Karst

From LID SWM Planning and Design Guide
Jump to: navigation, search
Red = Known Karst, Orange = Inferred Karst, Yellow = Potential Karst, all other areas unknown

Karst formations are found in areas along the Niagara Escarpment, including the Bruce Peninsula, the Guelph/Rockwood/Elora area of Wellington County and in portions of eastern Ontario[1].

Karst formations, in which there are undetected sinkholes, trenches and caverns, can be dangerous

There is no one formula for defining a hazardous area associated with karst formations. Defining the “area of provincial interest” is a site-specific process. The size, extent and severity of the hazards depend on local conditions[2]. Karst formation character and size depends on the pH of the infiltrating water, the rate at which the rock dissolves, number of fractures and fissures in the rock, distance the water will percolate from surface to water tableThe upper surface of the zone of saturation, except where the surface is formed by an impermeable body.Subsurface water level which is defined by the level below which all the spaces in the soil are filled with water; The entire region below the water table is called the saturated zone. and the presence of impermeable layers above or below the limestone/dolomite layers.

Karst formations can also be significant rechargeThe addition of water to ground water by natural or artificial processes.The infiltration and movement of surface water into the soil, past the vegetation root zone, to the zone of saturation or water table. zones for municipal supply aquifersLayer of rock or soil that holds or transmits water.

For example, the City of Guelph, whose drinking water supply is wholly groundwater, is known to be a direct recipient of significant rechargeThe addition of water to ground water by natural or artificial processes.The infiltration and movement of surface water into the soil, past the vegetation root zone, to the zone of saturation or water table. through the areas karst formations.


  1. Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. Karst. https://www.mndm.gov.on.ca/en/mines-and-minerals/applications/ogsearth/karst. Published 2017. Accessed October 17, 2017.
  2. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Understanding Natural Hazards.; 2001. http://www.trentu.ca/iws/documents/GLSLRS_UnderstandingNaturalHazard_Intro.pdf. Accessed October 17, 2017.