Creating an Enhanced Sinkhole Dataset for the Upper Tennessee River Basin

Authors: Bridgette Fritz*, , Liem Tran, Geography, University of Tennessee Knoxville, Sally P. Horn, Geography, University of Tennessee Knoxville, Larry McKay, Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee Knoxville
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Paleoenvironmental Change
Keywords: Paleofloods, GIS, Karst
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Coolidge, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The purpose of this study is to create an enhanced sinkhole dataset for the Upper Tennessee River Basin. This dataset can improve existing sinkhole identification algorithms and can be applied to a broader study to explore and sample sinkholes which have the potential for the presence of paleoflood deposits in the Upper Tennessee River Basin. We used point locations (x, y coordinates) of sinkholes mapped from visual inspection of USGS 7.5’ quadrangles to create buffers of varying size and to extract attributes to classify the areas from overlapping data sources. The areas were classified based on surrounding landcover, specific soil types, existing wetlands, and karst designation. Additionally, we used geomorphon, a landform classification method, to delineate the ten most common landforms surrounding sinkhole locations (e.g. ridge, shoulder, hollow, pit) and computed the spatial characteristics (size and geometric ratios) of the sinkholes. Furthermore, we calculated the distance of the sinkholes from the Tennessee River and their elevation with respect to the river to limit the findings to sinkholes that are likely to contain paleoflood sediments. In the next phase, the updated sinkhole database will be used to explore sinkholes on and near floodplain areas along the main stem of the Tennessee River which are not visible on the USGS 7.5' quadrangles.

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