Located on a gated parcel of private property within the million-acre Black Rock Desert, Fly Geyser is not a natural phenomenon. It was created accidentally in 1964 from a geothermal test well inadequately capped. The scalding water has erupted from the well since then, leaving calcium carbonate deposits growing at the rate of several inches per year. The brilliant red and green coloring on the mounds is from thermophilic algae thriving in the extreme micro-climate of the geysers. Unfortunately, Fly Geyser is not open to the public.
The Fly Ranch was first homesteaded in the late 1800s by Fred Gerlach, son of Louis Gerlach, for whom the town of Gerlach was named. The springs near Fly Ranch were referred to as Ward's Hot Springs in an 1886 geology report. In 1916, a well was drilled and a travertine formation 5 meters high was created. This formation is known as "The Thumb." Today, there is very little, if any, water coming out of The Thumb.
In 1964, a well was drilled by Western Geothermal. This well started leaking and created the formation that is known as Fly Geyser. The red and green colors represent two different species of algae.