Springflow Hydrographs: Eogenetic vs. Telogenetic Karst

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Matrix permeability in the range of 10−11 to 10−14 m2 characterizes eogenetic karst, where limestones have not been deeply buried. In contrast, limestones of postburial, telogenetic karst have matrix permeabilities on the order of 10−15 to 10−20 m2. Is this difference in matrix permeability paralleled by a difference in the behavior of springs draining eogenetic and telogenetic karst? Log Q/Qmin flow duration curves from 11 eogenetic-karst springs in Florida and 12 telogenetic-karst springs in Missouri, Kentucky, and Switzerland, plot in different fields because of the disparate slopes of the curves. The substantially lower flow variability in eogenetic-karst springs, which results in the steeper slopes of their flow duration curves, also makes for a strong contrast in patterns (e.g., “flashiness”) between the eogenetic-karst and telogenetic-karst spring hydrographs. With respect to both spring hydrographs and the flow duration curves derived from them, the eogenetic-karst springs of Florida are more like basalt springs of Idaho than the telogenetic-karst springs of the study. From time-series analyses on discharge records for 31 springs and published time-series results for 28 additional sites spanning 11 countries, we conclude that (1) the ratio of maximum to mean (Qmax/Qmean) discharge is less in springs of eogenetic karst than springs of telogenetic karst; (2) aquifer inertia (system memory) is larger in eogenetic karst; (3) eogenetic-karst aquifers take longer to respond to input signals; and (4) high-frequency events affect discharge less in eogenetic karst. All four of these results are consistent with the hypothesis that accessible storage is larger in eogenetic-karst aquifers than in telogenetic-karst aquifers.

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Groundwater, v. 44, issue 3, p. 352-361

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