Hydrogeology of the Mammoth Cave Region: Why Is the World’s Largest Known Cave Here?
Friday, December 8, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Mammoth Cave system is the most extensive known cave on Earth. First explored more than 4,000 years ago, the cave has attracted all manner of spelunkers and scientists from around the world. Many fundamental ideas about karst landscapes and how they can be studied have been developed here by legends such as Art Palmer, Nick Crawford, Jim Quinlan, Will White, and others.
This field trip will explore the surface and subsurface landscapes of the region with an emphasis on (1) the hydrogeology of the Pennyroyal and Mammoth Cave plateaus and (2) how various elements of climate, geology, and landscape evolution have conspired in a “perfect storm” of karst development.
An exciting, recent development that will be examined is the breaching of Lock and Dam #6 on the Green River, which occurred in November 2016, rapidly lowering the local base level by some three meters in the western part of the cave system.
This field trip will synthesize the elements and processes of karst landscape development that have made one of the world’s iconic karst landscape/aquifer systems, and focus on analysis of contributions of the numerous karst science and exploration pioneers that have worked in the Mammoth Cave region, and how karst science has benefited from this work.
Please make sure to wear sturdy shoes and weather-appropriate clothing, as you will be hiking outdoors and in the cave. The cave trip will be about two miles total with several hundred steps. The cave will be about 56 degrees, so long pants and a sweater or jacket are also recommended.
The field trip price is $125 per person on/before November 3 and $175 thereafter.
Note that the field trip fee includes lunch, beverages, and cave tour.
You must register for Groundwater Week in order to register for this field trip.