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Also see Geyser Valley trail of the Olympic Peninsulamarker in Washington state.


The Valley of Geysers.
The Valley of Geysers ( ) is the only geyser field in Eurasia (apart from the Mutnovskymarker geyser field) and the second largest concentration of geysers in the world. This 6 km long basin with approximately ninety geysers and many hot springs is situated on the Kamchatka Peninsulamarker in the Russian Far East, predominantly on the left bank of the ever-deepening Geysernaya River, into which geothermal waters flow from a relatively young stratovolcano, Kikhpinychmarker. Temperatures have been found to be 250 °C, 500 m below the caldera ground. It is part of the Kronotsky Nature Reservemarker, which, in turn, is incorporated into the World Heritage Site "Volcanoes of Kamchatka". The valley is difficult to reach, with helicopters providing the only feasible means of transport.

History



The "pulsating" geysers of Kamchatka were discovered by a local scientist, Tatyana Ustinova, in 1941. She published her findings fourteen years later, but there was little exploration of the area until 1972. A systematic survey was undertaken in the mid-1970s, and an automatic monitoring system was introduced in 1990. Over thirty geysers were given names; among these was the Giant geyser (Velikan), capable of producing a jet of water reaching up to 40 meters. From the 1980s, the area was promoted across the USSRmarker as one of the tourist magnets of Kamchatka and the Russian Far East. Foreign tourists were allowed into the valley in 1991. About 3,000 tourists visited the site annually.

Mudflow damage and aftermath

On June 3 2007 a massive mudflow influenced two thirds of the valley. Although early reports indicated otherwise, Oleg Mitvol of Russia's environmental watchdog noted: "We witnessed a unique natural event, but the consequences of such a natural catastrophe are irreversible". The World Heritage Site also expressed its deep concern over the issue. "This is tragic for humankind, in that we have lost one of the great natural wonders of the world", the World Wildlife Fund spokesman commented. On June 5, it was reported that a thermal lake was forming above the valley.

The extent of permanent change is not yet clear, but may be less than was originally thought. As of June 9, 2007, waters have receded somewhat, exposing some of the submerged features. Velikan (Giant) Geyser, one of the field's largest, was not buried in the slide and has recently been observed to be active.

Bibliography

  ( Google translation)


  • Diana Gealdhill, 'Kamchatka', Odyssey Books, 2007.


References

  1. Official site of the World Heritage Centre


External links




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