Cool water geyser travertine: Crystal Geyser, Utah, USA

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A sloping travertine mound, approximately 85 m across and a few metres thick is actively forming from cool temperature waters issuing out of Crystal Geyser, east-central Utah, USA. Older travertine deposits exist at the site, the waters having used the Little Grand Wash Fault system as conduits. In contrast, the present Crystal Geyser travertine mound forms from 18°C waters which have been erupting for the last 80 years from an abandoned oil well. The present Crystal Geyser travertine accumulation forms from a ‘man-made’ cool temperature geyser system; nevertheless, the constituents are an analogue for ancient geyser-fed carbonate deposits. The travertine primary fabric is composed of couplets of highly porous, thin micritic laminae intercalated with thicker iron oxide rich laminae. Low Mg-calcite is the dominant mineralogy; however, aragonite is a major constituent in deposits proximal to the vent and decreases in abundance distally. Cements exhibit a variety of fabrics, isopachous being common. Constituents include micro-stromatolites, clasts, pisoids and the common occurrence of Frutexites-like iron oxide precipitates. Leptothrix, a common iron-oxidizing bacterium, is believed to be responsible for the production of the dense iron-rich laminae. Pisoids litter the ground around the vent and rapidly decrease distally in abundance and size.

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