WHAT IS KARST?
Karst is a terrain with distinctive landforms and hydrology created from the dissolution of soluble rocks, principally limestone and dolomite. Karst terrain is characterized by springs, caves, sinkholes, and a unique hydrogeology that results in aquifers that are highly productive, but extremely vulnerable to contamination. In the United States, about 40% of the groundwater used for drinking comes from karst aquifers.
WHERE DO YOU FIND KARST?
Some karst areas in the United States are famous, such as the Florida Springs and Aquifers, Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, and Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. In fact, about 20 percent of the land surface in the U.S. is classified as karst. Other parts of the world with large areas of karst include China, Europe, the Caribbean, and Australia.
Karst hydrogeology is typified by a network of interconnected fissures, fractures and conduits emplaced in a relatively low-permeability rock matrix. Most of the groundwater flow and transport occurs through the network of openings, while most of the groundwater storage occurs in the matrix. As a result, most karst aquifers are highly heterogeneous and anisotropic, and much of karst research has focused on developing innovative approaches for better understanding and managing these valuable water resources.
Source: USGS Office of Groundwater
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PROTECT YOUR HOME?
Although it sounds scary to be “living on top of swiss cheese,” it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Prior to buying a home in Florida, make sure you’ve done your homework and know what you’re buying. You’ll want to look for surface depressions in the land or cracks and displacement in the home itself. Also, be sure to ask the current owner if there have been any investigations – they are required by law to disclose this information. You can find more information on what to look for in our Top 5 Sinkhole Tips for Home Buyers.
If you’re still not sure, give us a call at 1-800-770-9990. We’re happy to chat with you over the phone or even perform a quick site assessment.