Alternative Title

NCKRI Symposium 2: Proceedings of the Thirteenth Multidisciplinary Conference on Sinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst



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University of South Florida

Publication Date

May 2013


Pseudokarst development in East Texas is controlled primarily by a combination of suffosion and preferential flow paths, often creating small ephemeral sinkholes but occasionally persistent features develop in more indurated facies. Pseudokarst occurs in Claiborne (Eocene) strata in Angelina, Cherokee, Nacogdoches, Panola, Rusk, San Augustine and Shelby counties. Strata consist of interbedded fine- and coarse-grained clastics with variable cementation and associated permeabilities. Preferential fluid migration along fractures and bedding planes create local voids through suffosion that stope upward to create sinkholes and incised collapse valleys often associated with persistent and ephemeral springs. GIS-based delineation of pseudokarst sinkholes is complicated in the region by low gradient fluvial systems and extensive anthropogenic overprinting regionally, which create numerous constructional closed depressions. Sinkhole densities coupled with slope analyses indicate clustered regions of pseudokarst development within Carrizo, Queen City and Sparta sandstones. Known pseudokarst caves within the region include features developed along low permeability boundaries where discharge interface features occur. Gunnels Cave is an end member product of natural suffosion processes in East Texas with more than 160 meters of surveyed passage and a collapse sinkhole covering approximately a hectare. Smaller suffosion sinkholes occur along steep gradients but generally remain associated with fracture-controlled flow paths, either forming bypass features or enlarged regions associated with spring discharge. Anthropogenic pseudokarst sinkholes are generally associated with leaky pipelines and focused groundwater recharge from impermeable surfaces and produce local geohazards. Traditionally East Texas is not known for extensive pseudokarst development; however, isolated caves and sinkholes can be locally significant and potential geohazards. -- Authors Open Access - Permission by Publisher See Extended description for more information.


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