Fly Geyser aka Fly Ranch Geyser is a small geothermal geyser that is situated approximately 20 miles (32 km) north of Gerlach, in Washoe County. It’s particularly notable for its vibrant colors and unique appearance. Fly Geyser showcases the intersection of human activity and geological processes.
Origin and Features:
The geyser was accidentally created in 1964 due to well drilling. While exploring for sources of geothermal energy, the drilled well was either left uncapped or was improperly capped, leading to the dissolution of minerals and the creation of the geyser over time.
Fly Geyser constantly spews hot water, which has led to the formation of travertine terraces. Over time, this continuous eruption of water and dissolved minerals has resulted in the formation of a sizable, multi-tiered mound.
The vibrant colors that the geyser displays, particularly reds and greens, are due to thermophilic (heat-loving) algae that thrive in the warm, mineral-rich water.
For many years, Fly Geyser was located on private property and was not accessible to the public. However, in 2016, the Burning Man organization purchased the Fly Ranch property, and there are now guided nature walks that allow visitors to see the geyser.
Apart from its striking appearance, Fly Geyser is a remarkable example of how human activities can unintentionally create unique geological phenomena. Its vibrant colors and peculiar formation make it a point of interest for both geologists and tourists.