Karst aquifer systems are generally drained by a connected network of open fractures, conduits and caves. As the location and geometry of this conduit network is often unknown, the application of spatially distributed numerical models is often problematic or impossible.
In the alpine karst system Hochifen-Gottesacker (Germany / Austria), 18 tracer tests and detailed geological, hydrological and speleological investigations made it possible to localize quite precisely all relevant underground drainage pathways (Goldscheider 2005, Göppert & Goldscheider 2008). In this area, the underground drainage is strongly controlled by the fold pattern.
Therefore, the hydraulic behavior of this karst system can be simulated using the numerical Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) that is usually designed for urban drainage systems. First results are promising: The model is able to simulate the hydrographs of all karst springs draining this system and is even able to reproduce the behavior of an estavelle that acts as a swallow hole during low-flow conditions but transforms into a spring during high-flow conditions.
This cave entrance acts as a swallow hole during low-flow conditions but transforms into a spring during high-flow conditions. The hydraulic model is able to reproduce the behavior of this estavelle.
|Fold structure and underground drainage pattern in the alpine karst system Hochifen-Gottesacker||
||Eclogae Geologicae Helvetiae 98(1): 1-17||2005|
|Solute and colloid transport in karst conduits under low- and high-flow conditions||
Göppert N, Goldscheider N
Ground Water, 46(1): 61-68