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Special Report on Mineral Waters (1902)

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It is evident that a geological survey of a section is not complete unless considerable attention is paid to the mineral waters, for they hold in solution the soluble constituents of the soil and the rocks, and their composition depends on the constitution of the superficial or underground strata.

The chief writers on this subject in the United States, aside from those who write in government reports, are Dr. John Smith, the author of "Curiosities of Common Water," American reprint, who wrote in 1725, Dr. John Smith published a book on "Baths and Mineral Waters," 1831, and also wrote "Mineral and Thermal Springs of the United States and Canada," 1873, Dr. J. J. Moorman wrote "Mineral Springs of North America in 1873," Dr. Geo. E. Walton wrote "Mineral Springs of United States and Canada," third edition, 1883. A very complete compilation was made by a committee of the American Medical Association in 1880. In 1885 Doctor Bell published "Climatology and Mineral Waters of the United States."

In Bulletin No. 32, United States Geological Survey, 1886, Doctor Peale mentioned 2822 mineral-spring localities and 8843 individual springs, 634 of which were utilized as resorts, and 223 as sources of commercial mineral water. Besides the above, there is a large amount of valuable material in the reports of the geological surveys of the various states and of the United States. The most recent work published in this country is "Mineral Waters of the United States, and their Therapeutic Uses," by Dr. James K. Crook, Philadelphia, 1899. An interesting historical bibliography on mineral waters appeared in the report of the mineral waters of Missouri, by Doctor Schweitzer, pages 236-244. A partial bibliography of mineral waters is given in the latter part of this book,

According to the report of the U. S. Geological Survey on "The Production of Mineral Waters," for 1900, by A. C. Peale, there are in the United States from 8000 to 10,000 mineral springs, and of these about 500 report sales of waters. The average price charged per gallon was 12.5 cents; the total number of gallons sold was 45,276,995, having a value of $5,791,805. So it may be seen that this is no inconsiderable industry. Wisconsin reports the largest amount of water sold, and this state is followed by Texas, Massachusetts, and New York. In Kansas only six springs are reported for that year, with a total sale of but 52,475 gallons.

The amount of mineral water, both natural and artificial, that has been imported has steadily increased, from about one and one-half million gallons in 1884 to nearly two and one-half millions in 1900.

That mineral springs add to the wealth of a locality is readily conceded. This is the case because they become places of resort, and expensive hotels and bathing establishments are erected; also on account of the business of bottling the waters for shipment; and, in a few cases, on account of the manufacture of mineral salts for physicians' use, by the evaporation of the waters.

Says a well-known authority: "It has long been known that mineral springs are numerous in the United States, among which all classes of waters may be found. That the majority are unimproved is due mainly to the comparative newness of the country, and the consequent sparseness of the population--especially in the territories and the extreme Western states--and also to the fact that the springs have not as yet been made the subjects of careful and complete investigation as is the case of so many foreign springs. Many of the springs allowed to run to waste would, in most European countries, be of considerable value." [A Treatise on Beverages, by Chas, H, Sulz, p, 507.]

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Kansas Geological Survey, Geology
Placed on web April 7, 2017; originally published 1902.
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