2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (22–25 October 2006)

Paper No. 38
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


HERRERA, Juan S.1, KENWORTHY, Stephen1 and GROVES, Chris2, (1)Department of Geography and Geology, Western Kentucky University, 1906 College Heights Blvd, Bowling Green, KY 42101, (2)Department of Geography and Geology, Hoffman Environmental Rsch Institute, Western Kentucky University, 1 Big Red Way, Bowling Green, KY 42101, juan.herrera@wku.edu

Logsdon River, a major underground stream within south-central Kentucky's Mammoth Cave System, drains the 25 km2 Cave City Basin. High resolution (10 minute) data on temperature, pH, specific conductance (spC), stage, turbidity (multiparameter water quality sonde), discharge (acoustic Doppler profiler), and sediment flux (Laser In-Situ Scattering Transmissometry) are being collected from a new site one km from the river's downstream end. Here we focus on carbonate chemistry and dissolution kinetics signals from a storm in late May 2006, derived from the direct water chemistry data and previously developed relations between spC and appropriate ions (Ca, HCO3, and Mg) from Logsdon River. Results show that storm responses create rapid changes in both equilibrium chemistry and kinetics that have in-phase peaks but varying relaxation rates. Pre-storm conditions of the chemical signatures (spC, PCO2, calcite saturation index (SIcal), and calcite dissolution rate) were not achieved by the time of the next storm event, about six days later. With the flush of storm water reaching the measurement site, spC dropped by almost 50% (375 to 200 μS/cm), PCO2 increased from about 3 to 12 times the atmospheric background level, SIcal levels dropped from +0.6 to -0.7, and associated with that drop, predicted dissolution rates changed from an oversaturated state of about 3.5 mm/yr of precipitation to about 1 mm/yr of dissolution during the signal peak. During the same period pH dropped from over 8.0 to below 7.3, associated with increased CO2 pressures, and to a lesser degree, dilution. A lag in the chemical signature peak following the stage peak may be explained by totally water-filled segments of the conduit upstream from this location, previously explored by divers, which may propagate the stage signal almost instantaneously through the flooded sections, in a “u-tube” type effect, while the actual storm water takes longer to travel through the same flooded sections.