Mineral spring
Mineral springs are naturally occurring spring
Spring (hydrosphere)
A spring—also known as a rising or resurgence—is a component of the hydrosphere. Specifically, it is any natural situation where water flows to the surface of the earth from underground...

s that produce water containing mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

s, or other dissolved substances, that alter its taste or give it a purported therapeutic value. Salts, sulfur compounds, and gases are among the substances that can be dissolved in the spring water during its passage underground.

Mineral water
Mineral water
Mineral water is water containing minerals or other dissolved substances that alter its taste or give it therapeutic value, generally obtained from a naturally occurring mineral spring or source. Dissolved substances in the water may include various salts and sulfur compounds...

 obtained from mineral springs has long been an important commercial proposition.

Mineral spa
Mineral spa
Mineral spas are resorts developed around naturally occurring mineral spring locales.- Origins :Spas grew in reputation in the nineteenth century on into the late middle-twentieth century for their purported healing or healthful benefits to those wealthy enough to partake of their waters...

s are resorts that have developed around mineral springs, where (often wealthy) patrons would repair to “take the waters” — meaning that they would drink (see hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy, formerly called hydropathy, involves the use of water for pain-relief and treating illness. The term hydrotherapy itself is synonymous with the term water cure as it was originally marketed by practitioners and promoters in the 19th century...

 and water cure
Water cure (therapy)
A water cure in the therapeutic sense is a course of medical treatment by hydrotherapy.-Overview:In the mid-19th century there was a popular revival of the water cure in Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States...

) or bathe in (see balneotherapy
Balneotherapy is the treatment of disease by bathing, usually practiced at spas. While it is considered distinct from hydrotherapy, there are some overlaps in practice and in underlying principles. Balneotherapy may involve hot or cold water, massage through moving water, relaxation or stimulation...

) the mineral water.

Historical mineral springs were often outfitted with elaborate stone-works — including artificial pools, retaining wall
Retaining wall
Retaining walls are built in order to hold back earth which would otherwise move downwards. Their purpose is to stabilize slopes and provide useful areas at different elevations, e.g...

s, colonnade
In classical architecture, a colonnade denotes a long sequence of columns joined by their entablature, often free-standing, or part of a building....

s and roofs — sometimes in the form of fanciful "Greek temples", gazebo
A gazebo is a pavilion structure, sometimes octagonal, that may be built, in parks, gardens, and spacious public areas. Gazebos are freestanding or attached to a garden wall, roofed, and open on all sides; they provide shade, shelter, ornamental features in a landscape, and a place to rest...

s or pagoda
A pagoda is the general term in the English language for a tiered tower with multiple eaves common in Nepal, India, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and other parts of Asia. Some pagodas are used as Taoist houses of worship. Most pagodas were built to have a religious function, most commonly Buddhist,...

s. Others were entirely enclosed within spring house
Spring house
A spring house, or springhouse, is a small building used for refrigeration once commonly found in rural areas before the advent of electric refrigeration. It is usually a one-room building constructed over the source of a spring. The water of the spring maintains a constant cool temperature...



For many centuries, in Europe, North America and elsewhere, commercial proponents of mineral springs classified them according to the chemical composition of the water produced and according to the medicinal benefits supposedly accruing from each:
  • Lithia springs
    Lithia water
    Lithia water is mineral water containing lithium salts.Lithia water can occur naturally in spring form. One example can be found in Ashland, Oregon's Lithia Park...

     contained lithium salts.
  • Chalybeate springs
    Chalybeate waters, also known as ferruginous waters, are mineral spring waters containing salts of iron.-Name:The word "chalybeate" is derived from the Latin word for steel, "chalybs", which follows from the Greek word "khalups"...

     contained salts of iron
    Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

  • Alum springs contained alum
    Alum is both a specific chemical compound and a class of chemical compounds. The specific compound is the hydrated potassium aluminium sulfate with the formula KAl2.12H2O. The wider class of compounds known as alums have the related empirical formula, AB2.12H2O.-Chemical properties:Alums are...

  • Sulfur springs
    Sulfur Springs
    Sulfur Springs is a popular tourist attraction found in Soufrière, Saint Lucia. In fact, the town of Soufrière got its name from the sulfur mining in the 19th century....

     contained hydrogen sulfide
    Hydrogen sulfide
    Hydrogen sulfide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is a colorless, very poisonous, flammable gas with the characteristic foul odor of expired eggs perceptible at concentrations as low as 0.00047 parts per million...

  • Salt (saline) springs contained salts of calcium, magnesium or sodium.
  • Alkaline springs contained an alkali
    In chemistry, an alkali is a basic, ionic salt of an alkali metal or alkaline earth metal element. Some authors also define an alkali as a base that dissolves in water. A solution of a soluble base has a pH greater than 7. The adjective alkaline is commonly used in English as a synonym for base,...

  • Calcic springs contained lime (calcium hydroxide
    Calcium hydroxide
    Calcium hydroxide, traditionally called slaked lime, is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula Ca2. It is a colourless crystal or white powder and is obtained when calcium oxide is mixed, or "slaked" with water. It has many names including hydrated lime, builders lime, slack lime, cal, or...

  • Thermal (hot) springs could contain a high concentration of various minerals.
  • Soda springs contained carbon dioxide
    Carbon dioxide
    Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

     gas (soda water).
  • Sweet springs were springs with no detectable sulfur or salt content (arguably not 'mineral' springs at all).
  • Radioactive springs contain traces of radioactive substances such as radium
    Radium is a chemical element with atomic number 88, represented by the symbol Ra. Radium is an almost pure-white alkaline earth metal, but it readily oxidizes on exposure to air, becoming black in color. All isotopes of radium are highly radioactive, with the most stable isotope being radium-226,...

     or uranium
    Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...



Types of sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock are types of rock that are formed by the deposition of material at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause mineral and/or organic particles to settle and accumulate or minerals to precipitate from a solution....

 -- usually limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 (calcium carbonate
Calcium carbonate
Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound with the formula CaCO3. It is a common substance found in rocks in all parts of the world, and is the main component of shells of marine organisms, snails, coal balls, pearls, and eggshells. Calcium carbonate is the active ingredient in agricultural lime,...

) -- are sometimes formed by the evaporation
Evaporation is a type of vaporization of a liquid that occurs only on the surface of a liquid. The other type of vaporization is boiling, which, instead, occurs on the entire mass of the liquid....

, or rapid precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

, of mineral spring water, especially at the mouths of hot mineral springs. (These mineral deposits can also be found in dried lakebeds.) Spectacular formations, including terraces, stalactite
A stalactite , "to drip", and meaning "that which drips") is a type of speleothem that hangs from the ceiling of limestone caves. It is a type of dripstone...

s, stalagmite
A stalagmite is a type of speleothem that rises from the floor of a limestone cave due to the dripping of mineralized solutions and the deposition of calcium carbonate. This stalagmite formation occurs only under certain pH conditions within the underground cavern. The corresponding formation on...

s and “frozen waterfalls” can result (see, for example, Mammoth Hot Springs). One light-colored porous calcite
Calcite is a carbonate mineral and the most stable polymorph of calcium carbonate . The other polymorphs are the minerals aragonite and vaterite. Aragonite will change to calcite at 380-470°C, and vaterite is even less stable.-Properties:...

 of this type is known as travertine
Travertine is a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially hot springs. Travertine often has a fibrous or concentric appearance and exists in white, tan, and cream-colored varieties. It is formed by a process of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate, often at the mouth of a hot...

 and has been used extensively in Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and elsewhere as building material. Travertine can have a white, tan, or cream-colored appearance and often has a fibrous or concentric “grain”. Another type of spring water deposit, containing siliceous as well as calcareous
Calcareous is an adjective meaning mostly or partly composed of calcium carbonate, in other words, containing lime or being chalky. The term is used in a wide variety of scientific disciplines.-In zoology:...

 minerals, is known as tufa
Tufa is a variety of limestone, formed by the precipitation of carbonate minerals from ambient temperature water bodies. Geothermally heated hot-springs sometimes produce similar carbonate deposits known as travertine...

. Tufa is similar to travertine but is even softer and more porous.
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