El Tatio geyser fields in Chile

All photos: Owen Perry

In this surreal set of images, photographer Owen Perry documents the sublime volcanic landscape of El Tatio, a bubbling geyser field nestled within the Andes mountains.

Generally found near active volcano sites, geysers are natural springs that intermittently eject superheated, pressurized water from thousands of feet below the ground. With more than 80 active springs situated 4,320 miles above sea level, El Tatio is one of the largest and highest elevation geyser fields in the world.

After viewing these alien-like images, it's easy to understand why tourists would travel two hours from the northern Chilean town of San Pedro de Atacama to witness this steamy wonder.

"The journey to this place is quite surreal," Perry writes on his website. "You're up and on the road by 4 a.m. to ensure that you arrive at the geyers just as the sun rises so you can see the steam they give off."

It's also quite cold. At the time these photos were taken, the temperature hovered at minus 12 degrees Celsius. Luckily, the geyser field features a natural hot spring for swimmers intrepid enough to strip down and take a plunge. While the pre-dawn trek and subzero weather might discourage some folks, Perry swears the journey is worth it: "The textures, colour and primordiality of the geysers were like nothing I've seen in person."

Continue below for more images of this beautiful destination, and be sure to follow Perry on Facebook and Instagram.

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El Tatio geyser fields in Chile
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El Tatio geyser fields in Chile
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El Tatio geyser fields in Chile
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El Tatio geyser fields in Chile
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El Tatio geyser fields in Chile
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El Tatio geyser fields in Chile
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El Tatio geyser fields in Chile
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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.