Role of karst denudation on the accurate assessment of glacio-eustasy and tectonic uplift on carbonate coasts
John E. Mylroie, Joan R. Mylroie, 2018. "Role of karst denudation on the accurate assessment of glacio-eustasy and tectonic uplift on carbonate coasts", Advances in Karst Research: Theory, Fieldwork and Applications, M. Parise, F. Gabrovsek, G. Kaufmann, N. Ravbar
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Quaternary glacio-eustasy has traditionally been determined in part by the examination of fossil coral reefs on carbonate islands and coasts uplifted by tectonics. These studies do not properly account for dissolutional denudation, which is cumulative, making higher and therefore older terraces exist at elevations far below their assumed depositional elevation. Karst pedestals (karrentische) on Guam reveal the extent of the denudation (c. 50 mm ka−1) and demonstrate that theoretical denudation models can be accurately applied to eogenetic carbonates in tropical settings. Aeolian calcarenite islands such as the Bahamas have been used as tectonically stable sea-level calibrations for other islands, which may not be correct. Flank margin caves, forming in the distal margin of the freshwater lens within a carbonate island, are excellent sea-level indicators. Analysis of flank margin cave elevations indicates that the Bahamas have had past sea-level highstands >6 m, perhaps up to 15 m or more, for which no fossil coral data exist. Denudational removal of these older corals has biased the record to younger events and only flank margin caves remain as viable terrestrial signatures of these older sea-level highstands.
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Karst landscapes and karst aquifers are composed of a variety of soluble rocks, such as salt, gypsum, anhydrite, limestone, dolomite and quartzite. They are fascinating areas of exploration, study and research. As karst rocks are abundant on the Earth’s surface, the fast evolution of karst landscapes and the rapid flow of water through karst aquifers present many challenges from a number of different perspectives. This collection of 25 papers deals with different aspects of these challenges, including karst geology, geomorphology and speleogenesis, karst hydrogeology, karst modelling, and karst hazards and management. Together these papers provide a state-of-the-art review of the current challenges and solutions we face in describing karst from a scientific perspective, while at the same time providing useful data and information for managing karst territories to land planners, developers, and managers of show caves, natural parks and reserves in karst terrains.