Hydrogeology of Mammoth Cave National Park

Monday 7 May - 6:00 PM - Université de Liège - Dpt of Geography - Sart-Tilman - Bât 11 - parking P12

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ABSTRACT: Hydrogeology of Mammoth Cave National Park: Why is the World's Longest Known Cave Here?

 

Chris Groves, PhD (presenting author) and Autumn Turner, MS

Crawford Hydrology Laboratory - Western Kentucky University

 

South Central Kentucky's Mammoth Cave System, with a current known length of more than 650 kilometers, and still being explored, is the world's longest known cave. Another 300+ km of other passages are nearby. A "perfect storm" of hydrogeologic conditions for karst development occur here. These can be understood by analysis of a system of elements that include the rock type (lithologic element), the nature of the solvent (climatic element), the geometry of the incipient fracture network (the structural element), conditions resulting in the hydraulic gradient (the topographic element) and the one-way evolution of dissolution processes (the historic element). Other karst systems can also be analyzed through a similar framework, and results used to compare and contrast there properties.