Karst occurs where limestone or other soluble bedrock is near the earth's surface, and fractures in the rock become enlarged when the rock dissolves. Sinkholes and sinking streams are two surface features that indicate karst development. In karst areas most rainfall sinks underground, resulting in fewer streams flowing on the surface than in non-karst settings. Instead of flowing on the surface, the water flows underground through caves, sometimes reemerging at karst windows, then sinks again to eventually discharge at a base-level spring along a major stream or at the top of an impermeable strata. The development of karst features is influenced by the type of soluble rock and how it has been broken or folded by geologic forces. There are four major karst regions in Kentucky: the Inner Bluegrass, Western Pennyroyal, Eastern Pennyroyal, and Pine Mountain. This diagram depicts the Inner Bluegrass karst.
Map and Chart 15
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Currens, James C., "Generalized Block Diagram of the Inner Bluegrass Karst" (2001). Kentucky Geological Survey Map and Chart. 15.