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Lecture Topic: Karst

Figures 17.21**
Key Terms sinkhole

The physiographic provinces of the Appalachian Mountains are underlain by distinct rock types.
The Valley and Ridge Province is underlain by folded sedimentary rocks, and limestone is
commonly found there.
Karst landscape characterized by caves, springs, sinking rivers, and sinkholes. Exists because
limestone dissolves in water. In contrast, the attack of carbonic acid on feldspare yields a
residual clay, a constituent of soil.
The weathering of aluminosilicates left a solid residue (soil). The dissolution of limestone
leaves an opening in the subsurface.
Water has to come into contact with the limestone bedrock in order to dissolve it. Caves in
limestone usually originate as solution-enlarged fractures, joints, and bedding planes.

Underground conduits can carry large amounts of water. Water from the land surface can be
redirected to the subsurface entirely, leaving karst terrains with few surface streams or with
sinking streams. Later, when the water resurfaces, it forms a spring.
Springs places where groundwater discharges through natural openings in the ground.
The rapid communication of surface water into the subsurface makes contamination of
groundwater especially easy in karst terrains.
Shale is a sedimentary rock that is generally formed as particles of sediment settle out in calm
water. Large deposits of shale form from deposition in deep ocean basins

Generation of hydrocarbons is controlled primarily by temperature. Gas is given off during early
diagenesis, primarily through biologic activity. Catagenesis takes place with additional burial
during which oil and gas are given off. With increasing depth and temperature, any remaining oil
is cracked, giving off gas.
Natural gas and oil that remain in the shale source rock are called unconventional. Now with
new horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing methods it is possible to extract that oil and gas.
Marcellus shale is rich in organic matter. Depending upon its depth of burial, it either hasnt
been heated enough to generate gas, is just right for exploitation, or it has been heated too much
and all the gas has been driven off.
Formed during the Devonian period around 390 million years ago
The essence of the process is horizontal drilling and hydrofracturing using pressurized water.
Fracking fluids typically contain between 3-12 additives
Well pads of 5 acres are placed on 40 acre parcels
Roads dissect farms and forests to reach the well pads
Fracking uses 1-3 million gallons of clean water under high pressure with proprietary
mixture of chemical additives per well. Most of the water comes back out, and it is
contaminated, requiring treatment or disposal.