Karstological study of the new Kunming airport building area (Yunnan, China)
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- Knez, M., Kogovšek, J., Liu, H. et al. Environ Earth Sci (2012) 67: 273. doi:10.1007/s12665-011-1506-x
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In Kunming area (6.8 mio population), two big interventions are in progress: construction of a new airport, the 23 km2 area of which will extend across karst terrain northeast of the city, and extensive uptake of water from karst aquifers for drinking and agricultural use. In the study, an interdisciplinary approach was utilized to demonstrate the need for holistic karstology studies prior to performing extensive interferences in the karst environment. This study included survey of surface karst features and microscopic analyses of rock samples in the area of the new airport location, accompanied by hydrogeological studies and microbiological analyses of two karst drinking water sources in its vicinity (Qinglongdong, Huanglongdong). Results showed the specific characteristics of the subsoil stone forest that indicated a high level of karstification. The direction and characteristics of groundwater flow from the sinking Qiaotou Stream at the margin of the new airport area toward the Huanglongdong Spring were defined with a single tracer test. Additional information about hydrogeological characteristics of the karst aquifer was obtained by individual measurements of physical and chemical parameters of the springs and sinking stream. Selected chemical and bacteriological parameters showed substantial pollution of both springs due to various types of human activities in the catchments. The results of the study pointed to the necessity of taking immediate measures for the springs’ protection and showed the importance of interdisciplinary research when planning anthropogenic activities in the karst.