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AntlerObsession

What Causes Seeps?

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I have noticed and been so envious of a few hunters who have found seeps in their areas that a lot of deer hit, and aren't on maps. What great finds! I know that finding one is the reward for countless hours scouring the hillsides. I wonder, though, if those who have found them, noticed anything specific that made the seep possible. Maybe with input from a few of us who have found one we can begin to understand what circumstances to keep an eye out for in our wanderings. Are they at the bottom of cliffs? Are they near the bottom of draws? How much mountain sits above them to collect the water? Are there any rocky shelves that act as a subterranean shelf that forces the water out? Just ideas! I'm sure there are better ones out there! Thx for your help!

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water makes seeps...... :lol:

 

 

Depends on the geology of the area, for most seeps they were probably running springs a thousand years ago and now where there is enough rain for the ground to hold water it will seep out of cracks, fissures or soft spots. I don't know that there is anyway to look at a map and figure them out, at least not the maps available to most of us. Generally they are going to be in draws, sometimes at the head and others down in the bottoms, the only way to find them that I know of is to cover country footback or horseback.

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It's an interesting question and I don't really know the answer. But I would say it has to do with some rock formation underground that pushes the water table up to the surface. When I think of a seep, I think of several on the sides of mountains. Are you considering a seep to be different than a spring?

 

 

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Is the difference more than just one having enough water to flow? Is a seep an area where the water table surfaces, and a spring is an outlet for water that was on the surface at one time that soaked in, and then resurfaces? IDK.

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if it's in the desert, look for a cottonwood or seep willow or about any kind of trees or bushes that may be a little out of place. if there is just a little water, there will be some sort of vegitation that is a little out of place from the rest of the flora. in the fall is a real good time to scout for a seep or spring, because the leafs change colors and really show up, especially if your in a place with a lot of cedars or scrubby pines. Lark.

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if it's in the desert, look for a cottonwood or seep willow or about any kind of trees or bushes that may be a little out of place. if there is just a little water, there will be some sort of vegitation that is a little out of place from the rest of the flora. in the fall is a real good time to scout for a seep or spring, because the leafs change colors and really show up, especially if your in a place with a lot of cedars or scrubby pines. Lark.

 

You beat me to it, Lark. Great minds obviously share common brain waves.

 

Bill Quimby

 

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That's great! Ingenious method of identifying a seep. Does it usually have a flat shelf of sorts that catches the water? Is the source sandy, rocky, sandy with a rocky bed? I am still interested in learning what characteristics make a seep possible BeSIdEs the existence of water! :b

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I have absolutely no geological qualifications to be making any claims about what makes a seep. However I have found many a seep spots in my hiking miles and it has been my observance that a seep is spring that does not produce enough water to flow. I have noticed that sometimes a spring will flow for a while and then go back underground then pop back up later down the hill. Sometimes where the spring almost reaches the earth’s surface but does not do so enough to flow it will create a seep spot. Then later down the hill you can find where it pops back up to a flowing spring. Like I said I do not have any geological qualifications to be declaring the doctrine of springs and seeps this is just what I have noticed. But maybe I have noticed wrong.

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Have others seen that seeps tend to run together, along a subterranean stream as it were? Where there is one, will there be more? Is there plenty of water in the area, tanks, streams or otherwise, and its almost as the the ground can't hold all of it at high precipitation seasons, and dry up in the dry times, or is there a more reliable source of subterranean water, like a water table? I'm sure there are instances of both, but what tendencies to seeps have?

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A lot of great information on this thread - maybe the best I've seen in a long time. Since none of us are geologists, I'll put my $.02 out there. The previous posts have said pretty much anything I can add, but I'd describe it like this:

 

Arizona has rocky, pourous soil, from the mountains to the desert. When Spring rains fall and snow is melting at the higher elevations, the water always drains to the lowest point, and does it quickly. On tall flats surrounded by rocky cliff areas, the water seeps out of the cliffs, onto the flatter areas. In the rolling hills, it obviosly flows through the sandy bottoms that make our landscape, but is soaking in as it passes through.

 

I'm no geologist, but I've seen what the soil looks like here compared to the narrows and slot canyons in Utah. The Escalante Staircase is perfect example of what our desert lands would look like without soil. There is a hard sandstone or granite base under most of AZ, and the water is squirting through the top layers of dirt and rock, like a sponge under pressure. All that water has to go somewhere, and it either soaks downward or flows on top of the ground West and South as fast as gravity will take it. When a lot of water has soaked in, the water tables start pushing it back out to the top, through the lower sandy or broken rock that it origanally seeped in through.

 

So, from a hunting perspectivet, like others have suggested, when you find a sandy draw with old cottonwoods, you know the water is only a few feet under the surface. It may look like a dry creekbed, but where the water has to take a sharp angle underground, it pools and gives those big trees something to live on. More likely than not, there will be pools of standing water where those cottonwoods grow - and they are easy to spot year 'round. Green in the Spring and Summer, colored during the Fall, and brown in winter months.

 

Seeps, from what I've seen, are usually found around cliff areas, and are easy to spot by the moss or other lush vegetation in an otherwise dry area. These are the spots where water takes its sweet time filtering through tens of meters of limestone or grantite drop-by-drop. To me, these spots are golden because when he cattle ponds have dried up and the sandy washes are dry on the surface, they still produce drinkable water. It's because the water coming out of a hard granite seep probably landed on the ground above a couple of years ago - and has taken that long to finally drain out.

 

In a tough drought year, the creek bottoms will be dry, the cattle tanks will look like an alligator's back, but a rocky seep will still be draining the excess of years past.

 

Just my ramblings on the subject ;)

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I think everyone is pretty much there. I made this illustration to show the movement of water in the ground. It's always being pulled by gravity toward the center of the earth. Some of the soils and rock are porous, and the water moves through them over time. Then the moving water will run into a non-porous rock like granite, and will either pool up, or move laterally depending upon the slope of the bedrock. When the surface is lower than the bedrock, the water moving laterally along the rock will re-surface creating a spring or a seep, and there may be deciduous trees like cottonwoods around it. If it's deep under the surface we call it an aquifer, but the principle is the same.

 

I think in the case of the seep that Mason A found (what a find!), it looks to be an extremely steep slope, and judging from the old stumps and dead trees and such, perhaps there was some mass movement in the soils at one time that exposed the granite, making the seep possible, other wise the water would have continued to move toward the bottom where it would hit exposed bedrock in a creek bed and move as part of the creek system.

 

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Pretty much everything was said. Bright green is easy to see certain times of the year. One of my favorite classes taken at a college was a Geology class at ASU. The teacher was from AZ and worked for some of the mines in the state lookin for copper i think. Any ways she knew her stuff about AZ. Very interesting course, I'll never look at rock formations or mountain the same again. I took other geology courses but that one at ASU was the best.

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Sorry i'm a little late on this thread, Lark had the best suggestions.

follow heavily traveled deer trails , sometimes the will lead you to water,

Also pay close attention to the type of trees that are near the seeps and springs, also like lark said, see what color those trees are in November , If something looks especially thick and green ,check it out.

They truely can be a jackpot, and when you start to put the pieces of the puzzle together , they become easier to find.

There has been some great info on finding seeps on this thread.

Also notice the tall bunchy grass around the seep, I posted some better pictures of the seep on "hunting coues deer in arizona" under the [ how far do you back pack to hunt coues] {how far is too far}

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