Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Chris Groves, Michael May, Eric Conte, James Baichtal


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Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science


The dissolution kinetics of limestone have been studied in depth in laboratory settings and under some situations in the field. However, little has been studied about how organic acids affect the dissolution of limestone. In accordance with the Tongass Land Management Plan, one of the research priorities for National Forest is to define a relationship between peatlands and karst development. The Tongass National Forest is underlain by extensive areas of carbonate bedrock, including extensive areas of the northern portion of Prince of Wales Island. The peatlands in the Tongass drain acidic waters into the karst. It was found that the carbonate karst system acts as a buffer for the highly acidic muskeg waters. Over the gradient of the karst system for this study, the pH increases from an average of 3.89 to 7.22 and the predicted dissolution rates drop from the insurgence to the resurgence. These rates were also correlated with a mineral weight loss experiment that was in agreement with these predicted rates. The potential for dissolution from the muskeg waters is the highest recorded for a natural karst system.


Geography | Social and Behavioral Sciences