Rhume Spring

The main spring.
Location: A7 exit Seesen (Harz), B243 30km to Herzberg, road to Rhumespringe 9km. (37,Lb39)
Open: no restrictions
Fee: free
Classification: KarstKarst spring
Light: n/a
Dimension: Main spring: D=20m. 360 springs. Production: average=2,500l/s, min=900l/s, max=5,500 m/s. T=8-9°C.
Guided tours: after prior appointment, organized by Gemeinde Rhumspringe.
Bibliography: Priv. Doz. Axel Herrmann (1969): Die geologische und hydrologische Situation der Rhumequelle am Südharz, Abh. Karst- und Höhlenkde, Reihe B, Heft 1, München, 1969 (Deutsch - German)
Address: Gemeinde Rhumspringe, Mühlenbrücke 1, 37434 Rhumspringe, Tel: +49-5529-402, Fax: +49-5529-999976.
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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the green colour of the gypsum rich water.

The Rhumequelle is part of the anhydrite karst area of the southern Harz. The general structure is a slightly falling layer of anhydrite from the Zechstein period. Around the Rhume spring, the anhydrite is covered by water resistant sandstone layers, only around the spring this cover has a window. And so the water which seeps into the rock, reappers here in a huge spring.

This geologic structure is very common, and it is very important for arid areas. Many oasises in northern Africa or at the Dead Sea are besed on a similar geologic situation. If the water enters the permeable layer much higher than the spring, it may even reappear with a high pressure, which is called artesian spring. The height difference is not that high at the Rhume spring, and the cracks in the rock are obviously rather spacious, so the water leaves the sping in a calm but mighty stream.

the woods around the spring were destroyed by a storm in 1997.

The two rivers Oder and Sieber, coming down from the Harz mountains, are only 6 respective 9km away. They are connected directly with the spring. High or low water in the rivers immediately results in high or low water in the spring. The swallow holes in the rivers are about 50 to 60m higher than the level of the spring. A chain of dolines or sinkholes marks the path of the water from the swallow holes to the spring. A dye tracing experiment proved the connection to the river Sieber and detemined the necessary time. The water needed four days to reach the reach the spring.

But the spring is not only fed by the two rivers. It has a catchment area of estimated 350km². This leads to a very constant temperature of the water at 8-9°C. The spring never freezes and never dries out, even if the two rivers Oder and Sieber are waterless. In those low water times the rivers loose completely at their respective swallow holes.

Bunter (Mittlerer Buntsandstein)
Obere rotweiße Wechselfolge (su4)   100-200m
Obere Kalksandsteinzone (su3) Oberer Teil (su3b) ca. 20m
Unterer Teil (su3a) ca. 20m
Untere rotweiße Wechselfolge (su2) Hellrote Folge (su2c) 30-40m
Dunkelrote Folge (su2b) ca. 30m
Braunrote Folge (su2a) 50-60m
Untere Kalksandsteinzone (su1b) 15-20m
Bröckelschiefer (su1a) ca. 25m
Permian Anhydrite (Zechstein)
Table: geologic structure of the Rhume spring.

The Rhume spring has a main sping which is about 20m in diameter and shaped like a funnel. Around it about 360 small springs have been counted. The water in those other springs has a different amount of soluted limestone and gypsum. This tells us, that they are fed by different caves from different parts of the catchment area. The whole spring has several small lakes which are connected and the river Rhume leaving at the south.

The area of the spring is developed for visitors for centuries, there are public footpaths and bridges, allowing the visitors to walk around the spring. The place is one station of the Karstwanderweg. Bach in 1997 it was not possible to walk around the spring for some months. At this time a blizzard cut the trees around the spring. Some big trees were thrown into the water of the spring. But the aftermath of the storm are cleaned up now.

How the Rhumequelle was formed

trees were cut by the storm and thrown into the spring.

The story, how the spring was formed is told in a local fairy tale.

A young giant called Romar, who lived at the castle on the Römerstein, met once a young and beautiful girl in the forest, and they fell in love withe ach other. The girls was named Ruma, and she was the daughter of the dwarf king. Unfortunately the fathers were enemies, and so the two married in secret. After some time Ruma became pregnant and gave birth to a small boy.

When the dwarf king found out, who the father of the child was, he punished her and told her to leave Romar. But as she refused steadfast, he cursed, murdered the child and imprisioned her in a cave.

But Ruma tried hard to escape and find Romar. Her mother was a mermaid, and so she searched the narrow and winding subterranean passages by transforming into a stream of water. She tried hard for many years, until she finally reached the surface at the Rothenberg, outside the realm of the dwarfs. This place was called Ruma (Rhume spring). Here Romar and Ruma (Römerstein and Rhume spring) still meet today.