Geomorphological characteristics of karst on contact between limestone and dolomite in SloveniaPetra Gostinčar
, 2016, doctoral dissertation
Abstract: Contact karst is a type of karst formed where allogenic waters from the surface influence the karst geomorphic system. Contact karst may be considered in both a strict sense and in a wide sense. In a strict sense, contact karst is the karst phenomena and forms influenced by the contact between a karstifiable rock and a non-karstifiable rock. In a wide sense, contact karst may also be the karst phenomena and forms influenced by the contact between two different karstifiable rocks, for example limestone and dolomite. This thesis focuses on the geomorphological characteristics of contact karst on limestone-dolomite contacts in Slovenia. The purpose of the research was to determine which processes contribute to the development of contact karst on the contact between limestone and dolomite, to define their dynamics, and to identify which surface and underground landforms are developed.
The spatial distribution of contacts between limestone and dolomite in Slovenia was determined in a GIS. Using existing lithological data as a data layer, the extent of carbonate rock cover in Slovenia was calculated. Carbonate rocks cover 47 % of Slovenia’s territory (27 % limestone, 14 % dolomite, and 6 % clastic carbonate or impure carbonate rocks). And, there are 1,353 limestone-dolomite contact lines in the country, totalling a length of 2,625 km.
Study areas were selected based on GIS analysis of the limestone-dolomite contacts. A total of 17 areas in Slovenia were studied in detail. Fieldwork at the study areas consisted of the collection and analysis of rock, sediment, and water samples, allowing each study area to be geomorphologically mapped.
General factors contributing to contact karst development on the lithological contact between limestone and dolomite were determined. The most important factor appears to be the characteristics of the inflow part, formed on the dolomite. Where dolomite functions as a karst rock, the water is dispersedly drained into the karst. In that case, the limestone-dolomite contact does not function as contact karst. Alternatively, where the dolomite functions as fluviokarst, a point recharge, or sinking stream, is formed. In that case, contact karst may be formed. The fluviokarstic character of the dolomite depends on its chemical and mechanical properties. The dolomite bedrock must be positioned at a higher elevation than the neighbouring limestone bedrock. To meet this requirement, dolomite beds, which in Slovenia are generally older than limestone and hence stratigraphically positioned below the limestone beds, need to be positioned above limestone by either folding that leads to inverse stratification, overthrusting, or by displacement along faults. Along faults, the dolomite is more prone to mechanical weathering due to tectonic crushing in addition to its chemical properties. Hence, contact karst is more likely to form at thrust contacts between thrust limestone and dolomite. Limestone-dolomite contact karst develops predominately at higher elevations due to increased precipitation (where allogenic inflow is higher) and greater frost action due to lower temperatures. Intense mechanical weathering of dolomite over limestone directly affects contact karst processes and significantly contributes to the spatial distribution of these types of surfaces. The location of the water table close to the surface is also a leading factor in limestone-dolomite contact karst formation due to enhanced border corrosion.
Landforms typical of contact karst were identified in the study areas during geomorphological analyses. However, they are not as clearly recognizable as those on contact between carbonate and non-carbonate rocks. The reason for this is the fact that allogenic waters from dolomitic catchment areas are by far not as corrosive as those from non-carbonate catchment areas.
Found in: osebi
Keywords: carbonate rocks, dolomite, limestone, contact karst, allogenic water, karst geomorphology
Published: 19.12.2016; Views: 2454; Downloads: 88
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