Discuss the conditions required for the development of Karst topography with associated features| Karst topography UPSC

 Question:

Discuss the conditions required for the development of Karst topography with associated features. ( 63rd BPSC, 2019)

Answer:

Karst topography is distinct landforms features developed mainly by groundwater agents in the limestone or dolomite region. Karst topography developed through a process of solution and deposition of water-soluble rocks such as limestone and dolomite.

The following are conditions required for the development of Karst topography:

  • The region should have the presence of large stretches of thick water-soluble rocks such as limestone.
  • Rocks should be permeable, jointed, and cracked.
  • Should have sufficient rainfall or sufficient source of water to dissolve the carbonate rocks.
  • Absence of surface drainage and well-developed groundwater channel needed for the formation of karst topography and associated features.

The following are the associated features of Karst topography:

There are two types of features of Karst topography.

  • Erosional features:
  • Depositional features.

Karst Topography
Karst Topography

Erosional features:

Erosional features are created due to erosion on the water-soluble rocks. The following are three important erosional features of Karst topography.

Sinkhole:

  • It is nearly circular in shape at the top and funnel-shaped toward the bottom is called a sinkhole. Water percolates inside the ground through sinkholes.

Sink Valley;

  • Collapse sinks are created by merging or collapsing two or more sinks.

Cave:

  • In areas where there are alternative arrangements of hard rocks ( shale, sandstone, quantize) and soft rocks( limestone or dolomite), caves are formed due to the dissolution of soft rocks.

Depositional features of Karst Topography:

As we know that limestone is made of calcium carbonate that is easily soluble in carbonated water( Co2+Water). The solution of calcium carbonate is deposited when the water gets evaporated.

There are mainly three types of the depositional features of karst topography:

Stalactites:

  • It is crustal shaped and hangs on the roof.

Stalagmite: 

  • Deposit of calcium carbonate that has risen upon floors.

Pillars:

  • When the deposit of calcium carbonate reaches from floor to roof in the cave and it stands like a pillar.

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