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Physical Geography Chapter 16 Notes

by: Ashley Trecartin

Physical Geography Chapter 16 Notes GEOG 110

Marketplace > Southwestern Michigan College > Science > GEOG 110 > Physical Geography Chapter 16 Notes
Ashley Trecartin

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Notes for chapter 16; Underground Water and Karst Landforms
Physical Geography
Mr. Thomas
Class Notes
physcial, geography, underground, Water, Karst, landforms, Chapter, 16
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ashley Trecartin on Thursday October 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to GEOG 110 at Southwestern Michigan College taught by Mr. Thomas in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Physical Geography in Science at Southwestern Michigan College.

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Date Created: 10/06/16
Chapter 16: Underground Water and Karst Landforms I. Nature of Underground Water A. Subsurface Water Zones and the Water Table 1. Subsurface water is a general term encompassing all water that lies  beneath Earth’s surface.  2. Water from precipitation, or meltwater from froze precipitation, that soaks into the ground does so by the process of infiltration.  3. Infiltration recharges, or replenishes or adds to, the amount of water in  subsurface locations.  4. Under conditions of moderate precipitation and good drainage, water  infiltrating into the ground first passes through a layer called the zone of  aeration, where pore spaces in the soil and rocks only rarely become  saturated.  5. Water will drain down due to gravity past the zone of aeration, to lower  levels by the process of percolation.  a. Water in the zone of aeration is known as soil water.  6. In the lowest levels (of which there are three), the opening in sediments  and rocks are filled with water which is in the zone of saturation is called  ground water.  7. The water table is a surface that marks the upper limit of the zone of  saturation.  8. Between the zone of aeration and the zone of saturation is the  intermediate zone, which is saturated during period of ample precipitation  but dry during intervals of low precipitation.  9. Drawing water from the subsurface faster than it can be replenished is  called water mining, ground water resources are limited and will not last  forever.  10. The base of most humid regions is from stream channels that lie below the water table. Water from the zone of saturation seeps into the channel  supplying the stream with base flow. This effluent condition, where ground water is seeping into a stream, keeps the stream flowing between rains or  during dry seasons.  11. Streams that receive water only in wet seasons, dry, influent periods these  streams lose water.  B. Groundwater Supply 1. Permeability expresses the relative ease with which water flows through  void spaces in Earth material.  2. An aquifer is a sequence of porous and permeable layers of sediment or  rock that acts as a storage medium and transmitter of water.  3. A rock layer that is relatively impermeable such as slate or shale, restricts  the passage of water and therefore is called an aquiclude.  4. An accumulation of groundwater above an aquiclude is called a perched  water table.  5. Springs are natural outflows of groundwater to the surface.  II. Groundwater Utilization A. Wells 1. Wells are artificial openings dug or drilled below the water table to extract  water.  a. In some environments, like where groundwater demand leads to  excessive pumping and sinking of the land called subsidence can  happen as a result of compaction due to water withdrawal. 2. In some parts of southern California the withdrawn groundwater gets  replaced artificially due to the little rain by diverting streams so they flow  over permeable deposits, this is a process known as artificial recharge.  B. Artesian Systems 1. In some cases, ground water exists in artesian conditions, meaning the  water is under so much pressure that if it finds an outlet it will flow  upward to a level above the local water table.  2. Where this water achieve outflow to the surface, it creates an artesian  spring if natural; where the outlet to the surface is artificial, the result is a  flowing artisan well.  3. If water ins a well raises above the local water table but not to the point of  lowing out of the well ad onto the surface it is a nonflowing artisan well.  III. Groundwater Quality A. If acid mine drainage reached the surface it can have detrimental effects on the  local aquatic organisms.  IV. Geothermal Water A. Water temperature of a nonthermal spring (cold spring), is approximately equal to the annual temperature of the atmosphere in the area of the spring.  B. Thermal sprigs have water temperature that are higher than the surrounding mean  annual atmospheric temperature and are further separated into warm springs and  hot springs by the temperatures of 98º F.  C. Because water issuing from hot springs is heated by contact with hot rocks in the  subsurface, it is referred to as geothermal water.  D. Where geothermal water flow is intermittent and somewhat eruptive it produces a  geyser, and impressive phenomenon with sporadic bursts of steam and hot water  expelled from a fissure or vent.  V. Landform Development by Subsurface Water and Solution A. Karst Landforms 1. Landforms developed by solution are called karst landforms after this  impressive locality.  2. Because infiltration of water into the subsurface is concentrated in joints  intersections of limestone they are subjected to intense solution.  3. Such concentrated solution may produce roughly circular face depressions called sink holes or do lines that are prominent features of many karst  landscapes.  4. If the depressions result primarily from the surface or near­surface  solution of rock and the removal of dissolved materials by water  infiltrating downward into the subsurface, the depressions are solution  sinkholes.  5. If the depressions are caused by the caving­in of the land surface above  voids created by subsurface solution in bedrock below, they are referred to as collapse sinkholes.  6. Sinkholes may grow in area and merge over time to form larger karst  depressions called uvalas or valley sinkholes.  7. Surface streams flowing on bedrock of low permeability upstream will  encounter an highly permeable rock down stream, where it rapidly loses it  surface flow by infiltration. These are called disappearing streams  because they vanish from the surface as the water flowing into the  subsurface.  8. If the water table falls, leaving these passage ways above the zone of  saturation, they are called caverns or caves.  9. The site where a surface stream disappears into the cavern system is called a swallow hole.  10. After intense and long­term karst development, especially in when tropical conditions, only limestone remnants are left standing above insoluble rock below. These remnants usually take the form of small, steep­sided, and  curve riddled karst hills called hay­stack hills, conical hills, or hums.  11. If the limestone hills are particularly high and steep­sided, the landscape is called tower karst.  B. Limestone Caverns and Cave Features 1. Speleothem is the generic term for any chemical precipitate feature  deposited in caves. a. The dripping water leaves behind a deposit of calcium carbonate  called travertine or dripstone. 2. As these travertine deposit grow downward they form icicle­like spikes  called stalactites that hang from the ceiling.  3. Water saturated with calcium carbonate dripping onto the floor of a cavern builds up similar but more massive structures called stalagmites. 4. Stalactites and stalagmites often meet and continue grow to form pillar­ like columns.  5. As a result, they scientific study of caverns, speleology, is particularly  challenging. 


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