Blenheim Mineral Spring History
This spring was discovered purely by happenstance in 1781 while James Spears, a local Patriot, was running from loyalist. He lost his shoe in the chase. He eluded those chasing him and returned to the site to retrieve his shoe. He drank from the springs and found the water quite refreshing. Word spread of the local springs and the good quality of water it produced. Dr May, a local doctor, invented a concoction for stomach ailments using the water and other ingredients. This would later become known as Blenheim Ginger Ale.
Blenheim Ginger Ale: So what is it?
Blenheim Ginger Ale is a ginger ale bottled by Blenheim Bottlers in Hamer, Dillon County, South Carolina. It was originally bottled in Blenheim, Marlboro County, South Carolina. It was created by a local doctor in 1903 by mixing Jamaican ginger with the local mineral waters since the flavor of the mineral waters was so strong.
So what is a Spring ?
A spring is a water resource formed when the side of a hill, a valley bottom or other excavation intersects a flowing body of ground water at or below the local water table, below which the subsurface material is saturated with water. A spring is the result of an aquifer being filled to the point that the water overflows onto the land surface. They range in size from intermittent seeps, which flow only after much rain, to huge pools flowing hundreds of millions of gallons daily.
How are springs formed?
Springs may be formed in any sort of rock. Small ones are found in many places. In Missouri, the largest springs are formed in limestone and dolomite in the karst topography of the Ozarks. Both dolomite and limestone fracture relatively easily. When weak carbonic acid (formed by rainwater percolating through organic matter in the soil) enters these fractures it dissolves bedrock. When it reaches a horizontal crack or a layer of non-dissolving rock such as sandstone or shale, it begins to cut sideways, forming an underground stream. As the process continues, the water hollows out more rock, eventually admitting an airspace, at which point the spring stream can be considered a cave. This process is supposed to take tens to hundreds of thousands of years to complete.
Water flow from Blenheim Mineral Spring
The amount of water that flows from springs depends on many factors, including the size of the caverns within the rocks, the water pressure in the aquifer, the size of the spring basin, and the amount of rainfall. Human activities also can influence the volume of water that discharges from a spring—ground-water withdrawals in an area can reduce the pressure in an aquifer, causing water levels in the aquifer system to drop and ultimately decreasing the flow from the spring.
Why is Blenheim Mineral Spring Drinkable?
The quality of the water in the local ground-water system will generally determine the quality of spring water. The quality of water discharged by springs can vary greatly because of factors such as the quality of the water that recharges the aquifer and the type of rocks with which the ground water is in contact. The rate of flow and the length of the flowpath through the aquifer affects the amount of time the water is in contact with the rock, and thus, the amount of minerals that the water can dissolve. The quality of the water also can be affected by the mixing of freshwater with pockets of ancient seawater in the aquifer or with modern seawater along an ocean coast.
Ground-Water Flow in the Coastal Plain Aquifers of South Carolina
Walter R. Aucott is a Hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Columbia, South Carolina where he has been conducting a Regional Aquifer Systems Analysis (RASA) project on the southeastern Coastal Plain aquifer system in South Carolina.Gary K. Speiran is a Hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Columbia, South Carolina where he has been assisting in the RASA project. He also has been the District Water-Quality Specialist (Acting) and has been conducting and assisting in several other projects.
What they found out
The characteristics of the Coastal Plain aquifers of South Carolina are being studied as a part of the Regional Aquifer System Analysis program of the United States Geological Survey. Potentiometric maps were constructed for the Middendorf aquifer of Cretaceous age and for the Floridan aquifer system and its sand facies equivalent, Tertiary sand aquifer, prior to development.The Coastal Plain aquifers are recharged primarily by precipitation in their outcrop areas. Ground water flows from these areas of recharge, through the aquifers, and discharges to upper Coastal Plain rivers, overlying aquifers as upward leakage, and wells.
Ground-water flow in the Floridan aquifer system and the Tertiary sand aquifer prior to development is generally perpendicular to the coast. Predevelopment flow in the Cretaceous aquifers, however, turns northeastward as it approaches the coast, almost paralleling the coast. The change in flow direction is caused by less effective intervening confining units, the aquifers being closer to the land surface, and the rivers at lower altitudes farther upstream in the vicinity of the North Carolina/South Carolina State line.
Water-level declines in the Cretaceous aquifers have occurred throughout much of the eastern part of the Coastal Plain of South Carolina due to pumpage in the Myrtle Beach and Florence areas. Large areally extensive water-level declines have also occurred in the Floridan aquifer system in South Carolina due to pumpage in the Savannah, Georgia area.
So how do I get credit for this Earthcache?
1.) Take a photo of you and your gps at the spring.
2.) Estimate how fast the water is flowing from the spring?
3.) Is the spring drinkable today?
4.) Which underground aquifer is being used by the spring?