Hot springs and geysers hold a special fascination for many people. To the casual visitor and tourist, they provide a powerful visual display of nature at work. If their temperature is tolerable, “taking the waters” can provide relaxation, comfort, and alleged health benefits. To the scientist, however, terrestrial hydrothermal systems are of major importance in many disciplines. They serve as models for understanding the processes in the shallowest part of the geothermal systems that produce epithermal mineral deposits. They are commonly the surface manifestation of large subsurface geothermal systems that may be tapped for geothermal energy. Their fascinating ecosystems are...

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