© 2018 The Garrotxa-Banyoles artesian aquifer system in NE Spain includes zones with epigene and hypogene evaporite karst and sinkhole development. The sinkhole fields related to hypogene evaporite dissolution are associated with the discharge zones of the aquifer, where groundwater from a confined limestone rises traversing an overlying gypsum formation capped by thick marls. This work analyses the sinkhole field developed in the Sant Miquel de Campmajor Valley (SMCV), a discharge area of the aquifer, where a cartographic inventory including 94 sinkholes has been produced. Sinkholes in this hypogene gypsum karst are mainly large caprock-collapse sinkholes rooted in deep-seated cavities generated by interstratal hypogene karstification, as corroborated by an electrical resistivity imaging (ERI) survey. They show a non-clustered distribution within the sinkhole field and the variations in size and density across the area are mainly controlled by the thickness of the marl caprock. The magnitude and frequency relationships of the sinkholes can be modelled with a high goodness of fit with a log-normal function, like in other regions of the world. However, in this deep-seated hypogene system the depressions show much larger dimensions. Potential differences between the sinkholes developed in hypogene and epigene karst environments are discussed, including their distribution with respect to the groundwater flow system, their spatial patterns and dimensions.
- Electrical resistivity imaging (ERI)
- Interstratal karst
- Subsidence hazard