Chile has the third largest geyser field in the world, El Tatio, behind Yellowstone at #1 and some place in Russia coming in at #2.
We woke the family at 4:30am to be ready for the 5:30am pickup time. The guides drove us about 90 minutes outside of San Pedro de Atacama to the geysers. The reasons for the early pickup: the below freezing temperatures in the morning make the geyser steam more dramatic and the close proximity to the wetter Bolivia means risk of violent afternoon storms.
An interesting trait I noticed about the geyser field is that the area is more dynamic and changing when compared to Yellowstone. It was clear to observe that geysers and steam vents were new, dormant, growing, shrinking, or migrating. Geysers and pools had emerged in walking areas, and even a road had been closed because of a new geyser. The guide said that relative to Yellowstone, the rhyolite mineral under El Tatio is less hard than the rhyolite under Yellowstone. Yellowstone’s geyser system is relatively fixed compared to El Tatio, which has a shifting structure underneath it.
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