14 April 2010, 17:17

To hear the breathing Earth

To hear the breathing Earth

From this year on Russia's Kamchatka Krai in the Far East will have its own official holiday- The Valley of Geysers` Opening Day. The "pulsating" geysers of Kamchatka were discovered by a local scientist from the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, Tatyana Ustinova, in 1941. Geysers (from the Icelandic geysa-to gush out) - are grand and rare natural phenomenon.

From this year on Russia's Kamchatka Krai in the Far East will have its own official holiday- The Valley of Geysers` Opening Day. The "pulsating" geysers of Kamchatka were discovered by a local scientist from the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, Tatyana Ustinova, in 1941.

Geysers (from the Icelandic geysa-to gush out) - are grand and rare natural phenomenon. Steam, splatter of rain drops and a sulphur smell provide a truly fascinating experience! Even plants there are special: thermophilic algae used to living in hot water. In 1996 the Valley of Geysers was put on the Unesco World Heritage List and brought worldwide fame to the Kamchatka region. Deputy Director for Scientific Research at the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, Vladimir Mosolov, comments:

"This nature reserve is unique not only for Russia but for the whole world. There are only four places on the planet where you can find geysers: Iceland, New Zealand, Yellowstone national park in the US and Kamchatka".

Over 200 thermal springs and 20 geysers can be found in the area of some 4 square kilometers, 160 km to the north of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Each geyser is unique and has its own personal name. Geyser Velikan is one of the most powerful geysers in the world, gushing out up to 25 tons of hot water at a time. When it is erupting, steam clouds up to 300 meters high and a 30-meter hot water pillar can be seen.

However, periods of eruptions vary. Usually, it happens once in 6-7 hours. Director of the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, Tikhon Shpilenok, comments:

"Each geyser has its own rhythms of eruption. It depends on numerous things, such as air temperature, atmospheric pressure, season of the year and the amount of rain".

Every year at the end of May-in early June the Valley of Geysers marks ‘a month of silence' when tourists are not allowed to enter the reserve not to disturb the local bears during their mating season. In other time of the year the geysers can be visited by tourist groups accompanied by a guide. Those who want to hear the Earth breathing are taken to the valley on helicopters. The geysers of Kamchatka are hidden in a unique area, and the aim is to try to preserve this land intact. Tourists are allowed to walk there only on wooden flooring.

On 3 June, 2007, a powerful mud torrent hit the valley and buried many of the springs under stones and mud. But these geysers were renewed in a year. A new lake at the bottom of the canyon attracted swans and -as a result- more tourists. Animals that had fled the area after the disaster also returned to their habitat. Video cameras were installed in the Valley last year to let more people worldwide enjoy breathtaking views of the Kamchatka geysers.      

 

 

 

   

     

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