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Structural–tectonic controls and geomorphology of the karst corridors in alpine limestone ridges: Southern Carpathians, Romania

Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.05.003
  • Solutionally-Enlarged Joints
  • Fault
  • Bogaz
  • Circular Orientation Data
  • Extensional Environment
  • Carpathians
  • Earth Science


Abstract The relationship between surface karst development and the geological frame is widely acknowledged in the study of karst landforms. It is of considerable interest especially in alpine environments (e.g. Alpine–Dinaric–Carpathian orogenic system). Karst corridors are generally known as kluftkarren or bogaz and form by solution of limestone along a lithoclase network. The Vânturariţa-Buila Massif (Carpathians, Romania) is a typical alpine karst ridge and a former carbonate platform of Upper Jurassic age in which geologically-controlled karst features have been developing over a geologic timescale. Field research and mapping were useful in extracting geologic features. Joint- and structure-controlled karst corridors are common in the upper section of the mountain, between 1600 and 1850m. First, a complex system of lithoclases (fissures, joints and faults) occurred; then, surface runoff or meltwater solutionally enlarged them. Tension fractures strike in a northeast–southwest direction, parallel to homoclinal limestone layers. The exposed fault walls often preserve draperies and speleothem remnants. Further, statistical analysis of joint, fault and bogaz orientations has shown the close relation between the three datasets, and morphometric analysis centered only on the karst corridor system. Results derived from the statistical analysis of orientation data show that there is a strong preferred orientation of the bogaz or bogaz-like forms along the directional faults and that they commonly develop in extensional (tectonically active) environments. Additional features typical to fluviokarst are also present — subterranean connections between the karst corridors and the headwalls of the pocket valleys, generating headward recession both by continuous sapping of karst springs at the headwall base followed by collapses. An extremely poor surface drainage network developed in the upper pavement facing southeast, compared to that on the middle and lower sides.

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