The weathering of soluble carbonate rock produces a highly irregular landscape and subsurface profile referred to as karst topography. Diversion of surface water to underground solution-englarged passages in the bedrock erodes the overlying soil leading to ground subsidence and eventual collapse, which is often catastrophic. The geologic literature describing karst geomorphology is extensive, and the processes responsible for the geotechnical problems associated with karst features are fairly well understood. Despite this, site evaluation, engineering design, and methods of construction which relate to these problems are not very well developed. An extensive review of the literature has been conducted to provide a concise statement of the geologic, hydrologic, climatological, and man-made factors responsible for the development of karst features and their related engineering problems. Lawrence County, located in the karst region of southern Indiana known as the Mitchell Plain physiographic subsection, is chosen as the study area. The geotechnical engineering problems of the area are briefly described and are associated with engineering soil units classified according to landform and parent material. Since karst-related problems dominate, this research focuses on their evaluation and solution. A careful study of site investigation techniques specifically applicable to karst regions is performed to develop an efficient methodology of site evaluation. Such a methodology is proposed and includes preliminary studies, reconnaissance surveys, geophysical techniques, and boring location schemes. New concepts are introduced, such as preparation of a regional sinkhole density map. Others are evaluated, such as the identification of lineaments from aerial photography as an aid for site evaluation. Several remedial and preventive techniques dealing with hydrologic aspects of sinkholes are reviewed. Factors relating to engineering design of foundations and embankments in karst regions are discussed. Failure modes and strength criteria for carbonate rock are described. A relatively new technique for analyzing a compacted clay fill is developed. Although many simplifying assumptions are used, the method has great potential as an efficient and economic alternative to costly treatment of individual features. Finally, a procedure for sinkhole repair is recommended. (Author)

  • Corporate Authors:

    Purdue University/Indiana Department of Transportation JHRP

    Purdue University, School of Civil Engineering
    West Lafayette, IN  United States  47907-1284

    Indiana Department of Highways

    Indianapolis, IN  United States 
  • Authors:
    • Adams, F T
    • Lovell, C W
  • Publication Date: 1984-7

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 198 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00389943
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: JHRP-84-12 Final Rpt.
  • Created Date: Nov 30 1984 12:00AM