July 9, 2009—Two years after most of Russia's geysers were lost in a landslide, a peculiar geyser has emerged on the Kamchatka Peninsula that spouts water every 6 to 20 minutes.
© 2009 National Geographic; Video courtesy WWF-Russia/Dmitry Shpilenok
Russias Kamchatka peninsula is known for its volcanic and seismic activity, but not since the 1960s has a new geyser appeared here.
A ranger in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve was the first to see the column of boiling liquid last month. Another observer exclaimed Prikolny! meaning peculiar in Russian, and the geyser was named.
Scientists are still analyzing Prikolnys sudden appearance, the temperature of its water, and the depth of its underground structure.
The Nature Reserves director says the geyser erupts every 6 to 20 minutes.
The new geyser shoots a column of water and steam up to more than 16 feet high. The scientists say it uses the same water over and over again as the water gets back into its funnel for re-use.
Usually occurring in volcanic regions, geysers are hot springs that intermittently eject forceful jets of water and steam.
No one knows what caused the geyser's formation, but theories include rising water levels in the area or a pulsating hot spring that switched roles.
Its located near a ranger station and an observation boardwalk, so its already become a tourist attraction.
Prikolny is less than 9 miles from Kamchatkas Valley of the Geysers, a large geyser field discovered in 1941. At one point about a hundred geysers spouted here, until a mudslide in 2007 wiped out half of them.
There are three other large geyser fields in the world: in Iceland, New Zealand, and the United States, where the last new geyser appeared in Yellowstone National Park in the early 20th Century.