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Kamchatka: Valley Of Geysers
June 27, 2014 23:01


(Source: http://englishrussia.com)
Geyser field of Eurasia

Tens of geysers, fumaroles, hot springs and lakes brought the Valley world fame. There are four similar geyser fields in the world: Valley (Iceland), Yellowstone (Wyoming, USA), North Island (New Zealand) and El Tatio (Atacama Desert, Chile).

Kamchatka Valley of Geysers is the only geyser field in Eurasia. It is located 180 kilometers north of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky at the foot of Kikhpinych volcano within the Eastern volcanic belt. This is a canyon up to 4 km wide, 400 m deep and 8 km long, through which flows Geyzernaya River. Over 6 km from the river mouth there "work" more than 40 geysers and hot springs. The largest of them are Velikan and Grot: they throw off up to 60 tons of boiling water.
Sensational discovery.


 
The valley has become a symbol of Kronotsky reserve where it is located and for many people these objects are synonymous, but they are not. It was discovered after founding the reserve in 1941 by geologist Tatyana Ustinova and Itelmen guide Anisifor Krupenin. They went on dogsled to look for a place where water flows out of the Uzon caldera. They stopped to get some rest on the bank of an unknown tributary of Shumnaya River in the narrow passage between the rocks. On the opposite bank of the river they saw a thawed patch with light steam whirling over. Suddenly a jet of hot water bubbled out of this thawed patch. "Geyser!" cried out Ustinova not believing herself. Later she called it Firstborn. Up to this moment geyser fields were known only on other continents. In the summer of 1941 Tatyana completed surveying the valley and gave the names to two dozen large geysers and hot springs. When the Great Patriotic War broke up the geysers were forgotten for four years. But after that Tatiana Ustinova conducted a full survey of the canyon, described the geysers and mapped the thermal fields.

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Vagaries of nature
 
The unique landscape of the valley experienced disaster strikes more than once. On October 4, 1981 typhoon "Elsa" that swept over Kamchatka caused heavy rains, which led to the increase of the water level in Geyzernaya River for a few meters. The mud flow picked up three-meter boulders and stones like nut shells and dragged them through the canyon, smashing everything on its path. As a result, many geysers disappeared. Malachite Grotto spring was severely damaged.

 

On June 3, 2007 a giant mudslide from a mixture of water, snow and boulders swept through the Valley of Geysers at a speed of 35-40 km/h, sweeping away trees and bushes on the way. It collapsed into the Geyzernaya River and rolled over its vale right up to the mouth. It destroyed and flooded half of the geysers and changed the look of the famous canyon forever. Basalt rocks were destroyed; geyserite structure of Malachite Grotto spring was severely damaged. However, due to a landslide, a new geyser lake appeared on the reserve map. Water exposed areas of marvelous colored soil: the combination of blue and red clay. In recent years some geysers, buried under landslide masses woke up. 
 

 
 

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Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Kamchatka Valley of Geysers Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky   

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