North-Central Section - 50th Annual Meeting - 2016

Paper No. 4-8
Presentation Time: 10:45 AM


SMITH, Matthew D. and GOUZIE, Douglas R., Department of Geography, Geology & Planning, Missouri State University, 901 S. National, Springfield, MO 65897,

The midcontinent of the United States has thousands of documented caves. These caves contain cave sediments, which are the accumulation of biological, geological, and anthropological debris. At this time there is no known database for trace metals of cave sediments of the midcontinent United States. Considering that caves host a wide variety of life, it is important to create a database to examine potential effects of trace metals on cave systems. As documented by Doughty and Johnson (2012) there is a potential link to trace metals chemistry and cave life. Missouri alone has 900 plus species documented in the Missouri cave life database (Elliot, 2007), including several species classified as endangered or threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

This presentation reports the findings of 14 caves, with a broader study goal of publishing an open reference database of trace metals in cave sediments. In order to develop this baseline, samples were sent to the University of Arkansas Stable Isotope Lab and ALS Global for analysis for the following suite of metals: Al, As, B, Ba, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, La, Mg, Mn, Mo, Ni, P, Pb, S, Sr, V, and Zn.

Caves were selected using multiple factors which included: urban or rural cave drainage basins, host rock formation age, rock type, and other characteristic. This study is primarily anchored in the Mississippian aged and Ordovician aged carbonate rocks of Missouri. However, some samples were collected from Mississippian aged Limestone of Kentucky and the Permian aged Selenite of Oklahoma to establish a larger baseline database of the midcontinent.