Humans have long utilised mineral springs as a source of recreation, spiritual fulfilment and healing, but they are also a fascinating natural phenomenon and a powerful energy source. This week, we take a look at five interesting things you probably didn’t know about the natural characteristics of hot springs.
Hot spring water is very, very old
Filtration hot springs (like those at Peninsula Hot Springs) draw water from deep within the Earth which is heated by convective circulation. This water is extremely old and in the case of the Peninsula Hot Springs, is estimated to be around 10,000 years old.
Colour in hot springs is caused by heat loving organisms
Hot springs can be coloured orange, red or yellow and this colouring is caused by colonies of microbes which feed on the chemicals and metals dissolved within the thermal waters.
The energy released by hot springs can be harnessed
Geothermal energy is a potent alternative energy source that could play an important role in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels in the near future. So far, scientists have been able to harness geothermal energy to heat and cool buildings and greenhouses.
Thermal springs can have some serious health benefits
Balneology is the ‘treatment of disease by bathing’, and it’s a practice that has been around of thousands of years in Europe, Japan, the Middle East and the Americas. Once of the most well researched examples of balneology is the healing waters of the Dead Sea where a correlation has been found between bathing and an improvement in skin conditions as well as arthritis. Other benefits that have been linked with hot spring bathing include relief from fibromyalgia, psoriasis, eczema and high blood pressure.
Thermal waters strip the minerals out of rocks
The reason that thermal waters are so mineral rich is because when it is underground, the water gets heated to a temperature high enough to dissolve the minerals in the surrounding rock. When the water bubbles to the surface, it cools off and the minerals solidify, forming the crystalline deposits that you often see around the edge of mineral pools.
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