Karst topography – UPSC GS1

What is a Karst topology? What are the essential conditions for its formation ? (200 Words)

Karst Topology is formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks including limestone, dolomite and gypsum. It is characterized by sinkholes, caves, and underground drainage systems.
Nearly all surface karst features are formed by internal drainage, subsidence, and collapse triggered by the development of underlying caves.
Examples of Karst Topology Areas : Chalk Area of England and France, Florida(USA),Jammu and Kashmir , Pachmarhi (Madhya Pradesh) ,Eastern Himalayas, Coastal areas near Vishakhapatnam etc.
Essential conditions for formation of Karst Topology:
  1. Relatively thick massive soluble rock, i.e., limestone, dolomite, or chalk.
  2. Carbonate rocks should be very close to the ground surface.
  3. Lime stones should not be porous.
  4. Limestone should be highly folded, faulted or fractured.
  5. Marked development of joints. If the rock is bedded, the beds should be thin.
  6. Considerable relief so that water is capable of circulation to cause typical karst topography.
  7. Moderate to heavy rainfall to cause solution of rocks.
Karst topology provide and support habitat for rare animal and plant species, including bats, cave-adapted invertebrates, plants that grow on the surface and at springs and seeps, and fish and mussels living in streams and rivers fed by karst springs.


What do you understand by Karst region? Describe some its outstanding features. (200 Words)
Karst topography is a landscape created by groundwater dissolving sedimentary rock such as limestone.
This creates land forms such as shafts, tunnels, caves, and sinkholes.
A karst landscape most commonly develops on limestone but can develop on several types of rocks, such as dolomite, gypsum, and salt.
Features of Karst region:
  1. An aquifer is anybody of rock from which important quantities of drinkable water may be produced. The groundwater basin of a karst spring collects drainage from all the sinkholes and sinking streams in its drainage area.
  2. A sinkhole is any depression in the surface of the ground into which rainfall is drained. Karst sinkholes form when a fracture in the limestone bedrock is preferentially enlarged. In karst areas, most of the drainage is underground. As they flow onto the limestone, streams sink underground and travel through caves.
  3. The dry caves and the flowing springs demonstrate how karst features function on both the recharge and discharge ends of the hydrologic realm.
Importance of Karst topography:
  1. Caves are large enough survival of animals, forest dwellers.
  2. The karstified limestone acts as aquifers it contain huge amount of water, which can used during dry months. Example: Two million people in central Texas get their drinking water from the karst aquifer known as the Edwards Aquifer.



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