Soos Mineral Springs
July 12, 2004
The Soos Natural Reserve in the northwestern Czech Republic is covered by peaty bogs and diatomaceous earth deposits. Carbon dioxide degassing in the wake of Quaternary volcanism has led to the additional development of mofettes and numerous (cold) ferruginous mineral springs in this region. Mineral-laden springs in nearby Frantiskovy Lázne (Franzensbad), one of the famous Bohemian spas, and peaty mud from Soos are used for the treatment of various ailments.
The iron-bearing waters of the spring shown above, Emperor's Spring, precipitate extensive amounts of essentially pure ferrihydrite. Individual particles of this common but poorly-crystalline iron oxyhydroxide are only 2 to 7 nanometers (2 to 7 billionths of a meter) in size. A definitive identification of ferrihydrite therefore usually requires the application of sophisticated physical techniques such as Mössbauer spectroscopy at temperatures close to the boiling point of liquid helium (4.2 K) or slow step-scanning X-ray diffraction.