mineral water

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mineral water, spring water containing various mineral salts, especially the carbonates, chlorides, phosphates, silicates, sulfides, and sulfates of calcium, iron, lithium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and other metals. Various gases may also be present, e.g., carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen, and inert gases. Ordinary well or spring water, in contrast, contains far fewer substances, mostly dissolved sulfates and carbonates, and calcium and other alkali and alkaline earth metals. Many mineral waters also contain trace elements that are thought to have therapeutic value. Spa therapy, widely practiced in Europe, advocates bathing in and drinking mineral waters as a cure for a variety of diseases. Many authorities believe that the success of such therapy really results from the beneficial effects of rest and relaxation. Famous European resorts include Bath, Spa, Aix-les-Bains, Aachen, Baden-Baden, and Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad). Prominent among resorts in the United States are Poland, Maine; Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Berkeley Springs and White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.; Hot Springs, Ark.; French Lick, Ind.; Waukesha, Wis.; and Las Vegas Hot Springs, N.Mex. Many mineral waters are now prepared synthetically, the various mineral ingredients being added to ordinary water in proportions determined by careful chemical analysis of the original ingredients. See spring.

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mineral water Natural, untreated, spring waters, some of which are naturally carbonated, may be slightly alkaline or salty. Numerous health claims have been made for the benefits arising from the traces of a large number of minerals found in solution. They are normally named after the town nearest the source. Examples are Evian, Malvern, Apollinaris, Vichy, Vittel, Perrier.

Sparkling mineral water may either contain the gases naturally present at the source or may be artificially carbonated (soda water, Seltzer water, or club soda). Carbonated beverages are sometimes called minerals.

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Mineral Wells, city (1990 pop. 14,870), Palo Pinto and Parker counties, N Tex.; inc. 1882. Aluminum products, bottled mineral water, clothing, and pharmaceuticals are produced, and there is gas processing. The mineral water made this hill city a popular health resort in the late 19th and early 20th cent., and oil activity in the area also spurred the city's growth. To the east is Lake Mineral Wells, a reservoir in the Trinity River system.

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min·er·al wa·ter • n. water found in nature with some dissolved salts present. ∎ chiefly Brit. an artificial imitation of this, esp. soda water.

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water, mineral See mineral water.