Geysers are considered natural phenomena — they can spew boiling hot water by thousands of gallons that reach several hundred feet in height, as the Earth’s surface periodically goes into eruption. If you’re wondering what geysers are, they are outlets in order to expel some of Earth’s inner pressures.
It’s not a coincidence that geyser locations are in close proximity to volcanic areas. These conditions can make the metals and rocks near the Earth’s core really hot. The Earth’s inner composition is made up of groundwater as well as several layers of land between the Earth’s crust and its core, while beneath them are the water reservoir and the hot rocks or magma. You could just imagine the amount of heat that is trapped between these layers as the hot rocks cause the water reservoir to boil and build-up steam pressure underneath. Since we have established the fact that geysers are formed as an outlet for the pressure build-up underneath the Earth’s crust, we should also make it clear that geysers do not just erupt at will or at random places. The steam pressure has to reach groundwater level and get trapped between the ground surface and the Earth’s layers.
Before becoming the Martian-esque, “We come in peace” waterworks it is today, the Fly Ranch Geyser was just an ordinary man-made well drilled in the early 1900s. Eventually piping hot, geothermally heated water began to rise through cracks in the well and up to the ground’s surface through what is now Fly Geyser. Though workers tried to cap it off and prevent leakage of the hot water, their efforts were obviously unsuccessful.
The Fly Ranch, located in Hualapai Flat, is home to several geysers. The most impressive one, Fly Geyser, was created by accident, making it a rarity in of nature. Even though it’s likely one of the best sights Nevada has to offer, even Nevada residents are not aware of the beauty in their back yard.
Almost 100 years ago, in 1916, a well was drilled in an attempt to make the land fertile for farming. The drilling reached boiling geothermal water, of over 200 degrees. The geyser was abandoned since the water was no good for irrigation. Over the years, a calcium carbonate cone was formed around the geyser, measuring up to 10-12 feet. In 1964, Fly Geyser began erupting with scalding water in multiple places, after a second poorly-capped well was dug not far from the first. The repetitive eruptions dissolved minerals and over time, the mineral deposits developed the mount and various terraces that now surround the ever-growing geyser. And thanks to thermophilic algae that thrive in the wet, hot conditions created by the geyser, breathtaking reds and greens streak the mounds. While the original Fly Geyser no longer hisses steaming water, another mount two additional geysers in the area have followed in its path. Though the attraction is located on private land and not open to tourists, visitors who make arrangements with the owners ahead of time are often able to get a closer look for a fee.
There are actually two geysers on the property. The first was created nearly 100 years ago as part of an effort to make a part of the desert usable for farming. A well was drilled and geothermal boiling water (200 degrees) was hit. Obviously not suitable for irrigation water, this geyser was left alone and a 10 to 12 foot calcium carbonate cone formed.
In 1964 a geothermic energy company drilled a test well at the same site. The water they struck was that same 200 degrees. Hot, but not hot enough for their purposes. The well was supposedly re-sealed, but apparently it did not hold. This second man made geyser is now known as Fly Geyser and has grown quite a lot in the last four decades, although it’s cone is not that large, since there are several geyser spouts in the area. However, among the rest of the geysers, this one stands out thanks to its amazing beauty. The new geyser, a few hundred feet north of the original, robbed the first of its water pressure and the cone now lays dry.
This second geyser, known as Fly Geyser, has grown substantially in the last 40 years as minerals from the geothermal water pocket deposit on the desert surface. Because there are multiple geyser spouts, this geyser has not created a cone as large as the first, but an ever growing alien looking mound. The geyser is covered with thermophilic algae, which flourishes in moist, hot environments, resulting in the multiple hues of green and red that add to its out-of-this-world appearance.
Due to its strange appearance and the fact that it resides behind locked gates on private property (the Fly Ranch in Hualapai Flat), the Fly Geyser in Nevada is often met with a mixture of awe and skepticism when viewers encounter photographs of that strange formation on the Internet. That geothermal vent in the Black Rock Desert really does exist and look as pictured, but some misconceptions about it abound.
First, the Fly Geyser is not a natural formation. It’s a man-made geyser created by accident in 1964 when an explorative well drilled in the area was either left uncapped or not capped properly, causing dissolved minerals to accumulate and rise and thus create the limestone mound (which continues to grow) that houses the geyser.
Additionally, many images of the colorful formation make it appear that the Fly Geyser is quite large, but this is not the case. The peculiar site in the Nevada desert is only about five feet tall and twelve feet wide.
The size of the Fly Geyser is changing, however, as noted in the book Nevada Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff: Although the Fly Geyser is certainly a fascinating sight, not many people have had the chance to gaze upon its colorful beauty in personThe geyser is on Fly Ranch, is private property and trespassing is illegal. However, if you drive to the neighboring town of Gerlach and go to Bruno’s restaurant they can put you in contact with the owners who do day tours of the spring for seasonal pricing.