Geothermal springs -- Los Ausoles
Erin is an English Language Fellow in El Salvador who writes a blog called "La vida Barranquilla". A recent post and photos on her blog drew my attention for the first time to "Los Ausoles":
Los Ausoles is located in the department of Ahuachapan, right outside the city of the same name by the geothermic plant La Geo. They're smoke-spewing fumaroles (vents?) that you can walk right up to, as well as boiling mud and hot springs. Smelled a bit like when the water softener at home in Ohio isn't working, but stronger. The best part was that it was just kinda there, free for anyone to walk right up to (or into if you weren't paying attention). Los Ausoles is definitely on my list of cool things that I've seen in El Salvador that most people don't even know exist.
El Salvador's Ministry of Tourism has a small description on its web site:
In the vicinity of Ahuachapán, in an area of 20 square kilometers, we find the “ausoles” or fumaroles, of the same name, that constitute one of the most interesting phenomena in the volcanism in Central America. The “ausoles” open up among a deposit of rocks, the main “ausoles” are:
1. El zapote that measures 5 Kilometers. Formerly, it was a crater of 20 m. in diameter. 2. Valdivieso of 400 meters, formed by four big and several small openings with beautiful crystals of sulfur 3. El barreal is formed by ponds of mud 4. La labor, which consists on a hollow of 200 meters in diameter and cut walls vertically like a crater, with seven openings that emanate vapors with a lot of force and noise, tiny volcanoes of clay and mud of 2 meters high 5. El salitre, a group of small lagoons of very hot water at 960º that give origin to the river Agua Caliente, which later makes a journey of 13 Kilometers and drains on the left margin of the river Paz.
Intrigued, I found these videos of the hot springs on YouTube: