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ABSTRACT

This one-day field trip will showcase how modern techniques, building on more than three decades of scientific study and mapping, are changing the paradigms used by resource professionals to sustainably manage the largest groundwater resource in Minnesota. Society's views of how to manage agricultural, domestic, and industrial impacts on surface water and groundwater are beginning to incorporate new, more detailed, realistic and scientifically and politically defensible conceptual models of how karst groundwater hydrogeology interacts with human activities. Data loggers have enabled high-resolution, time-series measurements of a variety of physical and chemical parameters and have proven to be critical to any effort to realistically model the highly dynamic karst systems. Tracing work supplementing the powerful, traditional fluorescent dyes with a variety of other physical, chemical, and isotopic tracers is beginning to shed light on the "gray-box" inner working of various karst aquifers. The availability of high-resolution, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data is a quantum step upward in the speed and accuracy of sinkhole (and other surficial karst feature) mapping. Repeated LiDAR surveys will begin to give us data on the rate of formation (and filling) of sinkholes. Downhole geophysical techniques are fundamentally changing our conceptual models of how water moves in karst aquifers (and in many aquifers previously assumed to be isotropic and homogeneous porous media).

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