Southeastern Section - 66th Annual Meeting - 2017

Paper No. 12-4
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM-5:00 PM


THOLEN, Jake Michael, Geosciences Department, Western Michigan University, 1903 W. Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, KAMBESIS, Patricia N., Center for Human-GeoEnvironmental Studies, Western Kentucky University, Department of Geography and Geology, Bowling Green, KY 42127, TOOMEY III, Rickard S., Mammoth Cave International Center for Science and Learning, P.O. Box 7, Mammoth Cave, KY 42259 and KEHEW, Alan E., Department of Geosciences, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008,

Establishing watershed boundaries is a critical stage in understanding the local water cycle. Drainage basins are typically identified by topographic divides; water flows to successively lower locations along the most direct path available. The karst terrain in Mammoth Cave National Park, however, presents additional challenges in identifying the boundaries of these basins. Underground drainages in the form of caves or conduits may not correspond with surface topography. These passages can redirect water far from the most immediate surface release.

A dye trace study is designed to confirm flow paths from the surface to springs along the Green River. Four surface sites were selected and injected with unique dyes. All known springs in the area were fixed with activated charcoal filters to monitor the re-emergence of dye after establishing background levels. Fluorescence analysis determine which dyes were detected in each spring.

This study seeks to establish the boundaries on a small drainage sub-basin near the Turnhole Bend area of Mammoth Cave National Park. This research will yield a higher level of resolution of hydrologic connectivity than the state-wide map from the Kentucky Geological Survey or the previous efforts of Mammoth Cave National Park.