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Last updated date: 24th Feb 2024
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Define Geyser

Time and again you must have heard and used the term geyser but do you know what exactly a geyser definition is? A geyser is a hot spring vent in Earth's surface which periodically releases a batch of hot water and steam. Even a small geyser is a captivating phenomenon; however, some geysers do experience eruptions that have the ability of blasting thousands of gallons of boiling-hot water up to a few hundred feet in the air. We hope it makes sense about the meaning of geysers.

Factual Information about Geysers

There are mainly 2 types of geyser i.e.

  1. steam-driven geyser

  2. Cold-water geyser

Besides this, let’s look into other facts related to geyser geography as below:-

  • The cause of steam geysers is the heating up of water deep underneath the Earth’s surface. The water gets extremely heated up with the hot magma and causes pressure to build up.

  • On greater time scales, geysers are considered to be only temporary.

  • There are a variety of reasons of why a geyser will occur or become latent

  • The most popular natural geyser is Old Faithful, situated in Yellowstone National Park area, Wyoming, United States.

  • Geysers exist on the moon as well as other planets. On other planets, they eject chemical vapours, dust and ice.

  • The world’s largest geyser in Yellowstone, Steamboat Geyser.

Where are Geysers Found?

You know what is a geyser. Now let’s find out where geysers are found.

Most of the world's geysers tend to show up in just five countries:

1) The United States

2) New Zealand

3) Iceland

4) Russia

5) Chile

What even more interesting to know is that all of these locations are actually geologically where there occurred recent volcanic activity and are also a source of hot rock.

What is the Cause of Eruption of a Geyser?

Water exuding down from above is heated through geothermal heat from below, creating pressurized steam in an underground cavity. The high pressure induces the water to get superheated above its general boiling point of 212 °F (100 °C). When the water gets an opportunity to expand, for example by dribbling out of the geyser opening, the pressure immediately drops, enabling the superhot water to boil. Just after the deep water converts into steam, which expands quickly and aggressively and pushes the entire water-steam mixture into the air as a consequence of eruption.

German chemist Robert Bunsen (of Bunsen-burner fame) discovered this relationship between pressure and boiling points in 1846 after putting a thermometer down Geysir, the geyser in southern Iceland from which the phenomenon gets its name, meaning “to spout” or “to rush forth.”

How Often Do Geysers Erupt?

Most geysers erupt abruptly and non-uniformly. However, a few are recognized to cause regular eruptions. The most popularly named "Old Faithful" in recognition of its regular eruptions is situated in Yellowstone National Park (United States) and erupts about every 60 to 90 minutes.

What are Some Famous Geysers?

Over a thousand geysers are active across the globe. People often visit geysers to look at the water spray high into the air. Below are a few of the most popular geysers.

1. Old Faithful: 

Perhaps the most recognized geyser in the world, Old Faithful is a cone-type of geyser. It acquired its name being very predictable, with eruptions taking place every 44-125 minutes.

2. Steamboat Geyser: 

Not far from Old Faithful, the Steamboat Geyser is the tallest presently active geyser in the world. The Steamboat Geyser regularly spews out water more than 300 feet (90 meters) in the air. This geyser is often dormant, with the time span between eruptions varying from a few days to over 50 years.

3. The Great Geysir: 

Situated in Iceland, this water geyser came into existence during the 14th century. The term “geyser” is derived from its name. While this geyser is dormant at times, it is caused to erupt on special occasions through the addition of certain chemicals.

4. El Tatio: 

El Tatio is a field of 80 geysers based out near the active volcanoes of the Andes Mountains in Chile. The word El Tatio indicates “oven” in the Quechua language, defining the geothermal heat.

5. Strokkur Geyser: 

situated in Iceland, the Strokkur Geyser is renowned for erupting every 5 to 8 minutes.

FAQs on Geyser

Q1. Why Do Most Geysers Gush Out Hot Water?

Answer: Surface water from rivers and rain dribble down through the earth, reaching a depth of closely 7,000 feet (2,000 meters). There, it witnesses rocks heated by molten magma deep beneath the earth’s surface. The water then boils, thus building up pressure. The water and steam are gushed to the surface and break out from a surface vent. This entire mechanism is what we call a hydrothermal explosion (hydro implies “water,” and thermal implies “heat”).

Q2. What are the Different Types of Geysers?

Answer: Geysers can be classified into two main types, i.e. steam-driven and cold-water. That said, steam-driven geysers are also further divided into two types – cone and fountain. Fountain geysers erupt from below the pools of water, generally in short bursts of a few seconds each. On the other hand, Cone geysers contain mounds of minerals. Cone geysers may boil over continuously for a couple of minutes. Some may even erupt for more than an hour at a given time.

Next is a cold-water geyser. Rather than the heat propelling the water from the ground, carbon dioxide (CO2) assimilates in underground lakes termed as aquifers. The weight of the water consists of the CO2 bubbles till the layer of rock above weakens and forms a fissure or when humans drill through the rock. The bubbles then stretch out and steer the water upwards with great force. Only a few of this type of cold-water geysers exist on our planet, and they are located in Germany, Brazil, United States, and Slovakia.