U.S. Geological Survey Karst Interest Group Proceedings, San Antonio, Texas, May 16–18, 2017

Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5023
Prepared in cooperation with the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Texas at San Antonio and hosted by the Student Geological Society and student chapters of the Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Association of Engineering Geologists
Edited by: Eve L. Kuniansky and Lawrence E. Spangler


Introduction and Acknowledgments

Karst aquifer systems are present throughout parts of the United States and some of its territories, and have developed in carbonate rocks (primarily limestone and dolomite) and evaporites (gypsum, anhydrite, and halite) that span an interval of time encompassing more than 550 million years. The depositional environments, diagenetic processes, post-depositional tectonic events, and geochemical weathering processes that form karst aquifers are varied and complex. These factors involve biological, chemical, and physical changes that when combined with the diverse climatic regimes in which karst development has taken place, result in the unique dual- or triple-porosity nature of karst aquifers. These complex hydrogeologic systems typically represent challenging and unique conditions to scientists attempting to study groundwater flow and contaminant transport in these terrains.

The dissolution of carbonate rocks and the subsequent development of distinct and beautiful landscapes, caverns, and springs have resulted in the most exceptional karst areas being designated as national or state parks. Tens of thousands of similar areas in the United States have been developed into commercial caverns and known privately owned caves. Both public and private properties provide access for scientists to study the flow of groundwater in situ. Likewise, the range and complexity of landforms and groundwater flow systems associated with karst terrains are enormous, perhaps more than for any other aquifer type. Karst aquifers and landscapes that form in tropical areas, such as the cockpit karst along the north coast of Puerto Rico, differ greatly from karst landforms in more arid climates, such as the Edwards Plateau in west-central Texas or the Guadalupe Mountains near Carlsbad, New Mexico, where hypogenic processes have played a major role in speleogenesis. Many of these public and private lands also contain unique flora and fauna associated with these karst hydrogeologic systems. As a result, numerous federal, state, and local agencies have a strong interest in the study of karst terrains.

Many of the major springs and aquifers in the United States have developed in carbonate rocks, such as the Floridan aquifer system in Florida and parts of Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina; the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system in parts of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma; and the Edwards-Trinity aquifer system in west-central Texas. These aquifers, and the springs that discharge from them, serve as major water-supply sources and form unique ecological habitats. Competition for the water resources of karst aquifers is common, and urban development and the lack of attenuation of contaminants in karst areas due to dissolution features that form direct pathways into karst aquifers can impact the ecosystem and water quality associated with these aquifers.

The concept for developing a platform for interaction among scientists within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) working on karst-related studies evolved from the November 1999 National Groundwater Meeting of the USGS. As a result, the Karst Interest Group (KIG) was formed in 2000. The KIG is a loose-knit, grass-roots organization of USGS and non-USGS scientists and researchers devoted to fostering better communication among scientists working on, or interested in, karst science. The primary mission of the KIG is to encourage and support interdisciplinary collaboration and technology transfer among scientists working in karst areas. Additionally, the KIG encourages collaborative studies between the different mission areas of the USGS as well as with other federal and state agencies, and with researchers from academia and institutes.

To accomplish its mission, the KIG has organized a series of workshops that have been held near nationally important karst areas. To date (2017) seven KIG workshops, including the workshop documented in this report, have been held. The workshops typically include oral and poster sessions on selected karst-related topics and research, as well as field trips to local karst areas. To increase non-USGS participation an effort was made for the workshops to be held at a university or institute beginning with the fourth workshop. Proceedings of the workshops are published by the USGS and are available online at the USGS publications warehouse https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/ by using the search term “karst interest group.”

The first KIG workshop was held in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 2001, in the vicinity of the large springs and other karst features of the Floridan aquifer system. The second KIG workshop was held in 2002, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, in proximity to the carbonate aquifers of the northern Shenandoah Valley, and highlighted an invited presentation on karst literature by the late Barry F. Beck of P.E. LaMoreaux and Associates. The third KIG workshop was held in 2005, in Rapid City, South Dakota, near evaporite karst features in limestones of the Madison Group in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Rapid City KIG workshop included field trips to Wind Cave National Park and Jewel Cave National Monument, and featured a presentation by Thomas Casadevall, then USGS Central Region Director, on the status of Earth science at the USGS.

The fourth KIG workshop in 2008 was hosted by the Hoffman Environmental Research Institute and Center for Cave and Karst Studies at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, near Mammoth Cave National Park and karst features of the Chester Upland and Pennyroyal Plateau. The workshop featured a late-night field trip into Mammoth Cave led by Rickard Toomey and Rick Olsen, National Park Service. The fifth KIG workshop in 2011 was a joint meeting of the USGS KIG and University of Arkansas HydroDays, hosted by the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The workshop featured an outstanding field trip to the unique karst terrain along the Buffalo National River in the southern Ozarks, and a keynote presentation on paleokarst in the United States was delivered by Art and Peggy Palmer. The sixth KIG workshop was hosted by the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI) in 2014, in Carlsbad, New Mexico. George Veni, Director of the NCKRI, served as a co-chair of the workshop with Eve Kuniansky of the USGS. The workshop featured speaker Dr. Penelope Boston, Director of Cave and Karst Studies at New Mexico Tech, Socorro, and Academic Director at the NCKRI, who addressed the future of karst research. The field trip on evaporite karst of the lower Pecos Valley was led by Lewis Land (NCKRI karst hydrologist), and the field trip on the geology of Carlsbad Caverns National Park was led by George Veni.

This current seventh KIG workshop is being held in San Antonio at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). This 2017 workshop is being hosted by the Department of Geological Sciences’ Student Geological Society (SGS), and student chapters of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) and Association of Engineering Geologists (AEG), with support by the UTSA Department of Geological Sciences and Center for Water Research. The UTSA student chapter presidents, Jose Silvestre (SGS), John Cooper (AAPG), and Tyler Mead (AEG) serve as co-chairs of the 2017 workshop with Eve Kuniansky of the USGS. The technical session committee is chaired by Eve Kuniansky, USGS, and includes Michael Bradley, Tom Byl, Rebecca Lambert, John Lane, and James Kaufmann, all USGS, and Patrick Tucci, retired USGS. The logistics committee includes Amy Clark, Yongli Gao, and Lance Lambert (Department Chair), UTSA Department of Geological Sciences; and Ryan Banta and Allan Clark, USGS, San Antonio, Texas. The field trip committee is chaired by Allan Clark and includes Amy Clark, Yongli Gao, and Keith Muehlestein, UTSA; Marcus Gary, Edwards Aquifer Authority and University of Texas at Austin; Ron Green, Southwest Research Institute; Geary Schindel, Edwards Aquifer Authority; and George Veni, NCKRI. Additionally, two organizations have assisted the UTSA student chapters in hosting the meeting by donating funds to the chapters: the Edwards Aquifer Authority, San Antonio, Texas, and the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Authority, Austin, Texas. Additionally, Yongli Gao, Center for Water Research and Department of Geological Sciences, UTSA, helped develop sessions on cave and karst research in China for this workshop. These proceedings could not have been accomplished without the assistance of Lawrence E. Spangler as co-editor who not only has subject matter expertise, but also serves as an editor with the USGS Science Publishing Network. We sincerely hope that this workshop continues to promote future collaboration among scientists of varied and diverse backgrounds, and improves our understanding of karst aquifer systems in the United States and its territories.

The extended abstracts of USGS authors were peer reviewed and approved for publication by the USGS. Articles submitted by university researchers and other federal and state agencies did not go through the formal USGS peer review and approval process, and therefore may not adhere to USGS editorial standards or stratigraphic nomenclature. However, all articles had a minimum of two peer reviews and were edited for consistency of appearance in the proceedings. The use of trade, firm or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. The USGS Water Availability and Use Science Program funded the publication costs of the proceedings.

Suggested Citation

Kuniansky, E.L., and Spangler, L.E., eds., 2017, U.S. Geological Survey Karst Interest Group Proceedings, San Antonio, Texas, May 16–18, 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5023, 245 p., http://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175023.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Introduction and Acknowledgments
  • Agenda U.S. Geological Survey Karst Interest Group Workshop
  • Karst Science: A National and International Review and Status Report
  • A Multi-Disciplined Approach to Understanding and Managing Shared Karst Landscapes
  • Methodology for Calculating Probability, Protection, and Precipitation Factors of the P3 Method for Karst  Aquifer Vulnerability
  • Methodology for Calculating Karst Watershed Nitrogen Inputs and Developing a SWAT Model
  • Attenuation of Acid Rock Drainage with a Sequential Injection of Compounds to Reverse Biologically Mediated Pyrite Oxidation in the Chattanooga Shale in Tennessee
  • A GIS-Based Compilation of Spring Locations and Geochemical Parameters in the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) Region
  • Hydrogeophysical Investigations in the Upper Arbuckle Group on the Tishomingo Anticline in the Central Arbuckle Mountains of Southern Oklahoma
  • Karst Aquifer Characteristics in a Public-Supply Well Field Near Elizabethtown, Kentucky
  • A Review of Recent Karst Research in the China Geological Survey
  • Intra-Annual Variations of Soil CO2 and Drip-Water Chemistry in Shihua Cave, Beijing, China and Their Implications for the Formation of Annual Laminae in Stalagmites
  • The Chemical and Stable Isotopic Characteristics of Heilongtan Springs, Kunming, China
  • Formation Mechanisms of Extremely Large Sinkhole Collapses in Laibin, Guangxi, China
  • Timescales of Groundwater Quality Change in Karst Groundwater: Edwards Aquifer, South-Central Texas
  • Estimating Recharge to the Edwards Aquifer, South-Central, Texas—Current (2017) Methods and Introduction of an Automated Method Using the Python Scripting Language
  • Geologic Framework and Hydrostratigraphy of the Edwards and Trinity Aquifers Within Northern Bexar and Comal Counties, Texas
  • Aromatic-Ring Biodegradation in Soils From a Crude Oil Spill on Clear Creek, Obed Wild and Scenic River National Park, Tennessee 
  • Investigating Microbial Response to Fertilizer Application From Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Located on Karst Aquifers in Northern Arkansas
  • Evidence for Karst-Influenced Cross-Formational Fluid Bypass of a Dolomite Unit at the Top of the Oldsmar Formation in the Lower Floridan Aquifer, Southeast Florida
  • Collapse of the Devonian Prairie Evaporite Karst in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin: Structuration of the Overlying Cretaceous Athabasca Oil Sands and Regional Flow System Reversal by Subglacial Meltwater
  • Tufa and Water Radiogenic Geochemistry and Tufa Ages for Two Karst Aquifers in the Buffalo National River Region, Northern Arkansas 
  • Isotopic Constraints on Middle Pleistocene Cave Evolution, Paleohydrologic Flow, and Environmental Conditions  From Fitton Cave Speleothems, Buffalo National River, Arkansas
  • Speleogenetic, Tectonic, and Sedimentologic Controls on Regional Karst Aquifers in the Southern Ozarks of the Midcontinent U.S., and Potential Problems at Site-Specific Scales From Aquifer Lumping
  • Geologic Context of Large Karst Springs and Caves in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Missouri
  • Utilizing Fluorescent Dyes to Identify Meaningful Water-Quality Sampling Locations and Enhance Understanding of Groundwater Flow Near a Hog CAFO on Mantled Karst, Buffalo National River, Southern Ozarks
  • Using Quantitative Tracer Studies to Evaluate the Connection Between the Surface and Subsurface at  Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
  • Stalagmite δ13C and δ18O Records for the Past 130,000 Years From the Eastern Edge of the Chinese Loess  Plateau (CLP): Responses of the CLP as a Carbon Sink to Climate Change
  • Hydrogeochemical Characteristics of Precipitation and Cave Drip Water in Zhenzhu Cave, North China 
  • High-Resolution Summer Monsoon Intensity Variations in Central China From 26,000 to 11,000 Years Before Present as Revealed by Stalagmite Oxygen Isotope Ratios
  • Controls on the Oxygen Isotopic Variability of Meteoric Precipitation, Drip Water, and Calcite Deposition at Baojinggong Cave and Shihua Cave, China
  • Use of Seismic-Reflection and Multibeam-Bathymetry Data to Investigate the Origin of Seafloor Depressions on the Southeastern Florida Platform
  • Characterization of Microkarst Capping Lower Eocene High-Frequency Carbonate Cycles, Southeast Florida
  • Overview of the Revised Hydrogeologic Framework of the Floridan Aquifer System, Florida and Parts of Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina
  • Numerical Simulation of Karst Groundwater Flow at the Laboratory Scale
  • Hydrograph Recession Curve Analysis to Identify Flow Regimes in Karst Systems
  • Surface-Water and Groundwater Interactions in the Upper Cibolo Creek Watershed, Kendall County, Texas
  • An Integrated Outcrop and Subsurface Study of the Late Cretaceous Austin Group in Bexar County, Texas
  • Microbial Indicators and Aerobic Endospores in the Edwards Aquifer, South-Central Texas
  • Onset, Development, and Demise of a Rudist Patch Reef in the Albian Glen Rose Formation of Central Texas
  • Environmental Reconstruction of an Albian Dinosaurs Track-Bearing Interval in Central Texas 
  • Field Trip Guide Book for USGS Karst Interest Group Workshop, 2017: The Multiple Facets of Karst Research Within the Edwards and Trinity Aquifers, South-Central Texas
  • Contents for Karst Interest Group Field Trip Guide
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title U.S. Geological Survey Karst Interest Group Proceedings, San Antonio, Texas, May 16–18, 2017
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2017-5023
DOI 10.3133/sir20175023
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Office of the Associate Director for Water
Description iv, 245 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details