Geotechnical Design Over Karst. It's All About the Water

by Walter G. Kutschke, P.E., Ph.D., (M.ASCE), Chief Geotechnical Engineer; URS Corporation, Pittsburgh, PA,,

Serial Information: Geo-Strata —Geo Institute of ASCE, 2014, Vol. 18, Issue 6, Pg. 32-37

Document Type: Feature article


Karst is a type of topography which is formed over soluble rocks, such as limestone, dolomite, or gypsum. An irregular bedrock surface is typical of most karst areas, along with sinkholes, caves, and underground drainage. These features are the familiar aspects of karst which lead to more complex and fascinating features such as poljes, swallets, blind valleys, dry valleys, and various other karst phenomena. All of these karst features are developed by one fundamental element – water. Karst ultimately owes its origins to the natural processes caused by solution and leaching of soluble minerals along joints and bedding planes. Water drives everything in karst.

Subject Headings: Geotechnical engineering | Karst


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