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Abstract

Some investigations carried out in the Campania Region (southern Italy) are shown concerning instability phenomena, the development of which is strongly influenced by karst. The widespread presence of carbonate massifs close to important urban centres with dense road networks creates high-risk situations in many settings of this region.

Such phenomena can have very different dimensions, origin and geomorphological development, and can be traced back to the action of hypogean and epigean karst and to complex interactions with other erosional processes.

In particular, among the hypogean forms, we have analysed collapse sinkholes that have developed on carbonate slopes, especially along fault lines where there are aquifers and ascent of mineralized fluids, and which are sometimes connected to strong seismic events.

Among the forms connected to epikarst processes, the origin of pinnacles has been investigated. They are isolated rock pillars, whose origin depends on a particular interaction between the geostructural characteristics of the masses and the process of karstic dissolution.

Moreover, a wide variety of morphologies exist that are related to the interaction between epigean and hypogean karst and other typologies of erosional processes. Among these one group is represented by caves on carbonate slopes developed in cataclastic zones, where a slow karstic process leads to the formation of upwards caves, with dimensions of some decametres, and consequently to the high production of debris downhill. Similarly, this process has been observed along slopes set on talus. Finally, the complex combination of the karstic phenomenon with the erosional wave action forms both caves and natural rock arcs along the coasts.

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