Weathering, geomorphic work, and karst landscape evolution in the Cave City groundwater basin, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
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Following the pioneering work of Wolman and Miller [Wolman, M.G., Miller, J.P., 1960. Magnitude and frequency of forces in geomorphic processes. J. Geol., 68, 54–74.] in evaluation of geomorphic work and the frequencies and magnitudes of forces that drive it, a large number of quantitative studies have focused on the evolution of fluvial systems and transport of clastic sediment. Less attention has been given to understanding frequencies and magnitudes of processes in rock weathering, including investigation of rates at which solutes are removed from landscapes under various flow distributions as an analog to Wolman and Miller's [Wolman, M.G., Miller, J.P., 1960. Magnitude and frequency of forces in geomorphic processes. J. Geol., 68, 54–74.] concept of geomorphic work. In this work, we use 1 year of high-resolution flow and chemical data to examine the work done in landscape evolution within and at the outlet of Kentucky's Cave City Basin, a well-developed karst landscape/aquifer system that drains about 25 km2. We consider both removal of solutes contributing to landscape denudation based on calcium mass flux as well as predicted dissolution rates of the conduit walls at the outlet of this basin based on limestone dissolution kinetics. Intense, short-duration events dominate. Storms that filled the Logsdon River conduit occurred <5% of the year but were responsible for 38% of the dissolved load leaving the system and from 63% to 100% of conduit growth for various scenarios of sediment influence. Landscape denudation is a linear function of the amount of water moving through the system, but conduit growth rates, and thus rates of recharge area evolution from fluvial to karst surface landscapes, depend both on the amount of water available and the distribution of precipitation.
Karst, Weathering, Geomorphic Work, Landscape Evolution, Mammoth Cave
Geomorphology, Vol. 67, no. 1,2 (2005).
Goves, Chris and Meiman, Joe, "Weathering, geomorphic work, and karst landscape evolution in the Cave City groundwater basin, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky" (2005). KIP Articles. 5716.