The sources of thermal water for Pamukkale
are about 20 km from Denizli. The ancient city of Hierapolis
is also located in the same place. The water comes from
underground karstic caverns and creates the cascades through
precipitation of CaCO3 (calcium bicarbonate ) as the CO2
(carbon dioxide) evaporates.
Travertine is a kind of rock which is formed as calcium bicarbonate precipitates out of hot spring water. It may be formed in many ways under different atmospheric conditions. Geological activity of the past affected a large area in which the Pamukkale thermal springs are found. There are 17 thermal sources in this special area with temperatures ranging between 35-100°C. The source of Pamukkale is only one unit of that whole area. The thermal water flows to the top of the cascades by a 320 meter long channel and then flows on the cascades about 240-300 m. CaCO3 begins to precipitate on the cascades as the carbon dioxide evaporates, but in the beginning the precipitate is soft like gel. It needs time to completely dry and harden. In order to protect the cascades from destruction and to preserve their natural beauty, entrance to the travertine area has been prohibited since 15 May 1997. .
Weather conditions, the temperature of the water, and sufficient time for water tospread and flow are very important for the maintenance of white travertines. Precipitation goes on until the levels of carbon dioxide in the thermal water and the surrounding air are balanced. While the quantity of CO2 is 725 mg/l in the source, it is only 125 mg/l at the end of the travertines. Calcium bicarbonate also decreases from 1200 mg/l to 400 mg/l, and calcium decreases from 576 to 8 mg/l. Analysis indicates that 499.9 mg of CaCO3 precipitates per liter of thermal water over the cascades. The average density of the thermal water is 1.48 g/cm3 with a flow rate of 466.2 liters/second. That means 43,191 grams of calcium bicarbonate precipitate from the thermal water per day. Theoretically, that can whiten a 13,584 m2 area. However, whitening a 13,584 m2 area is practically very difficult. The whole travertine area currently covers 22,000 m2.
There is an area called ''Domuz Cukuru''
which is about 3000 m2 on an old street which used to be
connected to Pamukkale Town. It is free for tourists.
Thermal Water Spring
The Thermal Source is in Karahayit Town about 5 km north of Pamukkale and also a part of the Pamukkale Thermal Sources System. The water composition resembles that of Pamukkale Thermal Sources, but it is warmer and has less CO2. There are three sources. The first one is 420C, the second is 50 0C and the third source is 56 0C. The water also has mildly radioactive elements.
The thermal water is good for the heart, hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, rheumatism, sciatica, skin and nerve diseases.
Thermal Water Contents: The water has calcium (466.000), bicarbonate (1329,569), sodium (114,950), iron (2,485), potassium (32,883), magnesium (131,344), carbon dioxide (730,40) mg and radioactivity is 183,14.
There are several oxides in thermal water.
That's why the water has formed different colored travertines
according to its contents.
The Karahayit Red Cascades cover about 500 m2. The cascades are one of the most interesting places to see in Denizli
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