Probably the steppes of Kazakhstan’s Almaty region are not the most inviting place to visit, especially in winter time, but there is one unusual phenomenon that has been attracting a lot of tourists in the area.
Located between the villages of Kegen and Shyrganak in the middle of a snow-covered plateau is a 14-meter-high ice tower that continuously spouts water which turns to ice almost instantly.
The unique structure, four hours away from the Kazakh capital city of Nur-Sultan, formerly Astana, looks like a miniature volcano, however, instead of hot lava, it spouts water and crowds are gathering each day to watch the mound blow hot steam from its frosty top.
The “ice volcano” is the result of an underground hot spring that spouts water all year-round. If in the summer it causes a green vegetation bloom for tens of meters around it, in winter time, when temperatures drop below zero, the water freezes around the edges and builds up around the spout, forming a hollow mound with a steaming top resembling a volcano.
Photos and videos of the ice volcano in Almaty recently went viral on social media, attracting large numbers of visitors to the zone, some of whom drove for several hours just to see the unusual natural formation in person.
Interestingly, locals say that this is the first year that the volcano actually gushes water, as in previous years there was only, a smaller, empty ice cone.
Moreover, Kazakhstan’s official tourism Twitter account recently shared a story about the volcano, and It also added the hashtag “Visit Kazakhstan”, although that’s a bit difficult to do right now in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic…
Images from web – Google Research