What is Karst Subsidence?
Karst subsidence is land subsidence that is caused by cavities or voids in the underlying bedrock which collapse or from soil filling them in from above resulting in surface subsidence. Under normal circumstances, the voids or cavities were created by the flow of groundwater in fractures in soluble bedrock over a great deal of time. The most significant land subsidence effects occur over voids which have been solutioned in limestone bedrock but also result in other soluble rocks such as dolomite, gypsum, and halite. The most typical land subsidence results from groundwater draining downward into these solution voids carrying soil particles with it. This results in the ground settlement in the form of a sinkhole to a more gradual depression on the ground surface. Therefore, when downward drainage of groundwater is caused into open bedrock voids, the potential for subsidence results. Some more common triggers are: unlined surfaced drainage trenches, pumping of water wells, quarry pit dewatering and retention/detention ponds.
Figures 1 and 2 are examples of this.
FIGURE 1: SINKHOLE CAUSED BY DOWNWARD DRAINAGE FROM DEWATERING OF NEARBY QUARRY PIT
FIGURE 2: IRREGULAR DEPRESSION WHICH FORMED FROM DOWNWARD SEEPAGE OF WATER STORED IN A RETENTION POND
For more information see: Risk Investigation of Karst on Sinkhole/Subsidence Prone Land.
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