Karst environments are characterized by distinctive landforms and unique hydrological behaviors. Karst systems are commonly extremely complex, heterogeneous and very difficult to manage, because their formation and evolution are controlled by a wide range of geological, hydrological, geochemical and biological processes. Furthermore, karst systems are extremely vulnerable due to the direct connection between the surface and subsurface through the complex networks of conduits and caves.
The great variability and unique connectivity may result in serious engineering problems: on one hand, karst groundwater resources are easily contaminated by pollution because of the rapidity of conduit flow; on the other hand, the presence of karst conduits that weakens the strength of the rock mass may lead to serious natural and human-induced hazards. The design and development of engineering projects in karst environments thus should necessarily require: 1) an enhanced understanding of the natural processes governing the initiation and evolution of karst systems through both field and modelling approaches, and 2) specific interdisciplinary approaches aimed at mitigating the detrimental effects of hazardous processes and environmental problems.
This session calls for abstracts on research related to geomorphology, hydrogeology, engineering geology, hazard mitigation in karst environments in the context of climate change and increasing human disturbance.
As established by the International Union of Speleology and UNESCO, 2021 has been declared the International Year of Caves and Karst.
Our session "Field and modelling approaches for the assessment of hydrogeological and engineering problems in the complex karst environment" aims at contributing to the activity of this celebration. It will address 3 themes:
• Characterization and modelling of karst hydrodynamics
• Groundwater chemistry and transport processes in karst
• Characterization, mapping and modelling karst features and processes
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