Karstification in the Cuddapah Sedimentary Basin, Southern India: Implications for Groundwater Resources
The Cuddapah sedimentary basin extends over a significant part of the southern part of Andhra Pradesh State, Southern India. Proterozoic carbonate rocks in the basin are constituted by as three main units- the Vempalle dolomite, the Narji and Koilkuntla limestones. These carbonate rocks are of strategic importance for local communities as they provide the main water source for irrigation and domestic use and they are also intensively quarried for cement production and building stones. It is therefore, of primary importance to assess to which extent these carbonate units are karstified so as to provide recommendations for appropriate land and water resource management. The field investigations carried out indicate that these carbonate units are significantly karstified and karstification has been an ongoing process with several phases under variable climatic conditions. As a result, a significant part of aquifer recharge occurs as point-recharge through swallow-holes and groundwater flow is channelized by conduit networks which emerge at karst springs. Karst development was possibly more active during past humid conditions; however karstification is still an ongoing process under the present semi-arid climate especially in the favorable case where karst drains the runoff issued from upstream quartzitic hills. The karstic nature of these carbonate units need to be integrated in future research and development programmes to avoid practices that may lead to unexpected collapses, reservoir leaks, inaccurate groundwater budgeting, etc.
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