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Mar 07 2013

New at Rosetta Stones: Karst! Sinkholes!

At last, something that isn’t volcanoes. Unfortunately, the subject is prompted by the fact that the earth fell away from beneath a man and killed him. I’ve attempted to explain how that happens. It doesn’t make what happened to Jeff Bush any less horrible, but hopefully it helps it be a little more comprehensible.

I quite like karst when it isn’t killing people. Karst country is often beautiful country – my favorite places in China are those lovely tower karst areas that look like they don’t belong on this planet, and one of my favorite places in Arizona is a lake in an old sinkhole. Yes, even Arizona has karst country. It’s amazing stuff.

I’ll definitely be returning to the subject of karst. Eventually. But first, I should probably get back to Mount St. Helens or we’ll never finish…

Montezuma Well, one of the most peaceful and beautiful places in the central Arizona desert. I imagine it was quite a bit less so while it was being formed. Still. Beautiful now. Image courtesy Wil Munny via Wikimedia Commons.

5 comments

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  1. 1
    dgrasett

    I don’t think I have ever told you how much I appreciate your blog. I like looking at the earth, the shape of it, and trying to imagine the flow and the wearing away. I don’t know much, and your blog informs me of the whys and wherefores. Thank you.

  2. 2
    Trebuchet

    I’m convinced. The Earth, in fact the whole universe, is trying to kill us all. Eventually, they will succeed. And they won’t even care.

    The Puget Sound equivalent of sinkholes would have to be collapsing shoreline bluffs, which seem to take out a house or three every winter.

  3. 3
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    I loves me some karst, and this sounds like dramatic karst I’ll be seeing at RS. Fun fact: There is generally a lot more karst than what people are aware of.

  4. 4
    rq

    We have some karst all over in areas of the country, sinkholes appear every now and then. Which turn into sandstone caves which people love exploring (never mind the fact that they could fall in again). They’re rarely particularly large, though.
    Interestingly, the word ‘karst’ is near-identical to the Latvian word for ‘hot’ (karsts). Appropriate?

  5. 5
    eidolon

    In New Mexico, there are a number of karst lakes. The most ‘famous’ of the lot is in Santa Rosa and is known as the Blue Hole. It has become a scuba training site for a number of dive shops. Filled with chilly (66F) water and 80 ft. deep it has become the focus of a small local industry. On weekends there is a regular influx of divers to local hotels and eateries. It is actually not a bad place to train new divers.

    For more about the geology…

    http://nmgs.nmt.edu/publications/guidebooks/downloads/23/23_p0168_p0170.pdf

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