What are the sources of surface water


This spring gushes out of a rock. The water from several springs merges into a river.
There is a spring under this pond. But you can't see them because the pond is too deep.

At a spring water comes from the ground to the surface. This water is called groundwater. Several springs usually combine to form a stream and later a river that flows into the sea.

Most of the time it is rainwater that has seeped into the ground. It searches its way through the earth until it comes out of a layer of rock or clay. The water cannot get through there and flows along this layer. At some point it usually finds its way to the surface.

As water flows through the ground, it is purified like a filter. Sources that come from the depths usually have very clean water that can be used directly as drinking water. However, if the rainwater seeps into a pasture or a field with a lot of fertilizer and then immediately comes back to the surface, the water can be harmful to humans.

Some springs give very warm water, these are the thermal springs. The water is warm because it comes from the depths of the earth where it is hot. Or it was heated by a volcano. Other sources contain substances such as minerals. If such substances are good for your health, one speaks of a healing spring.

What else can the word “source” mean?

The word source is not only used for water that comes from the earth. By “source” one often simply means the origin of a message. When something is in the newspaper, you sometimes wonder what source it came from. So one wonders how the scribe knows that. Maybe he saw it himself, that would be a sure source. Maybe he just heard it or read it himself somewhere, that would be an uncertain source.

There are several types of such sources. A person can be a source when he tells what he himself has seen or experienced. An old letter can be a source for the science of history, but it can also be an old tombstone or an inscription on a house. Old paintings are also sometimes good sources. But then you have to ask yourself whether the scribe or the painter may not have exaggerated as well.

  • This source is kept clean by a wall.

  • In a cemetery in Zwolle in the Netherlands: This artificial spring is supposed to be a symbol for the beginning of life.

  • The Rhume River comes from this karst spring.