“If there is magic on this planet, it is in water.” –Loren Eisley, Naturalist and Philosopher
Springs- An overview
Springs occur where groundwater in the aquifer is forced through channels in the ground and up to the surface of the earth and then flows out. Oftentimes, they are the result of karst topography, where surface water has percolated into the Earth’s surface and has become a part of the groundwater in the aquifer. Karst topography occurs when groundwater dissolves limestone and creates landforms such as shafts, tunnels, caves, and sinkholes. The water in the aquifer travels through a network of vast underground porous rocks called limestone that hold water and allow water to move through the holes within the limestone. In a nutshell; springs are the windows to our underground aquifer. Florida is home to the largest concentration of springs in the world, with over 1000 identified so far!
Springs are classified by how much water they discharge, ranging from Magnitude 8 (less than a gallon per minute) to Magnitude 1 (more than 64.6 million gallons per day).
The spring fed Ichetucknee River flows six miles through hammocks and floodplain forests before joining the Santa Fe River. The Ichetucknee River contains eight major springs, including a first magnitude head spring, that make the Ichetucknee one of the most pristine river systems in the state of Florida.
Located in Fort White, Florida, Ichetucknee Springs State Park is a National Natural Landmark, and one of the premier first magnitude springs to visit in the state of Florida. The temperature of the water in the river is 72° F year round because the water is continually coming up from the aquifer through the springs and into the river, thus never changing temperature.
One of the most popular activities at the river is to rent an inner tube and float down the river. Because the water is spring fed, the water is incredibly clear, and swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving are also popular recreational activities.
Images- Amanda Brown