Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Groundwater sensitivity (Ray and O'dell 1993 a) refers to the inherent ease with which groundwater can be contaminated based on hydrogeologic characteristics. We have developed digital methods for identifying areas of varying groundwater sensitivity for a ten county area of south-central Kentucky relevant to a scale of 1: 24,000. The study area includes extensive limestone karst sinkhole plains, with groundwater that is generally extremely sensitive to contamination. Digitally Vectorized Geologic Quadrangles (DVGQs) were combined with elevation data to both identify hydrogeologic groundwater sensitivity regions and to identify zones of "high risk runoff where contaminants could be transported in runoff from less sensitive to higher sensitivity (particularly karst) areas. This analysis was limited to existing, available digital data sources. While future work will fine-tune these maps with additional layers of data (soils for example) as digital data become available, using DVGQs this method is allowing a relatively rapid assessment of groundwater sensitivity for Kentucky at a larger scale than previously available.


Geology | Hydrology