MadSci Network: Earth Sciences

Re: What causes small 'springs' of water to come up from the beach?

Date: Tue Jun 22 19:02:15 2004
Posted By: Peter Gaul, Grad student, OHS & Environmental Management, company - non educational
Area of science: Earth Sciences
ID: 1087864229.Es

Hi Shannon,

Firstly, let me say that you have demonstrated good scientific practice 
by formulating a theory (an organism is responsible) and then seeking to 
prove or disprove it (digging down to see if there was one).  That's 
probably one of the theories I would have come up with too.

Assuming that there was no organism releasing bubbles of air or expelling 
water from it's body then I think we are left with one other theory.

My theory is that the storm caused increased wave height and power.  
These powerful waves dumped the sand into the "shelf" formation that you 
described.  Due to the speed of this dumping the sand may not have had 
time to settle leaving air pockets in the formation.  As the tide rose, 
water seeped through the sand and filled the air pockets forcing the air 
out and resulting in your bubbles.

I can't say for sure that this was the cause but in the world of science 
we rarely can.

What do you think of my theory?

All the best,


Admin note:

I'm not a geohydrologist, but it's possible that the water you saw bubbling up was a freshwater spring. The way to test that would be to look at where the water enters the ocean - if it's freshwater mixing with the saltwater, you will see wavy lines as they mix (they're called schlieren lines, by the way). The other test is the old "lick your finger test" - if it tastes salty, it's probably salt water bubbling back through the sand, if it tastes fresh, it's probably a spring.
Rob Campbell, MADSCI moderator

Current Queue | Current Queue for Earth Sciences | Earth Sciences archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Earth Sciences.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-2003. All rights reserved.