Karst Hydrogeology


Unless otherwise noted or titled, all courses are based out of Hamilton Valley Field Station, located on the border of Mammoth Cave National Park near Bowling Green, Kentucky. Please see the logistics tab for more information about preparing for your course and stay at Hamilton Valley Field Station.


We apologize for any inconvenience, but due to COVID-19 pandemic orders issued by Western Kentucky University and Governor Beshear of Kentucky, we are unable to offer any courses in June 2020. The safety of our instructors and course participants is of utmost importance to us. We hope we can soon return to a world free of COVID-19 concerns, but until then, we feel this is the best decision in the interest of everyone.

July 5-10, 2020

Karst Hydrogeology is a field course that introduces the basics of karst landscape/aquifer systems with an emphasis on methods and techniques relevant to addressing environmental problems as well as general research applications. Topics covered in daily presentations and discussion will include karst hydrogeology in the context of the Mammoth Cave region, groundwater tracing and monitoring, and applications of these methods to karst groundwater problems. Field exercises will include surface and cave trips with a particular focus on ‘hands-on’ instruction in qualitative and quantitative dye tracing and groundwater monitoring. This course will be held at the Cave Research Foundation’s Hamilton Valley Research Station near Mammoth Cave National Park and although fieldwork will focus in the Park area, discussion about urban karst environmental problems will include a field trip to nearby Horse Cave, Kentucky. This course is available as a workshop or for credit (undergraduate or graduate). Participants must be in good physical condition to negotiate the cave passages and surface hikes which are a major component of this course. Students who take the course for credit will develop an independent research project in consultation with the instructors during the week, which must be completed by August 2020.

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Chris Groves, PG

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Dr. Chris Groves is University Distinguished Professor of Hydrogeology at Western Kentucky University where he directs the Crawford Hydrology Lab. He received a PhD in Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, and has since developed an active international research program in hydrogeology, geochemistry and water resources, with karst fieldwork in 25 countries.  He has been particularly active in the extensive karst region of rural southwest China, having now made 39 trips there. In 2017 Groves received the International Cooperation in Science and Technology Award of the People’s Republic of China from President Xi Jinping, China’s highest award for foreign scientists, for “great contributions to China’s hydrogeology and karst geology fields.”

Groves has served as co-leader for several karst-related United Nations scientific programs, including the current project IGCP 661 “The Critical Zone in Karst Systems” through 2021. He also serves on the Governing Board and Academic Committee of the International Research Center on Karst under the auspices of UNESCO in Guilin China. He has served as an Associate Editor for Journal of Hydrology and Hydrogeology Journal, and has published in the field’s leading journals, including Groundwater, Water Resources Research, Journal of Hydrology, and Geomorphology.

For many years, Groves has studied and explored of the caves and surface landscapes in and around Mammoth Cave National Park. This has included service as an expedition leader, Member of the Board of Directors, and President of the Cave Research Foundation. He is a member of UNESCO’s Mammoth Cave Area Biosphere Reserve’s Advisory Council, and works to advance UNESCO science and conservation efforts in the US as a member of the Man in the Biosphere Program’s US Working Group. 


Ms. Lee Anne Bledsoe is the Assistant Director of the Crawford Hydrology Laboratory. During her ten years with CHL, she has worked on dye traces for groundwater basin mapping, effluent and sewer pipe break investigations, dam leaks, landfill expansions, determining groundwater flow routes from factories and quarries, and determining spring recharge areas for projects across the U.S. as well as China, Jamaica, and Brazil. She provides professional consultation and project management, as well as supervises all daily workings of the lab. Ms. Bledsoe also regularly leads training events, workshops, and webinars on groundwater investigations using fluorescent dyes.

Before joining the Crawford team, she worked for private research institutes and the National Park Service on water quality, hydrology, ecosystem restoration, and public health research projects. She is a Registered Sanitarian with the Department of Public Health for the State of Kentucky and is a certified onsite wastewater disposal inspector. Ms. Bledsoe received her B.A. in Environmental Science from Tusculum College and completed a M.S. in Geoscience at Western Kentucky University in Fall 2015. Her thesis work was a collaborative effort with the United States Army Corp of Engineers to investigate groundwater flow in the vicinity of Patoka Dam in Indiana to support dam safety risk assessment.