INTER-DISCIPLINARY COOPERATIVE INVESTIGATIONS AT BIG BONE LICK STATE PARK, NORTHERN KENTUCKY
Although previous work has been done on the geology and history of the park, there are still many questions regarding terrace development, and the source and chemistry of the groundwater. Under the supervision and coordination of the Kentucky Geological Survey, and utilizing the five cores and monitoring well drilled in 2004 by the USGS, researchers from KGS, the University of Kentucky, Northern Kentucky University, and the University of Cincinnati are conducting investigations into the water and sediment chemistry, clay mineralogy, isotope chemistry, grain size, dating, and mapping landforms. In addition to the academic goals of the project, practical considerations for park management, including soil engineering properties, use of groundwater, and a comprehensive presentation for the general public are important goals of this study.
High-level fluvial deposits left by the ancestral Kentucky River prior to the incision of the Ohio River valley are found at the highest elevations in the park. During the Deep Stage drainage reorganization, the Ohio River Valley and its tributaries including Big Bone Creek were incised into the Upper Ordovician bedrock. These tributaries were subsequently dammed during the Illinoian and Wisconsin glaciations, forming the lacustrine terraces preserved along Big Bone Creek valley, among others. Incised into this terrace are the alluvial terrace deposits with their prominent fossil assemblage, and the modern floodplain with its five currently active springs.