As the visitors to Kings Canyon National Park admire the beauty and majesty of the towering trees, few give any thought to what is under their feet. Because the Park visitors do not see the region's caverns, most leave the area without a full realization of what exists underground at Kings Canyon, California. They fail to appreciate the fact that the 200 caverns under the Park have created 200 sections of karstland.
Karst is a Slovenian word that refers to a particular type of landscape. That particular type of landscape exists at Kings Canyon, California. That landscape contains sinkholes and caves, caves formed when underground water dissolves away the limestone bedrock.
Both the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks contain sinking streams, streams that eventually flow underground. Those streams carry surface water from Kings Canyon, California into the region's cave communities. Normally such surface water becomes well filtered as it flows through pores in the land. That, however, is not the case in Kings Canyon, California.
There the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has caused the water to become slightly acidic. That slightly acidic water then has the ability to dissolve the limestone in the bedrock, creating ever-widening crevices. Over time those crevices have become caves. When the underground water flows rapidly through those caves, natural filters fail to work as they should. Hence contaminants from the area around Kings Canyon, California have the ability to enter the region's cave communities.
The absence in the area of functioning natural filters creates a potential hazard for the Parkland's watersheds. The government relies on trained hydrologists to initiate efforts that should help to prevent that potential hazard from becoming a frighteningly real hazard. Those hydrologists use a tracking dye in order to define the watersheds of Kings Canyon, California.
Of course the hydrologists do not want the dye to get into the water that enters the homes in and around Kings Canyon, California. In order to avoid that possible occurrence, the hydrologists use activated charcoal to absorb the dyes. The dyes are thus present in the karstland, the land on top of the area's caverns, for only a limited time. During that brief time the hydrologists work rapidly to gather as much data as they can.
The hydrologists work closely with biologists, ecologists and botanists to preserve the flora and fauna in this unique ecosystem. Still, there are signs that they may need to work more closely and to work even faster. There are signs in both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks that contaminants from the area are harming some of the four-legged inhabitants of the region's karstland and caverns.
Studies have shown that the numbers of Foothill yellow-legged frogs is on the decline. This suggests that contaminants from the water have harmed the fragile frog eggs, eggs that lack a protective shell. The damage to those eggs appears to indicate that the fast-flowing, unfiltered water in the karstland may be causing other damage to King's Canyon, California.