Karst Applied Research Studies Through Geologic Mapping (KARST) Project


Societal issues related to karst have been increasing over the years due to increased urban, industrial, and agricultural development and associated ground-water contamination, ground-water availability, and subsidence hazards. Nearly 25 percent of the United States is in karst terrain and a large segment of this area is undergoing rapid urban and industrial development. To best understand the impact of karst development, a geologic framework is necessary. Geologic mapping forms the foundation for the three dimensional, integrated mapping and hydrogeologic studies that will show how fractures, faults, and stratigraphy control sinkhole and conduit development.  The KARST project integrates mapping and hydrogeology at local, regional, and national scale to address issues related to ground-water and subsidence hazards in karst terrains where urban, industrial, and agricultural development is increasing. It is critical to understand the geologic controls (stratigraphy, lithology, and structure) on conduit development that triggers sinkhole collapse and forms the avenues for ground-water movement. Local studies will be used to form the regional synthesis of karst in different geologic settings and will be used to delineate karst areas for a national karst map.  The geologic framework will be used for interdisciplinary research on how ground-water enters and moves through the aquifer systems. It will also delineate areas prone to sinkhole collapse.

The project is producing geologic maps at 1:24,000 and 1:100,000 scale that will be integrated into the National Geologic Map Database .  Derivitive maps and scientific papers address specific karst ground-water and subsidence issues at national, regional, and local levels.  Results from the project are used by Federal and local land-use managers for addressing specific karst issues.  This project is interdisciplinary and includes support from the USGS Water Resources Discipline, USGS Geography Discipline, National Park Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Project Tasks:

Geologic framework of the northern Shenandoah Valley aquifer system

Geologic framework of Ozark karst, Ozark National Scenic Riverways and Buffalo National River

Geologic mapping and hydrogeologic assessment of ground water resources in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)

National Karst Map

Image showing maps of Larst Project locations in Missouri, Arkansas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
Locations of USGS KARST Project tasks

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Project Staff:
David Weary dweary@usgs.gov (Project Chief)
Wilma Aleman-Gonzalez waleman@usgs.gov
Daniel Doctor dhdoctor@usgs.gov
Jack Epstein  jepstein@usgs.gov
Herbert Pierce hpierce@usgs.gov
John Repetski jrepetski@usgs.gov