A colorful geyser spews hot water at a ranch in Washoe County, Nevada.
A colorful geyser spews hot water at a ranch in Washoe County, Nevada. (Photo: Jeremy C. Munns)

When you think of geysers, Old Faithful is likely one of the first one to come to mind, but there are so many of these watery wonders spread out across the planet! And while many of them are naturally occurring, some are created by humans.

Fly Ranch Geyser, pictured above, is one such example of a man-made geyser. This rainbow-hued "fountain" came into the world in 1964 after a company attempted to drill the Nevada site for geothermal energy sources. After realizing the water wasn't hot enough for their needs, workers tried to cap it, but the seal didn't hold. As a result, the geyser has spent the last several decades accumulating a colorful mineral buildup along its base. Wondering what makes these geyser so vivid? Well, like many hot springs, the scalding, mineral-rich water is home to thriving thermophilic bacteria that manifest in a variety of colors.

If you'd like see the geyser for yourself, you're in luck! For the longest time, the geyser was located on private property, so unless you had explicit permission from the landowners, visiting the ever-cascading geological feature required illegally trespassing on the land. That changed in 2016, when the organization behind the annual Burning Man festival, which had been eyeing the geyser for 20 years, bought the land that the geyser sits on for a hefty price of $6.5 million. You can get a drone's-eye view of the geyser in the video below:

The plan is to eventually incorporate the geyser and the surrounding 3,800-acre parcel of land into the annual event. But don't pack your bags just yet — it'll be awhile before the site is ready for visitors.

"Purchasing the property is just the first step in a very long process," Burning Man organizers write on the website. "Immediate access to the property is not possible (lots of scoping and planning must be completed first), but our intention is for it to be accessible in the future in an ongoing and sustainable way."

A long-exposure photo of the Fly Ranch Geyser.
A long-exposure photo of the Fly Ranch Geyser. (Photo: jared ropelato/Shutterstock)

While Fly Geyser tends to get all the glory for its surreal looks, it's important to note that it's not the only man-made geyser in the area. There is another a few hundred feet away created by drillers nearly half a century before the first.

The drillers were searching for water to help irrigate the area for farming at the turn of the century, but because the 200-degree water was too hot for that purpose, the project was abandoned. This older geyser, which looks like a conical, volcano-shaped mound, lost its hot water pressure after the second geyser was drilled in the 1960s. Still, even after all these years, the aging calcium carbonate remains:

There is actually more than one geyser at Fly Ranch.
There is actually more than one geyser at Fly Ranch. (Photo: Berzina/Shutterstock)

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.