Ha Ha Tonka Spring, Trout Glen Pool

November 22, 2015


Photographer: Tommy Hornbeck
Summary AuthorTommy Hornbeck
Originally called Gunter Spring, but to make it sound more interesting and to attract paying customers, in the 1890s Robert Scott invented the Indian legend of “Laughing Waters” and coined the name Ha Ha Tonka. With an average flow of 180 million liters per day and a maximum flow of 465 million liters, this spring is the 11th largest in the state of Missouri. Much of Missouri consists of karst topography, formed by the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite and gypsum. Slightly acidic rainwater flows down through cracks in these rocks. Over time, the cracks erode into large tunnels and caverns. The tunnels eventually come to the surface as springs.

You probably wouldn't want to drink the water from most springs in this area, however, as they're not the sparkling fresh, mountain high springs you might imagine. Their water is sometimes only underground for a few miles and is no better than drinking from a local river. Water from the Ha Ha Tonka Spring continues about 0.3 mi (0.5 km), through Trout Glen Pool, to the Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. Photo taken on November 9, 2015.

Photo Details: Nikon D7100 camera; 1/200 sec. exposure; F 11; ISO 200; 16mm lens; taken at 1:30 p.m.