Hot Creek near Mammoth, CA is a place to marvel at geology in action. Boiling water bubbling up from the creek bed, fumaroles and periodic geyser eruptions at Hot Creek attest to the chamber of hot magma which lies about three miles below the surface of the earth in this area.
The steam you see along the Hot Creek drainage is created when water percolates deep into the ground and enters a complex underground plumbing system. The water is heated and pressurized before it rises to the earth’s surface. It is believed this journey takes around 1000 years.
Earthquakes can cause sudden geyser eruptions and overnight appearances of new hot springs at Hot Creek. Water temperatures can change rapidly, and so entering the water is prohibited.
Some have referred to Hot Creek as a mini Yellowstone. I’ve never been to Yellowstone yet, so I can’t say whether or not I agree with that. I’d like to just appreciate this beautiful place for what it is.