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View Full Version : Where does the water come from???


Shaggy
08-22-2011, 09:38 PM
I have always wondered and wanted to ask so here it goes. I fished this weekend on North River (Tellico Area) and the water was very low. It has not rained much in the last 6 weeks around here. I always hear the term spring fed stream and wanted to ask if most streams in the park start with a natural spring? If not, where does the water come from? I fished way up high and did very well despite the low water but there always seams to be a little water running in the summer time in the free stone streams. Where does it come from?

JoeFred
08-22-2011, 10:53 PM
The water comes from aquifers, underground bed or layer of permeable rock, sediment, or soil that yield water. The main "operating" principle of aquifers is confinement. From a USGS publication "GROUND WATER ATLAS of the UNITED STATES" Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee
HA 730-K Source: http://pubs.usgs.gov/ha/ha730/ch_k/K-text5.html
"Ground-water circulation in the Blue Ridge aquifers is localized. Most of the ground water moves along short, shallow flow paths. Precipitation recharges the regolith and alluvium and then percolates downward into the bedrock aquifers. Discharge is to seeps and springs, as base flow to streams and rivers, and as withdrawals from wells. The amount of ground-water discharge to streams and rivers ranges between 400,000 and 800,000 gallons per day per square mile of area and averages about 600,000 gallons per day per square mile of area throughout the Blue Ridge. This large rate of discharge is controlled primarily by large quantities of precipitation and large infiltration rates."

Corbo
08-23-2011, 06:30 AM
A spring is merely the place where ground water finds it's way to grade. When rain strikes earth some water is runoff and quickly finds it's way to streams in headwaters and elsewhere... the water that seeps INTO the ground finds it's way to permeable soils and is essentially an aquafier (spell check) so water that spills out onto land appears to be a spring. The movement of water through this permeable layer can be fast or slow depending on grade and many other factorsd but as water flow is gradual streams remain watered long after a rainstorm... a good thing.

duckypaddler
08-23-2011, 08:55 AM
http://www.valdosta.edu/~tlmainor/topic.html

This should help :rolleyes:

Oldman
08-23-2011, 09:42 AM
http://www.valdosta.edu/~tlmainor/topic.html

This should help :rolleyes:

Glad that was on my level.

Rog 1
08-23-2011, 09:42 AM
One week while I was fishing in the Park I too started wondering how those streams got their start and decided I would try to locate a true "head water"...drove up from the Burg and started up the last place where Walkers Camp Prong crosses under the road...began rock hopping and climbing until I reached a point where the blow downs were so thick I could not get through them...never found the point of origin but where I had to stop was between two rock ledges that I could almost touch with outstretched arms....I was also straddling the "crick"...nice idea but...do know that there have always been "rifle barrel" springs throughout the mountains where my grandfather and I would stop for a drink while out fishing...nothing better.

JoeFred
08-23-2011, 11:54 AM
http://www.valdosta.edu/~tlmainor/topic.html

This should help :rolleyes:

Yes, dp, a great reference. I wish I had found it to begin with. But, knit picking here, as it relates to the Smokies, there are no dolphins or porpoises... to my knowledge, that is.:smile:

duckypaddler
08-23-2011, 11:59 AM
Glad that was on my level.

Sorry. I couldn't help myself:rolleyes:

I was hiking up Bee Cove creek to Thunderhead back in May. You would see the stream, then it would dissappear underground for a short while leaving only a pile of rocks (until it rained:eek:), then again would re-appear a bit more upstream. Many times you will see a Sping or a boggy area at the top of the headwaters, and this is where I would consider to be the source of the stream. Each stream has different geology with some on the Plateau having huge underground caverns that need to fill up before the rivers run. Others have complete granite slabs that will wash out not holding much. Most are somewhere in between. I'm sure someone with a proper education could say it much better that I did:smile:

duckypaddler
08-23-2011, 12:05 PM
Yes, dp, a great reference. I wish I had found it to begin with. But, knit picking here, as it relates to the Smokies, there are no dolphins or porpoises... to my knowledge, that is.:smile:

You must not be fishing high enough in the headwaters Fred.
You really need to check out some of those grey streams on your maps:biggrin:.

While there may be "No Fish Present", The dolphin fishing is amazing:eek: Plus since you're using 50+ pound liters, they are easy to pull out of the rhodo;)

JoeFred
08-23-2011, 05:49 PM
Tom Dunigan's site, with the aid of Google Maps, pinpoints springs along trails at http://web.eecs.utk.edu/~dunigan/google.php?trk=water (http://web.eecs.utk.edu/~dunigan/google.php?trk=water)

Double Springs at Waypoint WTR012 (http://web.eecs.utk.edu/~dunigan/landforms/map.php?lat=35.56498&lon=-83.54274&wpt=WTR012) is an interesting one.

Main page for Tom's GSMNP Landforms info is http://web.eecs.utk.edu/~dunigan/gsmnp/

JF

Crockett
08-23-2011, 09:19 PM
When my son asks me where the water all comes from I just tell him God. I find the simplest answer is usually the correct one lol. Hopefully the lord will send down some rain in the next week or so cause all those aquifers of his are getting dry now again.

501
08-23-2011, 09:57 PM
25 years or so ago while on an appalachian trail hike in Georgia I visited the Chattahoochee spring, reportedly the source for the Chattahoochee River. At this time (spring) it was barely discernible, mostly bog, mushy ground and wet leaves. i realize that its flow is joined by many feeders to form the river. Yet to stand there and remember how the river appears around Atlanta and further south was awe-inspiring................ Unforgetable!

Lee

Knothead
08-24-2011, 10:50 AM
Crocket, that was going to be my basic answer! Over the years, I found it to be the most logical.