Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Ingrid Luffman

Committee Members

Mick Whitelaw, Eileen Ernenwein


Groundwater tracing studies have shown a well-developed conduit system in the karst aquifer beneath the Buffalo Creek Watershed of Carter County, TN. Groundwater can quickly travel beneath topographic divides, transporting contaminants. Using GIS and field reconnaissance, two sites were selected for a two phase dye trace study. In May-June 2016 groundwater resurgences were located using activated carbon samplers, and in October-December 2016 flow velocities were measured using ISCO automatic water samplers. In study 1, a stream sinking in the back of Carter Saltpeter Cave was traced to its resurgence at Cave Springs Cave. In study 2, the dye mass centroid passed the resurgence 23.2 hours after injection. During study 1, dye injected into a sinkhole near the headwaters of Toll Branch rapidly diffused into multiple conduits. In study 2, dye from the Toll Branch site was not recovered, indicating that groundwater follows different flow paths dependent on water table level.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.