GERLACH, Nev. — In the desert north of Reno, near the tiny town of Gerlach, a vibrantly colored geyser is growing. Known as the Fly Geyser because it’s located on the Fly Ranch, this oddity has attracted worldwide attention. And each year it grows and evolves in new and unexpected ways.
Though it’s now covered in red and green algae, the Fly Geyser isn’t a naturally occurring formation. According to reports, it all started in 1964, when a geothermal power company drilled a test well on the Fly Ranch. They soon hit water, but it was a scalding 200 degrees.
They capped it off, but the water pressure was sufficient to rupture the cap in several places. Jets of water sprayed into the air, leaving behind calcium carbonate deposits, and the Fly Geyser was born.
The most striking aspect of the Fly Geyser is its vibrant colors, which are caused by thermophilic algae, according to the reports. The algae has spread across the mound and terraces formed by the accumulated calcium carbonate. Because the water is constantly flowing, the entire formation continues to get larger and take new shapes.
The Fly Geyser is on private property and there’s no formal way to sign up for tours. While you can see the formation at a distance from the road, it’s no fun trying to peer at it through the fence.
To see it up close and personal, you should stop by Bruno’s Country Club in Gerlach and ask the employees there to help you contact the ranch owners by phone, according to locals. The owners usually oblige and you can then set up a visit to see this one-of-a-kind geyser.
Grant Olsen joined the KSL.com contributor team in 2012. He covers outdoor adventures, travel, product reviews and other interesting things. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.