Geothermal features can be observed in areas of active volcanism, or areas that have inactive volcanoes. Subsurface magma heats groundwater, creating steam and hot water. The hot, less dense water rises through fissures and cracks in the ground. When it reaches the surface, features such as geysers, fumaroles, hot springs, and mud pits are created.
Geothermal features have great benefits. Geothermal processes create heat and electricity that provide power and hot water to cities in Iceland, New Zealand, Italy and Northern California. As well as being used for energy sources, geothermal waters can also contain minerals and elements such as sulfur, gold, silver, and mercury that can be recovered and used.