Living in southeast Missouri has many scenic benefits, with one being the beautiful Arcadia Valley and a bit farther southwest where some of the largest and most unusual deep springs exist. These are but some of the more than 2,900 springs that are located in Missouri.
On a recent drive we found ourselves near Eminence and found that one of the largest concentrations of springs in the world was located between there and West Plains. These springs give birth to some of the clear rippling streams forming the great Ozark National Scenic Riverways that preserves 134 miles of the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers. Over 300 caves have been identified within the boundaries of Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
The Ozarks is an area typified by what is called "Karst Topography." This means that the geologic structures underneath the earth are made of soluble limestone and dolomite. Water has been at work underground wearing away passages--water-filled ones we call springs and formerly water-filled ones we call caves.
Already much of our day was taken, but we were determined to see Alley Spring which pours 76 million gallons of water a day into the Jacks Fork River. Not only was the spring attractive, but the mill and campgrounds could offer a day of pleasure. However, our hope was to see as many springs as possible so we headed to Blue Spring, which is Missouri’s sixth largest spring with an average flow of 90 million gallons per day. Indians called it “The spring of the Summer Sky” because of its clear blue color. I could see why.
Also, located in the Eminence area is Round Spring that is one of the most beautiful in the Ozarks. Its aquamarine blue water flows from a cave with unusual rock formations. With the day closing in on us we started home, but on our way learned of Falling Spring near the Eleven Point River. You can cross the footbridge that connects the spring branch to the mill pond and step inside the mill to view the remains of the old machinery.
While we didn’t visit Mammoth Spring on this outing, we did 48 years ago when my wife and I were dating since she was raised near Eleven Point and Current Rivers just outside of Pocahontas, Arkansas. These rivers both have their origins in Missouri and likewise Mammoth Spring is fed by Missouri waters and is only about 500 feet from the Missouri line in Arkansas. This spring is recognized as the largest spring in Arkansas and the 10th largest in the world with 9.78 million gallons of water an hour flowing into a 9.5 acre lake.
Each time of think of these springs I think of one that exceeds them all.
For the Lord thy God brings thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills