George Veni

Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Nicholas Crawford, Albert Ogden, Ronald Dillawater

Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Eighty-nine caves and sinkholes were investigated in the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone in Bexar County, Texas. The study examined their hydrogeologic and topographic origins and distribution, relationships to major fracture traces, quantity of recharge into the aquifer and degree of sensitivity towards degradation of the aquifer’s water quality. Groundwater traces were attempted to determine aquifer flow routes, time of groundwater travel, groundwater volume within conduits, and the aquifer’s capacity for dilution and dispersion of recharged contaminants. Trends in water quality were examined to quantify the volume and variety of contaminants recharged into the aquifer and to determine the effects of urbanization upon the Edwards Aquifer. The Edwards recharge zone was hydrogeologically assessed to rate the sensitivity of its areas. Socio-political impacts on recharge zone development were also examined.

Based on the results of the above outlined research method, the conclusions of this investigation are that caves and sinkholes contribute substantial recharge into the Edwards Aquifer, rapidly transmit that recharge to the aquifer and are sensitive sites for potential contamination. The entire recharge zone was determined to be very sensitive to contamination. No significant differences were found between areas within the recharge zone to scale their degree of sensitivity. Major conduit flow networks were found to exist within the aquifer and their groundwater flow paths could be traced. Urban development of the Edwards recharge zone was shown to decrease the volume of recharge and degrade the aquifer’s water quality. No significant detrimental effects on the aquifer were observed. The volume of diminished recharge and the concentration of recharged contaminants that were necessary to produce significant adverse effects on the aquifer were not determined due to lack of precipitation during the study period and inconclusive groundwater tracings. It was recommended that further development of the recharge zone be suspended until the effects of urbanization are quantified.


Earth Sciences | Environmental Sciences | Geology | Hydrology | Physical Sciences and Mathematics