EGU General Assembly 2008
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  Information - NH8.1 Natural and anthropogenic hazards in karst areas (co-listed in GM)

Event Information
Due to a number of particular geologic and hydrogeologic features (fractured rocks, presence of karst cavities and conduits, rapid concentrated flow), karst areas are among the most vulnerable settings of the world to man-induced and/or natural hazards. Occurrence of subsidence phenomena, floods, and slope movements may be very frequent, causing serious damage in several karst areas. Agriculture and land use changes may lead to degradation of the karst landscape through the practice of stone clearing and crushing, potentially favouring development of erosion and eventually resulting in rocky desertification. At the same time, other anthropogenic activities such as intensive quarrying may cause partial or total destruction of the karst landscape and of near-surface caves, with the loss of their important geological and archaeological evidence. Fragility of karst environments is further evidenced by karst groundwater systems, which are extremely important water supplies (about 25% of the global population is supplied largely or entirely by karst waters), but whose quality is very susceptible to degradation. Over-exploitation of karst water resources, sea-water intrusion, and pollution events, with the consequent deterioration of water quality, are studied frequently worldwide. Many hazards affecting karst environments can be fully understood only through a multi-disciplinary approach, combining expertise from different fields, including but not limited to, geomorphology, engineering geology, hydrology, hydrogeology, geophysics, and geochemistry. The symposium dedicated to natural and anthropogenic hazards in karst areas is organized for the third year within the framework of the Natural Hazards program of the EGU General Assembly. In the past editions, it has been an excellent opportunity to share experiences from different areas of the world, to discuss methodologies and techniques for a better understanding of karst and the different hazards which may occur in these very fragile environments, and finally, to better understand more correct ways for karst management, particularly as regards the interrelationships with man. The conveners look forward to receiving a significant number of contributions from karst areas worldwide; papers dealing with case studies in karst are solicited, and contributions presenting a multi-disciplinary approach to the problem particularly encouraged. This symposium is meant to stimulate further research in the field of karst research, and to facilitate the co-operation between different fields of expertise.

Preliminary List of Solicited Speakers


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