Periodic changes in effluent chemistry at cold-water geyser: Crystal geyser in Utah

Weon Shik Han, Z. T. Watson, Niko Kampman, Tim Grundl, Jack P. Graham, Elizabeth H. Keating

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Crystal geyser is a CO2-driven cold-water geyser which was originally drilled in the late 1930’s in Green River, Utah. Utilizing a suite of temporal groundwater sample datasets, in situ monitoring of temperature, pressure, pH and electrical conductivity from multiple field trips to Crystal geyser from 2007 to 2014, periodic trends in groundwater chemistry from the geyser effluent were identified. Based on chemical characteristics, the primary sourcing aquifers are characterized to be both the Entrada and Navajo Sandstones with a minor contribution from Paradox Formation brine. The single eruption cycle at Crystal geyser lasted over four days and was composed of four parts: Minor Eruption (mEP), Major Eruption (MEP), Aftershock Eruption (Ae) and Recharge (R). During the single eruption cycle, dissolved ionic species vary 0–44% even though the degree of changes for individual ions are different. Generally, Na+, K+, Cl and SO42− regularly decrease at the onset and throughout the MEP. These species then increase in concentration during the mEP. Conversely, Ca2+, Mg2+, Fe2+ and Sr2+ increase and decrease in concentration during the MEP and mEP, respectively. The geochemical inverse modeling with PHREEQC was conducted to characterize the contribution from three end-members (Entrada Sandstone, Navajo Sandstone and Paradox Formation brine) to the resulting Crystal geyser effluent. Results of the inverse modeling showed that, during the mEP, the Navajo, Entrada and brine supplied 62–65%, 36–33% and 1–2%, respectively. During the MEP, the contribution shifted to 53–56%, 45–42% and 1–2% for the Navajo, Entrada and Paradox Formation brine, respectively. The changes in effluent characteristics further support the hypothesis by Watson et al. (2014) that the mEP and MEP are driven by different sources and mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-64
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology

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