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Sun Mar 3, 2013, 01:22 PM

Karst topography and Florida sinkholes

Karst topography is caused by groundwater flowing through limestone strata. Groundwater is naturally slightly acidic and over time, the acid dissolves the limestone. This creates random openings in the rock. Over the course of time, these openings get larger and become caverns. Carlsbad Caverns, Mammoth Caves, Lewis and Clark Cavern are three such features. If the caverns are close to the surface or become large enough, the top collapses and produces a sinkhole. The locations and timing of sinkhole events are relatively random and unpredictable. In the case of the Florida sinkholes and the aquifer fluctuations, a full aquifer will exert upward pressure that helps support overlying rock and structures, but that support is ultimately temporary. In true geologic fashion, the full aquifer patiently continues to dissolve the limestone, thinning and weakening the rock, inevitably resulting in a sinkhole. It is estimated that >90% of Florida lakes are filled in sinkholes.


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Reply Karst topography and Florida sinkholes (Original post)
WcoastO Mar 2013 OP
Squinch Mar 2013 #1
Igel Mar 2013 #2

Response to WcoastO (Original post)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 01:25 PM

1. Anyone thinking about fracking here? Is Akron going to disappear on a random Tuesday?

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Response to Squinch (Reply #1)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 08:53 PM

2. Does Akron sit atop layers of limestone?

Even then, probably not a problem. It's the percolation over a large area that leads to the problems.

Eventually you get the kind of truly stunning countryside you find in parts of southern China--most of the area underlain by limestone strata is gone and the sinkholes have all linked up, and all that remains are fairly vertical, scattered outcroppings. Sometimes they're dense and impenetrable. Other times they tower over fields.

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