Velikan (giant) geyser is the largest of the regular functioning geysers in the Valley. Boiling water fountain reaches 35 meters high, steam rises for hundreds of meters. Eruptions are short and intense: several dozens of cubic meters of water shoot up the air in less than a minute. Eruption dies out as quickly and unexpectedly as it starts. For several minutes after the eruption stream of boiling water runs down towards the Geyzernaya river.
Velikan is located on a flat platform approximately 30x40 meters on the left bank of Geyzernaya river. This geyser's vent looks like a bathtub 1,5x3 meters in size and several meters deep. Velikan's platform is covered with beautiful light brown geyserite, small springs, hot water streams and thermophilic algae. Geyserite flaws form tiny terraces, running down towards the river.
Velikan is the most famous geyser, but not the most convenient for tourists. Pauses between eruptions currently run between 5 and 7 hours and in bad weather can be much longer. You'd be very lucky to witness Velikan's eruption during a 2 hour tour. Closest observation deck is located on the opposite side of Geyzernaya river, and you would have to watch the eruption from about a hundred meters.
One of Velikan's interesting features is that there are multiple water outbursts (for up to 2 meters high) before the actual eruption. Such "false starts" can happen up to ten times with half an hour breaks between them. This can get really frustrating even for the most patient observers. In the era of film cameras inexperienced photographer could waste half a roll before having a chance to shoot the actual eruption.
On Velikan's platform, close to its vent, there is another small geyser appropriately called Samozvanets (impostor, or pretender). Tourists waiting for hours at the observation deck, often take that one for the main geyser of the Valley. During the Elsie typhoon of 1981, huge birch fell down on Velikan's platform and partially blocked Samozvanets' vent with its roots.
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