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Nature Takes the Lead in Restoring the Valley of the Geysers, says WWF

Kamchatka, Russia—At about 8 pm local time on June 7, water reached the top of the dam which formed on the Geyser River in Kamchatka’s Valley of the Geysers, part of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka UNESCO World Heritage Site, after a massive landslide on June 3.  Water went over the top of the dam, immediately taking over a meter of mud and debris off the top, and the level of the newly formed lake dropped by over 16 feet.

Over the next two hours, the water continued to decline, and geysers in the famous Valley of the Geysers began to reappear. The "Vodopadnaya" and "Shel" geysers reappeared, spewing water and steam skyward with all their formal zeal. The famous wall of geysers "Vitrazh"—meaning stained-glass window--re-appeared completely. As of the latest information, one of the valley's most beautiful geysers, Malachite Grotto was also re-emerging from the waters.

The breach in the dam was one possible scenario expected by scientists, as well as the subsiding water.  It is likely that a thermal lake of moderate size may still remain behind the dam, but the main attractions of the valley will be re-exposed, particularly in areas where the nature trail popular among visitors once lay.

“These events testify to the fact that it is not necessary to take aggressive measures to restore the valley to its original form,” said Laura Williams,director of World Wildlife Fund’s Kamchatka office in Russia. “Nature will heal its own wounds and re-create itself once again.”

The world-famous Valley of the Geysers in Kamchatka’s Kronotsky Nature Preserve was one of only five places on Earth where a concentration of geysers punch holes through the Earth’s crust to spew boiling water and steam skyward. The four other places are in Yellowstone National Park, Chile, Iceland and New Zealand.

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Known in the United States as World Wildlife Fund and recognized worldwide by its panda logo, WWF leads international efforts to protect endangered species and their habitats and to conserve the diversity of life on Earth. Now in its fifth decade, WWF, the global conservation organization, works in more than 100 countries around the world.

Note to Editors:

A high-resolution photograph of the last eruption of a geyser prior to submerging and subsequent flood of the valley as well as low-resolution photographs of the mud-filled valley are available to accompany press stories based on this release and mentioning World Wildlife Fund. If used, appropriate credit must also be given to the photographer.