An important question guiding research on the origin of life concerns the environmental conditions where molecular systems with the properties of life first appeared on the early Earth. An appropriate site would require liquid water, a source of organic compounds, a source of energy to drive polymerization reactions and a process by which the compounds were sufficiently concentrated to undergo physical and chemical interactions. One such site is a geothermal setting, in which organic compounds interact with mineral surfaces to promote self-assembly and polymerization reactions. Here, we report an initial study of two geothermal sites where mixtures of representative organic solutes (amino acids, nucleobases, a fatty acid and glycerol) and phosphate were mixed with high-temperature water in clay-lined pools. Most of the added organics and phosphate were removed from solution with half-times measured in minutes to a few hours. Analysis of the clay, primarily smectite and kaolin, showed that the organics were adsorbed to the mineral surfaces at the acidic pH of the pools, but could subsequently be released in basic solutions. These results help to constrain the range of possible environments for the origin of life. A site conducive to self-assembly of organic solutes would be an aqueous environment relatively low in ionic solutes, at an intermediate temperature range and neutral pH ranges, in which cyclic concentration of the solutes can occur by transient dry intervals.