Geyser gazing may sound like a slightly obscure and even expensive hobby, but there are many devoted enthusiasts who travel all over the world to see some of the most spectacular geysers. A geyser is caused by surface water contacting magma-heated rock towards the centre of the earth, and this then boils and erupts back up to the Earth's surface usually in a column eruption which is awe-inspiring to those observing.
Quite simply, a geyser is a hot spring and the name originates from Iceland and translates 'to gush' which is quite an apt description. There are about 1000 geysers world-wide, although about 75% of geysers are based in Yellowstone National park but the eruptive activity of geysers can change or cease due to a number of factors, such as influence in the form of earthquakes, mineral deposits within the geyser itself and of course, some human intervention.
For those who are interested in taking up this hobby, there is a wealth of information available on the internet, including some breath-taking photos and videos which should whet the appetite of even the most ardent enthusiasts.
The five most popular Geyser Gazing Locations are:
Yellowstone National Park
El Tatio, Chile
Dolina Geiserov, Russia
Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand.
Because of the variety of locations, it is worth reading up on the accessibility of the geysers themselves, so as to be prepared when visiting, although Yellowstone National Park affords some fantastic opportunities. Geyser gazing is a hobby which can be taken up by the whole family and allows the opportunity to visit some spectacular places but it is important for enthusiasts to realise that the act of throwing items into the geyser (some say for luck) should be avoided as this could potentially cause extreme changes which eventually result in the geyser dying. Conservation should be taken seriously so that geyser gazing can continue for both existing and new supporters across the globe.
Limited equipment is required as most geysers can be studied easily with the naked eye although binoculars can be useful, however, it is also worth investing in a GPS device, trail map and compass and most serious geyser gazers ensure that they have a video camera and digital camera so as to be able to record some phenomenal evidence from the inspirational scenes.