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Alapaha Rise

Alapaha Rise
Alapaha Rise./ Aussie Oc, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

WorldBlue  In short

The largest single spring in the United States (competing with Silver Springs in Ocala), a rise of the nearby river water.

4 out of 10 stars 39.8%

GPS coordinates
30.43872 N 83.08964 W
Location, address
North America, United States, Florida, Hamilton County, near Gibson River Ramp at Southwest 68 Drive
Alternate names
Shelley Run
Type
River rise
Average discharge
22 700 l/s

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

Description

Alapaha Rise
Alapaha Rise. / T. Scott, Wikimedia Commons / public domain

In the pristine Floridian forest near the picturesque Suwannee River hides one of the largest springs in the world – Alapaha Rise.

This First Magnitude spring is a roughly circular, 22 m deep and 33 by 23 m large basin. All water comes up from a single vent. It does not create a visible upsurge but, nevertheless, the enormous amount of water forms a fast-flowing river that after some 200 m falls into Suwannee River.

Alapaha Rise produces from 10 000 l/s to 28 000 l/s of water and it is assumed that the average flow is 22 700 l/s.

Around the spring rise up to 10 m high limestone cliffs. These cliffs belong to the Suwannee Limestone formation that formed in the Early Oligocene some 30 million years ago.

Contrary to the lucid water of artesian springs this giant spring has darkened, tannic water. This fact alone means that Alapaha Rise is not artesian water but a resurgence of nearby surface water.

And this is a fact: through Alapaha Rise flows a large part of the Alapaha River stream. The main riverbed of Alapaha River falls into Suwannee some 650 m below Alapaha Rise but for a large part of the year it is dry: all water has gone underground towards Alapaha Rise and also Holton River Rise – a smaller spring at Suwannee River several kilometers before Alapaha Rise.

References

  1. Karst Hydrology of the Upper Suwannee River Basin, Alapaha River Area Hamilton County, Florida, Southeastern Geological Society. Last visited in January 14, 2022.
  2. Alapaha River Rise, CaveAtlas.com. Last visited in January 14, 2022.

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