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FEBRUARY 13-16, 2001

Eve L. Kuniansky, editor

U.S. Geological Survey
Water-Resources Investigations Report 01-4011

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Karst aquifer systems occur throughout the United States and it's territories. The complex depositional environments that form carbonate rocks combined with post-depositional tectonic events and the varied climate in which these rocks occur, result in unique systems. The dissolution of calcium carbonate and the subsequent development of distinct and beautiful landscapes, caverns, and springs has resulted in some karst areas of the United States being designated as National or State Parks and even commercial caverns. Karst aquifers and landscapes that form in tropical areas, such as the north coast of Puerto Rico differ greatly from karst areas in more arid climates, such as central Texas or South Dakota. Many of these public and private lands contain unique flora and fauna associated with the water. Thus, multiple Federal, state, and local agencies have an interest in the study of karst areas.

Carbonate sediments and rocks are composed of greater than 50 percent carbonate, CO3, and the predominant carbonate mineral is calcium carbonate or limestone, CaCO3. Unlike terrigenous clastic sedimentation, the depositional processes that produce carbonate rocks is complex as it involves both biological and physical processes. These depositional processes have a major impact on the development of permeability of the sediments. Additionally, carbonate minerals readily dissolve and precipitate depending on the chemistry of the water flowing through the rock, thus the study of both marine and meteoric diagenesis of carbonate sediments is multidisciplinary. Once the depositional environment and the subsequent diagenesis is understood, the dual porosity nature of karst aquifers presents challenges to scientists attempting to study ground-water flow and contaminant transport.

Many of the major springs and aquifers in the United States occur in carbonate rocks and karst areas. These aquifers and springs serve as major water supply sources and as unique habitats. Commonly, there is competition for the water resources of karst aquifers, and urban development in karst areas can impact the ecosystem and water quality of these aquifers.

During the November 1999, National Ground-Water Meeting of the U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Division, the idea for developing a Karst Interest Group evolved. As a result, he Karst Interest Group was formed in 2000. The Karst Interest Group is a loose-knit organization of U.S. Geological Survey employees devoted to fostering better communication among scientists working on, or interested in, karst hydrology studies.

The mission of the Karst Interest Group is to encourage and support interdisciplinary collaboration and technology transfer among U.S. Geological Survey scientists working in karst areas. Additionally, the Karst Interest Group encourages cooperative studies between the Water Resources Program Districts and National Research Program Offices, between the Water Resources Program Districts and other U.S. Geological Survey Biological Program Science Centers, Mapping Centers, or Geologic Program Research Centers, and between the U.S. Geological Survey and other Department of Interior Agencies, and University researchers.

These proceedings result from the first effort to bring together U.S. Geological Survey scientists with other Department of Interior scientists and managers and University researchers interested in karst hydrology. The presentations cover: karst ecosystems, natural resource development in karst areas, the geologic framework of karst sytems, aquifer hydraulics in karst systems, programs in the Department of Interior that involve karst, numerical modeling in karst, cave and spring species and habitats, geochemistry of karst systems, geophysical methods in karst, contaminant transport in karst, and tracers in karst.

The planning committee for this workshop was: Zelda C. Bailey, Alan W. Burns, Norman Grannemann, Eve L. Kuniansky, Randall C. Orndorff, Albert T. Rutledge, Ann B. Tihansky, Patrick Tucci, Peter W. Swarzenski, and Stephen J. Walsh. We sincerely hope that this workshop promotes future collaboration among scientists of varied educational backgrounds and improves of our understanding of karst systems in the United States and it's territories.

The extended abstracts of U.S. Geological Survey authors were reviewed and approved for publication by the U.S. Geological Survey. Articles submitted by University researchers and other Department of Interior Agencies did not go through the U.S. Geological Survey review process, and therefore may not adhere to our editorial standards or stratigraphic nomenclature. The use of trade names in any article does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The workshop and proceedings were sponsored by Bonnie A. McGregor, Eastern Regional Director, and co-hosted by Wanda C. Meeks, Southeastern Regional Hydrologist, and Lisa L. Robbins, Director of the Center for Coastal Geology, all of the U.S. Geological Survey. The assistance of Carolyn Casteel, U.S. Geological Survey, in the final proceedings layout and printing was invaluable.

Eve L. Kuniansky
Karst Interest Group Coordinator

In Eve L. Kuniansky, editor, 2001, U.S. Geological Survey Karst Interest Group Proceedings, U.S. Geological Survey Karst Interest Group Proceedings, St. Petersburg, Florida, February 13-16, 2001: USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 01-4011

The use of firm, trade, and brand names in this report is for identification purposes only and does not consitute endorsement by the U.S. Government.

For additonal information write to:

Regional Hydrologist
Southeast Regional Office
3850 Holcomb Bridge Road
Suite 160
Norcross, GA 30092
Copies of this report can be purchased from:

U.S. Geological Survey
Branch of Information Services
Denver Federal Center
Box 25286
Denver, CO 80225-0286

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