April 10, 2018

Gresham, Smith and Partners is proud to announce that Randy Curtis, P.G., a senior geologist in the firm’s Water + Environment market, will present at the 27th Annual Tennessee Water Resources Symposium on April 12 in Burns, Tenn. Curtis will present a case study on research conducted in Lost Creek Cave, discussing temperature variations in karstic cave microenvironments.

Gresham, Smith and Partners is proud to announce that Randy Curtis, P.G., a senior geologist in the firm’s Water + Environment market, will present at the 27th Annual Tennessee Water Resources Symposium on April 12 in Burns, Tenn. Curtis will present a case study on research conducted in Lost Creek Cave, discussing temperature variations in karstic cave microenvironments.

“The Tennessee Water Resources Symposium is a great opportunity to discuss the potential connection between climate and water-related erosion,” commented Curtis. “I look forward to presenting our research on temperature variations at Lost Creek Cave in the Lost Creek State Natural Area. As we learn more about the environment inside caves, we can better evaluate potential impacts of temperature on karst settings.”

Basic Temperature Variation in Karst Microenvironments in the Lost Creek State Natural Area
Presentation by Randy Curtis, P.G.

Lost Creek State Natural Area is situated on the western flank of Middle Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau where surface drainage transitions to the Highland Rim. The area is home to Lost Creek Falls, where water appears from underground and flows as a stream for approximately 100 yards before pummeling over the Hartselle Formation, falling 40-feet into a pool and disappearing underground again. The water then forms another waterfall in the very bottom of Lost Creek Cave, one of the largest caves in Tennessee with at least four entrances and seven-miles of mapped passages.

During periods of heavy rainfall, the high volume of water overflows the cave’s main opening. The resulting condensation was suspected to be contributing to limestone erosion. Under a research permit granted by the Tennessee Division of Natural Area, Curtis deployed underwater data loggers in the sink, cave and spring environments to continuously record air and water temperatures in the karst area. The data was then used to evaluate the Powell and Vermette Equation, a calculation used to measure American cave temperatures.

In this presentation, Curtis will walk attendees through the data collected in Lost Creek Cave, emphasizing how relatively cheap, unobtrusive methodology can be used to evaluate stormwater and recharge impacts in karstic cave and sink microenvironments.