Theoretical and geomorphic implications of a contagion model of karst depression and initiation are explored with particular emphasis on (1) identifying parent versus daughter depression subpopulations; (2) analyzing spatial characteristics of each subpopulation; and (3) defining the contagious karst mechanism and how it is transmitted along solution-enlarged joints. The contagious karst mechanism suggests that the presence of one or more parent depressions increases the probability of daughter depressions developing along solution-enlarged joints that radiate outward from beneath parent depressions.
In karst terranes where the contagion model applies, there is a well-defined infrastructure with several important elements. Interaction among elements of the infrastructure (hydrologic, structural geologic, and geomorphic) result in clustered depressions. Clusters tend to be randomly distributed and consist typically of a centrally located parent depression surrounded by numerous daughter depressions.