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Applied Karst Hydrogeology

May 19-24, 2024

Unless otherwise noted, all courses are based out of Hamilton Valley Field Station, located on the border of Mammoth Cave National Park near Bowling Green, Kentucky. See Logistics page for more information.

Karst Hydrogeology is a field course that introduces the basic features and processes 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, particularly 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 Bowling Green and/or 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 2024.

Instructors: Dr. Chris Groves, PG

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Chris Groves 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. Groves has helped lead several United Nations scientific programs, including as co-Leader of Project IGCP661 “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. He served as Associate Editor of Hydrogeology Journal, and has published in the field’s leading journals including Groundwater, Water Resources Research, Journal of Hydrology, and Geomorphology. He is now University Distinguished Professor of Hydrogeology at WKU and Crawford Hydrology Lab Director. For many years, Groves has studied and explored caves and surface landscapes of Mammoth Cave National Park, including service as an expedition leader, Director, and President of the Cave Research Foundation.



Instructors: Lee Anne Bledsoe


Ms. Bledsoe is the Assistant Director of the Crawford Hydrology Laboratory. She provides project management, professional consultation on tracer test design, advises on hydrologic and water quality monitoring, oversees technical report writing, and supervises CHL staff and students. During her thirteen 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. Ms. Bledsoe serves as a technical advisor on undergraduate and graduate research at WKU and partner Universities, and leads dye-tracing workshops in the US and abroad. 


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 Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science from Tusculum College and Master of Science in Geoscience from Western Kentucky University. 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.

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