Encyclopedia of Geobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Joachim Reitner, Volker Thiel

Hot Springs and Geysers

  • Brian Jones
  • Robin W. Renaut
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9212-1_103


A hot spring is a discharge of hot (>35–40°C) water from a vent at the Earth’s surface.

A geyser is a  hot spring characterized by intermittent, turbulent discharges of boiling water and steam.

Asublacustrine hot spring is a hot spring that discharges from the floor of a lake.


A hot spring is characterized by discharge of hot water from a vent. There is, however, no universally accepted definition of “hot” and the temperature for distinguishing a “warm spring” from a “hot spring” remains contentious (Pentecost et al., 2003). In general usage, a hot spring is one with vent water temperature between about 40°C and boiling point (Renaut and Jones, 2000). It must be remembered, however, that boiling temperature changes with altitude; thus, boiling in Yellowstone National Park occurs at ∼92°C, whereas in New Zealand geothermal areas, which lie closer to sea level, it is at ∼100°C.

The term “geyser” is derived from “Geysir,” located in southwest Iceland. First...


Meteoric Water Spring Water Plumbing System Geothermal Area Extant Taxon 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Jones
    • 1
  • Robin W. Renaut
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada