GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 71-8
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


KOPAS, Dexter C., Beloit College, 700 College St., P.O. Box 998, Beloit, WI 53511 and SWANSON, Susan, Beloit College, 700 College St, Beloit, WI 53511,

Cold and stable temperatures are often cited as important environmental conditions in springs. However, there is currently a lack of information on the spatial distribution of temperatures in springs of differing types. With the availability of relatively inexpensive handheld infrared (IR) cameras, there are opportunities to examine the temperature distribution of springs in a relatively quick and noninvasive manner. The goal of this research is to test out the usefulness of handheld infrared thermography in characterizing the spatial distribution of temperatures in springs of differing types. Specific objectives include describing the temperature distribution for each spring type and making recommendations on future strategies for the use of ground-based IR imagery in springs research.

Eight springs of four different types were selected in southern Wisconsin. Each site was visited and various environmental observations recorded. Imaging was done with an IR camera. Data from each spring were compared with the other spring of the same type and contrasted with springs of different types.

The temperature profiles along spring orifices showed a clear distinction between fracture and concentrated discharge springs versus sandy boil and diffuse discharge springs. Fracture and concentrated discharge springs showed lower temperature slopes and variabilities, while sandy boil and diffuse discharge springs had higher slopes and variabilities. A similar association was seen with spring pool temperature distributions, with sandy boil and diffuse flow spring pools having a wider variability, and fracture and concentrated flow spring pools showing lower variability.

These results support observations of how groundwater emerges at each spring pool. This research shows that there are variable temperature conditions depending on spring type. Further examination of spring temperature distributions could give insights into how spatial variation in temperature affects the diversity and species richness of spring ecosystems.