U.S. Geological Survey
Fact Sheet 2007-3045
Version 1.0

Boiling Water at Hot Creek—The Dangerous and Dynamic Thermal Springs in California’s Long Valley Caldera

By Christopher D. Farrar, William C. Evans, Dina Y. Venezky, Shaul Hurwitz, and Lynn K. Oliver


This a picture of Hot Creek.  Figure caption below
Hot Creek flows through the Long Valley Caldera in a volcanically active region of east-central California. This stretch of the creek, looking upstream to the southwest, has long been a popular recreation area because of the warm waters from its thermal springs. These springs, however, are unpredictable and can suddenly erupt with violence and at boiling temperature. Because of this danger, the U.S. Forest Service has had to close parts of the Hot Creek Geologic Site to visitors. (USGS photo by Chris Farrar.)

The beautiful blue pools and impressive boiling fountains along Hot Creek in east-central California have provided enjoyment to generations of visitors, but they have also been the cause of injury or death to some who disregarded warnings and fences. The springs and geysers in the stream bed and along its banks change location, temperature, and flow rates frequently and unpredictably. The hot springs and geysers of Hot Creek are visible signs of dynamic geologic processes in this volcanic region, where underground heat drives thermal spring activity.

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Press-quality illustrations, original artwork you may use (CMYK).

Also of interest

Living with a restless caldera - Long Valley, California (USGS Fact Sheet 108-96)
Invisible CO2 gas killing trees at Mammoth Mountain, California (USGS Fact Sheet 172-96)
Future eruptions in California’s Long Valley area-what's likely? (USGS Fact Sheet 073-97)

For questions about the content of this report, contact Chris Farrar

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