Karst hazard analysis towards the development of predictive karst models for southern Ontario

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Gagnon-Nandram, Andrew
Lake on the Mountain , Prince Edward County , Sinkhole , Karst
An investigation into karst hazard in southern Ontario has been undertaken with the intention of leading to the development of predictive karst models for this region. The reason these are not currently feasible is a lack of sufficient karst data, though this is not entirely due to the lack of karst features. Geophysical data was collected at Lake on the Mountain, Ontario as part of this karst investigation. This data was collected in order to validate the long-standing hypothesis that Lake on the Mountain was formed from a sinkhole collapse. Sub-bottom acoustic profiling data was collected in order to image the lake bottom sediments and bedrock. Vertical bedrock features interpreted as solutionally enlarged fractures were taken as evidence for karst processes on the lake bottom. Additionally, the bedrock topography shows a narrower and more elongated basin than was previously identified, and this also lies parallel to a mapped fault system in the area. This suggests that Lake on the Mountain was formed over a fault zone which also supports the sinkhole hypothesis as it would provide groundwater pathways for karst dissolution to occur. Previous sediment cores suggest that Lake on the Mountain would have formed at some point during the Wisconsinan glaciation with glacial meltwater and glacial loading as potential contributing factors to sinkhole development. A probabilistic karst model for the state of Kentucky, USA, has been generated using the Weights of Evidence method. This model is presented as an example of the predictive capabilities of these kind of data-driven modelling techniques and to show how such models could be applied to karst in Ontario. The model was able to classify 70% of the validation dataset correctly while minimizing false positive identifications. This is moderately successful and could stand to be improved. Finally, suggestions to improving the current karst model of southern Ontario are suggested with the goal of increasing investigation into karst in Ontario and streamlining the reporting system for sinkholes, caves, and other karst features so as to improve the current Ontario karst database.
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