Published: Jan 1, 2010
ground failure gypsum Cyprus Crete Corfu
Eleftheria Poyiadji
Nikolaos Nikolaou
Petros Karmis
Gypsum in Hellas and Cyprus occurs in three different types: (a) bedded (mainly of Messinian age in Cyprus and Crete), (b) domes (mainly western Hellas and Crete), and (c) as bodies, fragments and cementing material in Triassic conglomerate formations (western Hellas). Ground failure caused by void migration to the surface, resulting from gypsum dissolution, is a common phenomenon in such areas, which are also found in other European countries (e.g., Italy, Spain, Switzerland, U.K., Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine and Russia). In this paper three different case studies of ground failure are presented: Cyprus, Crete (Viannos) and Corfu. Engineering geological, stratigraphical, geophysical, hydrogeological and hydrogeochemical studies of these areas, revealed the direct relationship between surface runoff, and ground water circulation with the rate of gypsum dissolution, the subsequent development of karst hollows, and the associated ground failure in urban and suburban environments. Two main models were defined, according to different mechanisms of gypsum dissolution. The first model is associated with the erosion activity of surface runoff, the second with the dissolving capacity of ground water. Risks to the urban and suburban environments were assessed, and guidelines as well as mitigation measures were proposed.
Article Details
  • Section
  • Natural Hazards
Download data is not yet available.
Benito, G, Perez del Campo, P., Gutierrez-Elorza, M, Sancho, C., 1995. Natural and human-induced sinkholes
in gypsum terrain and associated environmental problems in NE Spain. Environmental Geology,
Vol. 25, 156-164.
Cooper, A.H., 1988. Subsidence resulting from the dissolution of Permian gypsum in the Ripon area; its
relevance to mining and water abstraction. In: Bell FG, Culshaw MG, Cripps JC, Lovell MA (eds) Engineering
geology of underground movements. Geological Society of London, Engineering Geology
Special Publication, vol 5, pp 387–390.
Cooper, A.H., 1995. Subsidence hazards due to the dissolution of Permian gypsum in England: investigation
and remediation. In: Beck FB (ed) Karst Geohazards: engineering and environmental problems
in karst terrane. Proceedings of the 5th multidisciplinary conference on sinkholes and the engineering
and environmental impacts of karst Gatlinburg/ Tennessee/2–5 April 1995, AA Balkema, Rotterdam.
pp 23–29.
Deer, W.A., Howie, R.A., Zussman, J., 1962. Gypsum. In: Rock Forming Minerals, Vol. 5, 201-18. Longmans,
Gorbunova, K.A., 1977. Morphology of gypsum karst. In: FORD, T.D. (ed.), (q.v.), 22l-2.
Gutierrez, F., Cooper, A.H., 2002. Evaporite dissolution subsidence in the historical city of Calatayud,
Spain: damage appraisal, mitigation and prevention. Natural Hazards, 25, 259-288.
Herrmann, A., 1964. Gips-und Anhydritvorkommen in Nordwestdeutschland. Silikat J/, 3, 442 66.
Hundt, R., 1950. Erdfalltektonik. W. Knapp, Halle (Saale).
James, A.N., Lupton, A.R.R., 1978. Gypsum and anhydrite in foundations of hydraulic structures. Geotechnique.
London, 28, 249-72.
James, A.N, Cooper, A.H., Holliday, D.W., 1981. Solution of the gypsum cliff (Permian Middle Marl) by
the River Ure at Ripon Parks, North Yorkshire. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 43,
James, A.N., 1992. Soluble materials in civil engineering. Ellis Horwood Ltd, England. 433pp.
James, A.N., Kirkpatrick, I.M.. 1980. Design of foundations of dams containing soluble rocks and soils.
Q. J/ eng. Geol. Lond. 13, 189 98.
Jones, C.J.F.P., Cooper, A.H., 2005. Road construction over voids caused by active gypsum dissolution,
with an example from Ripon, North Yorkshire, England. Environmental Geology.Vol 48, pt.3 384-394.
Kemmerly, P.R., 1980. A time-distribution study of doline collapse: framework for prediction. Environ.
Geol. 3, 123-30.
XLIII, No 3 – 1404
XLIII, No 3 – 1405
Kempe, S., 1972. Cave genesis in gypsum with particular reference to underwater conditions. Cave Sci.
No. 49, 1-6.
Kemper, W.D., Olsen, J., De Mooy, C.J., 1975. Dissolution rate of gypsum in flowing water. Proc. Soil
Sci. Soc. Am. 39, 458-63.
Kim J-H., Tsourlos, P., Karmis, P., 2009. ERT inversion with á priori information. In : Proceedings of the
Near Surface EAGE conference, Sept. 2009, Dublin, Ireland
Koutsouveli, A., Poyiadji, E., Nikolaou, N., Kyriakou, E., 2008. Geological-Geotechnical investigations
of “karst” phenomena in gypsiferous Messinian sediments in Cyprus, 33rd IGC, Oslo, GTE-01, abstract
Lu Yaoru, Cooper, A.H., 1997. Gypsum karst geohazards in China. 117-126 in Beck, F.B. and Stephenson,
J.B (eds) The Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology of Karst Terranes. Proceedings of the
Sixth Multidisciplinary Conference on Sinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of
Karst Springfield/Missouri/6-9 April 1997. A.A.Balkema, Rotterdam.
Nicod, J., 1977. Deux karst du gypse remarquables des Alps occidentales. In: Ford, T.D. (ed.) (q.v.), 321-
Olive, W.W., 1957. Solution-subsidence troughs, Castile Formation of Gypsum Plain, Texas and New
Mexico. Bull. geol. Soc. Am. 68, 351-8.
Paukstys, B., 1996. Hydrogeology and Groundwater Protection Problems in Karst Region of Lithuania.
Geological Society of Lithuania, Vilnius, vol. 6, pp. 1–72.
Pfeiffer, D., Hahn, J., 1972. Karst of Germany. In: Herak, M.,Stringfield, V.T. (Eds.), Karst: Important
Karst Regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 187–223.
Poyiadji, El. Hadjicharalambous, Kl. Sampatakakis, P. Karmis, P. Demetriadis, Al. Nikolaou N. and Stergiopoulos,
C. 2009: “Sinkholes due to gypsum dissolution genetic mechanism – definition of sinkhole
prone areas - a case study in Cyprus”, 2nd International Workshop on sinkholes, Rome, 3-4
Seedhouse, R.L., Sanders, R.L., 1993. Investigations for cooling tower foundations in Mercia Mudstone
at Ratcliffe-on- Soar, Nottinghamshire. 465-471 in Cripps, J.C., Coulthard, J.C., Culshaw, M.G.,
Forster, A., Hencher, S.R. & Moon, C. (Eds). The Engineering Geology of Weak Rock. Proceedings
of the 26th annual conference of the Engineering Group of the Geological Society, Leeds, September,
A.A..Balkema, Rotterdam.
Strobel, W., 1973. Der Grundgips im Raum Stuttgart als Modell fur Gipsauslaugung und Bildung von Erdfallen.
In: Proceedings of a symposium on sinkholes and subsidence, Hannover, [T1-G] 1-8. Deutsche
Gessellschaft fur Erd- und Grundbau. Essen.
Sweet, G.A., 1977. Hydrogeology of gypsum karst in Newfoundland. In: Ford, T.D. (ed.) (q.v.), 390-1.
Toulemont, M., 1984. Le karst gypseux du Lutétien supérieur de la région parisienne. Charactéristiques
et impact sur le milieu urbain. Revue de Géologie Dynamique et de Géographie Physique. 25, 213-
Wigley, T.M.L., Drake, J.J., Quinlan, J.F., Ford, D.C., 1973. Geomorphology and geochemistry of a gypsum
karst near Canal Flats, British Columbia. Can. J. Earth Sci. 10, 113-29.
Yi M.-J., Kim J.-H., Chung K.-L. (2003). Enhancing the resolving power of least-squares inver sion with
active constraint balancing. Geophysics, 68, 931-941