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ARTESIAN WELLS, the name properly applied to water-springs 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 11 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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History of the Universe eBook

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