Karst topography

Karst topography

LIVING WITH SINKHOLES C A S E S T U D Y G R O U P A C T I V I T Y: S C I E N C E A N D E T H I C S O F SINKHOLES Cathy Pappas-Maenz Department of Geology Dawson College WHAT IS A SINKHOLE? A hole in the ground which is not connected to surface drainage. Sinkholes are typically found in a landscape

referred to as Karst Topography Soluble rocks such as limestone can be dissolved by circulating groundwater producing caverns and open spaces underground. As the water infiltrates into the groundwater system and encounters carbonate rocks like limestone, it may start to dissolve the calcite in the limestone by the following chemical reaction: CaCO3 + H2CO3 = Ca+2+ 2HCO3-2 REGIONS AT RISK

20 percent of the land surface is karst and 40 percent of the groundwater used for drinking comes from karst aquifers http://water.usgs.gov/ogw/karst/kig2002/jbe_map.html KARST REGIONS OF THE WORLD

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karst OVERVIEW OF THE ISSUES Natural earth processes, like floods, earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic activity, and ground subsidence are hazardous to people and property. A popular misconception claims that natural disasters are getting more frequent and damaging, but actually there are just more people and better media coverage. To reduce risks to life and property, geologists try

to identify and analyze potentially hazardous processes and take corrective measure to reduce or even eliminate the hazard. HAZARDS 1) Physical danger of falling into them, as well as the danger to structures buildings, roads, etc. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/sinkholeswallows-backhoe-in-downtown-montreal-1.1395574

2) Threat to ground and surface water quality by the potential for direct introduction of contaminants. http://water.usgs.gov/ogw/pubs/fs00165/ ROLE OF EARTH SCIENTISTS Many natural disasters can be prevented and/or their impact reduced. Sharing and communicating our knowledge more

effectively. Providing balanced information about risks and also addressing inevitable uncertainties in natural hazard mapping, assessment, warning, and forecasting. Raising awareness on the above issues and promoting greater collaboration with urban planners, policy makers and the public about sinkhole risk that is needed to fulfill ethical obligations. CASE STUDY GOALS To introduce the basics of karst and cave origin, with emphasis on geologic controls,

interpretation, and application to real world problems. How natural processes can affect the environment How human activities can affect the environment. Analysing and evaluating the difficulties involved with policies and litigation resulting from sinkholes. Investigating who is responsible legally/ethically. Case Study CASE STUDY: GUIDING QUESTIONS

After reading the scenario of the natural hazard, the following set of questions need to be addressed: What facts are presented? (the known facts.) What ethical concerns do they raise? Which of the known facts are relevant to resolving the ethical concerns? What additional facts might be relevant to the case? (the unknown facts) How might these unknown facts affect what is ethically at stake? What options are available? Which of these options seem best from an ethical point of

view? LINKS TO THE CASE STUDY Case study teaching notes http:// sciencecases.lib.buffalo.edu/cs/collection/detail.asp? case_id=195&id=195 Follow-up to legal battle http:// articles.baltimoresun.com/1998-12-01/news/199833 5117_1_sinkhole-genstar-knight Additional references

http://water.usgs.gov/ogw/karst/ https:// www.dnr.mo.gov/geology/geosrv/envgeo/sinkholes.h

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