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The Homestead Crater: Out of this World Geology and History

Posted On
Oct 13, 2020
Category
Things to Do

Maria and Simon Schneitter probably could not have imagined in 1891 what Schneitter’s Hot Pot Resort would become — a resort that would become the bedrock in the hearts of Heber Valley residents and the state of Utah, also known as Homestead Resort. A wonder to behold, the Homestead Crater may look like an ordinary hill in Midway, Utah on the outside, but if you take a closer look, you’ll discover that the hill is, surprisingly, a shell encasing a natural geothermal spring. The Homestead Crater which is on the Midway Utah Resort was formed when melting snow from the Wasatch Mountains seeped deep within the earth. The geology of the Homestead Crater is fascinating and one can only imagine the awe and wonder when it was found for the first time. Research is still being conducted to learn more about this natural phenomenon.

Origins

Imagine being Simon Scheitter, an immigrant from Switzerland, who settled in Heber Valley in the 1800s. A valley where there were over 200 unique formations that the settlers called, “hot pots”. You’ve accumulated some land for farming that has the largest hot pot with giant proportions, approximately 55 feet high and 400 feet wide at its base. Along with your wife, you occasionally take the climb up the gigantic dome to glimpse the out of this world phenomenon. You, as Simon Scheitter, might not have understood how the crater came to be, but research a hundred years later will uncover that rain and snowmelt in the nearby Wasatch Mountains percolated into the ground, descended along cracks and fractures to depths below earth’s surface to get heated, and then returned to the surface to create the Homestead crater. While the water gets heated, it deposits material known as travertine.

Travertine is mainly composed of calcium and produces an abundance of white, porous lava-like rock that makes the crater so big. You’ve tried to use the hot pot’s water on your crops, but the mineral-laden water from the hot pot proved too much for some of your vegetable crops. You’ve got to come up with a new idea on how to use this spring!

Natural Cleaning Agents

You’ve piped the spring from the base of the crater making it easier to enjoy the geothermal spring without having to rappel down, which can get pretty tricky and exhausting. Word starts to go around, and before you know it buggy-loads of your neighbors and visitors are dropping by to bathe in the medicinal waters and you have hardly enough time to farm your crops! You find it interesting that even though so many come to bath in the crater, the water remains clean. Years later, researchers will uncover the reason. The crater has no need of cleaning agents because of the carbon dioxide in the water. So, that must be the unique smell you’ve noticed. Not only does the carbon dioxide help clean the water, but at the bottom of the crater, there are 15 feet of layered sediments as well. The water takes nine months to a year to pass through this subterranean layer. Not to mention that water pumps in through an aquifer with water heated by the earth's interior at a rate of 135,000 gallons per day! You warn visitors, “make sure not to drop anything, or it will be impossible to dive down and get it!” But despite your warnings, people have dropped wagon wheels, firearms and even coins which will eventually be recovered a hundred years later.

Moderately Constant Temperature

You spot a business opportunity when you see one! You give up farming, build an enclosed swimming pool, pipe it full of the mineral water from the crater, and called it Schneitter's Hot Pots. Why Schneitter’s Hot Pots? Well, that’s your name, you must have forgotten, Simon Schneitter. You’re so proud to have built Heber Valley’s very first resort. People love coming to your hot pots for the moderately constant temperature ranging between 90-96 degrees Fahrenheit. The other hot pots around the valley vary depending on seasonal changes with the mixing of hot and cold spring water, but your hot pots aren’t too hot or too warm — just like Goldilocks porridge — the temperature is just right. Now, your wife begins to notice that visitors come climbing out of the geothermal spring hungry, so you add a public dining room to the south end of the family home and her cooking becomes as much of an attraction as the geothermal spring itself.

Over the next century, Schneitter’s Hot Pots evolvedevolves into the Homestead resort. To many visitors past and present, the Homestead Crater may seem like the greatest hot tub in Utah, which may be true, but they may forget that they are also experiencing a natural geological phenomenon. To reserve your spot at the Homestead Crater, call 435-657-3840 and book today!