Karsts

Uneven ground, covered with funnels, dips, relief depressions, with unexpectedly disappearing or emerging creeks and streams - that's what the Karst mountain plateau looks like. It is located in Slovenia and it was there that these features of the structure of the earth's surface were first studied. Hence the name karst phenomena or karsts.

Uneven ground, covered with funnels, dips, relief depressions, with unexpectedly disappearing or emerging creeks and streams - that's what the Karst mountain plateau looks like

Fig.1. A harsh and anhydrous surface of the karst.

Many mountains consist of limestone, which eventually leaches and dissolves with water. It first appears thin cracks, then they turn into wide cracks - ponoras, and over the centuries formed meter-long tunnels. Therefore, the karst landscape, like a sponge, is permeated with caves. The presence of caves is often not reflected on the surface, although it is as a result of their failure that many limestone gorges are likely to have formed. Characteristic rocky limestone landscapes are often called karsts. Cracks - the reason for the formation of many forms of karst landscapes. Steep rocks, for example, often follow the arrangement of vertical cracks, and the surface of limestone rocks is an open funnel. They are formed at the intersection of cracks, then, transformed into deep wells, open the way down for water flows. Karst wells are typical, for example, for the Crimean Mountains, where they number about 870.

There are also forms outwardly very similar to karsts - pseudo-karstic forms. One of the varieties of pseudo-karst is a thermokarst associated with the melting of buried ice or thawing of frozen rocks in the areas of distribution permafrost.

Another type is clayey karst. These are deep underground passages and dips very reminiscent of real karsts that occur in strongly calcareous loam and clay, provided that the fracture is well developed.

The surface of the earth in the karst areas is extremely poor water. In the mountains, which are not amenable to erosion, water flows down the surface, forming streams and rivers. But in the karst areas, water flows into the cracks of limestone and moves underground. So fertile soil is also carried away from the surface. Therefore, the karsts are poor in vegetation, since there are practically no subsoil waters. In addition, there are a lot of stones in the top layer of the soil. It is not for nothing that the locals of the alpine range of the Swabian Alb call it "the skull of the devil".

During the melting of the snow in the karsts, temporary lakes can form - polia - at the expense of water, which does not manage to seep into the cracks. These lakes are also a characteristic feature of karst areas.

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