Valley of Geysers
There are places on our planet that can not be called quiet. There, tremors from time to time shake the earth, the rocks become red hot, and columns of smoke erupt from the earth and tongues of fire - a volcanic eruption begins. As a rule, in such places a layer of hot magma lies close to the surface of the earth near groundwater.
Magma heats both porous stones and water that has leaked through them. If water flows freely from there, a hot spring forms on the surface. But if the water is closed among these stones, it heats up to a high temperature and after a certain period of time breaks out to the surface. And then a water column rises above the ground, which soon disappears, in order to appear again after some time. This natural fountain is called - a geyser (from the Icelandic word geysa - gush).
Where geysers meet
In Europe, the country of geysers is Iceland, a large island in the Atlantic Ocean covered by glaciers with volcanoes rising above it.140 km north of the capital of Iceland - Reykjavik - in the valley Haukadalur to the sky soared a huge jet of hot water with steam rising to a height of more than 40 m (the roof level of a 13-storey building). This hot fountain was called the Great Geysir. He has been "asleep" for many years, but on the National Day of Iceland, geologists have artificially "launched" it, loading tons of soap into it.
Nearby, in the same valley is located and operates another famous geyser - Strokkur. Round the clock, at regular intervals, he throws a column of hot water up to 30 m high into the sky. This column can be seen from a distance of 5 km. After a few seconds, the fountain falls and becomes a small lake with a smooth surface. The first sign of the next upcoming ejection is a swell on the surface of the water.
The valley of geysers is also found in Russia in Kamchatka, in the USA, New Zealand, Japan.
The highest geyser fountain - 500 m - was observed from 1901 to 1904 in New Zealand. Fountains in height from 30 to 60 m are usual. A faithful Old Man in the Yellowstone National Park in the United States spits out tens of thousands of liters of boiling water every 65 minutes.
The most interesting facts
In Kamchatka, on the territory of the Kronotsky Biosphere Reserve, in the deep canyon lies the Valley of Geysers. It extends to a distance of 3.5 km upstream of the river Geysernaya.The valley of geysers was discovered near the Kikhpinich volcano in 1941. There are more than 20 large geysers in the valley. Some of them gush forth every 10-12 minutes, others erupt once in 4-5 hours. The largest geyser, the Giant, is on the right bank of the river. Its jet rises to a height of 40 m, and the duration of the eruption reaches 4.5 hours.
In areas of volcanic activity in the bowels of the earth, groundwater is heated by molten magma and form hot springs. In order for the water to boil, its temperature at a depth must exceed 100 ° C - as in a pressure cooker, where water is brought to a boil under high pressure. Only in the geyser, instead of the pan lid, is a layer of colder water lying closer to the earth's surface.
When the "lid" comes into contact with the hot underground steam and boils so that the steam becomes larger, its excess begins to break out in a thin stream. The pressure drops, and the rest of the water, whose temperature exceeds 100 ° C, boils. And then-instantly! - A large amount of superheated steam drags the water in the form of a boiling fountain, soaring up to the sky.
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