YOUR WEEKLY DOSE OF WOWZERS AND WONDER FROM THE NATURAL WORLD
This week’s topic is a little personal to me (Josh). I can still remember the sense of awe and wonder I had when I saw one of these during a family vacation as a child.
Water is already a surprisingly fascinating topic, but when you combine that with the forces of nature and the hidden powers deep within the surface of the earth, you get something genuinely Wowzerful!
That’s right! This week, we’re spouting off about geysers!
Geysers are hot springs that forcefully eject water into the air. If you’ve ever seen a video of what happens when a Mentos is dropped into a bottle of diet cola, you get the idea.
Geysers come in two varieties.
One streams cold water out of its opening like a fountain, and is propelled by carbon dioxide gas.
The other is the more common variety, and it erupts like a small water volcano!
Most geysers are found in volcanic activity areas where water trickles down into small tunnels that run near magma chambers.
When the magma heats the water enough, it creates steam which forces the rest of the water up and out!
This phenomenon is pretty rare, so there’s a good chance you may have never seen a geyser in real life. Two of the most famous geysers in the world — Old Faithful and Steamboat — are located in Yellowstone National Park in the state of Wyoming.
Old Faithful is known for its consistency, erupting every 44 to 125 minutes. This makes it a popular attraction for sightseers hoping to see a geyser erupting in person.
Steamboat is one of the tallest erupting geysers in Yellowstone, shooting water 90 meters, or more than 300 feet into the sky!
But these are just a few of the geysers in Yellowstone. Each year, an average of 500 geysers are seen throughout the park.
Yellowstone isn’t the only place in the world with geysers, though. Other famous geysers include:
The Great Geysir in Iceland
Strokkur Geyser in Iceland
El Tatio Geyser Field in Chile
The Valley of the Geysers in Russia
Some may only erupt every few years, while others are constantly blowing their tops. But either way, they won’t last forever.
Earthquakes and shifts in magma pockets and water reservoirs under the earth’s surface can change when and where geysers form and erupt.
The largest known geyser in history — the Waimangu Geyser in New Zealand — only lasted four years before going dormant due to changes in the water table underneath.
It’s thought that only about 1000 geysers exist across the entire planet today.
But thanks to the wonders of technology, you can watch a geyser erupt from the comfort of your home whenever you want!
Geysers don’t just exist on Earth. Scientists have detected active geysers on Mars and the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune!
The word geyser comes from the famous Great Geysir in Haukadalur, Iceland. The name comes from the Icelandic verb geysa, which means “to gush.”
The water temperature in a geyser can reach as high as 300 Celsius (572 Fahrenheit)!
Geysers aren’t just fun to watch, they can be helpful too! Iceland uses hot water directed from geysers to heat greenhouses and grow food in harsher climates. They also use the steam and hot water generated by geysers to help heat homes.
What’s better than watching a geyser erupt? How about watching it erupt in slow-motion with the help of The Slo Mo Guys?
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