Karst terrain often develops from an ancestral landscape of surface-flowing streams, which leaves behind a relict pattern of the surface watershed divides. If caves only developed in ancestral watersheds, then groundwater tracing, for the purpose of groundwater basin mapping, would be unnecessary. But lithologic, structural, and hydrologic factors conspire to ensure that some caves extend headward faster than their neighbors and encroach upon adjacent groundwater basins to pirate drainage under the original surface divides. In many areas, groundwater basin boundaries have been significantly reorganized, to the point that there is little relationship to the ancestral surface watershed boundaries.
Information Circular 26
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Currens, James C., "Kentucky Geological Survey Procedures for Groundwater Tracing Using Fluorescent Dyes" (2013). Kentucky Geological Survey Information Circular. 17.