Karst region (basic)

Karst region (basic)

Karst formations include dolines and dripstones.

Geography

Keywords

karst area, karst, karst formations, karstification, limestone mountain, limestone cave, cave, karst spring, dripstone, doline, karrenfeld, sinkhole, rock, precipitation, terrain shaping, nature, geography

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Scenes

Surface karst formations

Definitions of terms:

Karst region: a region shaped by the dissolution of soluble bedrock, usually carbonate rock.

Karstification: processes occuring in areas composed mainly of soluble limestone featuring fractures and fissures. These processes occur due to the dissolving effect of surface and underground water, or the eroding effect of water seeping into the bedrock.

Karst formations: surface and underground formations created by karstification.

Doline: a natural, round or irregular shape depression on the Earth’s surface, usually appearing on limestone plateaus.

Sinkhole: a natural surface opening found in karst regions. Its round, funnel-like depression is continuously deepened by water seeping into the rock.

Cave: a natural cavity formed in a mass of rock, large enough for a human to enter.

Dripstone: When calcium-rich water seeps through cracks and reaches a cave below, limestone is deposited and forms dripstones .

The basic process of karstification is the dissolution of limestone.

Underground karst formations

Water in limestone mountains

Animation

Narration

Acid rain dissolves limestone and seeps down through the fractures and fissures of rock into the depths. This process creates distinct landforms: sinkholes, dolines and limestone pavement are formed. Since rain washes away the soil, the limestone is often uncovered.

Contiguous streams of water are not typically found in karst regions, as water seeps down through sinkholes and continues as underground streams.
When it reaches below the surface, acidic water forms caves and passages. These can consist of 2 to 5 levels, interconnected by vents. When an underground stream collects a great deal of water, it forms an underground lake.

Limestone is deposited and forms dripstones as calcium-rich water seeps through cracks and reaches a cave below.
Dripstones can appear in several forms: as stalactites, hanging from the ceiling; as stalagmites, standing on the floor; or as stalagnates, or columns. When an underground stream surfaces at the boundary of the karst region, it is called a karst spring.

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