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Special Report on Mineral Waters (1902)

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Volume VII

Special Report on Mineral Waters

by E. H. S. Bailey

assisted by E. B. Knerr, W. R. Crane, and D. F. McFarland

Cover of the book; red-brown cloth with gold imprinting of seal on cover and title on binding.

Originally published in 1902 as University Geological Survey of Kansas Volume 7. This is, in general, the original text as published. The information has not been updated, and spelling has been kept in the style of the time. An Acrobat PDF version (34 MB) is also available; large maps available separately.

Letter of Transmittal

Acting Chancellor W. O. Spangler,
Ex officio Director of the University Geoloqical Survey,

SIR--I have the honor to submit to you herewith a special report on the Mineral Waters of Kansas, prepared by the Department of Chemistry of the University. This report will constitute Volume VII of the University Geological Survey of Kansas. I desire, at the same, to express to you, and through you to the Board of Regents of the University, my hearty appreciation of the many facilities afforded this Department, without which the carrying on of this research would have been impossible. Respectfully,

E. H. S. Bailey
Department of Chemistry,
University of Kansas, April 10, 1902

Great Spirit Spring, Waconda, Mitchell County

Black and white photo of Great Spirit Spring, Waconda, Mitchell County.


In the course of an experience of many years in a chemical laboratory, the author has had occasion to examine, for one purpose or another, a large number of waters. Questions in regard to the sanitary quality of a water, its adaptability for public city supply, its availability as a boiler water, whether it has valuable medicinal qualities, so that it can be used for drinking or bathing purposes, or can be shipped as a commercial water, are constantly coming up.

By keeping a careful record of the examinations made through a series of years in Kansas, the author has been able to draw upon much valuable data in the preparation of these pages. As the state has been in the process of development, and through one or two "boom periods," everything that appeared to be of prospective value has been investigated. Many prospect "borings" have been made, especially since gas and oil have been found so abundantly in the eastern part of the state. By popular subscription, often, wells have been sunk, with the avowed purpose of "finding out what was below us." Sometimes these have been "dry holes;" but often, if they yielded nothing else, they have produced a mineral water, which, though not always immediately of commercial value, has proved of scientific interest.

The chemical analyses thus made have, many of them, been qualitative only, but they have been sufficient to show whether the waters probably possessed valuable therapeutic qualities. If they seemed to be of value, a more complete quantitative analysis was usually made. Without paying much attention to the marvelous cures "said to have been accomplished" by these waters, it was thus possible to obtain some facts as to their probable value. Some of the springs and wells discussed in the following pages are only ordinary, wholesome waters, though they may have acquired a local reputation in the treatment of disease. From the analysis, however, it is not difficult for the medical practitioner to ascertain whether a given water will probably be useful in a certain specific case.

Although this report contains analyses made by the author as early as 1883, and from that time to the present, yet it is only since 1896 that any special attention has been directed to the systematic analysis of the mineral waters of the state. The more important localities have been personally visited, and samples of water have been secured, and, at the same time, special observations have been made upon temperature, flow, situation, dissolved gases, etc., which could be made only at the original source of the water.

There are included in the list of analyses, however, quite a large number of waters that have been analyzed at the State Agricultural College, at Manhattan, by Prof. G. H. Failyer and his assistants, reports of which have been published in various scientific periodicals. Other analyses, as reported by chemists outside the state, are also quoted. The department is also indebted to Dr. E. B. Knerr, of Midland College, Atchison, for his constant interest in the work, and for furnishing analyses of the waters in the vicinity of Baxter Springs, Atchison, and from Brown county.

Several of the faculty of the Chemistry Department, especially Prof. E. C. Franklin, Prof. H. P. Cady, Mr. D. F. McFarland, and some advanced students of the University, have contributed not a little to the facts here recorded. The analyses are, as far as possible, credited to the proper persons.

It has been the object of the department to thus collect and preserve in a permanent form, for the benefit of the citizens of the state, as much reliable material as possible on the mineral waters, It has not been thought to be advisable to include in this volume the very closely related subject of the potable waters of the state, city supplies, and those used for domestic supply; so the investigation of the rivers and streams has been left for a later and more extended research.

It is not possible in a limited time to describe and study all the so-called mineral waters of the state, and it is quite probable that some wells and springs having considerable reputation have been omitted; but if this proves to be the case, it is because diligent inquiry has failed to find them.

Most of the plates are made from photographs by the author, the object being to show what improvements have already been made and what natural advantages the localities offer, The plates showing geological sections and maps illustrative of geological position, as well as the text of two important chapters, were prepared by Dr. W. R. Crane, of the University Faculty.

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