Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Field reconnaissance examining the Permian Blaine Formation and the karst features within those rocks were conducted on two ranches in Barber County, Kansas. Karst features are developed dominantly in gypsum and include caves, sinkholes, losing streams, springs, and other surficial karst features. The Blaine Formation is known as a significant karst unit and major aquifer system in Oklahoma; however, little work has been conducted in Kansas. This study identifies the processes that lead to karst development in the Blaine Formation in Kansas and represents the first stage of a karst study to develop predictive karst models. This survey of caves and karst landforms adds significantly to the basic knowledge of the geology of this region. Known cave locations, provided by landowners, were used to determine particular areas to investigate. The location of each cave and karst feature was documented by a handheld GPS unit. When possible, each cave documented in this study was surveyed using standard cave survey techniques: compass, inclinometer, and tape (Dasher, 1994). The survey data and sketch produced for each surveyed cave were used to create a map using a computer graphics program. Field observations indicate cave formation is dependent on (1) the geologic contact between the Permian Medicine Lodge Gypsum and the underlying Flowerpot Shale, (2) the amount and type of surficial mantle material, and (3) fractures in the bedrock for subsurface flow. Future studies are necessary to develop karst management systems.


Dr. Jonathan Sumrall

Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type



© 2019 Kaitlyn Leigh Gauvey


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