Crystal Geyser is an ongoing eruption of water from a deep aquifer to form a travertine deposit on the east bank of the Green River near the town of Green River, UT. Unlike 'Old Faithful', it is not driven by volcanic activity, and it is not hot. Instead, the water is expelled due to de-gassing of carbon dioxide (CO2) that occurred when an oil company drilled a well into the aquifer in 1935 (Shipton et al., 2004). Today, Crystal Geyser and other CO2-rich aquifer systems are being studied for their potential as natural analogues for carbon sequestration projects (Bickle & Kampman, 2013). Our goals for the Crystal Geyser project include the characterization of bacteria and archaea that may reside in the deep aquifers and the determine of the spatial, temporal, and ecological dynamics of the subsurface microbial communities.


Crystal Geyser Eruption


Short Video:



Long Video:



Chaffin Ranch Geyser Eruption:



Further Reading


Burnside, N., Shipton, Z., Dockrill, B., & Ellam, R. (2013). Man-made versus natural CO2 leakage: A 400 k.y. history of an analogue for engineered geological storage of CO2. Geology, 41(4), 471-474. [HTML]

Glennon, J., & Pfaff, R. (2005). The Operation and Geography of Carbon Dioxide-Driven, Cold-Water “Geysers”. The GOSA Transcations, 9, 184-192. [PDF]

Emerson, J., Thomas, B., Alvarez, W., & Banfield, J. (2015). Metagenomic analysis of a high carbon dioxide subsurface microbial community populated by chemolithoautotrophs and bacteria and archaea from candidate phyla. Environmental Microbiology Environ Microbiol, 15. Retrieved June 24, 2015, from [HTML]

Han, W., Lu, M., Mcpherson, B., Keating, E., Moore, J., Park, E., . . . Jung, N. (2013). Characteristics of CO 2 -driven cold-water geyser, Crystal Geyser in Utah: Experimental observation and mechanism analyses. Geofluids, 13(3), 283-297. Retrieved June 24, 2015, from [HTML]

Gouveia, F J, & Friedmann, S J. (2006). Timing and prediction of CO2 eruptions from Crystal Geyser, UT. United States. [PDF]

Suarez, C., Suarez, M., Terry, D., & Grandstaff, D. (2007). Rare Earth Element Geochemistry And Taphonomy Of The Early Cretaceous Crystal Geyser Dinosaur Quarry, East-Central Utah. PALAIOS, 22(5), 500-512. [HTML]

Suarez, M., Suarez, C., Kirkland, J., Gonzalez, L., Grandstaff, D., & Terry, D. (2007). Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, And Depositional Environment Of The Crystal Geyser Dinosaur Quarry, East-Central Utah. PALAIOS, 22(5), 513-527. [HTML]

Shipton, Z., Evans, J., Dockrill, B., Heath, J., Williams, A., Kirchner, D., & Kolesar, P. (2007). Natural Leaking CO2-Charged Systems as Analogs for Failed Geologic Storage Reservoirs. Carbon Dioxide Capture for Storage in Deep Geologic Formations, 2, 699-712. [HTML]

Shipton, Z., Evans, J., Kirschner, D., Kolesar, P., Williams, A., & Heath, J. (2004). Analysis of CO2 leakage through 'low-permeability' faults from natural reservoirs in the Colorado Plateau, east-central Utah. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 233, 43-58. [PDF]