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Where is Karst Found?

Carbonate bedrock underlies approximately 10% of British Columbia, providing an extensive area for potential karst development.

Is all carbonate rock in BC potential karst?

No, the level of karst development across the province is highly variable, because it depends on the type and purity of bedrock, physiographic location and biogeoclimatic settings. Glaciation has played a major role in the karst formation process in BC by exposing, eroding and burying earlier developed karst. The extensive glacial deposits commonly associated with the Interior likely mask significant areas of buried karst terrain.

BC karst on a global scale

Much of the karst in BC is comparable to karst terrain in other parts of the world (e.g., Europe, Norway, Alaska, Tasmania, Chile, New Zealand). Timber harvesting concerns in BC have focused primarily on the karst on Vancouver Island, the Queen Charlotte Islands, and the mainland coast where the karst contributes to a rich growing environment for timber. These areas have very steep surface slopes and subsurface hydraulic gradients with very high levels of rainfall. These characteristics contribute to making these among the most dynamic karst terrains on earth, as they are evolving and changing more rapidly and abruptly than karst areas in more moderate settings.

Run your mouse over the map to find areas where karst is known to occur.

Figure 1-3: The orange areas show the approximate distribution of carbonate bedrock in BC. These are areas of potential karst development.

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