Hot Springs, Arkansas

Day 209

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     The hot springs in Hot Springs, Arkansas is created by thermal fusion. Other springs, like in Yellowstone National Park, are heated by volcanic action. 

     First, the statistical information that I present in these blogs is provide me by the National Park Rangers, Docents, or Placards at the places we visit. Second, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the information I received at Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas in reference to the age of the water. 

    The spring water comes from rainfall that seeps down into the earth where it is heated by the heat generated from the earth’s core. To become a hot spring, the water must find a fault in the core to rapidly make it’s way to the surface, otherwise it would cool as it returns to the surface. The temperature of the water here at Hot Springs is 143 degrees. 

     According to the Park Ranger, the water in the springs fell as rain over 4,000 years ago. This is determined by carbon dating. 4,000 years ago? I find that hard to believe. Further, according to the Ranger, 

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750,000 gallons of water comes up through the springs each day. Therefore, if it doesn’t rain here ever again, they have water for the next 4,000 years?

     Further, if I drink this water, and there are numerous fountains throughout the city, then fall into a cave and die, and my body is found 1 year later, at which time they decide to do carbon dating on me, will they think I am 4000 years old? Just saying. 

     This area was part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. President Jefferson sent explorers William Dunbar and George Hunter to investigate the Springs, which had been known to French fur traders and indians for some time. The report to Jefferson became widely known, drawing many people to this area for what they thought was a therapeutic value to the hot water. 

     There are 47 springs here. Crude bathhouses were built over the springs. However, as the area grew the water became contaminated because the residents and visitors dumped their waste into the streams. This caused the Federal Government to take the unprecedented step in 1832 of creating part of this area as a Reservation. Nevertheless they did nothing to control the land until 1877 when the Government took steps to preserve the creek and springs. 

     By 1916 the Government had walled in or covered and locked most of the springs to prevent contamination.

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   They did leave a number of places you can access the springs. 

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     At this spring I tried putting my hand in the far end, but the temperature, 137 degrees, was too hot for me keep it in the water for more that a few seconds. 

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     The configuration of the Hot Springs National Park is unique in that a city had been developed before the Feds took over. Therefore part of the city is actually in the National Park. The only brewery in a National Park is located here. We stopped in so I could have a beer (root). We had a table overlooking one of the springs.

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     Today, there are only 2 bathhouses in operationOf course we could not pass up the opportunity to bathe in the hot spring water at one of the bath houses. There were 4 pools, each 2 degrees warmer than the previous, culminating at 104 degrees.

Technical Stuff:

Branson, MO to Hot Springs, AR 232.1 miles

5 hours 22 minutes

10.6 MPG

Diesel: $2.24

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