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Map Layer Info

Engineering Aspects of Karst

What this map layer shows:

Areas of karst in the United States, as well as karst-like terrain produced by processes other than the dissolution of rocks.
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Background Information
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"Karst" is the term commonly used to describe areas containing distinctive surficial and subterranean features, such as fissures, tubes, and caves, developed by solution of carbonate and other rocks. Karst areas are characterized by closed depressions, sinking streams, and cavern openings. When used in its broadest sense, the term karst encompasses many surface and subsurface conditions that give rise to problems in engineering geology. Most of these problems pertain to subterranean features that affect foundations, tunnels, and diversion of surface drainage. Subterranean openings may be the habitat of unique and, in some cases, endangered fauna.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Geology Discipline scientists conduct research and studies on karst geology and karst-related geologic hazards, as well as on the geologic framework of karst aquifers. Other USGS scientists study karst-related water resources, contaminant transport in karst aquifers, and biological habitat in caves, springs, and karst wetlands. The results of these USGS studies are provided to other agencies and to the general public and are used to educate the public and legislators about karst issues and to provide a basis for karst research. Studies of karst areas also allow Federal, State, and local land-use managers to make informed decisions as they work to conserve unique environments and landforms while protecting public health and safety. The USGS formed a Karst Interest Group (KIG) in 1999 to encourage and support interdisciplinary collaboration and technology transfer among USGS scientists working in karst areas. Participation in the KIG and the workshops it sponsors has expanded to include other Federal, State and local agencies, and private groups. This map layer was compiled by the USGS Geology Discipline.

The Engineering Aspects of Karst data set shows areas of karst in the United States, as well as features analogous to karst (sometimes referred to as "pseudokarst", which is karst-like terrain produced by processes other than the dissolution of rocks.) Also included are lines showing the limits of areas of subsidence caused by karst-related problems. This data set is a digital representation of USGS Open-File Report 2004-1352, which is a PDF version of the 1984 USGS Engineering Aspects of Karst map. Further information on karst is available from The National Cave and Karst Research Institute, the National Park Service Cave and Karst Program, and from the USGS Ground Water Information Page on Karst. Information on subsidence is available from the USGS Ground Water Information Page on Subsidence.


Raw Data Download
Karst, Engineering Aspects