GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 114-18
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


MOORE, Brittiny Paige, Geography, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666

Karst landscapes are among the world’s most complex, diverse, and resource-rich terrains. Karst environments provide unique subsurface habitats to rare organisms, drinking water for humans, and their caves preserve fragile and prehistoric features. Yet, these landscapes are also most vulnerable to environmental impacts that result from landscape-human interactions. Their groundwaters are easily polluted, the water in their wells and springs are highly responsive to surface activity, and sinkhole development can flood large regions. Following storms, droughts, and heavy infrastructure construction, new sinkholes can form suddenly and consume buildings and roads. Since people have begun developing on karst terrains many of these issues have been exacerbated and present engineering and environmental challenges. Urban development in these landscapes requires specific rules and regulations to eliminate the impacts caused by development. The purpose of this research is to assess the relationship between land use policies and the disturbance and health of the associated karst landscapes using the Karst Disturbance Index (KDI). Four different counties, in different geographical regions, have been chosen to assess based on well-developed karst features, established land use policies, and well-documented karst data. The Chi-square statistical method will be used to evaluate the presence, or lack thereof, of a relationship between land use policies and karst conditions. Although some basic rules and regulations exist to protect karst landscapes, very little work has been done to evaluate their effectiveness.