Everything you need to know about geysers

Shutterstock.com/ Susanne Pommer
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Geysers are a natural formation that are amazing to see in the natural world. Scientists have studied geysers for many years and have been using the natural wonder for practical applications for a long time. Let’s take a look at how geysers form and why they are useful.

Geysers are a geological formation and happen on Earth usually as part of a volcanic formation. When a tectonic activity takes place it can create cracks in the Earth. Water will slowly seep into these cracks and if it is able to fall far enough it will come into contact with magma rock and reach the temperatures hot enough to boil it. If the water comes under enough heat and pressure then it will be sent back up the pipe and spew out on the surface of the Earth as water vapor. 

These geysers can last a very long time depending on their formation. Some geysers will stop working if the pipe gets blocked by some soil or mineral deposits if a new tectonic activity alters the path of the pipe or due to human interference like mining or heating. However, there are some incredible geyser formations that have been functioning for a long time. 

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Old Faithful is surely the most famous geyser in the world and can be found at Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is actually home to almost 500 geysers at any one time and they change often depending on earthquakes in the area. Old Faithful is definitely the most well known and has been operating for 500 years at least. It got its name because it erupts so regularly and this is the reason it has become a popular tourist attraction as it usually erupts around 20 times a day. It attracts around three million visitors every year.

There are other places to see geysers as well. Russia has a valley that is six kilometers long that is called ‘Valley of the Geysers’ and it is dotted with many of the natural phenomena. The most famous home for geysers though is definitely Iceland. The English word geyser actually comes from the Icelandic word ‘geysir’ used to describe these hot springs. The tectonic activity in Iceland is strong that there are many large geysers to be seen.

Of course, the phenomenon is not only found on Earth. There are many planets where geysers take place all the time. On one of the moons of Saturn, there is something called a cryo geyser which is essentially a geyser formed by frozen temperatures instead of heated ones. It spews ice and water to the surface level. 

Iceland is not just famous for its geysers but for its usage of them. In Iceland, geysers are commonly used for hot water and heat supply to homes. Many other nations are now looking to Iceland to better understand how to utilize this seemingly unlimited source of power. If we can start to understand how to harness the power of geysers better we could potentially use them as a source of power or water in space travel. 

Geysers are an incredibly beautiful phenomenon and are fascinating to watch. Yet it is clear from the work of Iceland that they have practical uses as well. As there are numerous planets in our solar system that also have large geysers we can potentially look at harnessing their power to enhance our space travel and the opportunity for space settlements. While geysers have been around on this planet longer than we have we may just be reaching a point now of truly understanding how to benefit from these amazing formations.

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