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Crystal Geyser

Updated: May 19

What can we learn from a cold-water geyser?

Application: The consequences of the global flood are demonstrated in surprising places.

In this Lesson, Dr. Bob visits Crystal Geyser and learns how the amazing cold-water geysers give a glimpse into the events of the global flood.

Supplemental Information

When most people think about geysers, they picture a Yellowstone-like hot spring where pressure from steam sends a tall column of water into the air. In Utah, however, several “geysers” erupt due to the same process that causes soda pop to shoot out of the can when you hold your finger over the lid and shake it. Although technically not true geysers, these cold-water eruptions look so much like hot-water geysers that they are referred to as “soda pop geysers.” In Utah, the largest of these is Crystal Geyser.

Crystal Geyser is a partially human-made geyser located on the shore of the Green River, approximately 10 miles south of the town of Green River, Utah. The geyser originated in 1936 when an oil exploration well tapped into a groundwater system under immense pressure caused by a reservoir of trapped carbon dioxide gas. The high-pressure system that the well penetrated had previously created a series of ancient natural springs and tufa deposits which were first referenced by John Wesley Powell in 1869.

Because of a geologic investigation published in 1914 that reported oil seeps in the area, an exploratory oil well was drilled in 1935 on the margin of the ancient spring deposits. In November of that year, a Moab newspaper reported on the progress of the well stating that a significant flow of water had been encountered at a depth of 44 feet. By January 1936, the newspaper reported that drillers had encountered carbon dioxide gas at a depth of 360 feet at high enough pressures to shoot 105 pounds of drilling mud 60 feet into the air.

The well was abandoned after drilling to a total depth of 2,627 feet, but in the process, a geyser was created that quickly became famous. The November 1936 front page of Moab’s Times-Independent celebrated a new geyser that spouted an 80-foot column of water at regular intervals of about 15 minutes and a 150-foot column at intervals of about 9 hours.

When the 1935 oil exploration company penetrated the cap on this gas reservoir, water from higher geologic units flowed down the hole to meet gas escaping from lower geologic units. This process continues today. The mixture of the gas and water continues between eruptions until a carbon dioxide saturation point is reached. As soon as the water becomes oversaturated, the carbon dioxide violently bursts out of solution and forcefully ejects the water from the borehole. Holes in the casing of the well allow much of the ejected water to flow back down the well and the whole process begins again.

The pressurized carbon dioxide gas that drives Crystal Geyser is derived from rocks formed from sediments that accumulated during the global flood. The pre-flood atmosphere likely contained greater quantities of atmospheric carbon than the current atmosphere. In the current world, the movement of atmospheric carbon from the atmosphere to the rocks begins with rain. This would have been dramatically increased during the global flood due both to the large amount of rainwater falling through the atmosphere, but also because of the higher level of atmospheric carbon. This atmospheric carbon then combined with water to form a weak acid—carbonic acid—that fell to the surface in rain. This acidic rain fell upon the foundation rock deposits (largely basalt). The minerals in basalt contain lots of elements like calcium and magnesium that readily bind with carbon dioxide to form carbonate minerals like calcite, and calcite is the main component of carbonate-rich rocks like limestone.

When the limestone (with its captured carbon dioxide) was later fractured and compressed by seismic forces, and future chemical weathering when it was subjected to ground water, the carbon dioxide was released. The gas migrated upward into the Jurassic-ecosystem Navajo and Entrada Sandstones, where it became trapped and pressurized. The carbon dioxide that erupts from the Crystal Geyser was originally trapped in limestone during the global flood. These eruptions are powered by the event that brought judgment to the earth at the time of Noah.

This same phenomena can be observed elsewhere in the world, demonstrating the global nature of the flood event. Cold water carbon dioxide geysers occur throughout the world:

  • Crystal Geyser, near Green River, Utah.

  • Saratoga Springs, New York,

  • Salton Sea, California

  • Cold Water Geyser, Yellowstone

  • Caxambu, Brazil,

  • Herľany, Slovakia,

  • Sivá Brada, Slovakia,

  • Wallender Born (Brubbel), Germany,

  • Wehr Geyser Germany,

  • Andernach Geyser (Namedyer Sprudel), Germany.

Crystal Geyser Worksheet
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Scripture References

  • "And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein [is] the breath of life, from under heaven; [and] every thing that [is] in the earth shall die." Genesis 6:17

  • "But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually." Genesis 8:1-3

  • "You heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness flourish with it; I, the LORD, have created it." Isaiah 45:8

  • "For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water." Genesis 7:17-18

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