Karst Processes and Landforms
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Any landscape that develops on soluble rocks is called karst. The typical karst landforms, such as sinking streams, enclosed depressions, and caves, are caused by dissolution of rocks by surface and underground waters, while mechanical erosion is only of secondary importance. These areas are often important aquifers with a very distinctive hydrology, in which permeability derives from intergranular interconnected voids, fractures, and conduits, creating a highly anisotropic underground flow. Karst typically develops on limestones, dolostones, evaporites, and rock salt. Caves can act as traps of surface material, protecting it from surface erosion, and therefore can host important paleontological, paleoenvironmental, and archeological remains. Karst areas are also extremely specialized habitats, with important and often very vulnerable subterranean ecosystems. The vulnerability of karst requires unique management and protection strategies to be devised to preserve this natural heritage for future generations.
Karst Processes, Landforms, Rocks, Karst
Waele, Jo De, "Karst Processes and Landforms" (2017). KIP Articles. 3112.