Karst, Iowa geology, northeast Iowa, caves, sinkholes, landuse hazards
Karst landforms of northeastern lowa have developed on Silurian and Ordovician carbonate rocks through processes of dissolution and collapse. The karst areas are characterized by rapid infiltration, direct runoff into sinkholes, underground drainage through solution-enlarged fractures, bedding planes and caves, and groundwater discharge at springs. Mechanically induced karst is found along the Silurian Escarpment and in close proximity to major valleys, but the majority of northeastern Iowa's karst features are solutional in origin. Collapse of rock and surficial deposits into solutional openings in underlying rock pose safety and engineering problems in the area. The direct connection of surfacewaters with shallow bedrock aquifers through sinkholes, swallows in streams, and rapid infiltration has resulted in degradation of the groundwater quality, posing possible health hazards to inhabitants of this region. These environmental problems can be reduced through recognition of the hazards posed by the presence of karst and through reasoned approaches to land management.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science
©1984 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Bounk, Michael J. and Bettis, E. Arthur III
"Karst Development in Northeastern Iowa,"
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 91(1), 12-15.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol91/iss1/5