Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Most Fascinating Hot Springs on Earth

Produced by the emergence of heated groundwater from the earth's crust, they are located all over the earth, on every continent and even under the oceans and seas. Many were created between 20 and 45 million years ago as a result of violent volcanic activity, and can reach up to 350°C (662°F). Meet some of the most fascinating Hot Spring on planet earth.

The Grand Prismatic Spring: America's largest





America's largest hot spring and third largest in the world, the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park is about 250 by 300 feet (75 by 91 meters) in size and 160 feet (49 meters) deep, discharging an estimated 560 gallons (2000 liters) of 160°F (71°C) water/minute. The vivid colors in the spring ranging from green to brilliant red and orange are the result of algae and pigmented bacteria in the microbial mats that grow around the edges of the mineral-rich water, the amount of color dependant on the ratio of chlorophyll to carotenoids produced by the organisms. The center of the pool is sterile due to extreme heat.


Mammoth Hot Springs: largest carbonate-depositing spring in the world





Also at Yellowstone, the Mammoth Hot Springs is the largest known carbonate-depositing spring in the world. The most famous feature at the springs is the Minerva Terrace — a series of travertine terraces which have been created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate. Over 2 tons flows into Mammoth each day in a solution.

Blood Pond Hot Spring: welcome to hell




Blood Pond Hot Spring is one of the "hells" (jigoku) of Beppu, Japan, nine spectacular natural hot springs that are more for viewing rather than bathing. The “blood pond hell” features a pond of hot, red water, colored as such by iron in the waters. It’s allegedly the most photogenic of the nine hells.

Blue Lagoon: Iceland's geothermal spa




The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of the largest attractions in Iceland. The steamy waters are part of a lava formation, and a large swimming pool is heated with the run-off water from a nearby geothermal power plant. Superheated water is vented from the ground near a lava flow and used to run turbines that generate electricity. After passing through the turbines the steam and hot water passes through a heat exchanger to provide heat for a municipal hot water heating system. The water is then fed into the lagoon for users to bathe in. The warm waters are rich in minerals such as silica and sulfur. Bathing in the Blue Lagoon for therapeutic purposes is reputed to help some people suffering from skin diseases such as psoriasis. The water temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon averages 40°C (104°F). The spa is located in a lava field in Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula, southwestern Iceland. It’s situated about 24 miles (39 kilometers) from the capital city of Reykjavík.

Glenwood Springs: world’s largest natural hot springs swimming pool





Glenwood Springs in Colorado, USA, has the world’s largest natural hot springs swimming pool with a flow rate of 143 liters/second. You can soak in the therapy pool full of salty minerals at 104°F (40°C), or swim in the huge 98°F (36°C) swimming pool.

Jigokudani Hot Springs: home to the japanese Snow Monkeys




The Jigokudani Hot Springs in Nagano Prefecture, Japan is most famous for its so called “snow monkeys” — wild Japanese monkeys enjoying the naturally hot waters alongside the human visitors. More than one hundred Macaques --Japan's indigenous monkeys-- live in the Jigokudani Monkey Park, located in a valley called the "Hell Valley" for the volcanic activities observed there.

Deildartunguhver: highest flow hot spring in Europe




This hotspring in Reykholtsdalur, Iceland, is characterized by a very high flow rate for a hot spring (180 liters/second) and water emerges at 97 °C, the highest flow hot spring in Europe. Some of the water is used for heating, being piped 34 kilometers to Borgarnes and 64 kilometers to Akranes.

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