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2017 Karst Hydrogeology


Applied Karst Hydrogeology Summer Field Course

Applied Karst Hydrogeology is a field course that introduces the basics of karst hydrogeology with an emphasis on methods and techniques relevant to addressing environmental problems. Topics covered in daily presentations and discussion will include an introduction of the karst hydrogeology of the Mammoth Cave region, karst hydrology/aquifer systems, karst geochemistry, groundwater tracing and monitoring, near-surface geophysics, and applications of these methods to karst groundwater problems. Field exercises will include surface and cave trips with a particular focus on ‘hands-on’ instruction in qualitative and quantitative dye tracing, groundwater monitoring, and geophysics. This course will be held at the Cave Research Foundation’s Hamilton Valley Research Station near Mammoth Cave National Park and although fieldwork will focus in the Park area, discussion about urban karst environmental problems will include a field trip to nearby Bowling Green, Kentucky.

This course is available as a workshop or for credit (undergraduate or graduate). Participants must be in good physical condition to negotiate the cave passages and surface hikes which are a major component of this course. Students who take the course for credit will develop an independent research project in consultation with the instructors during the week, which must be completed by September 2017. Students are expected to arrive a Hamilton Valley Field Station for welcome the evening of June 11.

Highlighted Events:

Guest Speaker, Dr. Nicholas Crawford
Surface tour of Mammoth Cave Region
Scenic cave tour in Mammoth Cave National Park
Hidden River Cave and the American Cave Museum
National Corvette Museum: Corvette Cave-In

Class Schedule and Syllabus available here.







Applied Karst Hydrogeology Class Summer 2017 at Hidden River Cave, Kentucky.

CHL director Dr. Chris Groves discusses urban karst hazards with the class. Photo credit: Liz Thomas-Hook

Dr. Groves describes the geology of the Mammoth Cave region overlooking the sinkhole plain.

Dr. Thomas Brackman presents the Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) profile generated by students investigating sub-surface anomalies at Crumps Cave, Kentucky. Photo credit: Tony Canike



Rhodamine WT injection in Great Onxy Cave, Mammoth Cave National Park. Photo credit: Tony Canike

Fluorescein dye injection in sinking stream near Bransford Spring, Mammoth Cave National Park. Photo credit: Tony Canike









Students entering the Historic Entrance of Mammoth Cave for a night tour lead by Dr. Chris Groves. Photo credit: Tony Canike

Western Kentucky University alumni Brian Ham discusses the applications of dye tracing used in the Tennessee Karst Springs Initiative.






Students enter the cave at Pike Spring by kayak to exchange dye receptors. Photo credit: Liz Thomas-Hook

Students explore Cedar Sink in Mammoth Cave National Park during a surface tour of the region.

CHL Assistant Director, Lee Anne Bledsoe and student Charlie O’Connell wade Great Onyx Spring run to exchange dye receptors. Photo credit: Liz Thomas-Hook

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