Competitive Exams: Karst Landforms

  • Produced by chemical weathering or chemical erosion of carbonate rocks by surface and sub-surface water. Named after the Karst Region of Yugoslavia haying typical limestone topography. Distribution of Karst Areas: Erstwhile Yugoslavia; Spanish Andalusia; S. Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennesse and Florida (USA); Chalik Area of England, and France. Limestone topography has not developed properly in India because of the absence of extensive thick limestone formations near the surface. Most of limestones of the Vindhyan formation are buried under thick covers of sandstones and shales. Though some Karst regions are present-

  • Guptadham Cave (Rohtas Plateau)

  • Jammu and Kashmir

  • Sahasradhara, Rovers Cave and Tapkeshwar Temple (Dehra Dun, Uttranchal)

  • Panchmarhi (M P)

  • Eastern Himalayas

  • Bastar district (Chhat-tisgarh)

  • Coastal areas near Vishakhapatnam.

Essential conditions for the development of Karst land-forms

  • Massive, thickly bedded, hard, tenacious and well jointed limestone.

  • Lime stones should not be porous.

  • It should be above ground water table.

  • Widely distributed in both area and vertical dimensions.

  • Carbonate rocks should be very close to the ground surface.

  • Limestone should be highly folded, faulted or fractured.

  • Adequate rainfall. Mechanism of erosion in Karst areas

  • Carbonation

Erosional Landforms

  • Lappies-Highly corrugated and rough surface of limestone lithology with low ridges and pinnacles.
  • Terra Rosa-Weathering residue at the surface. Solution Holes-Holes produced by dissolution of lime stones by chemically active rain water.
  • Sink Holes-Small solution holes.
  • Dolin-A large solution hole. Swallow Hole-Formed by coalescence of closely spaced sink holes.
  • Collapse Sinks-Solution holes formed due to collapse of upper surface.
  • Solution Pans-Similar to doline with shallow depth and larger areal extent
  • Karst Lakes-When Dolines plugged by clay are filled with water.
  • Karst Window-Formed due to collapse of upper surface of sink holes or dolines. Uvala-Extensive depression formed by coalescence of several dolines.
  • Polje-Most extensive depressions larger than dolines and are formed due to downfolding and faulting.
  • Karst Plain-Upper surface having several sink holes. Sinking Creek-Numerous sink holes located in a line. Blind Valley-When flow is terminated at a swallow hdle, the valley looks dry valley and is known as blind valley. Karst Valley-U shaped valleys developed on lime stones.
  • Cave-Voids of large dimension below ground surface. It is the most significant feature. Ponores-Vertical passages that connect the caves and the swallow holes.
  • Natural Bridge-Formed due to collapse of the roofs of caves or due to disappearance of surface streams and their reappearance.

Depositional Landforms

  • Speleothems-Deposits in the caves are collectively called ‘Speleothems’ Calcite is the common constituent.
  • Travertines-Banded calcareous deposits are called Travertines
  • Drip Stones-Calcareous deposits formed by dripping-of water in dry caves.
  • Stalactites-Dripstones hanging from the roof of a cave.
  • Stalagmites-Growing upward from the bottom of a cave.
  • Cave Pillars-These are formed when stalactites and stalagmites meet together.
  • Drapes or curtains-Numerous needle shaped dripstones hanging from the cave ceiling.
  • Helictites-Sideward growth from stalactites.
  • Helgmites-Sideward growth from stalagmites.
  • Flowstones-Floor deposits caused by seepage water

Causes of Deposition

  1. Chemical reactions

  2. Charge in temperature & pressure conditions

  3. Loss of Carbon dioxide

  4. Evaporation

Discussions & Questions

  • Is uvala(karst topography)also known as collapse sink ( - on ))

    1 Answer

    You can watch this video for karst topography and its features -

    - on