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The fontestorbes intermittent fountain

The fontestorbes intermittent fountain
The fontestorbes intermittent fountain
Avenue Fontestorbes
09300 Bélesta

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Very rare event as much as curiosity of nature, the fountain of Fontestorbes is an exceptional phenomenon. Indeed, this river comes out of the cave Fontestorbes, runs for 36 minutes and 36 seconds and then stops for 32 minutes and 30 seconds.

This phenomenon appears only during the period from the month of July to October except during drought years when it lasts until January. During the rest of the year, the fountain flows without interruption.

The mechanism underlying this phenomenon was described by studies in the late 70's. Three elements create the mechanism :

  • a water tank located upstream of the fountain is fed by water from the watershed,

  • a first pipe (the leak pipe), which is located in the lower position, allows the water to leave the tank (water that flows during dry periods),

  • a second pipe (the air-intake pipe), a siphon-shaped pipe, is located above and fills up with water only when the level of filling of the tank reaches the higher level of the siphon.

Although there are thirty other intermittent fountains in the world, the fountain of Fontestorbes is unique in several ways. First, this fountain is very regular in contrast to other sources. It also has an unprecedented scale since the flow between each cycle goes from almost complete drying out up to 1800 l/ s. Finally, other intermittent sources in the world produce a lower rate of flow than Fontestorbes.

Like many places with amazing features, the fountain of Fontestorbes is the source of a legend. It is said that long ago, near the fountain was a cave, today blocked, where lived Enchanted Fairies . They cleaned their clothes with gold beaters (hence the noise from the depths of the fountain). One day, the fairies invited a young pregnant woman, Angela, to give birth under their protection. She agreed, and to reward her confidence, the fairies gave her a magic golden wand which fulfilled all her wishes.
Angela took sparingly advantage of the powers of the wand and created happiness around her all her life. At the time of her death, Angela gave the wand to her children who could not resist and broke it into pieces so that each had one. Unfortunately, once broken, the wand lost all its powers.

Photo: Audouy©

Author : Amandine©

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