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TVRG: Karst - an unexpectedly widespread phenomenon in England

18 May 2022
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Event type:
Conference, Regional Group, Virtual event
Organised by:
Geological Society Events, Thames Valley Regional Group
Virtual event
Event status:

Time and location

18:55 hrs for 19:00 hrs start. This event will be held online via Zoom

Event details

In the UK karst is normally associated with Carboniferous Limestone where spectacular caves and karst landforms occur. But much of England is underlain by other karst aquifers – the Chalk and the Jurassic and Permian limestones. These aquifers provide much of our water supply, as well as supporting surface and subsurface ecosystems. In the past, these aquifers were not considered karstic because they have limited cave development, and because karst features are small and have not been well documented. However, these rocks are soluble and groundwater flow is predominantly through small-scale karst features. In the last decade the importance of karst in these aquifers has become apparent, with improving datasets on surface karst features and tracer tests. These demonstrate that water can travel underground at speeds of many kilometres per day over distances of many kilometres. The evidence for karst in these aquifers will be presented, and the similarities and differences with the classically karstic Carboniferous Limestone will be assessed, together with the implications for management and protection of groundwater and the environment.


Lou Maurice (BGS)

Lou Maurice is a senior hydrogeologist at the British Geological Survey who has worked on karst hydrogeology, tracer testing, groundwater ecology and many other aspects of hydrogeology for more than 20 years. Lou considers herself extremely fortunate to have learned about karst and tracer testing from some of the most knowledgeable karst scientists. She worked on karst and tracer tests in the Carboniferous Limestone for several years as Research Assistant to Pete Smart at Bristol University. She then worked on the LOCAR (Lowland Catchment Research) Programme for Tim Atkinson and John Barker at UCL and Ann Williams and Andy Farrant at BGS, completing her PhD on Chalk karst in 2009. Since then she has worked at BGS, and in recent years has held a NERC funded knowledge exchange fellowship on karst in the Chalk and Jurassic and Permian limestones of England. Lou has been an active member of the IAH karst commission, and associate editor for the Journal of Hydrology and Hydrogeology Journal. Lou has also explored karst and caves in many countries.


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Convenor Contact

Thames Valley Regional Group

Thames Valley Regional Group