On Saturday (3/24/2018) I tagged along with the gang from Karst Springs Initiative (KSI) to provide assistance where needed, and to play paparazzi for their efforts to better understand the groundwater in Big Creek Gorge. In other words, I knew there would be some amazing photographic opportunities and I could geek out with like-minded people
Our team consisted of Ben Miller (USGS), Calla Goins (TTU), Zeke McKee (UCG), Lee Anne Bledsoe (Crawford Labs), and Hali Steinman (WKU) - in other words, an all-star cast.
Another group consisting of Joel Buckner, Bruce Robtoy, and Brian Ham injected dye into Schwoon Spring sink and Fall Creek sink while Kelly Smallwood and Jason Hardy (The Hardwoods) formed the final group and poured eosin in nearby Schoolhouse Creek.
My group had a few objectives. First we set receptors at the Granddaddy Sink where Big Creek goes underground. Receptors were also placed at a number up springs about a mile upstream from Granddaddy Sink. And finally we were pouring dye into the swallet at Ranger Falls.
The working hypothesis is that the dye will reappear at the springs between Granddaddy Sink and Ranger Falls. However, receptors were placed at other locations in order to develop a more clear idea of the subterranean flow paths and basins. Dye traces of karst areas can often be quite surprising with water moving between surface basins easily through the subsurface. Knowing the subsurface hydrology draws a more complete, and often very different picture of the environment.