NAU researchers develop new way to protect Grand Canyon water

Natalie Jones, a research technician partially funded by NAU and the National Park Service.

By Scott Buffon |Arizona Daily Sun

The Grand Canyon National Park has only one source of drinking water, and despite how important that water is for the 6 million people who visited the park last year, no one is quite sure where exactly the water comes from.

Natalie Jones, a research technician at partially funded by NAU and the National Park Service, worked with her colleagues to take a step toward understanding the Kaibab Plateau’s previously unmapped sinkholes that provide water for the Grand Canyon’s many springs.

The study found that instead of having around 100 sinkholes like scientists and land managers previously thought, there are actually almost 7,000 sinkholes on the Kaibab Plateau near the North Rim. The study also put forth a new method for mapping how likely a toxin could contaminate the aquifers or springs through those sinkholes.

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