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Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Mick Whitelaw

Committee Members

Ingrid Luffman, Arpita Nandi


Groundwater flow through fractured karst conduit systems can be complex and difficult to diagnose. This project explores the role of geologic structures that influence the location of recharge points, flow paths, velocities, and discharge locations within Morrell Cave and at the resurgence of Morrell Spring, both of which are located near the city of Bluff City, TN. Understanding of the groundwater sources and flow paths in the Bluff City area will allow future researchers to more readily identify sources of pollution and better resolve local agricultural well drawdown conflicts among residents. The objectives of this project are to: 1) identify the active allogenic recharge sources of Morrell Spring, the largest known spring in the Bluff City area; 2) delineate a springshed for Morrell Spring and; 3) diagnose the structural controls for groundwater flow paths to Morrell Spring. It was found that surface streams flowing across the Sevier Shale on the northern slope of Holston Mountain enter the subsurface karst system through swallets along the Sevier shale and the Jonesboro Limestone contact. Once underground the water flows to the NW following 2 dominant joint sets until it reaches the NE/SW oriented fault line along which Morrell Cave has formed. Upon entering the cave the groundwater flows to the NE to Morrell Spring and into the South Fork Holston River.

Document Type

Thesis - restricted


Copyright by the authors.