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Karst

The Karst (Slovenian Kras) is a famous limestone region in western Slovenia. Its name has lent itself to signify any similar landscape, as described below.

In physical geography, karst is a geological topography in which the landscape is shaped by the action of a naturally occurring mild carbonic acid on limestone and dolomite (calcarenites[?]).

This geological process results in distinctive features including sinkholes (closed basins), vertical shafts, disappearing streams, and springs, and after sufficient time there are complex underground drainage systems (karst aquifers) and extensive caves.

The carbonic acid which causes these features is formed as rain passes through the atmosphere picking up CO2, which dissolves in the water. Once the rain reaches the ground, it passess through the soil, gathering up more CO2 to form a carbonic acid solution: H2O + CO2 → H2CO3.

The water naturally exploits any cracks in the rock. Over time the bedrock begins to dissolve. Openings in the rock increase in size and an underground drainage system begins to develop, allowing more water to pass through, accelerating the formation of karst features.



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