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Water bodies, watersheds and storm water
Alexander Springs aerial view

Alexander Springs aerial view
photo by H. Means, FGS

Alexander Springs beach

Alexander Springs beach

Alexander Springs swim area

Alexander Springs swim area

Alexander Springs

Lake County


Alexander Springs is a first-magnitude spring that flows from the large, cavernous opening in the bottom of the central part of the pool. The large pool measures over 300 feet from north to south and 250 feet from east to west. The pool bottom near the beach is mostly sandy. Aquatic vegetation surrounds the area of the main spring vent, where the pool bottom falls away to reveal a large open area of exposed limestone rock and boulders to a depth of about 25 to 28 feet. Flow from the discharging water creates a large and powerful surface boil over the spring opening that is readily visible from the shore. A broad sand beach forms the southwest edge of the pool, with mixed hardwood and palm forests around the spring. The pool discharges to Alexander Springs Creek that flows approximately 10 river miles until reaching the St. Johns River. Forests and wetlands surround the spring area.

The spring area has been developed by the U.S. Forest Service into a multiple-use recreational facility open to the public. Activities include camping, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, fishing, bicycling, and canoeing.

Contact Information:
Ocala National Forest Visitor Center
10863 E. Highway 40
Silver Springs, FL 34488


Discharge at Alexander Springs has been measured since 1956, with frequent measurements since 1982. Currently, the St. Johns River Water Management District measures the spring discharge 12 times per year.



Discharge at the spring has varied greatly over the years. The difference between the minimum and maximum discharges is 146 cubic feet per second (cfs), as shown in Table 1. The maximum measured discharge of 202 cfs occurred in January 1984; the minimum discharge of 56 cfs occurred in May 1986. The lowest periods of discharge correspond to periods of below-normal rainfall in Florida. The mean and median discharges for the period from 1956 to 2010 are 103 cfs and 102 cfs, respectively.

Alexander Springs Discharge Graph
Discharge Graph

Diver Sampling Water

Diver Sampling Water

Water quality

The U.S. Geological Survey analyzed the spring’s water quality sporadically from 1956 to 1999. The district has analyzed the spring’s water quality since 1983 and currently samples the spring four times per year. Summary statistics of the water quality data for selected variables are shown in the table below.

Alexander Springs Water Quality Graph
Water Quality Graph

Summary statistics of water quality and discharge at Alexander Springs

Alexander Springs Min Mean Median Max Count Period
Discharge, cfs 56.00 102.50 101.62 202.19 246 1956−2010
Alkalinity, total, mg/L as CaCO3 73.0 81.8 81.0 115.0 113 1956−2010
Calcium, total, mg/L as Ca 40.0 45.7 46.0 53.5 98 1993−2010
Chloride, total, mg/L as Cl 169.0 250.0 249.0 333.0 120 1956−2010
Dissolved Oxygen 0.67 1.03 1.00 1.40 20 2001−2010
Fluoride, total, mg/L as F 0.09 0.13 0.12 0.25 50 1994−2009
Magnesium, total, mg/L as Mg 17.6 20.5 20.4 24.0 99 1992−2010
Nitrate + nitrite, total, mg/L as N 0.01 0.05 0.05 0.10 103 1977−2010
Orthophosphate, total, mg/L as P 0.02 0.04 0.05 0.08 77 1972−2010
pH, field 6.90 7.80 7.80 8.73 125 1956−2010
Phosphorus, total, mg/L as P 0.03 0.05 0.05 0.08 63 1972−2010
Potassium, total, mg/L as K 3.0 4.0 4.0 5.0 99 1992−2010
Sodium, total, mg/L as Na 114.7 136.6 136.1 176.0 99 1992−2010
Specific conductance, field, µmhos/cm at 25°C 695 1070 1084 1430 103 1984−2010
Specific conductance, lab, µmhos/cm at 25°C 813 1105 1100 1650 107 1956−2010
Sulfate, total, mg/L as SO4 51.0 65.0 64.5 85.3 118 1956−2010
Total dissolved solids, mg/L 490 592 590 756 112 1967−2010
Water temperature, °C 19.1 23.5 23.5 26.2 151 1960−2010
Units: µmhos/cm = micromhos per centimeter
         mg/L = milligrams per liter
         cfs = cubic feet per second

Age of discharge water

Alexander Springs Run

Alexander Springs Run

The age of water discharging from Alexander Springs was determined by measuring the concentration of tritium, delta carbon-13, and carbon-14 in the spring discharge, which was measured in July 1995, and the concentration of tritium and helium-3 in the discharge, as measured in March 2001. Alexander Springs had a tritium concentration of 2.7 tritium units, which suggests that the water is less than 42 years old. The tritium/helium-3 age was 25 years. Alexander Springs had a delta carbon-13 value of −9.50 parts per thousand and a carbon-14 concentration of 28% modern carbon, which results from the mixing of Upper and Lower Floridan aquifer water. The adjusted carbon-14 age is recent.


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St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street, Palatka, FL 32177
(800) 725-5922