Hazards in karst areas and mitigation strategies

Investigations of natural and anthropogenic hazards in karst area, and development of mitigation strategies of related risks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Background

The high fragility of karst terrains, and the deriving vulnerability to a number of possible events, together with the presence of significant natural (first and foremost, groundwater), landscape and historical resources, are at the origin of the project activities, aimed at the safeguard of karst environments and the mitigation of the related risks.

Purpose

Evaluation of the natural and anthropogenic hazards in karst areas, in order to define procedure useful to the mitigation of the risks in this peculiar and fragile environment.

Methods

The project is based upon the integration among the classical geological-morphological approaches with the speleological surveys of underground caves, both of natural and anthropogenic origin. Implementation of 2D and 3D numerical codes to the stability of underground spaces goes along with the litho-technical characterization of the rocks affected by karst processes.

Results

The activities so far carried out allowed to reach significant results as concerns the assessment of the sinkhole hazard, their geotechnical modelling, and the building of a chronological catalogue of natural and anthropogenic sinkholes over the Italian country.

Products

Chronological catalogue of natural and anthropogenic sinkholes in Italy. Numerical modelling of sinkholes. Procedures for the mitigation of hazards in karst.

Conclusions

Studies and researches on the individuation of possible precursory signs at the surface before the occurrence of a sinkhole will be carried out by means of integrated analyses of earth and satellite monitoring. Further, the 3D models for the forecast of sinkhole development in areas with underground cavities will be validated, on the basis of the integration of speleological, geological, geotechnical and geophysical data.