Kentucky Geological Survey Information Circular


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.

Publication Date



Series XII

Report Number

Information Circular 26

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Included in

Hydrology Commons