Research in Karst Hydrology

Dr. Madeline Schreiber

We have been investigating the controls on recharge and water quality in Great Valley type of karst.

Recharge in mantled sinkholes

Benjamin Schwartz, a former PhD student and now an assistant professor at Texas State, conducted a study on how recharge occurs through mantled sinkholes. To do this, he used a combination of time-domain reflectometry and differential electrical resistivity profiling to measure and image soil moisture in the soil of mantled sinkholes over time. The results of his work demonstate that these two geophysical methods can be used to characterize soil moisture in the unsaturated zone, and together provide a powerful tool for imaging recharge patterns.

Schwartz BF and ME Schreiber. 2009. Quantifying recharge in mantled sinkholes using ERT. Ground Water. 47(3): 370-381.

Schwartz BF, Schreiber ME, Yan T. 2008. Field-scale soil moisture quantification using electrical resistivity tomography. Journal of Hydrology 362(3-4): 234-246.

Schwartz BF, Schreiber ME, Pooler P, Rimstidt JD. 2008. New methods for obtaining accurate access-tube TDR moisture values: a tool for understanding vadose hydrology in deep and heterogeneous soil profiles. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 72(4): 917-930.

Role of epikarst in controlling recharge and water quality.

Jonathan Gerst (recent MS student), Heather Scott (VT undergrad), Benjamin Schwartz (Texas State), Dan Doctor (USGS), Dave Culver (American University), Janet Reid (Virginia Museum of Natural History) and Wil Orndorff (Virginia DCR) have been collecting time-series hydrologic, geochemical and biological data with the goal of examining how the epikarst stores water and how it impacts water quality. To do this, we have instrumented monitoring stations at three cave drip sites, the cave stream, and a surface station to collect precip/drip rates, geochemical parameters in drip waters (pH, temp, SC, DO, ORP), and periodic samples of cations/anions/alkalinity/DIC/DOC and O/H and C isotopes, and drip biology.

Scott, H, Schreiber, ME, Schwartz, BF, Orndorff, WD. Spatial and temporal patterns of temperature at James Cave, Virginia. Southeastern Section of the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, 2011, Wilmington, NC.

Gerst, J, Schwartz, BF, Schreiber, ME, Doctor, DH. Epikarst role in controlling the quality of karst aquifer recharge. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, 2009, Portland, OR.

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