Geysers in Tocotacape

El Tatio

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El Tatio is a geyser field located within the Andes Mountains of northern Chile at 4,200 meters above mean sea level. Contrary to some reports, it is not the highest-elevation geyser field in the world. Puchuldiza Geyser Field, Chile, and possibly several other fields are higher in elevation (Glennon, J.A. and Pfaff, R.M., 2003). Tourists often visit the geysers while touring the nearby Atacama Desert and the village San Pedro de Atacama. "With over 80 active geysers, El Tatio is the largest geyser field in the southern hemisphere and the third largest field in the world, after Yellowstone, USA, and Dolina Giezerov (partially destroyed June 2007), Russia" (Glennon, J.A. and Pfaff, R.M., 2003).

"Though possessing numerous geysers, none erupt very high. The highest eruption observed has been around six meters in height. The average geyser eruption height at El Tatio is about 75 centimeters" (Glennon, J.A. and Pfaff. R.M., 2003). The best time to see them is at sunrise when each geyser is surmounted by a column of steam that condenses in the bitterly cold morning air. The steam plumes disappear as the air warms up. It is also possible to bathe in the hot geyser water in a small pool. However parts of the field are very dangerous with a thin crust over almost boiling mud so ask your guide where you may go.

There is wreckage at the site from an old project for harnessing geothermal power. The idea has recently been revived by the Chilean government and is meeting with heavy public resistance due to the touristic value the geyser field represents.

"El Tatio" roughly translates to "the grandfather"." (Glennon, J.A. and Pfaff, R.M., 2003).

2009 prospection controversy

See also: Geothermal power in Chile

In mid-September 2009, a 200-foot permanent steam column was noticed. Further developments point to damage done by prospection by GDN, a geothermal exploitation company jointly owned by Chilean State holdings and an Italian Energy consortium. News clipping

See also

  • Putana Volcano
  • Tocorpuri
  • Linzor
  • Cerro del León

References

Glennon, J.A., and Pfaff, R.M., 2003, The extraordinary thermal activity of El Tatio Geyser Field, Antofagasta Region, Chile, Geyser Observation and Study Association (GOSA) Transactions, vol 8. pp. 31-78. (article available from GOSA)

External links

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Vera Kern
19 April 2017
Beautiful place high up. Take it slow and make sure to bundle up, most tours take you here early in the morning for the dramatic effects, it's below freezing.
Talita Cortez
13 June 2015
Excelente passeio, imperdível, mas não subestime o frio. Use a maior quantidade de camadas de roupas possível, a hora mais difícil é quando começa a amanhecer, seu corpo começa a congelar.
???? Fabiana M. ????
23 December 2013
É muito frio, independente da estação do ano. Não esqueça que estará na cordilheira dos Andes a 4300mts de altitude!Na volta não deixe de experimentar a empanada no vilarejo de Machuca.
Sebastián Cornejo
24 November 2014
Abríguese al máximo, que hasta la salida del sol es súper helado, sobre todo las orejas, garganta y manos. Ojo, y no se acerque mucho al vapor de los geysers que la ropa húmeda se congela!
Isa
21 September 2012
Increíble el lugar, vale la pena levantarse a las 3am. Se debe ir muuuy abrigado para el frío bajo cero, cámara foto y pasar a la piscina temperada. El resto es disfrutar del paisaje.
Luiz Cruz
8 January 2017
Um dos melhores passeios para se fazer em San Pedro. Leve muita roupa de frio e faça o favor de entrar nessa água maravilhosa.
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7.8km from B-245, Calama, Antofagasta Region, Chile

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El Tatio on Facebook

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