Cold Water Geysers

Jun 28, 2023 0 comments

A typical geyser expels hot water and steam when an underground spring comes in contact with hot rocks heated by magma, causing the water to boil. The resulting expansion of the super heated water causes hot water and steam to spray out of the geyser’s surface vent resulting in the geyser effect. But not all geysers are driven by steam. Some of them are propelled by carbon-dioxide gas. The water of these geysers are cold, and they are called cold water geysers.

A cold water geyser erupts above treetops in Andernach, Germany. Photo credit: Holger Weinandt/Wikimedia Commons

In cold-water geysers, CO2-laden water lies in a confined aquifer, in which water and CO2 are trapped by less permeable overlying strata. A fissure in the rocks, or a drilled well, provides an escape route for the pressurized water and CO2 to reach the surface. The column of water rising through the rock exerts enough pressure on the gaseous CO2 so that it remains in the water as dissolved gas or small bubbles. When the pressure decreases due to the widening of a fissure, the CO2 bubbles expand, and that expansion displaces the water above and causes the eruption.

Cold water geysers are very rare. There are only a handful of such examples on the planet.

Also read: 7 Famous Man-Made Geysers

Andernach Geyser

The Andernach Geyser in Germany is the highest cold-water geyser in the world, reaching heights of 30 to 60 meters. It first sprang in 1903 when a 343-meter deep borehole was driven on the Namedy peninsula in search of carbonic acid deposits. Initially the geyser was used to produce and bottle mineral water, but damages suffered by the geyser during the first World War caused the bottling plant to cease operation. After the war ended, another company took the site on lease and began extracting carbon dioxide for the next thirty years when technical problems caused the site to shutdown again. The geyser was finally reactivated in 2006 as a tourist attraction. Andernach Geyser typically erupts every two hours, for six to eight minutes at a time.

Photo credit: Annett Deistung/Wikimedia Commons

Crystal Geyser

Crystal Geyser is located on the east bank of the Green River approximately 7 km downstream from Green River, in Utah, in the United States. The geyser was created in 1936 when an exploratory oil well was drilled to a depth of 800 meters and unknowingly tapped into a carbon dioxide charged aquifer at around 215 meters. Since then the geyser has been periodically erupting while expelling large quantities of carbon dioxide and travertine-depositing water. It erupts every 8 to 22 hours sometimes as long as 30 minutes. The water can shoot up as high 40 meters, but these days the eruptions are less than 6 meters high. Researchers studying the geyser believe it's been partially plugged by people throwing rocks into the hole who believe that doing so could trigger the geyser.


Photo credit: Gouveia2/Wikimedia Commons

Herľany Geyser

The Herľany Geyser is the only working cold water geyser in Slovakia, and has been erupting since 1872. It erupts periodically very 24 to 32 hours and erupts water to the height of 10–15 meters. Each eruption lasts around 25 minutes.

Photo credit: jackjohn5/Flickr

Wallender Born

The Wallender Born is a cold water geyser in the village Wallenborn, Germany, located not very far from the Andernach Geyser. The eruptions of the Wallender Born occur roughly every 35 minutes, with each eruption lasting about 5 minutes. Unlike other cold geysers, the eruption is less like a fountain and more turbulent. The maximum height of the water column is only about 4 meters.

Photo credit: Kreuzschnabel/Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: 1971markus/Wikimedia Commons


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