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Spring Creek Springs

Spring Creek Springs, Florida
Spring Creek Springs, Florida. Powerful springs are in several locations in this image, e.g. near the boathouse in centre-right. / J. Stevenson, Wikimedia Commons / public domain

WorldBlue  In short

Most of the Spring Creek Springs – a group of 14 powerful springs – are below the level of the sea. Some decades ago this was considered to be the most powerful group of springs in the world, later measurements show a less impressive result.

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GPS coordinates
30.0741 N 84.3268 W
Location, address
North America, United States, Florida, Wakulla County, Spring Creek, several outflows in Spring Creek and nearby Stuart Cove
Springs, Subaquatic springs
Average discharge
56 600 l/s (1974) or 8 690 l/s (1991)

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

Description

Subaquatic springs

Along the Florida coast are numerous subaquatic springs – these springs appeared in times when the sea level during the last Ice Age was significantly lower than now. Wast areas of limestone were exposed, and numerous springs flew towards the sea.

Now, when the sea level is higher, these springs are below the sea level – but many of them continue to flow.

Springs Creek Springs – the most prominent undersea springs

Most likely, the most prominent group of such springs is Springs Creek Springs (yes, this sentence has many “springs” in it!).

These springs are located in a tidal marsh with Oligocene – Miocene limestone layers close to its surface.

In total in this group are known 14 large springs. Several springs are located at the mouth of Spring Creek, basically creating it, others are below the water of Spring Creek. Two more spring vents were discovered in the neighboring Stuart Cove in 1998. All springs are influenced by tides – at low tide (the level changes per some 0.3 – 0.9 m), most of them are well visible due to the powerful boil of the water.

Largest vents

The main vent (Spring Creek No.1.) is located at the boat pier and rises from some 9.1 m wide cavern, the depth of the creek here is 13.1 m. It is so powerful that a boat can not be sustained over it.

Of similar power are several more spring vents – Spring Creek Rise 2 – the uppermost spring in the village, Spring 8 in a smaller bay to the south, and, in fact, every other known spring vent in this group. Spring boils can be seen even in the satellite images in Google Maps.

Measurements of flow rate

U.S. Geological Survey first estimated the flow rates in these springs in May 1974. Then the total discharge of Spring Creek Springs was 56 600 liters per second (very approximate estimate) (1). This was a fantastic power and it was assumed to be the most powerful known spring in the world.

In 1991 the measured output of the Spring Creek was significantly less – 8 690 l/s (3).

Characteristic feature of Spring Creek Springs is their pulsating flow – the flow in the springs changes every few minutes. This could be caused by the complexities in the “plumbing” system of water passages leading towards these springs.

Fishing village

Next to these springs is a rustic fishing village – Spring Creek. The sea there, at the confluence of springwater and salty water of the Mexican Gulf, is an excellent location for fishing. Locals are proud of their catch considering the local fish to be the best anywhere.

References

  1. Springs of Florida, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, May 1996. Last visited in January 28, 2022.
  2. First Magnitude Springs of Florida, Florida Geological Survey Open File Report No 85. Last visited in January 28, 2022.
  3. Hal Davis, Hydrogeologic Investigation and Simulation of Ground-Water Flow in the Upper Floridan Aquifer of North-Central Florida and Southwestern Georgia and Delineation of Contributing Areas for Selected City of Tallahassee, Florida, Water-Supply Wells, U.S. Geological Survey, Water-Resources Investigations Report. 1996. Last visited in January 28, 2022.
  4. Ed Lane, Spring Creek Submarine Springs Group, Wakulla County, Florida, Florida Geological Survey, Special Publication No. 47. 2001. Last visited in January 28, 2022.

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