Valley of Geysers, Kamchatka Krai, Russia
GPS: 54.474032200884, 160.18475171662
Visiting the Valley of Geysers is a very isolated region, at the eastern end of Russia. It is located north-east of the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamtchatski, on the volcanic peninsula of Kamchatka. Reaching 250 °C in places, this inhospitable territory was discovered by chance in 1941 by the Russian geologist Tatyana Ivanovna Ustinova, accompanied by the scientist and local guide Anysyfor Pavlovich Krupenin. It names this place the Geyser River Valley after the watercourse which sculpted the 8 kilometres long of the canyon over 400 meters deep. This warm land is home to around forty geysers and various thermal springs.
Attached to the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, the Valley of Geysers is surrounded by several mountain ranges and a series of active or extinct volcanoes. This territory is based on the eastern part of the Pacific Fire Belt, the important geothermal activity of which is permanently supplied by an underwater depression (the Kuril–Kamchatka Trench) and the friction between the Pacific Plate, the Eurasian Plate and the Okhotsk Plate. Along the Geysernaya river, the active field of the Valley of Geysers concentrates on several km² an exceptional density of geysers and natural hot springs. The water penetrates deep underground, then it is strongly heated by the magma and the hot rocks of the Uzon caldera. Then, under pressure, the groundwater is forcefully expelled in the form of vaporous jets.
Only accessible by helicopter or through a long horse expedition, the Valley of Geysers receives only 3,000 visitors per year. It primarily attracts a large scientific community that has come to study closely the complex ecosystem and the rich geothermal heritage of this part of Kamchatka. Protected from mass tourism, this site enjoys a fantastic natural environment where several hundred brown bears live. With active households in Iceland, New Zealand and the Yellowstone National Park in the United States, the Valley of Geysers has the largest number of geysers in the world.