Did you know the term ‘spa’ originates from Belgium?

Spring ‘Groesbeeck’ in Spa with naturally bubbly water. Photo by Renata Barros.

Spa, a little town in the southeast of Belgium, is well-known for its natural mineral groundwater springs enriched in components such as iron, calcium and carbon dioxide. The fame dates back to the 14th century, and ever since people from all over the European continent have been traveling to Belgium to enjoy the goodness of bathing in and drinking this healing spring water. And as you might have noticed, the name of the town has been used as a term for any place that has a natural water source with therapeutic potential. It is also believed that modern spa therapy has its origins in Spa.

The spa in Spa. Image source: Province de Liège Tourisme.

In the GeoConnect³d project, we introduced the concept of geomanifestations to define any distinct expressions of ongoing or past geological processes. The famous natural mineral groundwaters springs in Spa and surrounding areas is a clear example of geomanifestation, as water travels through and interacts with the surrounding rocks, acquires its distinct geochemical signature and emerges at the surface as the renowned occurrences. Therefore, they point to specific geologic conditions and can be important sources of information to improve geological understanding of the area.

So, next time you are enjoying a spa, think about the geologic journey of the water to get there!

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