Early Development of Karst Systems: 2. Turbulent Flow


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January 1995


A simulation model developed to explore patterns of fracture enlargement within incipient limestone karst aquifers has been extended to turbulent flow. In contrast to the highly selective passage enlargement that occurs early in cave network development under laminar flow, the transition to turbulent flow results in more general passage enlargement, leading to maze networks when initial fractures are large and hydraulic gradients are high. These results support previously published hypotheses for the development of maze patterns, including formation within structural settings that have created initially large fractures or within flow systems periodically inundated by flooding. Maze development is also favored under turbulent flow when passages are entirely water filled, and where the groundwater flow system is long‐lived. By contrast, branched patterns are most common when passages become free‐surface subterranean streams, because depression of the piezometric surface along main passages, downcutting along main passages, and possible infilling with sediment of side passages limit the sharing of discharge among interconnected fractures or bedding planes that promote maze development.


Development Of Karst Systems, Karst, Karst Systems, Turbulent Flow

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Subsurface Hydrology, Vol. 31, no. 1 (1995-01-01).