Geologically speaking Japan is a very active country. Continental drift causes daily earthquakes. Every so many years a new volcano springs up unexpectedly. There are places in Japan where "onsen" or hot spring resorts are functioning and people are forbidden from drilling into the ground near these places. Why, I am not quite sure? Is it the competition factor or are the authorities afraid someone may awaken a 'sleeping dragon'?
On the last portion of our trip to Shiretoko Peninsula on August 6, 2012, the tour bus let us off in an area that at first glance resembled the Columbia ice fields of the Canadian Rockies minus the ice. In front of us lay a vast area of barren rock and further up the slope we could see yellow areas and areas that appeared to be spouting steam or smoke. As we approached we could hear a loud hissing sound emanating from some of the yellow coloured areas. Dry steam was spewing out of the rocks and in other areas there were small pools of hot water and steam was bubbling through the water.
The next day on a boat cruise up one side of Shiretoko Peninsula we went by an area where the water was tinged a yellow colour near the shoreline. This happened to be the other side of the same mountains we had stopped by yesterday. A relatively large waterfall was coming down the mountain emptying hot sulphur bearing water into the ocean. For once our species of two legged primate could not take responsibility for polluting.
Click on Hot Sulphur to see photographs on Picasa.