Thursday, April 18, 2019

Madunagala Thermal Springs

Madunagala Thermal Springs
Madunagala Thermal Springs (or Madunagala hot water springs) site is one of major geothermal springs areas in Sri Lanka and is located in Sooriyawewa, Hambantota District. The springs are also known as Mahapelessa or Sooriyawewa springs (Nandanee et al., 2016).

Leonard Woolf (1880-1969), the Assistant Government Agent for Hambantota and the author of "The village in the Jungle" is one of the earliest visitors to the site in recent times (Abeyawardana, 2004). However, the site was not known among the people until, the introduction of Udawalawe Tank Irrigation Project (Abeyawardana, 2004). Presently, the site has been developed as a major tourist attraction in the Southern Province.

Hot water springs
Geothermal springs are the natural springs that contain hot water (Piyadasa & Ariyasena, 2011). Commonly, thermal springs in the world are associated with volcanic terrain but the hot springs located in Sri Lanka are not related to volcanic activities as the island is not in an active volcanic or tectonic region (Piyadasa & Ariyasena, 2011; Premasiri et al., 2006). The waters can get heat either from subsurface heat sources such as large bodies of hot rocks or through deep percolation under the geochemical gradient of the earth (Adikaram & Dharmagunawardhane, 2013). If these water find weak structural discontinuities leading upward it rises to the surface and emerge as naturally discharging hot water springs (Piyadasa & Ariyasena, 2011).

Madunagala springs
The Madunagala springs occur in the boundary between Highland Complex (HC) and Vijayan Complex (VC). The boundary is a sub-horizontal ductile thrust zone where a number of geologic features are identified. They include major mineralization occurrences such as magnetite, serpentinite, gold, corundum and calcite as well as formations of hot water springs (Widanagamage, 2011).

There are six connected hot water wells at the Madunagala springs site. The surface temperatures of water are range from 34 °C to 46 °C and all of them are classified as warm thermal springs (Piyadasa & Ariyasena, 2011) .

Attribution
1) Madunagala Hot Spring 2012 - panoramio (2) by Pol van den Scheetek… is licensed under CC BY 3.0

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Ruhuna: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-073-4. pp.113-114.
2) Adikaram, A.M.N.M., Dharmagunawardhane, H.A., 2013. Diurnal temperature variations in thermal water springs: A case study at Mahaoya thermal spring cluster, Sri Lanka.
3) Nandanee, G.G.W., Dasanayaka, P.N. and Wijeyaratne, S.C., 2016. Characterization ofa bacterial isolate from Madunagala thermal spring in the Hambanthota district, Sri Lanka.
4) Piyadasa, R.U.K. and Ariyasena, P.R.E.R., 2011. Hydrogeological Characteristics in the Geothermal Springs in Sri Lanka (A case study of the Madunagala and Kinniya geothermal springs).
5) Premasiri, H.M.R., Wijeyesekera, D.S., Weerawarnakula, S. and Puswewala, U.G.A., 2006. Formation of Hot Water Springs in Sri Lanka. Engineer: Journal of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka. p.7.
6) Widanagamage, I.H., 2011. EMPA dating of monazite from high grade metamorphic rocks along the Highland-Vijayan boundary zone, Sri Lanka. MSc thesis, Kent State University. pp.17-18

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