Jason Siemion – 2004 Wilson Memorial Scholarship

JasonSiemion04Biography and MS Research Topic: After completing graduate studies under Dr. Arthur N. Palmer at the State University of New York at Oneonta, in the spring of 2006, Jason resumed full time work with the Watershed Research Section of the US Geological Survey at the New York Water Science Center. His responsibilities include installation and running of water quality sampling/data logging equipment in the Catskill Mountains of New York and along the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River as well as data analysis and report writing for a variety of USGS projects in these areas. Jason currently resides in Schoharie County, New York, in the heart of northeastern cave country where he works on cave digs/surveys during the warm weather and ice climbs during the colder months, with occasional mountaineering trips to the Cascade Range.


Thesis Title:  Siemion, Jason, 2006, Use of Isotopes, Tracer Tests, and Dissolved Solids to Characterize a Karst Aquifer, M.A. thesis, State University of New York, Oneonta New York.


Thesis Abstract:This study demonstrated new methods of dye tracing and isotopic analysis of karst aquifers. These tools allowed predictions of underground flowpath geometry, timing of recharge, and relative contributions to flow by sinking streams and diffuse recharge.When the log of discharge was plotted against the log of breakthrough time, the linear regression lines representing the known canyon passages of McFail’s and Schoharie Caverns were found to have slopes of -0.56 and -0.67 respectively, while a water-filled conduit was found to have a slope of -1.0. The slopes of the regression lines representing passages of unknown geometries were found to be -0.62 for the Nature’s Way system and -0.86 for the Hillbilly Hole – Uhll Be Cold Cave system. Stable-isotope mixing diagrams were used to determine that 83% of the water entering Schoharie Caverns was of diffuse origin in April 2004, while 67% was of diffuse origin in August 2004. Tritium data showed that the samples were of modern water. The travel time of diffuse flow into McFail’s cave was found to be approximately 6 months on the basis of stable isotope data. Tritium data showed that samples were of modern water. The stable-isotope and geochemical analysis of water samples from the Nature’s Way and Uhll be Cold systems indicate that they are both fed primarily by sinking streams with rapid flow through the systems. High 228Ra/226Ra activity ratios were found in water resurging from the Schoharie and Nature’s Way systems. Typical marine limestones have a 228Ra/226Ra activity ratio of 0.5. The water resurging from the Schoharie and Nature’s Way systems had 228Ra/226Ra activity ratios of approximately 0.8, indicating that the limestones the water had passed through may be dirty limestones with clastic grains mixed into the matrix. Another possible explanation is that the shaly layers of the Kalkberg Limestone could be influencing the radium activity ratios.