The Soda-Pop Geyser in Emery County is dying. North America’s only cold water geyser is slowly coming to an end.
According to KSL, many theories exist about the cause of the recent decline in the geyser’s performance: years of drought, a nearby drilling project, even attempted sabotage by a rival geyser owner who allegedly tried to destroy Crystal Geyser with dynamite.
Scientists believe that the most likely villain is tourism. Visitors get tired of waiting for an eruption and throw rocks down the blowhole eager for an eruption. Unfortunately, the rocks have had an opposite effect over the years.
“They’re not aware that they’re taking away a lot of our young people’s heritage,” Jo Anne Chandler, archivist at John Wesley Powell River History Museum nearby said.
The Soda-Pop Geyser or Crystal Geyser is one of Utah’s most unusual tourist attractions. In the past, the geyser would have eruptions up to 100 feet. Now, the eruptions are less than 20 feet, usually only three to eight feet high.
The miniscule eruptions are particularly weak compared to the striking eruptions of the past that used to fly high above the desert, “Better than Yellowstone!” Chandler said of those good old days. “It would go up and stay!”
Crystal Geyser is a man-made accident. The geyser was created over 80 years ago during an oil-drilling project that went wrong. The drill rig hit a deep deposit of carbon dioxide rather than oil. Like opening a bottle of coke, the fizzing launched.
The geyser soon became a popular place to visit, especially for locals, “There’d be 15 or 20 kids here and everybody running underneath the geyser just having a blast,” Chandler said.
“The rocks dropped by visitors have plugged it up, just like someone putting the cap back on the soda-pop bottle,” a KSL reported stated.