Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Bethany T. Neilson


Bethany T. Neilson


Tianfang Xu


Dennis L. Newell


A primary objective of hydrological research is to anticipate the shifts in water supply due to climate change. These shifts are difficult to predict in karst areas like Logan Canyon because much of the water moves through large fractures and cave networks that transport groundwater quickly, but there are some groundwater fractions which move very slowly. Many studies in karst regions use spring dynamics to assess aquifer condition, but overlook other influences such as exchanges between a river and the underlying aquifer. In this study, we calculated the quantity and chemical makeup of these groundwater and surface water exchanges by measuring the flow and chemistry of all surface inputs (tributaries and springs) and losses (diversions) from the river. Based on this sampling and calculations that track all the ins and outs that occur over small river segments, groundwater exchanges were found to vary significantly throughout the river system. In some cases, groundwater inflows occurred in one segment and adjacent segments showed significant losses to the aquifer. Using the calculated chemistry of groundwater inflows to the river, we determined they are mostly comparable to springs sourced from fast-transporting karst networks. These findings suggest water supply in karst regions may be less resilient to extended periods of drought and multiple years of low snowpack relative to other groundwater aquifers because river discharge is mainly sourced from fracture and cave networks which drain quickly.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.