A spring forms where groundwater flows out naturally from underground onto Earth’s surface or into a lake or river and runs fast enough to form a current. Often, the water flows from water-bearing rocks exposed on a hillside. Quality of water varies from spring to spring and may smell like rotten eggs, taste like salt, or be sparkling clear and fresh. Vegetation around a spring is often more lush than that in the immediate surrounding environment.
Found throughout Kansas, springs serve as important sources of water for humans and wildlife. People have used springs to refrigerate food and have come up with a variety of methods—some more sophisticated than others—to capture water from springs.
Smaller springs are often unnamed but bigger ones have been given such names as Alcove Spring, Wagon Bed Spring, Diamond Springs, Boiling Springs, Seltzer Springs, and Chautauqua Springs. Town names throughout Kansas—including Bonner Springs, Baxter Springs, Lost Springs, Conway Springs, and Russell Springs—illustrate the importance springs played in the history and settlement of the state.