Primary Water Theories

The key theory is that primary water is formed deep inside the crystalline rock strata of the Earth’s crust or mantle. One view is that this water may be formed as a residue from volcanoes under the Earths surface. These eruptions create gas that either escape to the surface as gas or turn into primary water. That is, these gases are electrically and chemically fired into the rock itself and the rock fuses the water out.

Organisms within the crystalline rock structure may are also be involved in an electrical and chemical reaction (remembering that marine organisms have been around for about 3 billion years or more and organisms within the rock system may have been around for much longer)

The modern day theories on primary water were first postulated by Adolf Nordenskiold in the nineteenth century, and raised in the book A Journey to the Earth's Interior by M.B. Gardner (1931).

Nordenskiold wrote an essay on the subject of primary water, which resulted in him being nominated for the Nobel Prize in physics. In the 1930's, Stephan Riess, Bavarian-born mining engineer and geologist had a theory that primary water was generated in the rock strata when the right temperature and pressure were present. This water is then forced into fractures/fissures in the rock where it transverses over 100's of km. Some of this water is sometimes expressed as springs, and can be either hot (thermal) or cool (17 C). This water is always moving and therefore can be detected by dowsing.

The first experience with primary water for Reiss was an unexpected gush of water while working in a mineshaft. The temperature, chemistry and purity suggested to Riess that it must have a completely different origin than ordinary ground water considered part of the hydrologic cycle. Following further independent research, and building on the work of other eminent geologists, he concluded that in various rock strata, deep in the earth, water was continually generated under particular conditions of temperature and pressure and forced up in rock fissures where it could be drilled for and tapped.

Conventional hydrology speaks of a static supply of water created once early in the Earth's history being constantly recycled. Stephan Riess saw new additions of water flowing vertically, from beneath the surface adding to the hydrologic cycle. This water in turn, becomes bound up on the surface partially in plants, sediments and subduction zones on its way back to the Earth's mantle.

These new additions occur frequently where there is faulted, igneous and metamorphic rock and can be intercepted to replace contaminated supplies and provide new sources of water in arid areas. Riess' concept of Earth-generated water adds a new dynamic to the science of hydrology. Water from the Trinity Springs of the Idaho (USA) batholiths rises under its own pressure from an isolated, ancient source through the faulted granite quartz formations. The spring water spends time inside the Earth at temperatures exceeding 300F and surfaces at its source at 140F after travelling from a depth of many miles underground.

Ongoing research on the Trinity Springs water has revealed an interesting geochemistry and remarkable recharge/discharge and travel mechanisms for these thermal waters unlike any other water source in the region. The scientific investigation continues in laboratories specially equipped for high-pressure experiments and with new techniques for isotope analysis.

Stephan Riess, through his study of mine flooding, developed a science of locating flows of Earth-generated water. These waters, which often deposit minerals and flood out mines occur worldwide as spectacular springs and are even more accessible by drilling into hidden rock structure. The Riess Institute's scientific application of petrology, mineralogy, structural geology, aerial reconnaissance and remotely sensed data, offers "new water" for a thirsty world.

Several active Riess wells today are:

  1. Escondido, California: Riess and his successor, Morad Eghbal, each located several wells in the late 1970's on private property both for the personal use of the owner as well as for the commercial water development for surrounding towns that needed to purchase water. These well are in operation and producing today.
  2. Cottonwood, Idaho: The city of Cottonwood was running out of water and the traditional, professional geologists the city had hired to find water declared that there was no hope of success. The city then turned to Stephan Riess who immediately located two wells for them. The first generated more than 600 litres per minute.  The second well produced over 1,200 litres pre minute.

At the city’s request, Riess returned to locate a third well for Cottonwood’s future expansion. This well produced over 1,200 litres per minute. All three wells continue to supply the city of Cottonwood today. Conventional water locators pick a spot to drill, looking for an aquifer or saturated zone in the overburden. Recently, with sophisticated airborne geophysical and satellite data groundwater and primary water can be located in rock using a technique called "fracture trace analysis." Large fractures are identified by through analysis of the airborne and satellite for exploratory drilling.

An example of this technique can be viewed at

The Riess method uses mineralogy, petrology and structural geology precisely to locate high pressure/low temperature hydrothermal systems that have previously been encountered randomly by engineers in mine and tunnel flooding incidents.

Historically, all water is believed to come only from the hydrologic cycle. Yet, a growing body of evidence suggests that water might be generated deep within the Earth in great quantity. The Riess Institute at its Totten Field Laboratory, over the last decade, has drilled, collected and tested waters captured from great depths in a number of bore holes. Totten well 3, at 2,000 metres, known to be the deepest 10cm cored water research well in the continental US. Results from Totten 3 now indicate some waters there may not be part of the hydrologic cycle at all, but rather from deep-seated geologic interaction within the Earth's interior.

The Riess Institute identifies the dynamics of new water generation deep within the Earth's interior, which, after rising to the surface, is added to the Earth's hydrosphere. This vertical component of our model is linked to the horizontal components of water distribution (i.e. hydrologic cycle and theories of watersheds). As such, the Institute is able to obtain specific water signatures, which identify sources of waters originating from deep within the Earth.