Sunday, March 23, 2014

Geo 730: March 23, Day 447: Anthropogenic Geyser

The white pipe sticking up from the surface of the pond near the right center of the photo is the nozzle through which "Old Perpetual" erupts... when it erupts. The story I heard about this, which I won't vouch for, is that a crew was drilling down hoping to get to hotter water, hit an over-pressured steam pocket, and blew the drill string out. Subsequently, the hole and casing served as a conduit for the geyser, which erupted every few minutes. My suspicion, from the sound of it, is that this a a dramatic exaggeration of events- that, yes, they were drilling and hit a pocket of high pressure, but it was simply too hot to be of utility, and was abandoned. Either way, there seems to be widespread agreement that Old Perpetual was not a "natural," discovered feature, but one that accidentally faithfully mimics the physical setup and activity of a natural geyser, as a result of human intervention. As I describe in the post title, it's an "anthropogenic geyser."

Photo unmodified. August 19, 2011. FlashEarth Location.


Geology Happens said...

I teach a geology class in central Utah by canoe on the Green River. We always start at Crystal Geyser, where an oil well hit water instead. It has some pretty good eruptions still for a cold water, yet very fizzy, geyser.

Lockwood said...

So I gather that it's driven by dissolved CO2? That seems like it would be pretty short-lived, unless it's a huge reservoir.