Dye Tracing in Big Creek Gorge
Our team consisted of Ben Miller (USGS), 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.