St Marks River Rise

St. Marks Rise, Florida
St. Marks Rise / Paul Clark, / CC BY 2.0
As it is usual with many Floridan rivers, St Marks River sometimes disappears underground to emerge on the surface shortly after. The last such rise before entering into the Gulf of Mexico is St Marks River Rise.

Is it a spring or not?

Technically this is spring of the 1st magnitude. The average discharge of this giant spring is 14,700 l/s and it starts as a 130 m wide river. Only four other springs in Florida have higher discharge – and Florida has some of the largest springs worldwide.

River rises though seem not to be true springs. The water of the river rises is not lucid and clean, as it is with true springs. After all, this is just a river, which has passed some distance underground.

What happens below the ground?

St Marks River submerges at Natural bridge – true natural bridge, the famous site of an important battle in American Civil War.

Afterwards the river flows underground for approximately 1.1 km until the Rise. In between the river reappears on the surface several more times.

Woodwille Karst Plain Project in 2006 spent some time researching this part of St. Marks River. It turns out that several underwater caves join the river, bringing in additional streams and thus increasing the power of the stream in the river. Joint length of these explored passages is more than 3 km.

Future protected area?

The area around Natural Bridge and St Marks Rise is not entirely wilderness – here and there are built houses and the forest is dissected with roads. Nevertheless, the hardwood hammock has been preserved here.

The land around the sink and rise belongs to several owners and sooner or later there will be a possibility, and, lets hope, a wish to purchase it and to create a nature protected area.


  1. Chris Werner. Natural Bridge – St. Marks River Rise Exploration. Global Underwater Explorers.

St Marks River Rise on the map

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Location, GPS coordinates: 30.2760 N 84.1488 W
Categories: Springs, Caves
Values: Geology
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)
Where is located? North America, United States, Florida, Leon County, 11 km south-east from Woodville
Type: River rise
Average discharge: 14,700 l/s
Cave length: ~ 3,000 m

Landmarks of Florida

Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World Resort, Florida
Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World Resort / Benjamin Esham, / CC BY-SA 3.0 US

Florida is the tropical paradise of mainland United States. Over the last century, it has experienced fabulous changes, turning from forgotten, swampy badland into densely populated and rich land. Highlights of Florida include the architecture of the late 19th and 20th century as well as its giant springs and caves.


Fontaine de Vaucluse, very high water level
Fontaine de Vaucluse, very high water level / / CC BY-SA 2.0

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

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.

Recommended books

Touring the Springs of Florida

Highlighting the finest cold springs in the state, Touring the Springs of Florida features full-color photos and in-depth descriptions for each of the springs and surrounding areas. Detailed maps, GPS coordinates, and thorough driving directions lead you every step of the way. Whether you’re tubing, swimming, snorkeling, paddling, hiking, diving, or simply sightseeing, there’s a spring for you.

Springs of Florida

The many springs that jewel the landscape of Florida are translucent openings into a dominion very rare: a crystalline world of fresh water at the edge of the sea. The deepest and largest known springs in the world are found in Florida. This book is a guided tour of these beautiful environments, with an emphasis on the many strange and wonderful natural inhabitants.


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