Thursday, June 5, 2014

Geysers, How do they work

Geysers are hot springs that erupt periodically, ejecting a column of hot water and steams into the air.

1. Crater and plumbing system
2. Creation of Geyser Plumbing System
3. "superheated" water in the ground
4. The Geyser Eruption
5. Geysers at Iceland

1.  Geyser crater and plumbing system
A geyser is like a volcano, having a cone (a small crater), a  plumbing system refilled with water,  and warmed up to 140C (280F) by a magma chamber.

2. Creation of Geyser Plumbing System
Water from rain and snow works its way underground through fractures in the rock.
As the water reaches hot rock it begins to rise back to the surface, passing through rhyolite, which is former volcanic ash or lava rich in silica.
The hot water dissolves the silica and carries it upward to line rock crevices. This forms a constriction that holds in the mounting pressure, creating a geyser's plumbing system. The solid deposits forming the cone is called geyserites.

3 "superheated" water in the ground
Cool ground water near the surface percolates down into the earth.
As it approaches the magma chamber it is heated towards its boiling point.
Normally, water turns into vapors at such temperature, but the high pressure maintains it liquid. This condition is known as "superheated" - the water is hot enough to become steam but it's unable to expand because of the high confining pressure.

4. The Geyser Eruption
At some point the deep water becomes hot enough, or the confining pressure is reduced, and the superheated water explodes into steam in an enormous expansion of volume as a geyser. The waters is running back into the plumbing systems, get heated and a new eruption will occur after 8 to 10 minutes.

5. Geysers at Iceland

Iceland has more than 200 geysers whose waters reach temperatures over 90 C. The name "geyser" comes from the Icelandic region called Geyser and in Old Icelandic language it means "to spring".

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