Murfreesboro is located on a limestone karst terrain which causes our streams to function differently than most streams. Understanding the complex nature of our karst streams can help us better determine sources of pollution or reliable streamflow. Many of our smaller streams originate as springs, sink into the subsurface, and reemerge as springs downstream leaving entire segments of the stream dry. Flow lost in a stream can travel in the subsurface to a different stream. Subterranean streams flow long distances underground and are exposed briefly at the bottom of sinkholes called karst windows. Subterranean streams often emerge as large springs.
Sink point - Flow sinks into the subsurface, usually in a streambed.
Karst window - A cave stream exposed briefly on the surface or a window to a cave stream.
Dye trace - A mapping method used for underground waterways. Dye is injected into a sinkhole or sinking stream and is detected later at a downstream spring.