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Storms create stresses on karst systems that can alter the pathways and travel-times of water, solutes, and sediment. Flow contribution during storms is not only a matter of activation of new conduits, but is also a complex combination of water from conduits, enlarged fractures, and fractured matrix. In order to obtain evidence of pathway changes, we sampled three karst springs of varying size and maturity using data loggers for conductivity and water level, and storm water samplers for suspended sediment. The largest spring (Arch Spring) had the lowest conductivity of the three springs, indicating mainly conduit pathways at base flow. The high conductivity of base flow at the Nolte and Bushkill Springs pointed to contributions from slower-moving water in the fractured matrix. During storms, Arch Spring showed a consistent pattern of conductivity with a slight increase, then a large decrease, indicating an initial fracture flush of high-conductivity water, then passage of low-conductivity water from the precipitation. During storms, the conductivity of the middle-sized spring (Nolte Spring) either dropped immediately, or increased sharply then declined as storm water reached the spring. The smallest spring (Bushkill Spring) had a predictable conductivity pattern, with a sharp decrease and gradual recovery, suggesting shorter paths during storms than base flow. Sediment concentrations during storms were lowest at Nolte Spring and higher at Bushkill and Arch Springs, indicative of the fast flow through conduits or enlarged fractures suggested by the latter two springs during storms. The storm-water pathways vary from spring to spring and from storm to storm. These data show the importance of continuous monitoring to understand spring behavior.

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