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Featured article from geoscience journal

Carbonates and Evaporites/Carbonates Evaporites, 2013, Vol 28, Issue 1, p. 41-46
Differentiated characterization of karst aquifers: some contributions

Because of the small radius of investigation of hydrogeological standard testing methods, the characterization of karst aquifers is still a challenge. The development of a karst conduit system introduces an element of large contrast in hydraulic conductivity in the hydraulic parameter field of a karst aquifer. It leads to complex flow patterns and transport phenomena that differ significantly from those observed in porous and fissured media. While on a local, i.e., borehole scale, the fissured matrix of karst aquifers can be regarded as a continuum, on a regional, i.e., catchment scale, the drainage of the aquifer system is controlled by the conduit system, which may have a highly anisotropic geometry. Therefore, characterization of karst aquifers requires a differentiated approach by the combination of various hydrogeological field methods or the application of large-scale tests, which cover the scale of dominant aquifer heterogeneities. Existing numerical modeling approaches can be applied for integral data interpretation on catchment scale.