Big Spring Handles Big Waters

Sarah’s and my recent trip to Big Spring country provided us with lots of different looks that only the Ozarks in spring can provide.  On our second day the region was subjected to a strong storm front that dumped nearly five inches of rain in about a 12 hour period.  Although that limited the time spent outside cabin or vehicle, it did bring some learning opportunities.  I have often wondered with what speed and “precision” these large Ozark springs and their karst systems reacted to new rainfall in their watershed.  Would a deluge such as this become immediately apparent in the relative rate of discharge at Big Spring?  Or would the dynamics take a longer period of time?  My prediction would have been that the system would take up some considerable slack and act like a sponge.  That the effluent from the spring would rise eventually, but not as quickly as the rains came.  I turned out to be wrong.  During the first 12-18 hours, the increase of discharge from the spring seemed to keep pace with the rate of rise in the Current River.  This photo was taken at mid-morning the day after the rains.  Here the spring’s aquamarine  waters are flowing into the already mud-laden flood waters of the Current.  I estimate the waters were about two to three feet above normal at this time.

IMG_3938

“Confluence Contradiction″

Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM @ 58mm, ISO 320,  f/10, 1/25 sec

The next morning the scene looked quite different.  It looked to me the Current had gained enough water to rise over the shallow points of land this far into the effluent channel.  Water was everywhere, completely covering the lower section of the Chubb trail, completely covering the dock and railings surrounding it, and blocking access to the spring accept by the main road.  Even with the extra water the boil from the spring was still quite noticeable.

IMG_3978

“Current Rising″

Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM @ 65mm, ISO 640,  f/9, 1/20 sec

This scene is always one of my favorites.  This tree’s load of mistletoe is easily seen.  Thanks for pointing this out to me, Steve!

IMG_4010

“ ‘Planely’ Flooded ″

Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM @ 75mm, ISO 100,  f/10, 0.4 sec

Since the spring had lost a good deal of its potential for interesting compositions, I played a bit with some macro work.  Here is that symbol of Missouri’s Natural Area System, the Jack-in-the-Pulpit, taken within the Big Spring Natural Area.

IMG_4055

“Jack in the Pulpit″

Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, ISO 160,  f/5, 1/8 sec
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2 thoughts on “Big Spring Handles Big Waters

  1. Man, excellent coverage of this event, Bill. I’ve been visiting Big Spring my entire life and have never once seen such a striking “Confluence Contradiction.” An employee at the Emminence Forest District told me yesterday of extreme flooding on the upper Jacks Fork during this same rain event. He had asked to be notified when the Buck Hollow boat launch at Hwy 17 reached 4 feet (levels surpassing this begin to be unsafe if I understood correctly). An hour later he received a text from the same source stating that the same location now had 14 feet! He seemed reluctant to believe that a 10-foot rise in 1 hour could be possible but, knowing the Jacks Fork’s nature and lack of a flood plain, and given that rate and amount of rainfall, he couldn’t discredit it. I thought, too, of the kayaker at Silvermines dam who told us of the waters at Amidon rising 4 feet in about the same amount of time, right? Would NOT want to be caught on the river at such a time.

    Easily the best Jack-In-the-Pulpit image I’ve ever seen. The lighting and background are as lovely as the subject. This surely will make the exhibit, yes?

    ” ‘Planely’ Flooded ” flood plane = most brilliant title EVER!!! I love it! 🙂

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