Green River, UT was one of our legs on the end of a long road trip to California. In the morning with sleepy eyes we noticed a sign on the road to a Crystal Geyser, my wife was thrilled and insisted we should go, I was hoping to object but knew there was not a chance. We quickly googled it hoping to learn enough to make use it as a learning experience for the kids and hoped we might be lucky to see it in action, although we knew its eruptions were a rare occurrence.
The cold Crystal Geyser was created accidentally in 1935 while drilling operation when operators hit a pocket of soda at 800 feet deep. High pressured soda water shot up in the air becoming the cold crystal geyser. Since then it was abandoned only left with the initial pipe sticking out of the well. This has become a tourist attraction since then, but the geyser is so unpredictable that it has become a waiting game for visitors with a lot of patience and luck to see eruptions. It is mentioned that the geyser can go off every 8 hours and lasting up to several hours.
The well was extremely narrow and shallow now that experts believe it’s been plugged up by rocks and pebbles dropped into the geyser’s blowhole by some scrupulous tourists hoping to trigger eruptions. Unfortunately, it’s becoming clear that the geyser’s eruption which used to be 100 feet into the air in its hay days has reduced to 3 to 8 feet which is unfortunate. A typical eruption nowadays is just a bit of effervescing at the mouth of the geyser, sometimes with a water column rising just a couple feet high. These eruptions are almost unnoticeable compared to impressive eruptions used to be in the past that soared high above the barren landscape.
There were several attempts made to clean up the blowhole in order to revive the geyser, no actions were undertaken up to this day. Are they deliberately letting it die because it’s on a private property? Or Is someone sabotaging it? There were some rumors about why it might be dying, some say its years of drought, a drilling project in the vicinity, or someone who wants it gone.
The path leading to it was mesmerizing, like we were on a different planet, strange rock formations popping their heads out of the desertic landscape which was an arid, barren, and treeless environment. We were incredibly lucky to observe the geyser in action when we arrived, jumping out of our car running like crazy people to the rusty pipe spitting fluid from its top. As we played in the freezing cold water feeling blessed by the none stop eruptions we were told by a couple who camped nearby that it was going off since the night before and it was slowing down, we were too excited to let this news take away our joy. We played for over an hour in this magical water while taking in the area in amazement. The surrounding area was very colorful. Reddish and brown colors are omnipresent, small brownish and reddish pebbles, the amazing mineral-formed travertine stone pebbles begged to be explored around the geyser and along the riverbank. Also, the wavy landscape is shaped by erosion.
The odor around the spout reminded me of the smell of boiled eggs reminding me of using Sulfur Dioxide in high school science class. My memory of science class snapped back into my head; this is simply a cold water Carbon Dioxide (CO2) driven geyser. The fizzing water was pristine clean, some green algae and moss growth in the water can be observed clearly. Water was odorless, frigid, and fizzy. It was simply gushing towards the slow-moving Green River below.
Although we got to see the geyser erupt, we found out later that it has been probably 20 years since the last time the geyser gave one of its famous 100-foot eruptions and questions about the life span of this wonderful little surprise in the middle of nowhere. As the eruptions become smaller the attraction of it becomes smaller. There is hope, as talks to clean up the geyser is happening. With enough attention and support of those who love it and visit it will help show the town of Green River UT the importance of saving this fun and educational attraction.