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Taiwan Fumeroles

Updated on April 4, 2013
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Bronwen has lived in, taught in and visited a number of countries and loves to share these travel experiences with others.

A markerYangminshan Taiwan -
Yangmingshan National Park, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112
get directions

Fumeroles Area

The Island of Taiwan

Despite its relatively small size, there are eight National Parks In Taiwan. This number of parks is mostly due to the mountainous nature of the island of Taiwan and its numerous points of natural beauty. Taiwan is by far the largest of the islands that make up the Republic of China. Some of the other islands include the Penghu Islands, Lan-Yu, or Orchid Island, Lutao, Hsiao Liuchiu, and Kinmen and Matsu. The two latter islands are very close to mainland China.

Formosa:

Because of this great beauty, it is not surprising that in 1544 it was named Beautiful Island, or 'Formosa,' by passing Portuguese mariners. That name was retained for many years and is still connected with the fine Ooloong tea that is produced in the cool air of the mountain sides.

Some Statistics:

Taiwan itself is often said to be the shape of a tobacco leaf. It is only 394 km (244 miles) from north to south and about 144 km (70 miles) at it widest point. That is, it is about half the size of Tasmania, but it has almost the same population as the whole of Australia: 22 million.

The Mountains:

  • The Central Mountain Range has over two hundred peaks over 3,000 m, that is over two hundred peaks higher than Australia's highest mountain, Mt. Kosciuszko, which is 2,228 m.
  • The highest peak is Yu Shan, Jade Mountain. It is the highest in East Asia at 3,952 m, even higher than Japan's Mt. Fuji.
  • The southern end of the Range lies close to the Tropic of Cancer, so the northern part of the island is subtropical with long hot, humid summers and surprisingly cold, but brief, winters with enough snow on a number of the higher peaks for people to go skiing.

Yang-Min Shan:

Yang-Min Shan, or Yang-Min Mountain, lies in the north of Taiwan and is within the bounds of Taipei City, the Capital of Taiwan and of all the Republic of China. The Yang-Min Shan National Park covers an area that includes hydrothermal vents, or fumeroles.

Land of Contrasts
Land of Contrasts | Source

The Fumeroles and Hot Springs

The map at the top shows the terrain of Yangminshan. It is quite steep, so the roads wind around, but a surprising number of people live here as it is close to the city but away from the heavy pollution and the noise of the traffic. Except at weekends, when there are many visitors, it is a lovely peaceful place to visit and recover from the busyness of Taipei City.

There are both fumeroles and hot springs in Yangminshan National Park. The area is part of the Tatun Volcano group that spreads across northern Taiwan. There are also many hiking trails, as the scenery is very beautiful, especially in the Spring when the cherry trees are in bloom. There are also some refreshment places and some good quality restaurants that are popular at night.

  • The Hot Springs: The hot springs are so popular for bathing in at weekends that it's difficult to find a place to park, if driving there.
  • Hiking: There are many hiking trails on Yangminshan and they are easily accessible from Taipei. Some of these trails can be quite a challenge.
  • The Fumeroles: There are public buses, so it is not difficult to visit the fumeroles and many of the local people will do so at weekends, as the pungent steam is considered good for anyone suffering from colds.

The word, 'fumerole' comes from Latin and means 'smoke.' Fumeroles are hydrothermal vents and they occur where there is an opening in the earth's crust, often near volcanoes, and steam and gases issue from these openings, which may be quite small cracks or long, large fissures.

The Terraces
The Terraces | Source

The Terraces

There is one area close by some homes where the water from the hot springs and the steam water have flowed downhill. Over many years, minerals from the underground magma has been emitted from the fumeroles and boiling water. As the mineral-rich water flowed down it has formed colourful terraces and these are interesting to see.

The Fumeroles
The Fumeroles | Source

Fumeroles Produce Gas and Minerals

On Yang-Min Shan there are different sized fissures and the area is quite extensive as the site in the photographs is not the only one on the mountain. It is quite noisy as the steam and bubbling, boiling water issue powerfully from gaps in the hillside. The steam adds to the humid heat in summer and along with the almost suffocating odour of the sulphur, the atmosphere seems almost surreal.


The Tatun Fumeroles

Fumeroles occur where hot igneous rocks are not far below the surface and they interact with groundwater, causing it to boil and produce the steam.

  • The Tatun Volcano Group is volcanically active and the area is active hydrothermally.
  • The fumeroles here seem to us to be very hot, but they are considered to be of a low temperature when compared with fumeroles in other parts of the world.
  • It is interesting that the composition of the gas and its production remains fairly constant and does not seem to be influenced by changes in the weather. The fumeroles continue to push out the steam even in the heaviest rain.

Sulphur

  • Sulphur is the tenth most common element in the universe.
  • In the Bible sulphur is known as 'brimstone' and when visiting the Yang-Min Shan National Park it is easy to see why it was connected with the idea of Hell.

Some of the fumeroles on Yang-Min Shan produce sulphur and, although this seems to be a dangerous undertaking, there are small businesses that harvest the sulphur. It is then used for industrial, medicinal and chemical purposes.

Products that use sulphur include the manufacture of special skin soap, matches, insecticides and fungicides. In Taiwan, as in China, it is also a component of gunpowder and so is useful for the many fireworks that are produced.

Today, sulphur in most of the world is produced from natural gas and petroleum.

Viewing Area Showing the Sulphur
Viewing Area Showing the Sulphur | Source

Comments

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    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Wow, how very interesting. I wonder if the sulfur would be anything like the smell from coal mines? No idea why I wonder that, just know the awful smell that can come from the mining tipples and it seems it may be sort of a sulfur smell and comes up from the ground that way.

      Very good, up and sharing.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      i was most interested to read this as my son is living there for a few years. He is with the government. You did a great job in describing all of this and wonderful photos. Voting up++++pinning.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      These are great photos of Taiwan and accompanied by loads of interesting information. It is just awesome, and I vote it as such!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, Blossom, how very interesting, and thank you for taking us along on your trip here!!!

      Excellent write. Voted up ++++ and sharing

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 4 years ago from Borik√©n the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Wonderful share, very exciting information. I love the pictures made me feel there as I read.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for the tour.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for sharing all that information Blossom! Very interesting! Thank you aso for your pictures!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      Blossoms thank you very much for this lessons slash hub always educational :)

    • Annie Miller profile image

      Annie Miller 4 years ago from Wichita Falls, Texas

      Almost as good as getting to visit on my own ... thanks Blossoms. Informative and beautiful!

    • Highland Terrier profile image

      Highland Terrier 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Always a pleasure to read your stuff, you get to see such interesting places. I love the fact that you take in so much information about the area you are visiting and then have the good grace to pass it on.

      Thank you for doing that.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Jackie Lynnley: It does smell a bit like that, only worse. Thank you for your interesting comment and vote.

      Carol7777: Thank you. I wonder if you will go and visit your son while he is there. I'm sure you'd love it - just don't choose the hot summer or the Typhoon season. The in-between seasons are much better.

      Rebeccamealey: Taiwan is very photogenic. I'm so glad you enjoyed reading about it.

      Faith Reaper: I'm so glad you enjoyed the 'visit.' God bless you, too, and thank you for your comments.

      Lastheart: It's an exciting place. There's always so much to do and see.

      Mhatter99: Glad you came along.

      kidscrafts: It is an interesting place. I have so many photos it's difficult to choose, so I'm glad you enjoyed them.

      Frank Atanacio: Once a teacher always a teacher; it's a bit hard to escape, but I love sharing my adventures.

      Annie Miller: The visit without the heat and smell! Glad you enjoyed it.

      Highland Terrier: As I wrote before, I've been so blessed in the places we have seen and lived in that I love to share them. Then I can relive the fun we had.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for sharing the photos and the very interesting and useful information, Blossom. I didn't know that there were fumeroles in Taiwan.

    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 4 years ago

      Good morning sister.

      These look like very interesting place to visit.

      One day I would like to bicycle the distance of the island.

      God bless you.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      AliciaC: It's a pleasure to share. There certainly are fumeroles there - and lots of earthquakes, too. It's amazing how they make the high-rise buildings and the high train-line and they don't seem to be much affected by the 'shakes.'

      teacherjoe52: Taiwan is a very interesting place to visit. However, I don't think I'd like to try cycling, except on the west coast, as most of the island is very mountainous. Thank you for your comment and God bless you.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      How fascinating! Your photographs are gorgeous and show the steam and volcanoes quite well. What an experience it must have been to have been to Taiwan. It is a beautiful island - Formosa - apply named. I never knew it was named by the Portuguese. I have been to a sulphur spring in Italy - the waters are suppose to be good for us, but the smell nearly made me keel over - it smelled like rotten eggs! ugh! But, to please my Italian relatives I drank some of the water and amazingly survived. lol Thanks for an interesting and informative hub!

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      suzettenaples: Thank you. It was a great experience living and working in Taiwan and I made many friends there, too. It was a very busy life, but every time there was an opportunity we enjoyed seeing as much as we could, it is such a diverse place. I can relate to your story about the smell of the sulphur springs - the things we do for health!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      This hub was fascinating. I have never heard of fumeroles before, but would love to see them sometime.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Glimmer Twin Fan: Yes, we hear about geysers and see then shooting up into the air, but not so much about fumeroles, and yet they are so very interesting. Thank you for your comments.

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