Saturday, August 6, 2016

Beppu Geo-hike held on June 11, 2016

In Beppu, there is a virtual museum called Beppu Onsen Geo-Museum. This museum is run by a non-profit organization of the same name, and its members are hot spring experts including professors at Kyoto University’s Institute for Geothermal Sciences. The museum has three pillars: the museum on the internet, field activities, and giving lectures on Beppu hot springs. 1) The internet museum provides information about Beppu hot springs which have been gained through wide-ranging researches in natural, medical, social, and cultural sciences. Click here to visit their site (in Japanese). Click here to visit their English page.  2) As field activities, they offer 15 hiking courses, or “geo-hikes”, visiting Beppu’s different hot spring areas. Several times a year, Kyoto University’s professor of geology, Prof. Keiji Takemura, gives guided tours of some of the courses. Click here to see the courses and to download the course maps (only in Japanese). 3) They offer a lecture on hot spring related topics at Beppu City Public Hall every month. The topics include hot spring science, hot springs and health, Beppu’s geographical and geological features, and attractive features of Beppu hot springs.

On June 11, 2016, this year’s third guided geo-hike was held. The course was “Kankaiji No.2 course.” Kankaiji is one of the eight hot spring areas in Beppu, which is located in the south-western part of the city. Here are some photos from this hike course.

Part of the geo-thermal power plant (left) and water cooling towers (left below). This power plant belongs to a hotel located in the Kankaiji hot spring area, Suginoi Hotel, and supplies about half of the electricity that the hotel uses.

We saw a few hot spring sources along the way. This source has water pipes, but not a steam separator, so steam goes out directly from the source.

View of the city. The brown building on the below left corner is Kyoto University's Institute for Geothermal Sciences. The tall structure is calle Global Tower and it has an observation deck.

The professor showed us a cinnabar which was found along this hike course.

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