by The American Geosciences Institute Friday, November 30, 2018
These bright orange tufa deposits precipitated from cold spring water that now rises to the surface via this “soda pop geyser,” which is powered by pressurized carbon dioxide rather than geothermal heating.
The geyser was formed accidentally in 1935 when an oil exploration well penetrated the cap rock that sealed large amounts of carbon dioxide at depth. This gas dissolves in groundwater until the water becomes overpressurized, resulting in eruptions of water that sometimes reach more than 20 meters high. The height and frequency of these eruptions has appeared to dwindle in recent years, perhaps due to a plug in the well created by visitors dropping rocks down it.
Long before the oil well was drilled, carbonated water seeped to the surface more gradually, forming natural springs and mineral deposits, which geologist and explorer John Wesley Powell noted during an 1869 expedition that led him and his crew down the colorfully named river that flows past this site.
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Answer: The bright orange tufa deposits of Crystal Geyser in Utah precipitated from cold spring water that now rises to the surface via this “soda pop geyser,” which is powered by pressurized carbon dioxide rather than geothermal heating. Photo by Thomas McGuire.
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Jan Callister (Draper, Utah)
William Gilliland (Topeka, Kan.)
Russell Kennedy (Gaithersburg, Md.)
Nick Lawhon (Frankfort, Ky.)
Michael Sweet (Houston, Texas)
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