Dolines and sinkholes: Aspects of evolution and problems of classification
Ugo Sauro - (32/2,2003)
The doline is the most representative landform of the karst surface. The name derives from the word dolina, a Slav term indicating any depression in the topographical surface. For nearly a century, this name acquired widespread use and a well defined meaning in the international literature, as a result it is not possible to substitute it with another term such as "vrtač, a" or "kraška dolina", for example, as proposed by some authors (Gams, 1973, 1974). The use of sinkhole as a synonym for doline in the American literature has also created some ambiguity, because sinkhole is mostly applied in the sense of collapse doline or of cover doline. From the detailed studies of the dolines of different karst areas, it is possible to infer that the structure and the genesis of this form may be complex (Sauro, in press - a - and - b). The most correct way to define a doline is to add an adjective indicating a peculiar attribute. The most significant attributes are those linked to both the morphogenetical mechanism and the hydrological structure. On the basis of these attributes it is possible to distinguish several categories and types of dolines. Most importantly to understand a doline it is necessary to be able to reconstruct its history even if that may be complex, as some dolines formed by specific processes may later further evolve through different processes.