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Karst Studies

Karst features are important in understanding surface water-groundwater interactions. Karst features include sinks, seeps, swallets and springs. Research in this area includes identifying recharge and discharge areas; investigating groundwater contribution to surface water via springs and seeps, including seepage of groundwater in coastal zones; support data collection and modeling efforts that address karst hydrogeologic settings; and quantify interactions for re

gulatory purposes. Recent FGS projects in this research area include:

Middle Suwannee Basin Spring Recharge Area Delineation

Alapaha River Swallets Dye Trace

FWC/DEP-FGS Big Bend Wildlife Management Areas Spring Inventory


Middle Suwannee Basin Spring Recharge Area Delineation

Contact: Scott Barrett Dyer

The study included performing dye traces at F

almouth Spring and in the Little River Trace and installing flowmeters in four springs. The dye tracing established conduit connections between Falmouth Spring and Ellaville, Suwannacoochee, Lime Springs, and Lime Sink Run. The two dyes introduced into swallets in the Little River Trace established conduit connections between Mearson, Troy, and Little River Springs. Both traces showed the Suwannee River is not a potentiometric divide. Data from flowmeters in Lafayette Blue, Peacock III, Convict, and Hornsby Springs documented spring reversals and siphoning of flow from Peacock I and II into Peacock III for periods of months in duration. From this study, potential areas of contribution to flow for the first-magnitude springs Falmouth, Lafayette Blue, and Troy Springs, and second-magnitude Peacock and Little River Springs were generated.

The Florida Geological Survey provided a final report on this study to the Suwannee River Water Management District, and it is available upon request.


Alapaha River Swallets Dye Trace

Contact: Scott Barrett Dyer

During summer 2016, two dye traces were performed in the lower Alapaha River basin.  Fluorescein (greenish-yellow) was introduced into Dead River Swallet, and Rhodamine WT (red) was introduced into Tiger Creek Swallet.  The dyes from both traces were detected at two common down-gradient sampling stations; the Alapaha Rise and the Holton Creek Rise.  Analytical data established line of sight velocities from Dead River Swallet to Alapaha Rise and Holton Creek Rise of 2.47 mi/day and 1.23 mi/day respectively. 

These concurrent traces revealed an interconnected conduit system in the Upper Floridan aquifer system in the Lower Alapaha River basin.  The traces established the Dead River and Tiger Creek Swallets are both directly connected to Alapaha Rise and Holton Creek Rise.  These traces demonstrated the highly transmissive characteristics of the unconfined shallow Upper Floridan aquifer system where enormous volumes of surface water and groundwater are readily exchanged at rapid velocities in short durations of time.

The Florida Geological Survey provided a final report on this study to the Suwannee River Water Management District, and it is available upon request.


FWC/FDEP-FGS Big Bend Wildlife Management Areas Spring Inventory

Contact: Scott Barrett Dyer

In winter 2017 the Florida Geological Survey (FGS) conducted a springs inventory pilot project on the Spring Creek Unit of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Big Bend Wildlife Management Area.  “Points of Interest (POI)” were identified using thermal imagery and aerial photography from plane and drone.  These technologies proved to be invaluable in reducing the extensive filed work in the wild and undeveloped coastal environment. 

In total, twenty-seven new springs and spring groups were cataloged on the Spring Creek Unit.  At each spring location, a general description of the spring was made, its discharge was visually estimated, photographs were taken, and field observations surrounding the spring site were made.  Field water quality parameters and water samples were obtained at eight springs. The water quality data indicated that half the springs sampled have a saline influence and are discharging a mix of fresh and marine waters.

Based on observations made during the project, there are likely many springs that were not discovered due to difficultly of access and spring discharge fluctuations.  The report for this study is available upon request.

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Last Modified:
January 30, 2020 - 8:50am

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