Article

Evaluating the structure characteristics of epikarst at a typical peak cluster depression in Guizhou plateau area using ground penetrating radar attributes

Citation

Gao Q, Wang S, Peng T, Peng H & Oliver DM (2020) Evaluating the structure characteristics of epikarst at a typical peak cluster depression in Guizhou plateau area using ground penetrating radar attributes. Geomorphology, 364, Art. No.: 107015. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2019.107015

Abstract
Epikarst, defined as the “skin” of karst environment, is widely developed in southwest China, largely as a result of the subtropical monsoon climate. Typical SW China karst accommodates a dual hydrogeological structure, with surface and subsurface hydrological systems. The epikarst ecosystem of karst environments plays a key role in biogeochemical cycling and energy and material storage and transport. Due to low rates of soil-formation derived from carbonate rock weathering, the soil layer is shallow and scattered, presenting interlocked features within carbonate rock. Research on epikarst structure is primarily based on section field survey with semi-quantitative characterization, often lacking a fully quantitative description of soil-rock structural characteristics. We utilized ground penetrating radar (GPR) attributes to interpret the structure of epikarst at a peak cluster depression in the Guizhou karst plateau. Two typical types of epikarst slope profiles and one peak cluster depression in Maguan Town, Puding County were selected for study. We used MALA GPR equipment with 500 MHz and 50 MHz antennas to acquire data. GPR data was processed conventionally and then average energy attributes, average amplitude attributes and coherence attributes were extracted to interpret the structure of the two epikarst profiles and the soil depth of the depression. The results show that: (i) energy and coherence attributes can highlight the soil-rock structure of the epikarst profiles with relative ease; (ii) compared to the original returned image, the energy attributes visualise the soil and rock medium more effectively; and (iii) the coherence attributes can identify the reflection interface between complete bedrock and bedrock containing fissure and grikes (epikarst). In addition, using the 50 MHz antenna we were able to determine the soil depth in depression with coherence attributes indicating a depth of 3.6 m, very close to the real depth (3.58 m) measured by our auger verification work. GPR attributes provide evidence that the epikarst has developed a large number of fissures filled with soil or other materials, but that the bedrock under the epikarst has few fractures. GPR attributes are therefore helpful for increasing our confidence of studying the structure of slope epikarst structure and depression soil depth.

Keywords
Epikarst; Karst critical zone; Ground penetrating radar (GPR); Attribute analysis

Journal
Geomorphology: Volume 364

StatusPublished
FundersNational Basic Research Program of China (973 Program), National Natural Science Foundation of China, National Natural Science Foundation of China, National Natural Science Foundation of China, Guizhou Science and Technology Department and International Partnership Project
Publication date30/09/2020
Publication date online07/01/2020
Date accepted by journal17/12/2019
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/30627
PublisherElsevier BV
ISSN0169-555X
eISSN1872-695X