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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #268760

Title: Identifying Source Mixing and Examining Water Chemistry Variations: The Carroll Cave - Toronto Springs System

item MILLER, B - Western Kentucky University
item Lerch, Robert
item GROVES, C - Western Kentucky University

Submitted to: National Speleological Society Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/10/2011
Publication Date: 7/18/2011
Citation: Miller, B.V., Lerch, R.N., Groves, C.G. 2011. Identifying Source Mixing and Examining Water Chemistry Variations: The Carroll Cave - Toronto Springs System [abstract]. National Speleological Society Annual Meeting, July 18-22, 2011, Glenwood Springs, Colorado. 35.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Located in the Missouri Ozarks, Carroll Cave is a dendritic stream cave system, formed in Ordivician Gasconade dolomite. In 2002, a new survey effort was launched under the auspices of the Carroll Cave Conservancy to provide a comprehensive map of the system. Since that time, 29.89 km of estimated passage length has been surveyed, including three separate drainage areas. In the fall of 2008, a groundwater dye tracing project was initiated to delineate the recharge area of Carroll Cave. The survey was critical to the success of the dye-tracing as it provided potential injection and charcoal monitoring sites and led to the discovery of a third drainage area, Confusion Creek, which was essential to obtaining an accurate delineation. For each of Carroll’s drainages, the results of the dye tracing showed that: Carroll River was recharged by localized epikarst drainage; Thunder River was recharged by flood water; and Confusion Creek was recharged by flood water and internal (sinkhole) drainage. Discharge from Thunder River and Confusion Creek were also positively traced to 10 springs at a distributary spring system known as Toronto Springs. As a result of this work, a preliminary recharge area of ~18.5 km2 has been delineated. Based on the recharge area, current land uses impacting the cave are dominated by pasture land and forests (98.5% of the area); typical threats to groundwater quality such as cropland, impervious surfaces, and industrial activities are currently at a minimum.