Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences


Earth and Environmental Sciences (Geology)

First Advisor

Dr. Junfeng Zhu


Current karst hazard maps in Kentucky reflect the general lithology of the state and ignore or significantly reduce the impact of the actual sinkholes present within these areas. These maps rely on equal weighting, by area, of the Karst Potential Index (KPI) map and the sinkhole inventory map. The KPI is based on a 1:500,000 geologic map and less than 500 data points of carbonate rocks. The sinkhole inventory is derived from topographic maps updated in the 1970s with approximately 10-foot resolution. This method gives a preferential weighting of the KPI over the sinkhole data. Consequently, the current method is broad in scope and ineffective in hazard assessment. There is a need for a reliable karst hazard map for land use planners, government emergency planning agencies, and other stakeholders. In this study, more detailed geology information and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data are applied to three counties (Bullitt, Logan, and Woodford) to generate a more accurate assessment of karst hazard. An assessment method based on sinkhole density is also tested. By refining the hazard score to more precise areas of concern, future stakeholders will find this data useful in emergency planning and land assessment.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)