Karst topography is developed in areas underlain by carbonate rocks, including limestone and dolomite. Karst topography includes features like caves and sinkholes and forms when limestone is slowly dissolved away by slightly acidic groundwater. Where limestone is abundant in the Valley and Ridge province of Virginia, karst topography is common.
The student will investigate and understand how freshwater resources are influenced by geologic processes and the activities of humans. Key concepts include a) processes of soil development; b) development of karst topography; c) relationships between groundwater zones, including saturated and unsaturated zones, and the water table; d) identification of sources of fresh water including rivers, springs, and aquifers, with reference to the hydrologic cycle; e) dependence on freshwater resources and the effects of human usage on water quality; and f) identification of the major watershed systems in Virginia, including the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.