Surface Waters and Groundwater in Karst


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Karst Aquifers—Characterization and Engineering


In karst terrains, groundwater and surface water constitute a single dynamic system. In this chapter the following aspects of the interaction between the surface water and groundwater are discussed: (1) catchment in karst; (2) karst aquifer; (3) karst spring; (4) karst ponor; (5) karst open streamflow (sinking, losing and underground streams); (6) piezometers. Surface water and groundwater in karst terrains are hydraulically connected through numerous karst forms which facilitate and govern the exchange of water between the surface and subsurface. Due to this fact determination of karst catchment area and boundaries is a difficult and complex task, which very often remains unsolved. The specific characteristic of karst aquifer is existence of solution and erosion generation and permanently enlarged karst voids of different dimensions. Circulation of groundwater in karst aquifers is quite different from water circulation in other non-karstic type aquifers. In karst aquifers water is being collected in networks of interconnected cracks, caverns, and channels. Because of very special and complex underground and surface karst forms, which control surface water and groundwater behavior there are very different cases of karst springs. Karst springs can be perennial (permanent) or intermittent (temporary, ephemeral, or seasonal). The piezometer boreholes represent an exceptionally important source of information of a wide range, necessary for all types of investigations related to the regime of water circulation in karst.

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