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The El Tatio Geysers

4,200 metres above sea level in the vast primordial Atacama desert, over 80 breathtaking geysers bubble up from the hyperarid earth. The El Tatio geyser field in Chile contains 8% of the world’s geysers, some as small as sink drains and others as large as manholes. They have an average eruption height of 75 cm and a maximum observed height of 6 m. Tourists are usually taken to the area at dawn—the steaming geysers are best viewed in the cold morning, while the rising sun breaks over the mountains. The field is largest in the southern hemisphere and the third largest in the world, after Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, and Dolina Giezerov in Russia, and it owes its existence to the vigorous volcanic activity of the dry, inhospitable region. Pools of lava heat an underground river deep below the surface, which rises to the surface in rushes of steam and fountains of boiling water. In 2009, the Chilean government built a prospecting drill on the site in an attempt to harness geothermal power, but it caused a 60-metre high artificial fumarole (a vent through which steam and volcanic gases escape). It was unable to be sealed for weeks, and the area had to be evacuated. The project was soon abandoned, to the joy of those who valued the site for both its environmental value and its touristic appeal—but the wreckage still remains.

(Image Credit: Arkinet)

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    :/
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    Appreciate the engineering capabilities.
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    Now on my list of things to see before I die.
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