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Hot Springs and Geysers

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Encyclopedia of Geobiology

Part of the book series: Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series ((EESS))

Definition

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.

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

Introduction

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...

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Jones, B., Renaut, R.W. (2011). Hot Springs and Geysers. In: Reitner, J., Thiel, V. (eds) Encyclopedia of Geobiology. Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9212-1_103

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