Missouri Water Science Center

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Greer Spring Photograph

Greer Spring is the second largest spring in Missouri.

Greer Spring is the second largest spring in Missouri with an average annual mean discharge of 344 cubic feet per second (222,000 gallons per day; Hauck and Nagel, 2001). The spring is located about 5 miles south of the area of intense lead-zinc exploration and is within the Eleven Point National Scenic River boundaries. The spring has two orifices, a lower elevation orifice that always flows, and a higher elevation orifice that flows during all except the lowest flow conditions. Measurements of the discharge rate of Greer Spring are made using continuously recorded stage (water level) measurements in the spring branch, and calibrating the stage to discharge measurements made manually. Unlike Big Spring, the spring branch is not subject to flooding, and stage measurements are accurate for all flow conditions.

Greer Spring during high flow.

Upper orifice of Greer Spring during high flow.

An automatic sampler has been installed in the spring branch to collect water samples for determination of suspended sediment and dye content during dye-trace investigations. An automatic data recorder has been installed to monitor specific conductance and temperature. Water samples are collected monthly and analyzed for major ions, trace metals, and nutrients to assess water quality and carbonate rock dissolution rates.   

Samples have been collected from Greer Spring at low base flow and during a storm event and analyzed for chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) compounds, oxygen and deuterium isotopes, total helium, tritium, helium-3, carbon-14, and dissolved gases (nitrogen, argon, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and methane). These analyses will help determine the young (post-1940) and old (pre-1940) flow fractions and ground-water ages. The man-made CFC compounds are used to date the water relative to known atmospheric concentrations of these compounds. Tritium and helium-3 will be used to date the water relative to known atmospheric concentrations of nuclear bomb by-products. Total helium concentrations will be used to assess the possibility of terragenic helium accumulation in the ground water from a uranium/thorium source or extremely long ground-water travel times in the rock matrix. The dissolved gases data will be used to determine the recharge temperature of the ground water. Carbon-14 concentrations will indicate the degree of mixing of younger and older water.

For more information contact:

David C. Smith, Hydrologist

U.S. Geological Survey

Missouri Water Science Center

1400 Independence Rd., MS 100

Rolla, MO 65401

Telephone: (573) 308-3675

Fax:(573) 308-3645

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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, 08-Oct-2014 13:46:27 EDT