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AGS / Water / Ground Water / Springs


A spring is a place where ground water flows naturally from rock, sediment or soil onto the land surface. Its presence depends on the nature and relationship of permeable and impermeable units, on the position of the water table and on the land topography. Springs are present throughout Arkansas and consist of two general types: perennial and seasonal. Perennial springs flow year round whereas seasonal or “wet weather” springs dry up periodically, especially during droughts or long periods of minimal rainfall. In Arkansas these conditions often occur during lat summer and early fall.

Most of the perennial springs in Arkansas with the largest flows are located in the Ozark Plateaus region. With an average flow about 150,000 GPM, Mammoth Spring in Fulton County has the largest yield of any spring in the state. In this region, springs have historically been important community water sources. Most north Arkansas communities have now begun to abandon natural springs as water supplies because shallow springs are susceptible to contaminants from the surface.

discharge from cave at Blanchard Springs
 Discharge from a cave opening at Blanchard Springs.  Flow can vary between 1,000 to 103,000 gallons per minute depending on local rainfall.
 
Mammoth Springs in Fulton County
Mammoth Springs in Fulton County, Arkansas.

Perennial springs also occur in the Ouachita Mountains, most of these are considered “cold” (temperatures of less than 80 degrees F). Some of these cold springs are important sources of bottled water. However, there are areas of hot-water springs such as those of Hot Springs National Park where water temperatures average 143 degrees F. The quality or purity of spring water can vary from especially depending on which part of the state the spring occurs in, just like with surface water spring water from the Interior Highlands tend to be of higher quality than those that come from the Gulf Coastal Plain.

PDF Data on Springs in Arkansas, 1937
This is an unpublished compilation of information on springs in Arkansas arranged alphabetically by county. The information was collected during the late 19th and early 20th centuries (approximately 1885 - 1935). This work should be of interest especially for its historical descriptions of springs and their use during this time period. The only authorship noted is that it was compiled under the direction of George C. Branner, the then State Geologist of Arkansas.




References

Howard, J.M., Colton, G.W., and Prior, W.L., eds., 1997, Mineral, fossil-fuel, and water resources of Arkansas: Arkansas Geological Commission Bulletin 24


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