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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Artesian well.
Geological strata giving rise to an artesian well.
Schematic of an artesian well
A roadside artesian well with a pipe for filling bottles or jugs.
See Great Artesian Basin for the water source in Australia.

An artesian aquifer is a confined aquifer containing groundwater that will flow upward through a well, called an artesian well, without the need for pumping. Water may even reach the ground surface if the natural pressure is high enough, in which case the well is called a flowing artesian well.

An aquifer is a layer of soft rock, like limestone or sandstone, that absorbs water from an inlet path. Porous stone is confined between impermeable rocks or clay. This keeps the pressure high, so when the water finds an outlet, it overcomes gravity and goes up instead of down. The recharging of aquifers happens when the water table at its recharge zone is at a higher elevation than the head of the well.

Fossil water aquifers can also be artesian if they are under sufficient pressure from the surrounding rocks. This is similar to how many newly tapped oil wells are pressurized.



Artesian wells were named after the former province of Artois in France, where many artesian wells were drilled by Carthusian monks since 1126.[1]

Examples of artesian wells



  • The Great Artesian Basin is the largest and deepest artesian basin in the world, occupying 23% of the Australian continent.

United States

Some towns in the United States were named Artesia after the artesian wells in the vicinity. Other artesian well sites include:



  • Aquileia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia


  • Cella, Teruel, Arag√≥n

United Kingdom

  • Trafalgar Square fountains, London (1844 to about 1890) The wells were about 130m deep.


  • Grenelle Well in Paris (opened in 1841) which was almost 600m deep.
  • Passy Well, France (opened in 1860)

Artesian systems in popular culture

For many years, Olympia Beer (Tumwater, Washington) was brewed with water obtained from artesian wells. The company's promotions made much of the use of artesian water in the brewing process. However, the advertisements never explained what artesian water was, preferring to claim that the water was controlled by a mythical population of "Artesians".[2] Once the brewery was taken over by a larger company, the use of artesian water was discontinued, and so was that advertising campaign.[3]

In downtown Olympia, current efforts to preserve the use of artesian water at the one remaining public well has been the mission of H2Olympia: Artesian Well Advocates[4]

See also


  1. ^ Frances Gies and Joseph Gies, Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel subtitled "Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages". Harper Perennial, 1995 ISBN 0-06-016590-1, page 112.
  2. ^ Kelley Advertising & Marketing: Olympia Beer: A Good Campaign Accelerates the Death of a Brand . Accessed 2008.11.07.
  3. ^ Beer Advocate: Olympia Beer. Accessed 2008.11.07.
  4. ^ "It's Still the Water" Thurston County PUD Report - CONNECTIONS, Summer 2009, Vol. 3, No. 3 -

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ARTESIAN WELLS, the name properly applied to watersprings rising above the surface of the ground by natural hydrostatic pressure, on boring a small hole down through a series of strata to a water-carrying bed enclosed between two impervious layers; the name is, however, sometimes loosely applied to any deep well, even when the water is obtained by pumping. In Europe this mode of well-boring was first practised in the French province of Artois, whence the name of Artesian is derived. At Aire, in that province, there is a well from which the water has continued steadily to flow to a height of II feet above the ground for more than a century; and there is, within the old Carthusian convent at Lillers, another which dates from the 12th century, and which still flows. But unmistakable traces of much more ancient bored springs appear in Lombardy, in Asia Minor, in Persia, in China, in Egypt, in Algeria, and even in the great desert of Sahara. (See WELL.)

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