Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Dr. D. C. Ford
Alpine karst throughout the world has been affected by past glaciation, and yet little is known of the interactions between glacier ice and karst. This dissertation attempts to gain some understanding of the problem through the study of the Castleguard Area, Alberta, where a karst aquifer is presently overlain by temperate glacier ice.
Quantitative fluorometric tracing and hydrometric measurements generated a broad data base on aquifer behaviour. Tracer breakthrough curves were interpreted using a new systematic approach which considers an explicit set of processes likely to affect the particular tracer under the given experimental conditions. Non-linearity in aquifer behaviour and rapid groundwater velocities demonstrated the aquifer to be an extreme conduit type Conduit springs are elements in a vertical hierarchy in which the topmost springs are "overflows" and exhibit greater flow variability than their associated "underflows". A numerical model was developed to simulate a conduit aquifer. It demonstrated that pulse train and recession analysis widely accepted methods of karst aquifer investigation, could be rather misleading when applied to conduit aquifers.
Interactions between ice and groundwater were observed at two scales: regulation water appeared to feed a diffuse percolation system and supraglacial melt passed into subglacial conduits which entered open vadose shafts. Karst is unlikely to be entirely subglacial in origin because of the limited aggressiveness of subglacial waters.
The Castlegaurd karst appeared to have originated preglacially in response to the breaching of impermeable caprock. Glaciation re-ordered the landscape and produced abundant clastic debris which subsequently blocked or obstructed karst conduits. Much of the resulting karst is paragenetic and comparatively immature due to glacial disruption and slow growth rates. Geomorphic and hydrologic interactions between ice and karst depend intimately upon the relationship between the geographic zones of the glacier and the aquifer.
Smart, Charles Christopher, "The Hydrology of a Glacierised Alpine Karst Castlegaurd Mountain, Alberta" (1983). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1382.