Warta Geologi, Vol. 48 No. 1, April 2022, pp. 30–35


Warta Geologi, Vol. 48, No. 1, April 2022, pp. 30–35

What makes a hot spring, hot?

Nurul Afiqah Rosli1, Mohammad Noor Akmal Anuar2, Muhammad Hasiib Mansor2, Nur Syazwani Izzati Abdul Rahim2, Mohd Hariri Arifin2,*

1 Geosciences Department, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Persiaran UTP, 32610 Seri Iskandar, Perak, Malaysia
2 Department of Earth Sciences and Environment, Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia
* Corresponding author emil address: hariri@ukm.edu.my

Abstract: Hot springs naturally are groundwater that emerges to the surface after being heated up by geothermal
activities. There are various classifications of hot springs according to the surface temperature. Still, in Malaysia, it
is referred to as the spring that is higher than an average body temperature or 40 °C and above. Two types of hot
spring origin are volcanic and non-volcanic sources. The Quaternary magmatic intrusion of Maria volcanic complex
in Sabah is the only volcanic-related hot spring. Meanwhile, Sungai Klah, Ulu Slim, Gadek, and other hot springs in
Malaysia originated from regional granite intrusion that slowly cooled down since the Triassic period. In Peninsular
Malaysia, there is a geological trend of hot springs distribution based on three different intrusion and localities of
granite batholiths: Eastern, Central and Western belts of granite. Tectonically, most of these hot springs are associated
with fault zones related to highly fractured and deep-seated fault areas with high permeability host rock, such as
Bok Bak Fault. Later it can conduit meteoric water to seep deep beneath the subsurface and be subjected to a high
geothermal gradient zone. High dissolved minerals in the hot springs are beneficial for balneotherapy, while the
excess heat and brine can be harnessed into electrical energy. The development of geothermal potential in Malaysia
is still unhurried compared to our neighbouring countries, for example, Thailand’s Fang Geothermal Power Plant is
a non-volcanic hot spring with a sound temperature of 130°C which can generate 300 kW of electricity. Lastly, effort
has been made by researchers in gathering the data on hot spring distribution in Malaysia which can be viewed with
just a click. A new app is developed for Android user named Malaysia’s Hot Springs that can be freely downloaded
from the ‘Apps Store’ in hope that the application can serve as hot springs tourism and publication reference purposes.

Keywords: Hot springs, Malaysia, geothermal

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7186/wg481202204