El Tatio Geyser Field

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The El Tatio Geyser Field, locally known as Los Géiseres del Tatio, is located within the Andes Mountains of northern Chile, about 89 kilometers from San Pedro. With over 80 active geysers and a hundred steamy fumaroles, El Tatio is the largest geyser field in the southern hemisphere and the third largest field in the world, following Yellowstone National Park in USA, and Valley of Geysers in Russia. Approximately 8% of the world geysers are located here. El Tatio is also among one of the highest-elevation geyser fields in the world, being situated at 4,200 meters above mean sea level.

Despite the large number of geysers here, the eruptions are not very high, reaching an average of only 76 centimeters. For comparison, those in Yellowstone National Park, and in Iceland, shoots up to 60-70 meters.


Photo credit: Robin Fernandes/Flickr

The best time to see the eruptions is at early morning when are tall, billowing steam plumes. The large steam clouds diminish as daytime temperatures rise, but geyser activity continues throughout the day unabated. El Tatio is a major tourist attraction. Tourists typically arrive before sunrise, east breakfast consisting of eggs boiled in hot springs, view the geysers, and take a soak in a warm pool before returning to their hotels.

Unfortunately, at El Tatio there are no boardwalks or designated roads so footprints and tire tracks are found all over the field, even over small spouters which are now filled with sediments. Many springs have also been vandalized with rocks jammed into their vents. When these vents were cleared, it was observed that many geysers erupted to greater heights. Given its generally unmanaged, unprotected status, researchers assume that a large amounts of geysers have probably disappeared over years of abuse.


Photo credit: Max Besser Jirkal/Flickr


Photo credit: Robin Fernandes/Flickr


Photo credit: diego.aviles/Flickr


Photo credit: Claudius Prößer/Flickr


Photo credit: karendesuyo/Flickr


Photo credit: Dieter Titz/Flickr


Photo credit: Max Besser Jirkal/Flickr


Photo credit: Max Besser Jirkal/Flickr


Photo credit: Nico Kaiser/Flickr

Sources: Wikipedia / J. Alan Glennon & Rhonda M. Pfaff

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