2015 Course Schedule
|Karst Hydrogeology of the Ozarks||June 1-7||Dr. Bob Lerch and Mr. Ben Miller|
|Cave Archaeology||June 1-6||Dr. George Crothers|
|Research Methods for Cave and Karst Science||July 18-22||Dr. Jason Polk|
Karst Hydrogeology of the Ozarks
The Ozarks ecoregion is one of the largest contiguous karst areas in the United States with over 100,000 km2 of karst terrain. Complex flow paths, extensive losing stream networks, large cave systems, and a variety of karst forming strata characterize the karst of this area. Some of the largest springs in the world are located in the Ozarks, as well as some of the longest distance dye traces used to delineate recharge areas for these springs. Beautifully decorated cave systems underlie the area, many of which are still incorporated into the modern-day hydrology. This course will examine the diversity amongst the various karst areas of the Ozarks, attempting to give participants an overview of the ongoing processes and features that control the hydrogeology of this region. The course will be "on-the-move" visiting a different karst area each day, varying by watershed, physiographic region, or geologic setting. Participants will be exposed to a variety of field methods utilized in understanding the complex hydrology found in this area, including dye tracing, stream gauging, cave mapping, geologic investigations, and geochemical analysis. This course will first meet in St. Louis, MO on June 1st at a pre-designated location (refer to the syllabus). Lodging accommodations are not included in the cost of this course. Since this course will take place in the Ozarks and not Mammoth Cave National Park, accommodation costs are expected to be higher than those accrued while staying at Hamilton Valley (~$20-25 per night for a double/triple occupancy). Once the final price participants will be expected to pay for accommodations is determined, this information will be made available on this website. You may request a single occupancy room if you are willing to pay full room costs, but you must alert the field studies program director of this request by the registration deadline on May 8, 2015.
Registration Options: Non-credit workshop, CEU, Graduate or undergraduate.
Instructor: Dr. Bob Lerch
Dr. Robert Lerch is a Research Soil Scientist with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service-Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research Unit in Columbia, MO. He received his Ph.D. in Soil Science from Colorado State University in 1991 and has been conducting field and laboratory research for over 23 years. Research experience includes the general area of contaminant fate and transport with emphasis on agricultural production impacts on water resources. Specific studies have encompassed regional-scale studies to identify key factors controlling watershed scale herbicide transport, long-term water quality monitoring studies, analytical methods development, and phytochemistry. Since 1999, he has conducted studies of contaminant transport and hydrogeology in several karst recharge areas within Missouri. Several of these research topics exemplify long-term, systems level research that has resulted in the creation of extensive water quality databases from field to regional scales. He has served on two EPA Scientific Advisory Panels dealing with the potential ecological effects of atrazine in streams and served as AssociateEditor for the Journal of Environmental Quality. His research is documented in 115 technical publications, including 60 peer-reviewed journal articles.
Instructor: Mr. Benjamin V. Miller
Mr. Benjamin V. Miller, M.S., is a hydrologic technician for the US Geological Survey at the Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Centerwhere he works with streams along the northern Cumberland Plateau. Prior to working at USGS Ben worked as an Environmental Research Specialist for the Hoffman Environmental Research Institute and the Crawford Hydrology Laboratory. At Hoffman, he led the Institute's field and laboratory crew in research with the US Department of Agriculture on agricultural impacts and contaminant transport in karst areas. Ben has also worked in a professional role in projects focusing on dye tracing, cave survey, cave restoration, and development of cave management plans working on international projects in Belize, China, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Slovenia. He is a prolific cave surveyor and documenter, working with both state and national caving organizations in the mapping of over 400 caves. Ben is a 2010 graduate of Western Kentucky University with a Master's Degree inHydrology and Geomorphology where his research focused on characterizing the Carroll Cave-Toronto Springs system, a complex distributary spring system in the central Missouri Ozarks. Prior to graduate school, Ben worked at Onondaga cave State Park in Leasburg, Missouri. Some of Ben's work while at Onondaga Cave included delineating recharge areas for Onondaga and Cathedral Caves, conducting cave restoration, and composing a cave management plan.
Research Methods for Cave and Karst Science Course Description
Participants will learn various methods and techniques for data collection, sampling, and equipment/instrumentation use in conducting research and/or collecting data in cave and karst settings. Covered topics will include setting up a sampling site, analytical techniques, data logger deployment and utilization, using software, processing data, QA/QC methods, and other related skills. The course will include everything from planning for high-resolution monitoring to taking single grab samples in the field and cover studying topics such as as groundwater contamination, hydrologic and geochemical monitoring, dripwater analysis, cave atmosphere measurements, speleothem and mineralogical analyses, sediment analysis, flora and fauna monitoring, study site security, and others. Software and hardware will include HOBO, YSI, Campbell Scientific, EcoWatch, SigmaPlot, HOBOWare, Marsh-McBirney, ISCO, Hach, and several others. Participants will visit existing research sites and work with the instrumentation and sampling to provide hands-on experience in conducting research in cave and karst settings.
Instructor: Dr. Jason Polk
Jason S. Polk, Ph.D. is the Director of the WKU Center for Water Resource Studies and HydroAnlaytical Lab, and an Assistant Professor of Geography and Geology at Western Kentucky University. He earned his doctorate degree from the University of South Florida in Geography and Environmental Science and Policy. Dr. Polk's current research investigates water resources and sustainability, isotope hydrology and geochemistry, karst resource management, and climate change in tropical/subtropical environments. He has been awarded over 50 grants for these research initiatives and published over 100 peer-reviewed papers and abstracts. Dr. Polk’s teaching and research experiences include Karst Environments, Geomorphology, Environmental Isotope Geochemistry, Hydrology, and others. Dr. Polk has won several teaching and research awards, is a Fellow of the National Speleological Society, and conducts research in various places all over the world, including the Caribbean, China, South America, and Europe. In addition, Dr. Polk has expertise in hydrologic monitoring, water quality and quantity assessment, including stormwater, drinking water, and wastewater, and isotope geochemistry. Dr. Polk serves as Faculty Advisor of the Green River Grotto Student Organization. He is an active member of the National Speleological Society, Geological Society of America (serves as 2nd Vice Chair of the Karst Division), American Geophysical Union, International Association of Hydrogeologists, and Association of American Geographers. Dr. Polk is also a Special Lecturer for the International Atomic Energy Agency. Dr. Polk also serves as Vice President of The Karst Conservancy, a non-profit land trust dedicated to the conservation, preservation, and education related to cave and karst landscapes throughout the United States. He also serves on the Advisory Board of The $100 Solution non-profit service learning organization.
Cave Archaeology Course Description
The Cave Archaeology course is an opportunity for graduate students, undergraduate students, and interested cavers to explore and learn about the multifaceted use of caves by people in prehistory and during historical times. Over the course of the week-long class, eight field trips are taken to various sites above and below ground. Five of these trips are to remote or deep cave locations and three of the trips are to cave entrances and rockshelters, linking the underground world to the environment above. Students learn about the many cave resources that were used by people in the past, such as chert, gypsum, mineral salts, and nitrates, and the technology of cave mineral mining. Caves are discussed as both natural features of the environment utilized by people in the past and as features with cosmological significance that were incorporated into native belief systems, including human burial sites, rock art, and other ritual uses.
Instructor: Dr. George Crothers
George Crothers is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis. Over the past 30 years, Crothers has worked extensively in cave sites in the Southeastern and Midwestern U.S. He is an associate editor for anthropology for the Journal of Cave and Karst Studies and Chief Scientist for the Cave Research Foundation.