This experiment is part of the Groundwater and Caves Challenge Grant. Browse more projects

Exploring the Untold Stories Within the Sediment in Hidden River Cave, Kentucky

Raised of $1,500 Goal
Ended on 12/07/16
Campaign Ended
  • $115
  • 8%
  • Finished
    on 12/07/16



We completed Preliminary field work in Summer 2015 to assess the current health and sediment transport characteristics in Hidden River Cave. We collected water samples, surface sediment samples, and sediment cores. pH, temperature, total dissolved solids and conductivity were measured alongside water samples in situ. Qualitative observations and four more sediment cores were obtained in the Summer 2016 field season. 

Field methodology; Images clockwise: Ellis, R; Chan WM; Ellis, R

An Itrax core scanner is used to analyze sediment cores for elemental concentrations, magnetic susceptibility, radiography, and high resolution photography. We are using horizons of metal concentrations in the core to correlate sedimentation (i.e. flood) events in the cave system. We also installed dive recorders to monitor water levels, which will provide data to further understand the movement of sediment through the cave system. A general time constraint on the sediment age will be explored using the presence of microplastic in the surface samples and sediment cores, and data from radiocarbon and lead-210 dating.

Itrax Core Scanner and field methodology; Images clockwise: Feist, S; Davidson, M; Ellis, R.


Check out this lab note for challenges of working in a cave! 


This project has not yet shared any protocols.