Beitou Thermal Valley (Hell Valley, 地熱谷)

On July 5, 2013 by admin

 

Beitou Thermal Valley or Geothermal Valley(地熱谷) is a volcanic crater filled with steaming natural sulfuric hot spring water.  During the Japanese colonial era, the valley was known as one of Taiwan’s eight great natural beauties and the magical translucent green coloured waters gave rise to one of its pet names, Jade Springs Valley.  The mineral composition of the rare green sulfur spring waters can only be found in two locations in the world, here in Beitou and in Akita, Japan.

The temperatures of the waters can reach up to 100°C (212°F), making them unsuitable for bathing.   However, the curling steamy mist that rises up from the waters can climb as high as 100 meters into the sky, and depending on the winds, can completely engulf themselves around visitors, making for a spectacular sight.  The eery steam is also the reason for the area’s other nickname, Hell Valley.  Despite being the hottest spring in the area, it is said that the residual heat source is insufficient to sustain another volcanic eruption, so the valley’s days may be numbered.

The reason for the spring water’s high concentration of chlorinated sulfate minerals is that the volcano in the area acidifies the ground water through permeation of volcanic gases and when it seeps out through the crust, the water’s pH value ranges between 1.2 and 1.6 (ie very acidic).  The sediments in the water collect over centuries and crystallize into the rare mineral hokutolite.  Hokutolite minerals were unfortunately plundered from the area, and now only a few examples of the stone remain on exhibit in the Beitou Hot Spring Museum.

The waters from Beitou’s Thermal Valley are the source of the hot spring bathing facilities in Beitou. The waters contain radium, which is said to have beneficial health affects for fertility, long-term illnesses, rehabilitation, and skin beauty.  Beitou Thermal Valley is also the headwaters for Beitou Stream, which locals can be found using as a natural liquid jade coloured foot-bath next to Beitou Park.

For ideas on how to make a day trip out of your Beitou visit, see our Taipei Day Trip 1: Beitou article.

 

Names: Beitou Thermal Valley, Geothermal Valley, Jade Springs Valley, Hell Valley
Address: Zhongshan Road near the entrance of Wenquan Road, Beitou District, Taipei, Taiwan
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 9:00am-5:00pm; closed Monday
Entrance: Free

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