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A decision logic framework for investigating subsidence problems potentially attributable to gypsum karstification

By John Lamont-Black, Paul L. Younger, Richard A. Forth, Anthony H. Cooper and Jason P. Bonniface

Abstract

Karst regions, especially gypsum ones, are prone to subsidence; this can cause severe problems in urban areas. However, this subsidence may have causes other than active karstification. A decision-logic framework designed to tackle this issue is presented. It comprises subsidence description identification of causal mechanisms; construction and evaluation of conceptual models; evaluation and parameterization of fundamental processes and development of a management strategy. This framework is applied to an area of active subsidence in the UK underlain by gypsiferous rocks. In this example, particular attention is paid to the evaluation of gypsum dissolution using four criteria: presence of evaporite; presence of undersaturated water; energy to drive water through the system; and an outlet for the water. Gypsum palaeokarst was identified from borehole evidence and contemporary karstification is indicated by groundwaters containing up to 1800 mg/l of dissolved sulphate. Strontium/sulphate ratios enabled the discrimination of gypsum and non-gypsum-derived sulphate ions and correlation with the hydrostratigraphy. Continuous measurement of groundwater levels showed differential potentiometric surfaces between stratigraphical horizons and indicated a complex pattern of groundwater movement. Integration of these data in a physically and chemically based groundwater model, incorporating a void evolution capability, is suggested.\ud \u

Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2002
DOI identifier: 10.1016/S0013-7952(01)00130-2
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:14261
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