Water quality analysis

KUR has a new incredible piece of data collection equipment courtesy of YSI: the DATASAUND 6600 V2. While strapped to a diver or strategically placed in a body of water, it can simultaneously measure the following: dissolved oxygen, conductivity & ph/dissolved solids. We will now be able to create some baseline data on several broad fields such as, the correlation of water chemistry to different cave faunas including bacterial formations.

We will additionally be able to pinpoint changes in the mixing zones of saline effected caves such as Eagles Nest following rain as well as strong tidal surges. The YSI will offer us yet another piece of critical data to assist in our continued research, documentation, and ongoing protection of underwater caves including one of our most valuable resource, water.

2014 Datasonde analysis in Twin Dees/Weeki Wachee

In 2014, KUR utilized the South West Florida Water Management District’s YSI Datasonde to collect precise water quality data for the River Alph Tunnel from Middle Earth to F-Well. The Datasonde had depth, dissolved oxygen and conductivity sensors installed. The data indicated that there are several different water sources that contribute to the water chemistry in Twin Dees; in particular, conductivity and dissolved oxygen values are both greatly reduced in the clearer blue water of the Alph Tunnel, implying a different age and water source (Fig. 9).

Further research opportunities:

• Continue to document water quality and clarity as they correlate with spring flow and precipitation.

• Attempt to identify with some degree of precision what surface feature(s) are located above the Mirkwood tunnel to account for the extreme stratification.

• Accurately locate the Emerald Room on the surface using cave radiolocation to attempt to identify the source of green water in it.

• Perform additional runs with the YSI Datasonde to strengthen the data set.