GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 121-3
Presentation Time: 2:30 PM-6:30 PM


WOOTEN, Brynn1, FRANKS, Alexa1, SUMRALL, Jeanne Lambert2 and KAMBESIS, Patricia N.3, (1)Geosciences, Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS 67601, (2)Geosciences, Fort Hays State University, Tomanek Hall, 600 Park Street, Hays, KS 67601, (3)Center for Human Geoenvironmental Studies, Western Kentucky University, 1906 College Heights Blvd, Department of Geography & Geology, Bowling Green, KY 42127

In recent years Hidden River Cave near Horse Cave, Kentucky has experienced an increase in the severity and frequency of floods. Severe and frequent flooding can cause major impacts on the geology, ecosystem, and tourism aspects of the karst system and needs to be carefully monitored. Caves are natural conduits from dissolution and are permeable due to their geologic composition of carbonate rocks. The permeable aspects of caves allow for drainage, groundwater movement, and the creation of karst systems. The recent floods have caused a disruption to the cave's natural movement of water. Not only were the floods causing a disruption in the economy of Horse Cave, but also disturbances in the cave, the karst system, and the hydrology as well (Osborne 2017; Quinlan and Rowe 1977). It is hypothesized that changes in land use have played a major role in increased flooding in the region (Osborne 2018).

To determine the land use changes, historic maps were analyzed and georeferenced using ArcGIS and compared to modern maps to determine dramatic land use changes. Polygons were created that represent different and specific types of land use. These polygons were contrasted with one another in ArcGIS. The polygons underwent geospatial statistical computations to determine the change in their sizes over time. Geospatially measuring the polygon size differences helps to identify changes in land use localities, what types of changes are occurring, and the overall geographic change in regards to land use. In the final stage of this study, land use changes will be compared with the changes in meteorological events and local climatic changes. This will help to better determine the potential causes of the increased flooding.