Thomas Feeney

Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Nicholas C. Crawford, Ronald Dilamarter, Michael Trapasso

Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Sinkhole flooding on the urban karst area of Bowling Green, Kentucky, was studied by investigating past flood events in the South Sunrise/Media Drive Sinkhole. The actual flood levels of four floods were compared to levels calculated by an empirical runoff determination method. Outflow capacity tests and dye tracing revealed the nature of drainage within the karst depression.

The Soil Conservation Service runoff determination method and the three-hour maximum rainfall event were used to estimate the level of flooding. Three of the four flood events studied provided deviations between the actual and calculated flood levels of less than 0.26 feet (0.08 meters). The fourth event produced a deviation of 1.45 feet (0.44 meters) which was explained by the intense nature of the precipitation event.

Analysis of the data resulted in the conclusion that surface storm water runoff exceeded the outflow capacity of the sinkhole drains during all four flood events and that the peak flood elevations were not related to the level of the water table in the area. Evidence also suggested that drainage from the base of the South Sunrise/Media Drive Sinkhole occurs through interconnecting voids associated with a cave roof breakdown pile, and not through an efficient system of solution conduits.


Earth Sciences | Environmental Sciences | Geology | Hydrology | Natural Resources and Conservation | Physical Sciences and Mathematics