Springs in Large System Not Flowing

Questions, techniques, gear, safety. Also visit the NSS Cave Diving Section.

Moderator: Moderators

Springs in Large System Not Flowing

Postby ken hill » Oct 26, 2006 7:36 am

This was in the Lakeland Ledger yesterday. Anyone have any first hand knowledge/comments. /Ken

Published Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Springs in Large System Not Flowing
Researchers don't know why water is no longer feeding into Spring Creek.

The Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE -- One of the largest spring systems in the state has stopped flowing into Spring Creek along the Panhandle Gulf Coast, and researchers are not sure why.

Normally, several springs feed water from underground into the creek, but researchers and area residents say the flow has stopped in recent months.

One theory that has been put forward is that a Sept. 10 earthquake in the Gulf of Mexico somehow collapsed caves through which water flows from the underground aquifer into the creek.

But some local residents say the flow stopped more than six months ago, long before the earthquake.

Harley Means of the Florida Geological Survey said researchers collecting water samples in June reported that one of the springs seemed to be sucking water out of the creek instead of feeding water into it. The springs are known to sometimes reverse flow at high tide.

The Geological Survey's Rodney DeHan said mining or drilling for construction could have caused a tunnel collapse, blocking water flow, but said that's unlikely because the underground system is thought to have a number of caves through which water can flow.

The state plans to begin a study on the springs that feed the creek, which could start early next year.

Information from the Tallahassee Democrat was used in this report.
ken hill
Occasional Poster
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Sep 8, 2005 8:17 pm
  

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Oct 27, 2006 9:46 am

Ken,

I don't have any first hand knowledge of this place, but I think the earthquake/collapsed tunnel hypothesis is not likely. A change or cease in flow in a karst system would be more likely to be caused by stream piracy or a new conduit being formed. The groundwater is always looking for the most efficient way to travel. That's how we end up with so many different passages in caves. I would think the researchers should look for increased flow in other area springs to discover where the water went. Although it could be coming out of a previously unknown opening.
Andy Armstrong
American Carbide Council
User avatar
Anonymous_Coward
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 892
Joined: Feb 3, 2006 1:40 pm
Location: Inside the Beehive
NSS #: 45993RL FE
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Paha Sapa Grotto
  

Postby hewhocaves » Oct 27, 2006 4:02 pm

yes.. we had a good chuckle about this story in Karst class today and hydro class today.

the "off the top of the head" theorey (i.e. without any data to support it) is to look and see if someone is overpumping water out of the aquifer.

john
The NSS and WNS: Cooperation, not confrontation.
User avatar
hewhocaves
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 716
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 9:43 pm
Location: Morgantown WV
Name: John Tudek
NSS #: 36021
Primary Grotto Affiliation: MonGrotto
  

Postby Teresa » Oct 27, 2006 7:50 pm

As a matter of fact, a number of 1st magnitude (in excess of 64,600,000 gallons of water daily) have stopped flowing on occasion in conjunction with sinkhole collapses nearby (documented by the USGS, too). They always resumed flowing within a few days, though it often took some time to return to their former flow levels.

I'm not sure that eq in the Gulf would cause such a collapse, but these Spring Creek springs have been known to function as estavelles, as well as emit saline water, according to the 1st Mag of Florida book. Two of the 14 Spring Creek springs are 1st magnitude.

The mere fact that the spring is sucking in water, though, means I agree with John, and I'd go looking for some big new online pump or well in the recharge area. Apparently, being an estuarial area, the rechage area is sort of hazy, so, I'd just do some circle searches of the county, since it is acting like it is in the drawdown cone of a well.

I don't understand why the karst and hydro classes thought this humorous...interesting I could understand, but what's so funny about a spring reversing itself? If they think it is funny now, after they graduate, the joke is going to be on them...
Teresa
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Dec 31, 2005 9:06 pm
  

Postby hewhocaves » Oct 28, 2006 9:15 am

the funny part is the earthquake idea - which is very, very unliklely, especially if it's diffuse flow, but even if its conduit flow.

the reversal is interesting, btw, but not terribly so. As you say, it's a known phenomenon.

The semipermanant reversal would, as my advisor puts it, make someone an excellent research thesis.
The NSS and WNS: Cooperation, not confrontation.
User avatar
hewhocaves
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 716
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 9:43 pm
Location: Morgantown WV
Name: John Tudek
NSS #: 36021
Primary Grotto Affiliation: MonGrotto
  

Postby Teresa » Oct 28, 2006 9:47 pm

hewhocaves wrote:the funny part is the earthquake idea - which is very, very unlikely, especially if it's diffuse flow, but even if its conduit flow.



I wouldn't laugh off the earthquake idea so quickly, especially since even distant earthquakes are reflected as spikes in groundwater levels.

Check out the hot spring and geyser activity changes as a result of the Aug 17, 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake at West Yellowstone Montana. These are documented. Hearsay evidence of groundwater changes as a result of the New Madrid 1811-1812 quakes is fairly ubiquitous...springs which started flowing and springs which stopped and never flowed again.

My incredulity is that a quake under the Gulf (unless just offshore to the spring) would cause changes over hundreds to a thousand miles, not that earthquakes could (and do) permanently interrupt spring supply passage.
Teresa
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Dec 31, 2005 9:06 pm
  

Postby hewhocaves » Oct 29, 2006 11:53 am

i dunno. the yellowstone seems an apples - oranges comparison because its thermal water at depth, not lateral flow in an aquifer.

and new madrid - yeah i've heard those stories too.. i mean the mississippi reversed flow. lets call that an extreme example, though and say that in more commonplace eruptions, its very very very unlikely.

i'm not saying that flow water is not going to be reduced, but for the size of the spring and the nature of karst to have it completely reversed (which would imply that the conduit is still open, btw, just flowing in the opposite direciton) seems illogical.

and then there's the point that they made where the reversal was noted before the quake. so after all, the quake is probably irrelevent.
The NSS and WNS: Cooperation, not confrontation.
User avatar
hewhocaves
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 716
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 9:43 pm
Location: Morgantown WV
Name: John Tudek
NSS #: 36021
Primary Grotto Affiliation: MonGrotto
  

Postby Teresa » Oct 29, 2006 1:01 pm

hewhocaves wrote:i dunno. the yellowstone seems an apples - oranges comparison because its thermal water at depth, not lateral flow in an aquifer.


Go read some literature on Yellowstone. The water isn't that deep at all--not any deeper than than the couple of hundred feet of most karst systems. Ground heat at very shallow depths in Yellowstone is very high.

and new madrid - yeah i've heard those stories too.. i mean the mississippi reversed flow. lets call that an extreme example, though and say that in more commonplace eruptions, its very very very unlikely.


I wasn't referring to the Mississippi, but to several karst springs in the region, where the Shawnee and Delaware Indians, and local settlers already there noted disturbances of Mammoth Spring, AR, Alley Spring and Blue Spring in Mo., as well as smaller local springs along the Ozark/Mississippi Embayment scarp-- not to mention a change in local groundwater distribution (swamps vs dry land) as the result of fissuring , sandblows or creation of grabens or horsts.

i'm not saying that flow water is not going to be reduced, but for the size of the spring and the nature of karst to have it completely reversed (which would imply that the conduit is still open, btw, just flowing in the opposite direciton) seems illogical.


In order to speak knowledgeably about the Florida situation, once would have to have some groundwater maps, as well as access to the water quality/quantity records on the Spring Creek area. Since this is an estuarial area (likely freshwater lenses over salt water intrusions) one would have to take into consideration the dynamics of water/water relationship, as well as subsurface soil and rock composition. This sounds like what the FL Geo Survey people will be up to come spring.

and then there's the point that they made where the reversal was noted before the quake. so after all, the quake is probably irrelevent.


If you look at the typical horizontal cross section of an estavelle system, subsurface collapse due to an earthquake, it could be very relevant to the functioning of that system. If, for example, an underground reservoir were catastrophically drained due to the opening of a fissure below it, and it no longer held water which backed up and fed the spring, the spring would cease to flow, or it could open a resurgence elsewhere. Springs migrate downslope all the time. Sounds like a dye injection into the spring in question is in order to see where the water is going.
Teresa
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Dec 31, 2005 9:06 pm
  

Postby hewhocaves » Oct 29, 2006 5:44 pm

ah.. i see what you're saying (in the last bit) and yeah, i can go with that.

i suspect that that's not what the locals implied, though. but then again, im a bitter, cynical 34 old man of 34. (LOL), so no one should pay attention to me.

but as you say, it would have to be contemporary with the earthquake and quite close. this fits neither.
The NSS and WNS: Cooperation, not confrontation.
User avatar
hewhocaves
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 716
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 9:43 pm
Location: Morgantown WV
Name: John Tudek
NSS #: 36021
Primary Grotto Affiliation: MonGrotto
  


Return to Cave Diving Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users