This Colorful Geyser Is the Surprising Result of a Drilling Mistake
The world is full of surreal landscapes, from the salt flats of Bolivia to Lake Natron in Tanzania. If these spots are the kind of things you bucket list travels are made of, you'll want to check out these pictures of Fly Geyser in Gerlach, Nevada.
Part natural geyser, part manmade error, this rainbow-hued gusher is a result of drilling attempts made a hundred years again in an effort to make the desert more habitable for farming and energy harvesting. According to Atlas Obscura, the first drilling—which was intended to be used as a well for irrigating crops—hit boiling water (not ideal for irrigation, of course) and was left to nature.
This first geyser spewed 200-degree water for decades, slowly forming a 12-foot calcium carbonate cone from the minerals shot up from under the ground. It wasn't until a second drilling attempt was made in 1964, that the water pressure from this first geyser was leeched, leaving the original cone inactive.
The second hole was made by a geothermal company, but the water below was not hot enough to be used. They attempted to reseal the well, but the water pressure forced it open, resulting in what we now know as Fly Geyser.
Fly Geyser has multiple water openings, which explains its strange shape. Thermophillic algae, which thrives in wet, warm environments, has formed all over the geyser, giving it a colorful hue.
The geyser is located on private property, so these photos will have to suffice for now.