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Proposed National Atlas Karst Map

By Randall C. Orndorff, Jack B. Epstein, and David J. Weary>
U.S. Geological Survey, National Center, MS926a, Reston, VA 20192

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The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the National Park Service (NPS), is preparing a digitized 1:7,500,000-scale map showing the distribution of karst in the conterminous United States. The present Engineering Aspects of Karst map (Davies and others, 1984), Karstlands (Davies, 1970) and Cavern Areas (Davies, 1970) (fig. 1) in the National Atlas will be revised to better display surficial karstic features. The map will be combined with a map of NPS facilities to better address the needs of the NPS. The map could be hot-linked to references of detailed source maps showing karst within states and counties.  A detailed map of karst for the Atlas of Appalachia will be prepared by the USGS in cooperation with by a consortium led by Morehead State University, Kentucky. Additionally, a generalized description of the karst within each park and the surrounding area that may have affect on management within the park could be prepared.  This data could be also hot‑linked to the map.  Features that may be included are exposed carbonate and evaporite units, intrastratal karst, karst beneath surficial overburden, and percentage area covered by karst.  A preliminary step in the preparation of the map will include evaluating geologic and karst maps of all states.  A summary of the geology and karst features, along with an annotated bibliography, of each of the NPS facilities could be prepared, excluding those facilities that are cave parks and for which adequate information is already available.

Figure 1. Cavern areas of the United States.

Figure 1.  Cavern areas of the United States (from Davies, 1970).


Davies, W. E., 1970, Karstlands and Cavern Areas, in The National Atlas of the United States of America:  United States Department of the Interior, Geological Survey, p. 77, scale 1:17,000,000.

Davies, W.E., Simpson, J.H., Ohlmacher, G.C., Kirk, W.S., and Newton, E.G., 1984, Map showing engineering aspects of karst in the United States: Reston, Va., U.S. Geological Survey National Atlas of the United States of America, scale 1:7,500,000.

In Eve L. Kuniansky, editor, 2001, U.S. Geological Survey Karst Interest Group Proceedings, U.S. Geological Survey Karst Interest Group Proceedings, St. Petersburg, Florida, February 13-16, 2001: USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 01-4011

The use of firm, trade, and brand names in this report is for identification purposes only and does not consitute endorsement by the U.S. Government.

For additonal information write to:

Regional Hydrologist
Southeast Regional Office
3850 Holcomb Bridge Road
Suite 160
Norcross, GA 30092
Copies of this report can be purchased from:

U.S. Geological Survey
Branch of Information Services
Denver Federal Center
Box 25286
Denver, CO 80225-0286

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