- hot spring
a thermal spring having water warmer than 98°F (37°C): the water is usually heated by emanation from or passage near hot or molten rock. Cf. warm spring.[1660-70]
* * *Spring that issues water at temperatures substantially higher than the air temperature of the surrounding region.Most hot springs result from the interaction of groundwater with magma or with solid but still-hot igneous rocks. Some, however, are not related to volcanic activity. In such cases, deep circulation of water is thought to carry the water to the lower parts of the Earth's crust, where the temperature of the rocks is high.
* * *▪ geologyalso called thermal springspring with water at temperatures substantially higher than the air temperature of the surrounding region. Most hot springs discharge groundwater that is heated by shallow intrusions of magma (molten rock) in volcanic (volcano) areas. Some thermal springs, however, are not related to volcanic activity. In such cases, the water is heated by convective circulation: groundwater percolating downward reaches depths of a kilometre or more where the temperature of rocks is high because of the normal temperature gradient of the Earth's crust—about 30 °C (54 °F) per kilometre in the first 10 km (6 miles).Many of the colours in hot springs are caused by thermophilic (heat-loving) microorganisms. The cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), one of the more common of these groups, grow in huge colonies called bacterial mats that form the colourful scums and slimes on the sides of hot springs. Various colours of cyanobacteria prefer specific conditions of water chemistry and temperature, thus providing a rough “thermometer” for hot springs: yellow, about 70 °C (160 °F); brown, about 60 °C (140 °F); and green, about 50 °C (120 °F) or lower.A tremendous amount of heat is released by hot springs, and various applications of this geothermal energy have been developed. In certain areas, buildings and greenhouses are heated with water pumped from hot springs.A type of hot spring known as a geyser spouts intermittent jets of water and steam.
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