Karst hazards and management
Sinkholes are the main hazard related to underground voids of both natural and anthropogenic origin. Instabilities developing underground may propagate upwards in a dramatic manner and reach the surface in the form of a sinkhole. The Apulia region in southern Italy is an interesting case study due to the outcropping of soluble rocks throughout the region. These rocks are affected by karst processes and have a high number of anthropogenic cavities. The latter were excavated by humans at different times for a variety of purposes. The worrying recent increase in the number of sinkhole events registered in Apulia led us to collect information on natural and anthropogenic sinkholes in Apulia. We focused on anthropogenic cavities, mostly excavated in Plio-Pleistocene calcarenites, and characterized the rock masses before using two- and three-dimensional parametric numerical analyses to model the instability processes, with the aim of exploring the failure mechanisms that lead to the occurrence of sinkholes. The parametric studies allowed us to carry out a preliminary evaluation of the stability conditions through simple charts designed for use in the field.
Figures & Tables
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.