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Water Treasures > Global Context > Russia
Dolina Geizerov, the second largest geyser field in the world, is located within Kronotsky Nature Reserve and is part of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka UNESCO World Heritage site. This area contains approximately 160 volcanoes, 29 of which are still active, giving the peninsula one of the highest density of volcanoes on the planet.
Fueled by volcanic heat, most of the geysers of Dolina Geizerov are relatively small, although at least two have surpassed 100 feet (30 m) in height. There have also been numerous mudpots, steam vents, hot springs and perpetual spouters. The geysers, first discovered in 1941, opened to commercial tourism in 1991.
On June 3, 2007 a landslide buried a number of the valley's hydrothermal features, including Pervenets (Firstborn), the first geyser found in the valley, under an estimated 180 feet (60 m) of debris. The landslide also created a natural dam, blocking the Geyser River. The resulting Lake Palanskoye covered additional geysers. The new lake is gradually draining; as the water recedes, some previously inundated geysers are beginning to erupt again.
Geysers outside of the slide region, including the main geyser field, "Vitrazh" (Stained glass), and the largest geyser, Velikan (Giant), appear undamaged.
Scientists are concerned that the landslide may also have changed the fragile ecosystem of Dolina Geizerov. The hydrothermal features have made the valley warmer than the surrounding area; loss of this thermal heat may disrupt unique habitats.
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