Geoindicators of changing landscapes -- an example of karst development in North Lithuania

Jonas Satkunas, Julius Taminskas, Kazimieras Dilys


During the last two decades of the 20th century and first years of the 21st century more intensive karst processes have been witnessed in North Lithuania. The intensity of the karst process is visible as new sinkholes appearing that severely damage crops, constructions and communication systems. Explanation and forecast of these hazardous phenomena requires knowledge based on systematic monitoring data and adequate interpretation with identification of relevant geoindicators of the intensive sulphate karst processes which are of primary significance for environmental planning and management of the region. Two geoindicators, gypsum chemical denudation and the intensity of appearance of new sinkholes, were selected for monitoring of karst processes in North Lithuania. Chemical denudation has been measured since 1964 in this region. These geoindicators show that since 1978 the intensity of karst denudation has increased by 30%, with more frequent formation of sinkholes. A correlation of this phenomenon with climate change -- increasing air temperature and decreasing of the duration of seasonally frozen ground -- is proposed and discussed in this paper.


geoindicators; sulphate karst; sinkholes; karst denudation

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