Outstanding springs

Fontaine de Vaucluse, France
Fontaine de Vaucluse / , Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Europe

  • Syri i Kaltër - Albania, Vlorë. The most powerful spring in the country, it is a dark blue natural pool that discharges 6,000 l/s from more than 50 metres down.
  • Vrelo Bune - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Neretva Canton. One of the most powerful springs in world, its average water discharge is roughly 30,000 l/s and sometimes reaches up to 43,000 l/s. There is a beautiful historical town beside it.
  • Fontaine-de-Vaucluse - France, Provence. Very powerful spring at the foot of 230 m high cliff. Average discharge – 22,000 l/s, at snow melts – 110,000 l/s. Dived up to 308 m depth. Source of Sorgue river.
  • Deildartunguhver - Iceland, Vesturland. This spring has got both high discharge (180 l/s) for a hot spring and very high temperature of 97 °C.
  • Haukadalur geothermal area with Geysir and Strokkur – Iceland, Suðurland. Two spectacular geysers located close together. Geysir has given the name to the geological phenomenon of geysers. Geysir has been up to 100 m high in the past. Strokkur is very intense, erupting 25 – 35 m high every 4 – 8 minutes. In the area are some more geysers and hot springs.
  • Sēra dīķi - Latvia, Zemgale. Here one can find a unique cold sulphur genesis process that has created a group of spring lakes with bright yellow water.
  • Troll springs - Norway, Svalbard. Group of six hot springs which are some of the northernmost in the world. Temperature of water up to 28.3 °C. Springs have formed impressive travertine terraces with pools of different sizes. Part of pools is dry and deteriorating.
  • Krasny Klutch - Russia, Republic of Bashkortostan. Largest spring in Europe and one of the largest ones in world. Spring is depositing more than 100 tons of limestone every day.

Asia

Huanglonggou, China
Huanglong Valley / / CC BY 2.0
  • Huanglong Valley - China, Sichuan. Possibly the largest travertine terraces in world, they extend for 3,6 kilometres and are deposited by mildly thermal springs.
  • Baishuitai - China, Yunnan. Some of the largest and most beautiful travertine terraces in world, these are closely tied in to the unique Dongba cultural tradition.
  • Jigokudani hot springs - Japan, Nagano Prefecture. These hot springs, 850 metres above the sea level, are well known due to population of Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) who since 1963 have sat in the warm waters of springs during the daytime.
  • Monkeys in Jigokudani hot springs, Japan
    Monkeys in Jigokudani hot springs, Japan / / CC BY 2.0
    Valley of Geysers - Russia, Kamchatka Krai. One of largest and most unusual geyser fields in world, the only large geyser field in Asia. Consists of more than 200 geysers, most erupting at verious angles. Massive mudflow covered approximately two thirds of geysers but the valley still is very interesting natural monument. Geyser Velikan is up to 40 m tall.
  • Zamzam Well (reviewed as a part of Kaaba and Masjid al-Haram) - Saudi Arabia, Makkah. Although widely believed to be a miraculous natural spring, this is handmade well, located next to the holiest place of Islam - 20 metres east of Kaaba. The water from this well is forbidden to be sold outside of Saudi Arabia.
  • Guanziling Hot Spring - Taiwan, Tainan County. This is a hot spring releasing methane, which has been burning constantly for some three centuries.
  • Pamukkale - Turkey, Denizli Province. Some of the best known travertine terraces in world, in a bright white color, 2700 metres wide and up to 160 metres high. Terraces have been shaped by 17 hot springs.

Africa

Bogoria geyser, Kenya
Bogoria geyser, Kenya / / CC BY 2.0
  • Dallol hot springs and geysers - Ethiopia, Afar. One of the visually most outstanding places on Earth, the hot springs have a high salt concentration, which has shaped terrraces and other formations of very bright, unusual colors. Among the hot springs there is also salt geyser - possibly the only one in the world.
  • Hammam Meskoutine - Algeria, Guelma. Group of hot springs which have formed giant travertine terraces. Discharge of the hottest spring (98°C) is 1650 l/min. Used for bathing since the Roman times.
  • Loburu geysers and other geysers of Lake Bogoria - Kenya, Rift Valley. In several geothermal areas around the Lake Bogoria there are more than 10 active geysers, up to 5 m high.
  • Ochilesa travertine terraces - Angola, Benguela. Thermal springs at the bank of River Quime have formed fine travertine terraces.

North America

  • Crescent Beach Submarine Spring - United States, Florida. Unique submarine spring with exceptionally high discharge. Spring is located 4 km from the coast, at 18 m depth but on a clear day the bulge of this powerful spring is seen on the surface of the sea.
  • Liard River Hot Springs - Canada, northern part of British Columbia. The hot water (42 - 52 °C) of these powerful springs helps to sustain the unusually rich biotope with many southern species that are unusual for this harsh northern area.
  • Hierve el Agua - Mexico, Oaxaca. One of the highest single travertine terraces formed by thermal springs - it is a bright white stone "waterfall" that is 12 - 30 metres high.
  • Mount Recheshnoi Geyser field - United States, Alaska, Umnak. The only geyser field in Alaska.
  • Silver Springs - United States, Florida. A picturesque, very powerful spring, with a 91 x 59 metre large pool with a depth up to 10.1 metres. Its maximum discharge has reached 36000 litres per second.
  • Wakulla Spring - United States, Florida. One of most impressive cold water springs in the world, the diameter of this spring pool is 96 metres, its depth is 56.4 metres. One of the most powerful springs in world, its discharge has reached up to 54,226 litres per second. The water coming out of it has formed a very extensive freshwater cave system.
  • Fishing cone geyser, Wyoming, United States
    Fishing cone geyser, Wyoming, United States / J.Peaco, US NP Sevice, public domain.
    Geysers of Yellowstone National Park - United States, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho. This is the largest concentration of active geysers in world with more than 500 active geysers. Currently the world's most powerful geyser, the Steamboat geyser (up to 90 metres high) is here. It consists of several groups of geysers, many being the most spectacular in the world.
  • Grand Prismatic Spring - United States, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park. This is the third largest hot spring in world, being 91 metres in diameter and 49 metres in depth, with unusually vivid colors.
  • Mammoth Hot springs - United States, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park. There are some of the most beautiful travertine terraces in world created by hot springs.

South America

El Tatio geysers, Chile
El Tatio geysers, Chile/ / CC BY 2.0
  • Sol de Mañana - Bolivia, Potosí. Visually impressive field of sulphur springs, contains pools with boiling mud.
  • El Tatio - Chile, Antofagasta. This is a large geyser field with at least 85 active geysers erupting up to 6 m high, especially impressive in early morning. At least 100 geysers and 30 perpetual spouters have been active here in historical times.
  • Puchuldiza geyser field - Chile, Tarapacá. Here in the 1970s - 1980s were observed four - five geysers reaching up to 4 m high. In the 1990s the activity of geysers was damaged by drilling, but at least one geyser is active here next to several perpetual spouters.
  • Puente Bello geysers - Peru, Moquegua. Group of perpetual spouters and geysers in magnificent location where the river is crossed by a large natural bridge with road over it. One geyser reaches up to 25 m high.

Oceania

  • Dalhousie Springs - Australia, South Australia, Witjira National Park. A group of up to 60 powerful thermal springs at the fringe of desert, these 38 - 43 degrees C springs discharged around 23000 l/s a century ago if added together; now the discharge only around 17000 l/s.
  • Frying Pan Lake - New Zealand, Bay of Plenty region. This is the largest hot spring in world with a surface area of 3.8 ha.
  • Te Waikoropupu Springs - New Zealand, Tasman region. These are powerful springs, discharging up to 14,000 litres of extremely clear water every second.
  • Orakei Korako - New Zealand, Waikato. This is one of the most impressive geothermal fields in world with up to 35 active geysers, sinter terraces, hot springs and other interesting features.
  • Orakei Korako, New Zealand
    Orakei Korako, New Zealand. Pavils G., CC-BY-SA-3.0
    Champagne Pool - New Zealand, Waikato, Waiotapu geothermal field. One of the most impressive and unusual hot springs in world, 65 metres in diameter, up to 62 metres deep. Spring is filled with 73 °C hot water oversaturated with metalloids and gases, sedimenting bright orange sediments.
  • Deidei geysers (Dei Dei) - Papua New Guinea, Milne Bay Province, Fergusson Island. A group of three interconnected geysers erupting every minute up to 4 - 5 m high.
  • Mayang Spring - Papua New Guinea, East New Britain. Extremely powerful spring with a discharge of some 20,000 l/s. Source of Galowe River.

Antarctica

  • Mount Erebus fumarole ice towers - Antarctica, Mount Erebus. Here, constant effluxes of fumaroles have created hundreds of unusual ice towers, some up to 18 metres high.

Other articles about springs

Subcategories

Category of springs has the following subdivisions:

Map of described springs

Recommended books

Definitions

This category includes natural sites where water, other liquids and/or gases reach the surface of the Earth, including locations under water.

Grand Prismatic Spring, United Stated
Grand Prismatic Spring, United States, Wyoming / Ziinkova M. CC-BY-SA-3.0

Springs belong to the most "practical" monuments of nature - freshwater springs often serve as important sources of potable water. Thousands of localities with hot springs and mineral springs around the world have developed health care and resort services.

This has led to an unusual situation, wherein the word "springs" is associated with calm and expensive health resorts; whereas the real springs of long ago are instead covered with magnificent buildings.

Band-e-Amir, Afghanistan
Travertine terraces in Band-e-Amir, Afghanistan / / CC BY 2.0

Powerful natural freshwater springs belong to the most fascinating monuments of nature. Even more exciting is the diversity of unusual springs - mineral springs, hot springs, submarine springs as well as the unusual black smokers. Especially beautiful are such natural rarities as travertine, silica or salt terraces created by warm and hot springs and, especially, geysers.

Springs are a comparatively less studied and explored group of natural phenomena. While it is widely announced that the largest freshwater springs of the world are in Florida; it is less common knowledge that there are even larger ones in the Balkans. We cannot be even sure that we know the largest ones. Even such much sought after landmarks as geysers are discovered anew - in 2009 a new geyser was discovered in Kamchatka.

Criteria

Valley of Geysers, Russia
Valley of Geysers, Russia / / CC BY-SA 2.0

This diverse category of landmarks does not have a single criterion. Springs need to have very unusual features and/ or to be exceptionally powerful to be included here. All geyser fields and large spring formed silica/travertine/salt terraces and other unusual formations fit here.

As most springs contain some dissolved substances, mineral springs should also need to have exceptional characteristics to be included here.

Classification

Three Sisters Springs, Florida
Three Sisters Springs, Florida / / CC BY-SA 2.0

Most common springs are "cold" freshwater springs: in general, the water of these springs tends to have temperatures which are similar to the average yearly temperatures of their respective localities. Such springs mark locations where the aquifer surface meets the ground surface. If a spring is coming from a confined aquifer, it might be forced to flow to the surface. This is an artesian well.

Some of the most powerful springs of the world are river rises - resurgences of rivers after travelling for shorter or longer distances underground. River rises in a way are not true springs and they contain brownish surface water.

Often it happens that the roof of underground river at some places collapses. These locations are karst windows. Sometimes part of the stream in karst windows is discharged to the surface, while major part of the stream continues to flow under the ground (see Indian Spring in Florida). Such feature certainly is a true spring - but only the part, which is discharged to the surface, is counted.

Beppu hot springs, Japan
Beppu hot springs, Japan / / CC BY 2.0

Somewhat less common are thermal springs, which have a significantly higher temperature than the mean yearly temperature of their respective localities. In some polar regions, even a 7 °C warm spring is considered a thermal spring.

The water of mineral springs contains dissolved substances and can have an altered taste and various other characteristics. Mineral springs are divided further according to chemical composition e.g. salt springs, chalybeate springs, soda springs etc.

Mineral springs sometimes create unusual formations. Especially impressive are travertine terraces, silica terraces and the very rare salt terraces, but there are also other unusual formations.

Old Faithful geyser, Wyoming, United States
Old Faithful geyser, United States, Wyoming / / CC BY-SA 2.0

Geysers are erupting springs and belong to the most unusual geological attractions. Although geysers are very rare (approximately only 1000 active geysers known), they are found in 20 - 22 countries of the world - more than people generally imagine.

Fumaroles are locations near volcanoes where steam and diverse gases are emitted. Fumaroles emitting sulphurous gases are named also solfataras. In a few cases these landmarks can be unusual. Such is the case with the fumaroles around Mount Erebus in Antarctica, which have formed towers of frozen ice up to 18 metres in height.

Acidic sulphur pool in Yellowstone National Park, United States
Acidic sulphur pool in Yellowstone National Park, United States / / CC BY 2.0

Mudpot - This is a location where weak hot springs or fumaroles reach the surface, containing fine particles. Sometimes these landmarks have unusual colors due to the specific chemical composition of the spring water.

On the ocean floor there are sea vents, or, locations where superheated water from beneath the Earth's crust is discharged. These springs are of a fascinating variety and are often called black smokers, with some varieties being called white smokers. Other kind of little known landmarks are cold seeps, or locations where the ocean bed is slowly seeping hydrocarbon (e.g. methane) rich fluids.

Your thoughts?