Journal of Cave and Karst Studies - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 65 Number 1: 29-35 - April 2003

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Morphometric and spatial distribution prarmeters of karstic depressions, Lower Suwannee River Basin, Florida
Can Denizman


This study describes an application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to examine the morphometric and spatial distribution of karstic depressions in the lower Suwannee River basin. Morphometris analysis of some 25,000 karstic depressions in an area covered by twenty-four 1:24,000 scale standard USGS topographic quadrangles were made possible by the analytical capabilities of the GIS. The parameters calculated for the study area include length, width, orientation, area, depth, circularity index, depression density, pitting index, and nearest neighbor index. Analysis of ~25,000 depressions in the lower Suwannee River basin reveals that the Florida karst is represented by broad, shallow depressions with an average density of 6.07 depressions/km² and an average pitting index of 14.5. Morphometric and spatial distribution parameters of karstic depressions within the lower Suwannee River basin show significant variations.

The robust GIS methodology used in this study provides not only a rapid analysis of spatial data on a large population of karstic depressions, but also an objective approach with consistent measurement and calculation processes in which human errors and bias were eliminated. In accordance with the increasing use of GIS in analyzing spatial data on diverse applications, this study shows that the GIS environment can also be efficiently used for karst landform studies.

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