Kapurella Hot Springs

Kapurella Thermal Springs or Kapurella hot water springs (Sinhala: කපුරැල්ල උණුදිය උල්පත්) site is one of the major geothermal springs areas in Sri Lanka and is located in Tempitiya in Maha Oya, Ampara District. It is considered the hottest thermal spring (over 70 °C) in the country (Fonseka & de Silva, 2013; Nimalsiri et al., 2015).

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). Therefore, 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 waters find weak structural discontinuities leading upward they rise to the surface and emerge as naturally discharging hot water springs (Piyadasa & Ariyasena, 2011).

Kapurella springs
The Kapurella springs occur in a low laying flat and open landscape of Mahaoya flood plain located 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).

The spring site is located in a part of the conservation area administered by the Forest Department (Ekanayake et al., 2015). It is in the form of a cluster of springs found in a marshy uninhabited area (Nimalsiri et al., 2015). Like other hot water springs in the country, the geothermal water of Kapurella stems from much shallower depths and unlikely to reach several thousand meters (Ekanayake et al., 2015). The surface temperature of the water is 58 °C and the highest surface temperature recorded so far from this spring is 73.5 °C (Ekanayake et al., 2015; Fonseka & de Silva, 2013; Nimalsiri et al., 2015).

1) 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.
2) Ekanayake, S.P., Ranawana, K.B., Chandrajith, R., Jayaratna, S. and Karunarathna, S., 2015. Preliminary observations on ecological aspects of Kapurella thermal spring (thermal marsh) at Mahaoya. Sri Lanka Naturalist, Vol : viii, No : 1-2. pp.4-12.
3) Fonseka, C.B. and de Silva, S.N., 2013. Study of the Near-Surface Resistivity Structure in Kapurella Area Using Transient Electromagnetic Method. Proceedings to 29th Technical Sessions of Geological Society of Sri Lanka. pp.13-16.
4) Nimalsiri, T.B., Suriyaarachchi, N.B., Hobbs, B., Manzella, A., Fonseka, M., Dharmagunawardena, H.A. and Subasinghe, N.D., 2015. Structure of a low-enthalpy geothermal system inferred from magnetotellurics—a case study from Sri Lanka. Journal of Applied Geophysics, 117, pp.104-110.
5) 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).
6) 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.
7) 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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This page was last updated on 17 January 2023

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