Hydrology Project Trip Report

Date of Trip – 17 Jan 2009

Installing stilling well in Convention Hall passage



Participants: Bill Gee (Leader), Jay Kennedy, Marty Griffin, Mike Smoker, Sarah Kreitzer, Cliff Nelson

Time in: 10:45 am
Time out: 4:45pm

Areas Visited – Carroll Passage, UL2

This trip had three goals. 1) Download data from the data loggers. 2) Install a new data logger in UL2. 3) Create detailed cross-section sketches of the stream bed at the location of the three in-stream data loggers.

The last time the data loggers were downloaded was September 21, 2008. They can hold about six months of data, so January was as a good time for a trip. They could have gone to early March if this trip had not worked out.

Sarah Kreitzer is a post-graduate student in hydrology at KU. She can use stream level cross sections to help establish a flow function for the stream. Given a stream level, the function allows reasonably good estimates of flow volume.

I arrived at the silo about 8:30am. Marty arrived about an hour later, then Jay and Mike. Shortly after 10:00 Cliff and Sarah arrived. They were already mostly dressed for the cave.

We geared up, rigged the hole and were all in the cave by around 11:00am. The first thing was to head down Carroll Passage to the data logger in Carroll River. This logger is located a few hundred feet upstream of the Water Barrier.

We took bare minimum packs, the data shuttle and a survey book.
It took about 20 minutes to reach the data logger. I tried to download the data but the shuttle acted strange. After I got home and checked it, I found there was no data at all from the Carroll River logger.

Cliff and I took some measurements of the stream bed while Sarah took notes and made a sketch. The stream flow at this location was so slow that our float actually went backwards! There were a few small riffles where the flow was more apparent. A garden hose can deliver more flow than we saw.

On the way back to the ladder we took a quick side trip to Thunder Falls. With three people on their first Carroll trip, a little sight seeing was required. We were all back at the ladder shortly after noon.

Everyone had a quick lunch, then we went down to the stream below the ladder. I downloaded the data logger. It took a couple of tries to make it work. I think there was some condensation on the data shuttle that prevented the LEDs from syncing up. Cliff and I did some measurements while Sarah took notes.

Jay Kennedy was not feeling well, so he opted to go on out and wait for us on the surface. The rest of us grabbed heavy packs of tools and headed for UL2.

We arrived at UL2 about 2:00pm. It took 15 minutes or so to find a suitable spot for the new stilling well. It is located about half-way between the entrance and Convention Hall in a pool just to the side of the main trail. It is just upstream of the crawlway under the breakdown pile.

Marty and I drilled two holes in the stream bed and two more in the rock face on the side of the passage. We set two 3/8 inch stainless steel wedge anchors in the stream bed and two plastic screw anchors in the side. The stilling well is bolted to the stream bed and guyed to the side of the passage.

On the way back we stopped to view formations above the breakdown pile and at the entrance to UL2. We were back at the ladder by around 4:15. While we were gone Jay had rigged a second rope to haul gear. Sarah and Mike climbed out while Cliff, Marty and I attached gear to the rope. When Mike got to the top, he and Jay hauled the gear up. The three of us climbed out, derigged the hole and got out of wet clothes.

On the way up to UL2 I was looking for cave fish. I did not see any in Thunder River. Once in UL2 we saw fish everywhere. We did not do a formal count, but probably saw a dozen or more fish. One fish even hung around within a foot of where I was drilling.

I looked for isopods at Thunder Falls and and in UL2 at several places. I saw only a few very small ones. We looked very briefly at bait sticks. I saw springtails on them, but nothing else that was obvious. The bait sticks at the entrance to UL2 had some brown-green fungus growing on one end.

The stream levels were all about normal. I saw a few signs of higher levels such as blurred footprints and fresh silt deposits.

Bill Gee

Links to data files:

PDF File – Graph of Thunder River data

CSV File – Barometric pressure data

CSV File – Rain gauge data

CSV file – Thunder River data