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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2017-06-06
    Description: Cave drip water response to surface meteorological conditions is complex due to the heterogeneity of water movement in the karst unsaturated zone. Previous studies have focused on the monitoring of fractured rock limestones that have little or no primary porosity. In this study, we aim to further understand infiltration water hydrology in the Tamala Limestone of SW Australia, which is Quaternary aeolianite with primary porosity. We build on our previous studies of the Golgotha Cave system and utilize the existing spatial survey of 29 automated cave drip loggers and a LiDAR-based flow classification scheme, conducted in the two main chambers of this cave. We find that a daily sampling frequency at our cave site optimizes the capture of drip variability with least possible sampling artifacts. Most of the drip sites show persistent autocorrelation for at least a month. Drip discharge histograms are highly variable, showing sometimes multimodal distributions. Histogram skewness is shown to relate to the wetter than average 2013 hydrological year and modality is affected by seasonality. Finally, a combination of Multi-dimensional scaling (MDS) and clustering by k-means is used to classify similar drip types based on time series analysis. This clustering reveals four unique drip regimes which agree with the flow type classification of Mahmud et al. (2016) for this site. It highlights a spatial homogeneity in drip types in one cave chamber, and spatial heterogeneity in the other, which is in concordance with our understanding of cave chamber morphology and lithology. Our hydrological classification scheme with respect to mean discharge and the flow variation, can distinguish between groundwater flow types in limestones with primary porosity, and the technique could be used to characterize different karst formations when high-frequency automated drip logger data are available. We observe little difference in the Coefficient of variation (COV) between flow classification types, probably reflecting the dominance of primary porosity at this cave site, and the seasonal variations in discharge related to storage replenishment in winter followed by recession in the periods of soil moisture deficit. Moreover, we do not find any relationship between drip variability and discharge within similar flow type.
    Print ISSN: 1812-2108
    Electronic ISSN: 1812-2116
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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