Bulletin of the National Speleological Society - ISSN 0146-9517
Volume 30 Number 4: 95-114 - October 1968

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Stratigraphic and Structural Controls on Landform Development in the Central Kentucky Karst
Alan D. Howard


The number of sinks and hilltops on Meramec and lowest Chester rocks in central Kentucky was found to be closely controlled by several factors, among which the stratigraphic horizon upon which they are developed and the local and regional structure are most important. Several persistent sink-forming stratigraphic units were found in the basal Ste. Genevieve and upper St. Louise formations which crop out as low-relief "sink escarpment." These stratigraphic units are tentatively identified with bedded chert sequences.

The form of the Big Clifty (Dripping Springs) escarpment is closely controlled by the stratigraphic dip; low dip is associated with an irregular escarpment front of linear ridges and numerous outliers, with solutional valleys below the escarpment. In contrast, the escarpment front is nearly parallel to the structural contours in areas of high dip and there exists few reentrants or solutional valleys.

Little evidence was found within the present topography for any past periods of baseleveling withing the karst area. However, striking changes of landforms though time are occasioned by the vertical succession of stratigraphy and the local and regional structure. Clear evidence is lacking within the topography for historical changes in landforms resultant from climatic change or fluctuation of local baselevel. However, evidence for such enviornmental change might be read from alluvial, surficial, and cavern deposits and cavern levels.

This page last updated: 5 July, 2002 8:34
Web Author: Jim Pisarowicz