A geyser is a spring that Intermittently discharges water from the ground accompanied by steam. Geysers need special geological conditions and are a rare phenomenon that only exists in a few places on our planet.
Geyser Facts for Kids:
- A geyser is a spring that shoots out water and steam.
- Yellowstone National Park has 500 geysers.
- Worldwide there are 1000 geysers
- Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone National Park is the biggest in the world
- Old Faithful in the Yellow Stone National Park erupts every 65 minutes.
- When water is stored under the ground in once place, it is sometimes called a subsurface reservoir.
- The first geyser that was discovered was the Great Geysir and that happened in the year 1294.
- When water is under the surface of the Earth, it usually is around 6,000-foot-deep into the Earth.
- Some people call the geyser water system a “plumbing system” because it works like the water that is plumbed through our bathrooms and kitchens.
- When a geyser is ready to erupt, it usually starts with bubbles that are made of steam.
- Some big geysers can erupt for days.
Other Names for Geysers
A geyser is sometimes called a hot spring because it is basically a spring of hot water. The word geyser is a word that was formed in Iceland and it is the word “geysa,” and this means “to gush.”
The word geyser is named after the Great Geysir in Haukadalur, Iceland that is a very famous geyser.
Where Are Geysers Found?
Most geysers are usually found in areas that are close to volcanoes because it is the magma under the surface of the Earth that heats the water that is under the ground.
How Do Geysers Flow?
When a geyser is close to a volcano, the magma that goes into the volcano is also working the heat the pool of water that is underground.
The water then finds a way through a crack or some break in the ground and when it reaches a temperature higher than the temperature of boiling, it gets so hot that it turns to steam.
After the water turns into steam, it causes the water to shoot out of the crack or break because of all of the pressure under the ground. The pressure causes the water to blow out of the ground and it is very strong. The steam takes some of the underground water with it as it blows upwards through the hole.
In order for a geyser to blow, it has to have three things to happen.
These things are:
- Extreme heat
- Creaks or breaks in the ground
These are three different geological works that have to work together in the perfect combination for the geyser to explode and blow out hot water and steam.
Steps of A Geyser Formation
In order for a geyser to form, there has to be water under the ground that comes in contact with magma or flows over rocks that are heated by the magma. Most of the time, this happens in areas that are shallow and close to volcanoes.
Then, the surface of the ground holds the hot water in one place as it gets hotter and hotter. This heating causes the water to build pressure and when the water boils, it starts to rise to the surface of the Earth through rocks or other breaks in the surface.
The water then erupts into the air, making the geyser water shoot a few feet or many, many feet.
After the geyser erupts, the water that is left in the geyser starts to cool back down and when it gets below the boiling point temperature, it will stop erupting.
The water then goes back into the area that holds the water and it will start to heat back up again until the geyser erupts once more. The cycle never ends unless the geyser becomes dormant or extinct.
If a geyser becomes dormant or extinct, it means that it no longer erupts.
How Big Are Geysers?
A geyser can be small, or it can be very big. Most geysers go from just a few feet to hundreds of feet in the air.
Even though geysers can be small or big, some of them can blow out thousands and thousands of gallons of water when they erupt.
Types of Geysers
There are two main types of geysers, fountain geysers, and cone geysers.
- Fountain geysers-A fountain geyser is a geyser that erupts from pools of water. This type of geyser is very strong and powerful, and the bursts are very violent.
- Cone geyser-A cone geyser is a geyser that erupts like a jet stream of water. The water comes out of different types of mounds or cones that are made up of geyserites. Geyserite is siliceous sinter, which is a mineral found at geysers. These types of geysers do not last but a few seconds or a few minutes, so they are not as powerful as the other geysers.
Why Do Some Geysers Stop Erupting?
There are a few different reasons why a geyser will become dormant or extinct. One reason is that sometimes, geysers can get stopped up by the minerals that are deposited from the eruption. These minerals can also come when there is a change in the Earth around the geyser or if there is a natural disaster such as an earthquake.
Another reason why some geysers stop erupting is because of people. If people leave their litter or put garbage in a geyser, it can cause the geyser to no longer erupt.
Certain plants such as power plants or geothermal power plants take away water sometimes from the land around them. When power plants lessen the water around a geyser, it can cause the geyser to not have enough water to erupt and it can destroy the geyser.
Some Famous Geysers
There are many geysers that are found all over the world.
Some of them include:
- Yellowstone National Park-This is the home to the largest geyser field which has more than half of all of the active geysers found in the world. This park is also the place where you can go and see the famous Old Faithful Geyser.
- In Russia, there are 200 geysers and they are called “The Valley of Geysers.” They are located on the Kamchatka Peninsula.
- Chile has 80 geysers that are active. They are called the El Tatio geyser field.
- Waimangu Geyser is the largest geyser. It erupted in 1900 and lasted until 1904 when a landslide caused the geyser to go extinct.
- There are many different geysers and hot springs located in Iceland. The Great Geysir, where the name geyser came from, is a famous active geyser in Haukadalur, Iceland.
- In New Zealand, there is a volcano called “The Taupo Volcanic Zone.” This volcanic area has many different geysers and hot springs.
Are There Geysers on Other Planets?
There are geysers that have been seen on the moons of other planets including:
- Saturn’s Moon, Enceladus
- Neptune’s Moon, Triton
- Solar Ice Caps of Mars
The geysers found on these moons are also called “cryogeysers” but unlike the ones that we see on the surface of the Earth, these geysers are full of gases and they erupt dust and ice particles without any liquid. Some of the gases that come out of these geysers include:
- Carbon dioxide
Why Are Geysers Special?
A geyser is special and mysterious because it takes a certain condition in the Earth for a geyser to erupt. The land has to have certain conditions for a geyser to form and to remain active, so this is a very rare occurrence.
There are only around 1,000 different active geysers located in all of the worlds.
Are Geysers Helpful?
Geysers all over the world are used for many different things such as:
- Making electricity
- Heating greenhouses
- Heating homes
- For tourists to visit
A fumarole is almost just like a geyser except it erupts from gases instead of from water and steam. Most of the fumaroles contain a gas called hydrogen sulfide and this causes the rocks around the area to be bright in color.
What Did You Learn?
- What is a geyser?
A geyser is a spring of water underground that is heated by magma that is flowing close to volcanic areas. When the water is heated past the boiling point, it causes steam to form. The steam and water erupt out of the ground in areas where the ground has cracks or holes. The very hot water and steam fly out of the ground into the air.
- Are geysers all the same size?
Geysers are not all the same size. Some geysers are very large, and some are very small. Some make very large amounts of water while some make small amounts of water.
- Can people hurt geysers?
Geysers can be hurt by people that put garbage or debris in the geyser. This can cause the geyser to stop erupting. Other things can cause a geyser to become dormant or extinct as well.
- Are geysers only found on Earth?
Geysers are found on Earth and have been seen on the moons of other planets such as Neptune and Mars. The geysers on other planets are made up of gases and not water.
- Are geysers helpful?
Geysers can help people around them to be able to heat things up like their homes, their businesses and more. The hot water that flows underground can help people to make energy.
- Back to – Earth Science