Water School

What is a spring?

A spring is a place where groundwater flows naturally from the Earth’s surface. 

There are two types: gravity springs and non-gravity springs. 

Gravity springs can be depression spring, surface springs, or artesian springs. 

  • Depression springs: form when a water table intersects with the ground surface, and the water overflows. A water table is an underground boundary of soil saturation. These types of springs vary depending on the raising and lowering of the water table. 
  • Surface springs: form when a formation that has absorbed water is on top of an unabsorbent formation that meets the ground surface. This water source is relatively smaller than the other examples.
  • Artesian springs: form when there is a release of pressured water that has been trapped in an aquifer. This release of pressure can happen from an opening in the ground that connects to the water table. The water is pushed out from the pressure on the rocks. This natural water flow has been a helpful tool for humans to use when tapping the Earth’s groundwater. Artesian springs are also known to provide large amounts of water.

Non-gravity springs include volcanic springs. Also known as hot or warm springs, they have mineral and sulfur content. These springs are thermal and are much hotter than normal groundwater. Tourists from all over flock to take a dip in nature’s heated pools, often because of the folklore of health benefits. Since the water is heated, it can hold more dissolved solids. This high mineral water is used regularly as a form of therapy or rehabilitation as the hotter water can boost blood circulation, reduce stress, and relieve aches and pains.

Although spring water can come from many sources, spring water itself can be dangerous to drink without proper purification. Spring water can contain contaminants such as metals, nitrates, chlorine, and other chemicals. 

Return to Water School to learn more about water!

Springs and the Water Cycle | U.S. Geological Survey (usgs.gov)
Springs - Subsurface Source of Water | Water Supply Engineering
The health benefits of hot springs | MiNDFOOD




The information provided on this site is intended as background on water within the Brazos River basin. There should be no expectation that this information is all encompassing, complete or in any way examines every aspect of this very complex natural resource.

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