The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 44 Number 1: 6-10 - January 1982

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Karst Denudation Rates for Selected Spring Basins in West Virginia
Albert E. Ogden


Karst denudation rates were calculated for 3 spring basins of the central Monroe County karst, West Virginia. Denudation rates were determined by an indirect method that utilizes water hardness, spring discharge, and basin area. The springs were sampled approximately every 2 weeks for 1 year. A variable termed the "carbonate leaching rate" (gms CaCO/sec) was calculated for each sampling period from the total harness and discharge data. The mean carbonate leaching rate is believed to reflect more accurately the amount of rock leaving the basin than the mean hardness and total discharge. The denudation rate (D, mm/1000 yrs-km2) was then calculated from the Mean carbonate leaching rate (L) multiplied by a constant (C) to convert from gms CaCO3/sec to mm CaCO3/1000 years, and divided by the bulk density (p) of the limestone and the basin area (A) in limestone. D=LC/pA. The denudation rates for the springs are as follows: 1) Dickson Spring - 22.6, Water's Spring - 22.3, and Cold Spring - 19.0 mm/1000 yrs-km2.

Differences among denudation rates of the basins may be related to differences as flow type (phreatic vs vadose), flow-through time, amount of diffuse contribution to the system, climate, and/or the amount of bedrock exposed within the basin. From the work of others, these calculated values are within the expected range for a humid-temperate climate.

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