Friday, June 7, 2013

#27: A Geyser or Natural Hot Springs

Vendome Well, Sulphur, OK

I don't know of any hot springs or geysers in Oklahoma, but we do have mineral springs. As we returned home from Turner Falls, we made a side trip into Sulphur, Oklahoma to visit what we had been told was a mineral spring. The smell of the sulphur water permeates the town. I think it smells like hard-boiled eggs, but David insists it smells like rotten eggs. Either way, it is an unpleasant experience.

A plaque at the site read:

"The Vendome Well, drilled in 1922, became a popular local attraction. Promoters claimed that the artesian well spouted water 30 feet high. A valve controlled the flow, and the water was heated for use in the Vendome Plunge swimming pool. Today the sulphur water feeds the pools of Flower Park before entering Travertine Creek."

The well is located in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area and has been flowing since 1922. It has been said that the springs and streams that run through this park are a part of the most complex geological and hydrological system in the United States. While the well is considered a mineral spring, the park neither confirms or denies the medicinal benefits of the water.

Here is some science-speak about the mineral springs:

"The springs are formed when water passes through underground rock formations. Rock layers form canoe-shaped structures called a syncline. Water enters the high point of this formation and travels downhill. The water is then forced upward through fissures in the rock layers. Some rock layers contain sulphur and bromine; water coming through these layers collects the minerals and becomes mineral water. Water passing through rock layers that do not contain these mineral remains fresh." -

The well has a fountain from which I had each of the children drink. Neither seemed bothered by the taste, but both could understand how the smell could change the flavor of things which are made with water, like Kool-Aid or orange juice made from concentrate.

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