Phenomena worth travelling
AKA Thermal spring, gusher, spout
What is it? A hot spring in which water intermittently boils, ejecting a column of water and steam into the air.
Where? Geysers are found where the right geological conditions combine subterranean hot rocks, ample groundwater and a vent to the surface. Most occur in the USA, Russia, Chile, New Zealand and Iceland.
Visiting geyser territory is almost like space travel the landscapes where they occur are usually steaming, sulphurous and strange, painted odd colours and whiffing of egg. They are a rare and fickle phenomena; of the 1,000 plus that exist, many don t erupt regularly; some might only spew once a year, or once a decade, or cease to blow altogether.
That s what makes Yellowstone s Old Faithful such a draw it reliably explodes 55m high every 60 to 110 minutes. But the park has other, less crowded spouters the Geyser Hill Loop walk passes 30, plus fumaroles and hot springs.
Iceland is the rightful home of the geyser the term comes from the Icelandic geysa (?to gush ). The island s Great Geysir was the first described, though nearby Strokkur is more reliable, going off every four to eight minutes.