9 Lethal Hot Springs You Don't Want to Take a Dip In

side of grand prismatic spring, rings of rainbow color and orange spilling out
The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park is a rainbow of colors, but its temperature can burn your skin in seconds.

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Hot springs are often considered to be natural tools for rest and relaxation. However, not all of these geothermal sites provide the same spa-like experience. Many are dangerous to bathe in or even touch, with boiling water that can cause serious harm.

The following list describes some of the world's hot springs that are lethal to humans. As you learn of their temperatures, keep in mind that third-degree burns can occur after only five seconds of exposure to 140-degree water. That will be enough to encourage you to only admire these hot springs from a distance.

Champagne Pool

champagne pool with green-tinted water, mist, and bright orange bank

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This steaming, effervescent spring is the centerpiece of New Zealand's famous Wai-O-Tapu geothermal area. It gets its name from its constant efflux of carbon dioxide, which creates bubbles similar to those seen in a glass of champagne. The pool was created as a result of a hydrothermal eruption.

Champagne Pool's temperature averages about 165 degrees, but the geothermal water below the pool is much hotter — approximately 500 degrees. In addition to the heat, the spring is dangerous because of the presence of the minerals orpiment and realgar, which are both sulfides of arsenic. On the plus side, these minerals are also the reason for the pool's distinct, beautiful orange border.

Frying Pan Lake

mist arising from frying pan lake, surrounded by greenery and a small mountain

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This aptly named hot spring is located in Rororua, New Zealand. It is part of the Wainmangu Volcanic Rift Valley, a hydrothermal system created as a result of the volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. Spanning 200 meters (656 feet), it is considered to be one of the largest hot springs in the world.

The surface temperature of Frying Pan Lake ranges between 120 and 143 degrees.

Oyunuma Lake

blue-tinted water of Oyunuma Lake gives off steam in front of Mt. Hiyori in autumn

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Oyunuma Lake is found in the Niseko Highlands just outside Rankoshi, Japan. Like Frying Pan Lake, this hot spring is a volcanic crater lake. Its sulfurous water is surrounded by a ring of thick, bubbling mud, but that doesn't repel the insects that buzz around the surface.

The surface temperature of Oyunuma Lake reaches up to 140 degrees, and its depths reach 266 degrees.

Grand Prismatic Spring

aerial view of Grand Prismatic Spring, with rings of every color of the rainbow

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Named for its rainbow coloration, the Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the United States and the third-largest in the world. It is located in Yellowstone National Park, where it is the most-photographed thermal feature, ahead of even the famous geyser Old Faithful.

The spring's remarkable oranges, yellows, and greens are the results of pigmented bacteria proliferating around the mineral-rich edges of the water. In contrast, the blue hue found at the center is pure, clear water sterilized by the extreme, 189-degree heat of the spring.

Hveraröndor Hverir

Hverarondor Hverir hot springs with batches of dark blue water, contrasted with sandy hills

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Hveraröndor Hverir can be found in northeast Iceland. It is also known as the Námafjall Geothermal Area after the nearby volcanic mountain of the same name. This place is punctuated by fumaroles that release the steam of 390-degree water from below the surface. Meanwhile, there are also a number of acidic hot springs called mudpools — or mudpots — which contain a mud slurry created from water, decomposing microorganisms, and surrounding rock and clay.

With its barren land, smoking surface, and deep blue springs, Hveraröndor Hverir has a unique appearance. This is likely why it was used as a filming location for Game of Thrones, where the steam from the fumaroles created the visual effect of a blizzard.

Chinoike Jigoku

blood pond in Beppu, Japan with thick steam rising from bright red water

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One of a number of hot springs found in Beppu, Japan, Chinoike Jigoku has a frightening red hue. The unique coloring is due to the presence of iron oxide and clay at the base, and it inspired the spring's name, which translates to "Bloody Hell Pond." To match its macabre name and color, some stories claim that Chinoike Jigoku was used for torture and murder.

At 172 degrees, this bubbling hot spring would be lethal to a body bather. However, if you choose to visit, you can experience a safe footbath nearby with water from the spring that has been cooled.

Blue Star Spring

star-shaped blue star spring surrounded by sandy white ground on a sunny day

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Not far from the Old Faithful geyser In Yellowstone National Park is Blue Star Spring. Its unique shape with five "arms" inspired its name, though you may have to squint to see the resemblance. The bubbling water in this pool averages at a dangerous 190.7 degrees, heated by the same volcano that heats the Grand Prismatic Spring.

Blue Star Spring gently overflows constantly, using one of its "arms" as runoff. It has also been known to erupt, though infrequently. As of 2021, the last eruption to occur was in 2002.

Laguna Ilamatepec

aerial view of luguna ilamatepec, pool of turquoise water within rocky crater

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Within the Santa Ana Volcano in El Salvador is a crater lake called Laguna Ilamatepec. It showcases turquoise, sulfuric water that maxes out at 136 degrees. This lake also features an underwater hot spring. The spring, which is located toward the center of the lake, is hot enough that it gives off bubbles every five minutes.

Jigokudani Monkey Park

group of snow monkeys sit in hot spring to warm in freezing, snowy weather

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While most hot springs are considered lethal for their temperature, the springs of Japan's famous Jigokudani Monkey Park are dangerous for different reasons.

To start, the snow monkeys that occupy these springs are unpredictable wild animals that could turn aggressive when feeling threatened. Additionally, the water is contaminated with feces, making it unhygienic to soak in. So, although research has shown that bathing in the Jigokudani hot springs reduces stress for snow monkeys, it's better for humans to keep their distance.