Sea level is the base level for groundwater circulation in coastal aquifers. The evolution of karst surface landforms and subsurface drainage systems in these aquifers has been conditioned in geological time by tectonics and glacio-eustatic sea-level changes. Present morpho-structural settings and the type/distribution of karst surface and subsurface forms have developed in different carbonate formations according to differences in lithology, climate and exposure time, all driving the intensity of morphologic and karst processes. The repeated and significant changes of groundwater level linked to “sea-level changes” have had the most important role in driving the continuous evolution of karstic drainage systems, and has resulted in most cases in a multiphase karst. This study aims at defining a general method for identifying, in karst coastal settings, the elevations of flat or low topographic gradient surfaces (using morphometric analysis of Digital Elevation Models (DEM) and GIS), and their comparison with elevations of distinctive karstic levels (passages, lateral solution cavities) observed in vertical shafts and horizontal caves. Of the elevations of flat or low topographic gradient surfaces only those agreeing, within ±10 m or ±20 m, with elevation ranges marked by the high frequency of distinctive karst levels were considered as representative of the more probable past sea-level stands. The method is applied to a regional coastal carbonate formation in Southern Italy, by using a 10 m DEM and information on 140 complex caves and 85 shafts. Of the 15 elevations indicated by DEM analysis (620, 600, 470, 450, 425, 385, 355, 315, 270, 250, 205, 180, 150, 110, and 70 m a.s.l.), 13 match clearly those highlighted by significant frequencies of distinctive karstic levels. These elevations are validated by comparison to the elevation of terraces and karst plains indicated in the literature.
|Titolo:||Coastal and inland karst morphologies driven by sea level stands: a GIS based method for their evaluation|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2012|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1002/esp.3246|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|