Piedmont sulfur spring

A comment to one of my posts talked about the sulfur springs of Bushy Dell Creek, in Piedmont Park. I said I couldn’t detect any and the commenter said where to look. So a few weeks ago I looked and found this small example.

sulfurspring

It’s just a trickle, but it offers a whiff of sulfur gas. More tellingly, it supports gray filaments of sulfur bacteria, seen here in closeup.

sulfurspringclose

These look like pollution, and I guess in our context that’s what they are. But whole microbial ecosystems center on a molecular economy of sulfur, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. They’re mostly hidden underground near sulfur-bearing minerals, but here and there they get flushed out into the light.

4 Responses to “Piedmont sulfur spring”

  1. Jafafa Hots (@JafafaHots) Says:

    Any thoughts on whether or not these have a natural origin, or are the the result of past industry, chemical dumps upstream or what-have-you?

  2. Andrew Says:

    They’re perfectly natural.

  3. Oakland Daily Photo Says:

    Sulfur springs in Piedmont. Who knew?

  4. Karen Paulsell Says:

    The park currently known as Marj Saunders Park used to be named Sulfur Springs Park. Right at Ascot and Chelton, the “Painted Rock” where birthday greetings, etc., get painted.

    Before I lost my sense of smell, I used to get whiffs of sulfur at times.

    So that’s sulfur springs in Oakland.

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