Paleocollapse structure as a passageway for groundwater flow and contaminant transport

Zhou Wanfang


Paleocollapse structure is a rock collapse, resulting from the failure in the geological history of the bedrock overlying karstified limestone. Depending on the present hydrogeological conditions within the area of paleocollapse and the internal properties of these structures, they can provide a means to facilitate groundwater flow and contaminant transport. Inactive paleocollapse structures can be reactivated by human activities such as dam construction, mining underground minerals, pumping groundwater, and development of landfills. They can also be reactivated by natural events such as earthquakes and neotectonic movements. In the mines of northern China, sudden inflow of karst water from Ordovician limestone into drifts and mining stopes through paleocollapse structures has caused significant economic loss. Water pumping tests and accompanied dye traces are effective approaches of locating water-conducting paleocollapse structures. Grouting is probably the best means of preventing them from becoming geohazards.