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Spring It On!

Jul 23, 2018

Hope springs eternal the saying goes, and in Missouri, our springs have a constant flow of cool, clear water. On a hot summer day, there’s no better way to beat the heat than with nature's air conditioning, springside. There’s also no better photo-op as many springs are some of the most scenic areas in the state.

Nearly 4,000 springs have been mapped in Missouri with most in the Ozarks. In earlier days, frontiersman mined the springs for salt and spa's were developed around them for water therapy.

Springs are a cool and constant 56 degrees from underground from where they flow. Many have a blue tint from their depth and the reflection of minerals in the sunlight. More than a billion gallons of water flows daily from Missouri’s ten largest springs.

Big Spring is the largest, Alley Spring the most photographed, and Blue Spring the deepest. At over 300 feet, you could place the statue of liberty at the bottom of Blue Spring and the torch would still be five feet underwater. Many unique plants and animals can be found in and around springs like watercress, crayfish, salamanders, sculpins, trout and cave fish. So if you hope to cool off this summer, visit one of Missouri's springs that seem to flow eternally.

Cool Spring Facts:

  • Springs are openings in the ground or rock where underground streams or seeps release water into caves or on the ground. Missouri has many great examples of many types of springs.
  • Springs, along with caves, sinkholes, and natural bridges, are all features of karst regions. Much of Missouri is a karst landscape of porous limestone and dolomite with deep fissures.
  • Slightly acidic groundwater flows through cracks in limestone or dolomite, slowly dissolving the rock. The cracks widen to form cavities and eventually a subterranean drainage system.
  • When a cave is below the water table, it is filled entirely with water. When the cave is above the water table, the cave has air in it and its water flows ever downward. Wherever underground water exits the rock and flows into the open air, it is called a spring. Spring water can discharge from the ground due to gravity or hydrostatic pressure, the pressure exerted by standing water.
  • Few people are aware of it today, but between 1800 and 1930, our mineral springs, and at least 80 resorts and spas that developed around them, drew hundreds of thousands of visitors to Missouri seeking “healing waters.” Our earliest settlers, notably Nathan Boone, boiled the water from natural salt springs to yield the salt necessary for frontier survival.

For more on springs, visit MDC’s Field Guide.  Take a drone video tour over Alley Spring in the video below by Ozark videographer, Neil Rosenbaum.

081710 big spring-11.jpg

Big Spring
Big Spring
Big Spring, Missouri's largest

Drone views of Alley Spring

Alley Spring, Missouri's most photographed
Alley Spring, Missouri's most photographed


Blue Spring
Blue Spring
Blue Spring, Missouri's deepest

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