Missouri's Springs: Big, Round and Blue

1 decade 3 months 1 week ago June 20, 2006 Jun 20, 2006 Tuesday, June 20 2006 Tuesday, June 20, 2006 9:43:21 AM CDT in News

There are 50 springs in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Native Americans called one Blue Spring because of its intense color, although each spring has its own characteristics and was formed in an interesting way.

"Karst topography is what makes everything work in this area," said Noel Poe, park superintendent. "It is limestone rock that has been eaten away by water and has been dissolved. So when the rain comes down, it comes in and flows down into sinkholes or down through the limestone and into the underground aquifers and then springs such as this one behind us pop out."

Springs usually rise in pools and cascade into what is called a spring branch, which generally flows less than a mile to larger waterways such as the Jacks Fork or Current rivers.

Only a few of the larger springs are well-developed and easily accessible to visitors.

Alley Spring is one of them. Native Americans lived near the spring thousands of years ago. In 1839, Alley Spring was built to grind wheat and corn for local farmers. And what a picturesque place for a mill it was. Alley Spring pumps 81 million gallons per day into the Jacks Fork River.

Others include Round Spring which increases the Current River's flow by 40 million gallons per day.

But, Missouri's mother of all springs is Big Spring, where as much as 800 million gallons have poured from openings in the limestone bluffs. The beautiful spring with its constantly bubbling waters is the largest in Missouri, the fourth-largest in the U.S. and the ninth-largest in the world.

Another interesting place is Rocky Falls, where you may see people playing in the water or on the rocks or just enjoying the beautiful summer scenery. The falls form when Rocky Creek flows over a rock ledge and eventually into the Current River.

The natural phenomena of springs and waterfalls is amazing, and the surrounding scenery can be breathtaking. The Ozark National Scenic Riverways is in southern Missouri's Shannon County.

Thanks to videographer Scott Schaefer.

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