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On a hillside along the San Juan River in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, dozens of bathers relax in cement-walled tubs of steaming mineral water. Some lie back, eyes closed, faces flush and pink, their legs floating in front of them like pontoons. A few look like serene alligators, fully submerged except for their faces. Still others perch on the tubs’ edges, steam rising off their skin. The water that fills the pools at the Springs Resort burbles forth from a deep geothermal aquifer called the Mother Spring, located higher up the hill. Members of the Ute tribe long flocked there, seeking its tranquil, pungent waters. Then, 150 years ago, settlers found it. This unusual spot is the world’s deepest known geothermal spring; a hydrologist and a…
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