|Image: View along the River Sorgue towards the spring. The village of Fontaine de Vaucluse.|
|Location:||Dep. 84 Vaucluse.|
|Classification:||deep karst spring.|
|Dimension:||Depth: unknown, at last 315m|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|1878||first descent into the pool, 23m deep.|
|02-AUG-1985||a small robot submarine went down 315m.|
|Image: The spring with low water level. The people are standing in the dry bed of the river Sorgue.|
The Fontaine de Vaucluse is the source of the river Sorgue and a typical karst spring.
The Fontaine is a collapsed part of a cave system. In this particular case a large shaft, filled with water. At the moment the shaft is explored to a depth of 315m. As nobody is able to dive this deep, this exploration was done using a small submarine robot called MODEXA 350. The camera of the robot showed a sandy floor at this dept, leads were not visible.
The water table is most time of the year below the rim of the shaft. So the Fontaine appears as a very deep and blue lake. Small caves below lead to several springs in the dry bed of the river, just 10 m below the lake.
The source is fed by the rainfall of the Plateau de Vaucluse. In spring or sometimes, after enourmous rainfall, the water table rises higher than the rim. In this periods the Fontaine de Vaucluse really is a spring.
In this periods the source produces more than 200 m³/sec of water.
Very interesting is the Geological Museum at the path to the spring. It is called Le Monde Souterrain de Norbert Casteret (The Underground World of Norbert Casteret).
The museum has displays of speleology and caves, including information on the expeditions into the source of the river Sorgue.
|Fontaine de Vaucluse Gallery|