A new view on karst genesis


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Publication Date

February 2013


Karst terrains and their specific landforms, such as sinkholes and caves, have been thoroughly studied from the second half of the nineteenth century. However, karst genesis remains a puzzling issue to this day. The results of the recent studies of ocean floor and the results obtained by drilling deep oil boreholes have raised doubts about the existing explanations of the karst landforms development and encouraged the emergence of new views on this subject matter. According to the new hypothesis, the majority of karst landforms were formed at great depths beneath sea level where dissolution of carbonates increases dramatically. Underwater dissolution first caused the formation of karst depressions and the primary network of karst conduits elongated along the existing fractures. This process was followed by further expansion of the conduits and the formation of spacious caves due to the water regression and the action of turbulent flows. It is considered that the introduction of the new concept would accelerate the development of karstology and improve the principles and methods for solving numerous practical problems such as the abstraction of quality drinking water and the research of oil, gas and bauxite deposits.


Karst Genesis, Landforms, New Hypothesis, Dinarides

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Carbonates and Evaporites, Vol. 28, no. 4 (2013-02-01).