Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Jason Polk (chair), Pat Kambesis, Chris Groves, Nenad Maric

Degree Program

Department of Earth, Environmental, and Atmospheric Sciences

Degree Type

Master of Science


Increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations are correlated to rising global temperatures. Investigating the cumulative global carbon cycling processes is important to understand and quantify the global carbon cycle. By investigating basic geochemical parameters, EpCO2, DIC, and δ13CDIC, at four sites along Lost River Cave (LRC), in Bowling Green, Kentucky, concentrations, fluxes and sources of C dissolved in groundwater were determined. Urban karst groundwater systems, compared to more natural karst landscapes, typically exhibit widespread impervious, heat-absorbing surfaces, urban heat island effects, and increased anthropogenic groundwater inputs and localized CO2 emissions. Carbonate hydrogeochemical processes are highly dynamic and heavily influenced by surface conditions, making C flux in urban karst an important topic of research. This study presents a high-resolution, longitudinal investigation of the carbon flux in LRC from October, 2021 to May, 2022. The recharge area, percent of developed land cover, C flux, DIC species portions, and sources of DIC in groundwater samples were calculated. Results suggest that DIC increases longitudinally as CO2 is consumed from the system, with storm events creating pulses of increased CO2 and dissolution potential due to rapid urban inputs to the aquifer.


Chemistry | Earth Sciences | Environmental Chemistry | Environmental Monitoring | Environmental Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Speleology