The impact of droughts and climate change on sinkhole occurrence. A case study from the evaporite karst of the Fluvia Valley, NE Spain

Rogelio Linares, Carles Roqué, Francisco Gutiérrez, Mario Zarroca, Domingo Carbonel, Joan Bach, Ivan Fabregat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2016 Elsevier B.V. This work introduces the concept that sinkhole frequency in some karst settings increases during drought periods. This conception is tested in a sector of the Fluvia River valley in NE Spain, where subsidence phenomena is related to the karstification of folded Eocene evaporite formations. In the discharge areas, the evaporites behave as confined aquifers affected by hypogene karstification caused by aggressive artesian flows coming form an underlying carbonate aquifer. A sinkhole inventory with chronological data has been constructed, revealing temporal clusters. Those clusters show a good correlation with drought periods, as revealed by precipitation, river discharge and piezometric data. This temporal association is particularly obvious for the last and current drought starting in 1998, which is the most intense of the record period (1940–present). Climatic projections based on recent studies foresee an intensification of the droughts in this sector of NE Spain, which could be accompanied by the enhancement of the sinkhole hazard and the associated risks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-358
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume579
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

Keywords

  • Evaporite karst
  • Global change
  • Hypogene karst
  • Sinkhole hazard management

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