Wednesday, December 12, 2018

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Hot, Hot, Hot Springs!}

Brrr! It’s definitely cold now. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a free, natural hot tub where we could soak our winter blues away?

All over the world, including here in the United States, such magical, natural “hot tubs” exist and are known as hot springs! They are a favorite vacation destination for Frannie and her friends.
But what is a hot spring?

We know that groundwater naturally discharges in some locations called springs and that, many times, these springs feed creeks, rivers, and even lakes. In some cases, groundwater is warmed through the heat produced from the Earth’s mantle, known as geothermal energy, to temperatures hotter than 250 degrees Fahrenheit.  Generally, a hot spring refers to water discharged at temperatures hotter than the average human body.

Hot springs, like the ones Frannie has been to, are a unique destination for a vacation or getaway. These pools fall within a much more comfortable temperature range of 93 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit. Sometimes, fancy hotels and resorts will make you pay an expensive entry fee to soak in their pools.  They may offer more temperature options and provide perks like a storage locker, towel, and shower. Many hot springs resorts in Asia also boast of pools scented with jasmine and eucalyptus or feature natural mud masks!

If don’t want to pay an expensive resort fee, don’t worry because there are other options! Hot springs are often located in geographically large basins that are known for high geothermal activity, so there are usually cheaper resorts or free public pools nearby. In Saratoga, Wyoming, a hot springs resort lies less than a mile away from the “Hobo Hot Springs”, a public pool where all are welcome to soak for a while before dashing into the freezing North Platte River to cool off.

The exploding geysers that are so famous in Yellowstone National Park are an example of beautiful, yet dangerous, hot springs.  The boiling water that shoots high into the air can sometimes run as hot as 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Colorful pools can be lethally acidic or contain dangerous bacteria.  Unless a hot springs pool is specifically designed for people to play in, it’s best to enjoy its beauty from a safe distance.

If you happen to live near or visit one of these amazing geological phenomena, let Frannie know! Take pictures and share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!
Stay toasty!

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