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Florida Springs

Among Florida’s many natural wonders are its more than 700 springs, among the largest concentration on earth. Springs are openings in the ground through which water rises to the surface. Underground water from karst springs exits from tunnels and holes typically dissolved from a limestone aquifer. Water from a second type of spring, known as a seep, typically oozes forth from a surficial sand aquifer.

Most of Florida’s springs are in the north-central part of the state where underground aquifers are closest to the ground surface.  Springs are classified by their outflow or water discharge rate.  First magnitude springs are the largest, producing more than 65 million gallons of water per day. Florida has more first magnitude springs than any other state.

The output from some springs contributes to the flow of rivers, while water emanating from other springs gives rise to rivers themselves and are known as spring-run streams. A few springs emerge in the near-shore waters along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Springs remain a popular part of Florida’s natural heritage since 14th century explorers first visited famous springs for their healing properties. The popularity of springs for recreation, agriculture and residential uses is also impacting the health of this natural resource. Population growth, urban sprawl, agriculture and a growing demand for water are drawing down aquifer levels and disrupting natural groundwater replenishment, often many miles upstream in spring recharge areas.

 

Florida DEP Florida’s Springs Website

Join a team of online explorers following the journey of water from sky to ground, through the aquifer and up from the springs. Learn what researchers are discovering about Florida’s springs and the health of our aquifer.

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