Date of Award

Fall 12-15-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science - Geology



First Advisor

Dr. Melinda Faulkner

Second Advisor

Dr. Kevin Stafford

Third Advisor

Dr. Wesley Brown

Fourth Advisor

Dr. I-Kuai Hung



Traditional karst surveys require extensive field investigations to completely characterize large areas. They are often time-consuming, requiring up to several years to collect and categorize data. Bias is given to areas that are most easily accessible and false negatives are common. The implementation of geographic information systems (GIS) has aided in the aggregation and standardization of karst data; however, these systems have also been used to develop terrain models that allow the user to remotely delineate sinkholes and other surficial features. The Fort Hood Military Installation is a karst landscape that has been altered significantly for use in military training exercises. The ground surface is covered with karst features that are environmentally and structurally sensitive to surrounding activity. These manifest primarily as sinks, pits, and caves, which are typically less than a few meters in diameter or depth. Previous speleological studies in this area have understated the amount and spatial distribution of karst, particularly in western Fort Hood. The following approach uses LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data to provide a more complete karst inventory for the Shell Mountain, Manning Mountain and Royalty Ridge provinces. Data was processed using a digital elevation model (DEM) derived from LiDAR to automatically fill and extract areas with localized depressions at sub-meter scale. The resulting polygons were processed through a series of filters that isolated depressions outside the influence of non-karst features and with a depth greater than the vertical accuracy of the LiDAR survey. A karst potential map was produced to characterize the remaining depressions into areas of high and low karst density. Potential sinks are distributed across positive relief features in clusters. Their morphology supports a duality of dissolution and collapse origins. Close comparison with manual surveys and field verification points showed that the results were accurate, if not slightly overestimated. These models will be used to aid future investigations and land use planning at Fort Hood.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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