P A L E O K A R S T . C O M

What is Paleokarst ?

While "karst" is a general term for geologic features formed by the disolution of soluble rocks, "paleokarst" is the general term for ancient karst features that have been fossilized or preserved. Most commonly these features are filled with lithified sediments.

Like many other geologic phenomena, Carbonate Creek is not far from many outstanding paleokarst occurences. This filled cave occurs in a mine near Aspen, Colorado. The letter "A" is at the top of the cave which is about 12 feet (3.8m) across.

Photo from Maslyn, 1976, p. 64
As a result of the porosity and permeability of some of the cave fills, paleokarst is also important economically.The diagram on the left shows a mineralized filled paleo-cave near RedCliff, Colorado. Note the areas of the diagram where the cave fill is mineralized with base-metal sulfides..

Diagram on the left from Beaty, et al, p. 6-130, in De Voto (1985)
The world of paleokarst mirrors modern karst forms beyond caves, including pinnacle like karst towers (Maslyn, 1973), sediment filled sinkholes (Maslyn, 1976) and collapse breccia pipes (Maslyn, 1977).

Follow this
link to a couple of articles that describe examples two different types of paleokarst terrains !

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Copyright (c) 2001 -2008 by R. Mark Maslyn
Last Updated June 5, 2008