A spring is any natural situation where water flows from an aquifer to the Earth's surface. It is a component of the hydrosphere.
A spring may be the result of karst topography where surface water has infiltrated the Earth's surface becoming part of the area groundwater. The groundwater then travels through a network of cracks and fissure openings ranging from intergranular spaces to large caves. The water eventually emerges from below the surface in the form of a karst.
The forcing of the surface can be the result of a confined aquifer in which the recharge area of the water table rests at a higher elevation than that of the outlet. Spring water forced to the surface by elevated sources are artesian wells. This is possible even if the outlet is in the form of a 300-foot-deep cave. In this case the cave is used like a hose by the higher elevated recharge area of groundwater to exit through the lower elevation opening.
Non-artesian springs may simply flow from a higher elevation through the earth to a lower elevation and exit in the form of a spring using the ground like a drainage pipe.
Still other springs are the result of pressure from an underground source in the earth in the form of volcanic activity. The result can be water at elevated temperature such as a hot spring.
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