Geomorphology and hydrology of karst drainage basins and cave channel networks in east central New York


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Publication Date

October 1972


Surface water in the karst drainage basins of east central New York is collected by swallow holes on upland surfaces. Free surface streams, flowing through meandering cave conduits, provide links between the upland surface catchments and large karst springs draining into the major river valleys. Flow through the conduits fluctuates markedly with surface runoff. Mean velocities of 0.5 ft/sec were determined during a period of rapid snowmelt by dye tests. The cave conduits form an integral part of a drainage organization characterized by Horton's hierarchy stream numbers, lengths, and drainage areas. The conduits, the highest‐order streams in the hierarchy, have meandering reaches with wavelengths directly related to up‐stream drainage area and contributed runoff. Both the morphology of the cave channels and the hydrology of the karst drainage basins are strikingly similar to those observed in surface water stream systems.

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Water Resources Research, Vol. 9, no. 3 (1972-10-02).