An Investigation of Groundwater Communication in the Lake Perez Basin and the Applicability of Distributed Temperature Sensing Technology to Ecological Problems

Open Access
Gould, Timothy Walker
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Dave Bice, Thesis Supervisor
  • Peter Daniel Wilf, Honors Advisor
  • hydrology
  • hydrogeology
  • distributed temperature sensing
  • Lake Perez
  • groundwater
  • stream
  • Stone Valley
The Stone Valley Recreational Center, located approximately 10 miles from the University Park campus of Penn State, was until recently home to the manmade reservoir Lake Perez. This body of water was recently drained, leaving deposits of clay and silt from its 45 years of active use. These sediments have been incised by a number of small, unnamed streams, which now flow through the empty reservoir. Underlying these streams are naturally occurring clay sediments, which are potentially preventing their communication with the local groundwater. To determine if a barrier to flow exists, a fiber-optic distributed temperature sensor was laid out along a portion of one of the streams, and water temperature data were collected over a 5-month period, from May to September 2011. Analysis of the data was performed, focusing on the identification of points where water temperatures remained relatively constant on a daily basis. One such location was found 300 meters along the length of the cable lying in the stream, suggesting that the clay fines may not be preventing communication between the ground and surface water. Further tests are required to determine if groundwater is in fact entering the stream at this location, and what this means for the surrounding hydrology.