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Recent advances in cave monitoring from the Porous Media Flow Lab


Over the weekend of March 2nd, undergraduate student Jay Mrazek, hydrogeology professor Dr. Charlotte Garing, and their group of volunteers successfully installed over 900 meters of fiber optic cable in a northeastern Alabama cave. This work takes advantage of the fine-resolution temperature sensing capabilities of an emerging technology in the realm of hydrology: fiber optic distributed temperature sensing (FO-DTS), with this project being one of the first attempts of use in a cave stream. The cable and sensors are now hard at work collecting data which will be used to understand the cave stream system's thermal regime and to monitor water influxes. The team's research is expected to provide the cave conservancy with a new type and scope of data to inform natural resource management decisions, pave the way for future FO-DTS use in wet cave environments, and overall expand our knowledge of karst hydrology.

The project would not have been possible without the support of the Center for Transformative Environmental Monitoring Programs (CTEMPS) Pilot Study Grant, the Southeastern Cave Conservancy (SCCi), and amazing volunteers from the caving community (pictured below). Jay plans to present their work at the UGA Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Symposium, the UGA Geology Department Student Symposium, and the National Speleological Society conference. Stay tuned! For more information, please reach out to Jay at


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