Coastal caves and sinkholes Chapter uri icon


  • 2015 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. All rights reserved. This chapter presents a simple model for environmental succession in coastal karst basins (CKB) under sea-level forcing, and uses this model as a framework for reviewing sea-level indicators preserved in caves and sinkholes. The model explains how common karst sea-level indicators develop, and why some of these indicators are sea-level index points (SLIPs) with a clearly defined indicative meaning, whereas others can only provide maximum or minimum constraints on sea level. The model dovetails geological, environmental, biological, and ecosystem research, and it also provides a simple framework for analyzing the sea-level proxies that are preserved in coastal karst basins. In order to use karst sea-level proxies, researchers must also understand the hydrography and stratification of coastal aquifers. In conclusion, sea-level change drives environmental change in CKBs worldwide, which in turn forces CKBs to transition through predictable environmental states.

author list (cited authors)

  • van Hengstum, P. J., Richards, D. A., Onac, B. P., & Dorale, J. A.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • van Hengstum, Peter J||Richards, David A||Onac, Bogdan P||Dorale, Jeffrey A

Book Title


publication date

  • January 2015