular is Grand Charismatic Spring, visible in the video above. The last full-scale eruption of the Yellowstone volcano occurred some 640,000 years ago.
Cover image by Deposit Photos.