Karst Managment


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January 2011


Karst is a landscape created by the dissolution of carbonate rocks, although similar features can also be found in volcanic and permafrost areas. Water and its involve- ment in the process of dissolution is the most significant factor in the creation of karst. It is also of great importance for karst aquifers which are rapidly becoming the most significant issue for karst management. Surface features characteristic of karst include poljes, sinkholes (dolines), swallow holes, karren, pavement of vari- ous scales, and dry and blind valleys. Subsurface karst is most commonly thought of by the general public as caves. However, many of these voids cannot be entered by humans as they have no entrances, and it is through these voids or conduits that groundwater can flow. In fact, the presence of these conduits makes karst aquifers difficult to study due to their high degree of heterogeneity with respect to flow rates within the bedrock. Karst can be found around the world, with large regions in Europe, Asia, North and Central America, and the Caribbean. South America, Australia, and Africa also have areas of karst but to a lesser extent. Subsurface karst can also be found at various depths, with conduits very close to the surface down to thousands of meters deep in not only mountainous areas but also relatively low relief regions such as Florida, USA.


Karst, Karst Managment, Sinkholes, Dolines, Poljes, Subsurface Karst, Karren

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