Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Chris Groves (Director), Dr. Robert N. Lerch, Dr. Jason Polk, Dr. Jun Yan

Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science


In karst areas relationships between activities occurring on the surface and the overall health of the subsurface environment are often highly interconnected. However, the complex nature of karst flow systems can often make identification of these connections difficult. Carroll Cave, a large stream cave system located in the central Missouri Ozarks, is known for its biological and speleological significance. A dye tracing project to delineate a Carroll Cave recharge area through dye tracing has identified an area of 18.5 km2 which contributes water to the cave. The water from Thunder River within Carroll Cave was positively traced to eight springs of the thirteen springs at a distributary spring system known as Toronto Springs. Through examination of the geochemistry of the individual springs, differences in water chemistry between the various outlets has become evident. Additional work with YSI Sonde dataloggers and consideration of carbonate chemistry relationships has sought to further define the variations in hydrochemical behavior, thus aiding in the discrimination potential spring sources. Primary sources thought to contribute water to the spring system include Carroll Cave and Wet Glaize Creek, with some minor influence from other losing streams in the vicinity. Seepage runs along Wet Glaize Creek have also identified major losing reaches, in close proximity to structural features, which may contribute water to Toronto Springs. Examination of the measured parameters and derived have identified that Carroll Cave and Wet Glaize Creek are the primary end members for Ca2+, Mg2+, HCO3-, specific conductance, and temperature. Using these parameters a two end member mixing model has been developed which describes the mixing zone setting at Toronto Springs and calculates the average proportions of flow contributions by the end members. By using a multi-proxy approach of dye tracing, seepage runs, and geochemistry for the individual springs, the source waters and pathways for the springs at Toronto Springs have been identified.


Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Monitoring | Natural Resources and Conservation | Water Resource Management