The Fly Geyser is so named because it resides on the Fly Ranch, about 20 miles north of Gerlach NV in Black Rock Desert. It is on private property currently owned by Todd Jaksick and is accessible only by a small private dirt road. The geyser is protected from trespassers by a high fence and a locked gate with several metal spokes on the top, but despite the booby traps, many people still prefer to jump the fence to get a better look. Several organizations have tried to purchase the land for conservation, and make it open to the public, but have been denied.
The plumes of hot water that continuously spew about five feet into the air can be seen from miles away. The Fly Geyser isn’t exactly a creation of Mother Nature. The story goes that It was created accidentally in 1916 during well drilling, the geyser started spewing water in the 1960s when a geothermally heated pack of water found a weak spot in the wall and began escaping. Dissolved minerals rose and accumulated creating the mound on which the geyser sits. Water now continually spews into the air, reaching up to 5 feet (1.5 m) high, (12 feet (3.7 m) counting the mound on which it sits), making it resemble a miniature volcano.
The geyser contains several terraces discharging water into 30 to 40 pools over an area of 30 hectares (74 acres). The geyser is made up of a series of different minerals, which gives it its magnificent coloration (the brilliant red and green coloring on the mounds is from thermophilic algae thriving in the extreme micro-climate of the geysers) that add to its out of this world appearance.
There are two additional geysers in the area that were created in a way similar to Fly Geyser. The first geyser is approximately three feet high and is shaped like a miniature volcano. The second geyser is cone-shaped and is of the same approximate size as Fly Geyser. Like Fly Geyser, these geysers are continually growing.
In words of photographer Christian Klepp: “This weird and unearthly landscape could have existed somewhere on Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io….Such unearthly landscapes are rare on Earth, but they exist. Maybe this helps to imagine how Earth might have looked like at its very beginning. Heat and sulfur resistant bacteria feed on the boiling water of the geyser. Just like in the beginning of life on Earth”.
Accidents are always awful but there can be exceptions. The Fly Geyser in Nevada is a living testimony of the fact that not all accidents are awful!