Thermal springs - a source of health development

Thermal springs - a source of health development

Hot and warm springs have been used for therapeutic purposes in many cultures for many centuries, as they are often rich in dissolved minerals of different composition, far more than in cold springs.

The Natives of Asia Minor knew hot and warm body care sources over 10,000 years ago and even used them as health resorts. The Jordansprudel in Bad Oeynhausen was drilled in 1926, but with a depth of 725 m and a water discharge of 3000 l / min, it is the largest carbonated thermal brine source in the world. Hot springs often led to the construction of so-called thermal baths, which had already led to the development of the extensive spa culture in ancient Rome.

Thermal springs in regions of high volcanic activity

In general, thermal springs occur in areas with increased volcanic activity (eg in Turkey, Greece, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, Iceland) and / or in the vicinity of deep flow systems (eg Aachen, Baden-Baden). The water is heated in the underground, either by volcanic activity or by circulating the water deeper into the Earth where it heats up according to the geothermal depth. Here, the hottest sources in Europe in Bad Blumau (deep well) reach 107 ° C, Bad Radkersburg (deep well) 80 ° C, Chaudes-Aigues (France, natural source) 81.5 ° C, Aachen (natural source) 74 ° C, in Carlsbad (natural spring) 72 ° C and in Wiesbaden (natural spring) 66 ° C.

The boiling point depends on the sea level

In volcanogenic areas, the water temperature is sometimes close to the boiling point. It should be noted in general that the boiling point of water is dependent on the sea level (the air pressure) and the amount of dissolved substances (in there) and the above water temperatures are sometimes not comparable with each other. When ascending to the earth's surface, various gases, such as sulfur gases or carbon dioxide, are usually released.

Sintered at the outlet of the sources

Sinter sales are often to be observed at the immediate exit point of hot springs. Depending on the chemical structure of the thermal water, they can be colored from white to gray (lime), pale yellow, orange and brown (depending on the iron content) to black (manganese). In addition, depending on certain water temperatures

Even microorganisms settle down

Microorganisms such as algae and bacteria (for example, cyanobacteria or Thermus aquaticus) lead to a discoloration of the water or the sintered heels. The color caused by many such microorganisms changes from light yellow to orange to dark green. Thermal springs are generally poor in species. Basically, it can be said that "normal" aquatic animals and plants can not survive permanently at temperatures above 30 ° C. Thermal springs are therefore populated by specialized communities. The limits to which specialized aquatic organisms can adapt to heat vary widely.
Hot water also contains little dissolved oxygen, whereas the high temperature greatly increases the oxygen demand of most organisms. Many organisms therefore suffer from oxygen deficiency. However, some species solve this problem by appearing to breathe, such as water snails or water beetles.

Thermal springs and the often foul-smelling hydrogen sulfide

Many thermal springs also contain dissolved hydrogen sulphide, which reacts with dissolved oxygen, further reducing the oxygen content. In addition, for many organisms hydrogen sulfide is already poisonous in and of itself. However, many bacteria (eg, Beggiatoa arachnoidea, Thiotrix nivea) and some blue-green algae (Spirulina sp., Oscillatoria chlorina) are not only able to endure hydrogen sulfide but even use it as an energy source for their own growth. In sulphurous thermal springs, such organisms usually occur in large quantities. Although some green algae, such as Cosmarium laeve, can not use hydrogen sulfide, they endure it and are therefore also found in sulfur springs. Against this background, hydrothermal sources are also discussed in connection with the origin of life on earth.

In the course of a thermal spring prevail mostly temperate and much cheaper conditions. The water is warm, but no longer hot, enriched by the movement with oxygen, and there are no seasonal temperature fluctuations. Thus, in the course of thermal springs of the temperate zone, species are sometimes found which otherwise appear only in the subtropics or the tropics. In the thermal spring in Baden near Vienna this is true for the snail Physa acuta or the grass Cyperus longus.

Thermal springs as energy suppliers

Thermal springs can also be used as energy sources. From geothermal energy, for example, over 50 percent of the country's primary energy is generated in Iceland. The Bláa Lónið (German Blue Lagoon) is an artificial hot spring, which is fed with the waste water of a geothermal power plant. It is a popular tourist attraction on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Please read as well:

Drinking water - the most important food - irreplacable
Wellness is a question of daily life quality

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