The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 48 Number 2: 43-53 - December 1986

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Origins of Water-Spouts in Karst Regions
George Veni and Nicholas C. Crawford


Water-spouts, nonhydrothermal geyser-like discharges of groundwater, are known to occur in karst areas. Experimental modeling and field examinations of water-spout sites have subclassified them according to three possible mechanisms for their occurrence: impulse pressure (groundwater deflection), artesian pressure, and air pressure. All mechanimsm require a constriction in the subsurface flow path to divert groundwater upward, and a construction at the surface vent which increases water velocity to result in the geyser-like discharge. Analogous artesian pressure water-spouts have often been observed on glaciers. Water-spouts in karst regions are short-lived phenomenon and are most likely to occur in areas where moderately thick impermeable soils overlie the limestone.

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