Saratoga is not faultless

springs.jpg

The springs at High Rock Park.

By Mike Hare

The carbonated mineral water that bubbles up from the springs in Saratoga is what put the city on the map some 200 years ago. And it's still a big attraction today. But why is it here? There's a fault behind it -- but no one is to blame.

Disclaimer: Mike Hare is an author and tour guide. For a more detailed or scientific explanation, please see your earth science teacher.

There's a fault line that runs across eastern New York. It developed in ancient eras, and created subsidiary fault lines in haphazard patterns from the Adirondacks south through the Saratoga region.

We're not talking San Andreas here, but these small fault lines are enough to let the spring water bubble through. A layer of shale along the surface keeps rainwater from mixing with the spring water so it stays pure. The limestone beneath the earth forms channels where the water mixes with carbon dioxide gas. The gas propels the water up to breaks in the surface and gives it its fizz.

No two mineral springs in Saratoga taste alike because the concentration of minerals is different at each spring.

Occasionally the fault line does shake things up a bit in Saratoga, but not often. The most recent quake in the Spa City was on the morning of April 20 back in 2002.

Mike Hare is the author of Saratoga Lives and a Spa City tour guide.

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