Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science in Geoscience


This study examines the transport of atrazine, an herbicide used in Kentucky to control grassy and broad-leaf weeds in corn fields, on suspended sediments. Atrazine is a known carcinogen and endocrine disruptor and has been shown to be toxic at low environmental concentrations. Atrazine has the capacity to adsorb to soil particles, which in karst areas such as those found in south central Kentucky can be transported directly into the groundwater. Suspended sediments and water were collected from a well at the Hawkins River in Mammoth Cave National Park during a spring storm and tested for atrazine. Atrazine was found in concentrations exceeding 3 |ig/l in all of the sediment samples collected. Concentrations of atrazine in the cave stream's water were low, ranging from nondetectable traces to 0.1 (j.g/1. These results indicate that, in some cases, adsorption to sediments may be a major mechanism for atrazine transport in karst regions. The relatively high levels of atrazine present on the suspended sediments raise serious concerns, since this mode of transport has received little attention in karst environments.


Environmental Health and Protection | Geology | Hydrology