Crystal Geyser

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Since Amanda had to work on Black Friday, we had to wait until Saturday before we could head anywhere on the Thanksgiving weekend. There were some trails north of Moab that I had been wanting to check out for a while and we didn’t want to head too far away from home, so we ended up heading that way for the weekend. Our main destination would be the Crystal Geyser near Green River, but we would of course take the long way there 😉

We took I-70 to the Floy Wash exit just past Crescent Junction and headed south on the Ruby Ranch Road. We took a left onto the Blue Hills Road and then turned off onto the Dubinky Well Road. After looping around Tombstone Rock we started our first trail of the day….Rainbow Terrace (aka Rainbow Rocks). Since I’ve been on this trail before, Amanda drove the whole thing.

You can see the colors in the rocks above this trail.

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After finishing the trail we headed west to Tenmile Point above the Green River.

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Amanda taking a break from driving
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After taking in the views, we headed back to the start off the Crystal Geyser trail.

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We decided to follow the route in Peter Massey’s Backcountry Adventures book backwards. Unfortunately, as we found out, that route crosses private property and we ended up on the wrong side of locked gate and had to backtrack and find a different way to the geyser. After using my navigational skills to reach Crystal Geyser, we spent some time exploring and photographing the cool orange surface in the area and hoping the geyser would erupt while we were there.

Crystal Geyser is only one of a few cold water geysers. Here’s a little information about the Geyser from Wikipedia:

Crystal Geyser is located on the east bank of the Green River approximately 4.5 miles downstream from Green River, Utah. It is a rare example of a cold water carbon dioxide driven geyser; geothermal activity does not play a role in the activity of the geyser. The ground water near the geyser has significant quantities of dissolved carbon dioxide, along with substantial underground gas accumulations in the surrounding area. Saturation of the aquifer with CO2 creates enough pressure to force groundwater through the geyser and out on to the surface.

The current form of the geyser was created by an exploration well drilled in 1935 in attempt to locate oil. A large diameter pipe was installed in the 1990s to prevent people from falling into the well after the well known story of Jessica McClure. The well was originally 800 metres deep, but an earlier owner of the land partially filled it in, meaning that the well is now only a couple hundred metres deep.

The area surrounding the modern geyser is covered in a thick layer of orange travertine. Near the river, adjacent to the modern orange travertine, are substantial deposits of white travertine, perhaps reflecting the original depositional environment of the geyser (before the exploratory well was drilled.)

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Amanda waiting for an eruption
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About an hour after we arrived at the geyser, it finally started making some noise and bubbling pretty good. Unfortunately it did not end up reaching a full eruption and only got a foot or so hight from ground level.

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I guess we will have to head back another time and see if we can catch a full eruption.

When the geyser stopped making noises and bubbling, we decided to make our way to Green River for the night. We had dinner at The Tamarisk and spent the night at the Super 8. One note about the Super 8 in Green River……it’s the nicest inexpensive hotel I have stayed in for a while. I would highly recommend it.


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