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Gypsum and anhydrite are both soluble minerals that form rocks that can dissolve at the surface and underground, producing sulphate karst and causing geological hazards, especially subsidence and sinkholes. The dissolution rates of these minerals are rapid and cavities/caves can enlarge and collapse on a human time scale. In addition, the hydration and recrystallization of anhydrite to gypsum can cause considerable expansion and pressures capable of causing uplift and heave. Sulphate-rich water associated with the deposits can react with concrete and be problematic for construction. This paper reviews the occurrence of gypsum and anhydrite in the near surface of the UK and looks at methods for mitigating, avoiding and planning for the problems associated with these rocks.

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