Artesian wells are named after the former province of Artois in France, where many artesian wells were drilled by Carthusian monks since 1126. They used a rod with a sharp end, called a bore, to penetrate a layer of impermeable rock. Their percussive drilling, just hammering on the end of the bore, broke through with sheer human force. The water that rose had percolated through the pores of the rock, so that many contaminants have been filtered out, and it proved safer to drink than standing or river water.
Petrifying Springs, also known as “Pets”, is one of my favorite parks in Southeastern Wisconsin. The name Petrifying Springs is derived from a calcareous formation appearing on the park's south ravine. The stones that met with rainwater undergo a chemical action that, over time, causes them to resemble petrified flora material. The drilled artesian well in the Niagara dolomite is the park's "spring". The park follows the winding Pike River and has been home to the artesian well since the 1930’s. Long before the well was built, the area was known, by early settlers and travelers, for its clean water source, according to Cindy Nelson, curator at the Kenosha History Center. Around 2006 the water from the well started showing fine grey sediment. Through the generous donation from local residents Joseph and Kathy Madrigrano, Jr., to determine the source of this sediment, a filtering system was installed, the 50 year “Well House” was remodeled and (per Joe’s request) water was made available to visitors year round. The donation also provided for the nice walkway up to the building.
Local residents and visitors alike continue to bring empty jugs to fill up at the well spigot. They prefer this well water to the tap water in their homes.
The surface of Kenosha County is a gently undulating plain sloping eastward towards Lake Michigan. The valleys and ridges trend north and south, parallel to the lake shore. The rock formation immediately underlying the drift is the Niagra limestone. The drift is generally 50-100' deep and in many instances 100-200' deep. The thickness of the Niagra is variable on the account of the unequal erosion of the surface in preglacial time. The known maximum thickness in Kenosha is 280'. Along the shore of Lake Michigan flowing wells are obtained at various places in the drift. Here in Petrifying Springs Park in the valley of the Pike River is an example of this. Strong flowing wells from the deep-seated rock, the St. Peter and Upper Cambrian (Potsdam) sandstone, occur here creating an aquifer.
An aquifer is what provides the water for an artesian well.
It is a layer of soft porous rock, like limestone or sandstone that absorbs and transmits large quantities of water from an inlet path at high elevation. The water source might be fed by snowmelt or precipitation.
There are two kinds of aquifer:
1. a confined aquifer where the water is trapped between the soil or rock and cannot pass through. This is called an impermeable layer
2. an unconfined aquifer has an impermeable layer below it , but not above it.
The confined aquifer that is under pressure is an artesian aquifer. This pressure will often push water to the surface into a well drilled into an artesian aquifer.
Water from an artesian well is usually cold and free of contaminants, making it desirable for drinking.
The Petrifying Springs Artesian Well is located inside of the “Well House” and cannot be accessed by the public. There is a pressure tank inside that provides the capacity to fill jugs nonstop. There is a pump in the well making the water available to the public year round from the spigot on the "Well House".
Go ahead. Have a taste! Bring a jug home with you!
To log this EarthCache you must complete 3 tasks.
1. What type of aquifer is located here? (email answer)
2. Bring a thermometer. Measure the temperature of the water coming out of the pump house. (email answer)
3. Please take a photo of your team with your GPSr at the Artesian Well. However, if you are solo caching, a photo of your GPSr with enough of the Artesian Well in the background that can be identified, will also be accepted. Please upload your photo(s) with your “found it” log.
See photo example below.
CONGRATS TO tom k. ON THE FTF!
Please be advised, failure to complete the THREE tasks above (emailing the answers and posting your photo) will result in log deletion without notice.
You do NOT have to wait for confirmation from me before logging your find.
Please do not make any reference to these answers in your log
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