Some new and interesting caverns in tunnels and along stretches of the Croatian Highways (Dinaric Karst, Croatia)

  • Mladen GarašićEmail author
  • Davor Garašić
Thematic Issue
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Engineering Problems in Karst


During the construction of almost all the tunnels in the Croatian Dinaric Karst in the last 50 years thousands of caves have been encountered that represented the major problems during the construction works. Geological features (fissures, folding, faults, etc.) are described in this contribution, together with the hydrogeological conditions (rapid changes in groundwater levels). Special engineering geological exploration and survey of each cave, together with the stabilization of the tunnel ceiling, and groundwater protection actions according to basic engineering geological parameters are also presented. In karst tunneling in Croatia over 150 caves longer than 500 m have been investigated. Several caves are over 300 m deep, and 10 are longer than 1000 m. Different solutions were chosen to cross the caves depending on the size and purpose of the tunnels (road, rail, pedestrian tunnel, or hydrotechnical tunnels). This paper presents interesting examples of stabilization of ceilings in big cave chambers, construction of bridges inside tunnels, deviations of tunnels, filling caves, grouting, etc. A complex type of karstification has been found in the cavern at the contact between the Palaeozoic clastic impervious formations and the Mesozoic complex of dolomitic limestones in the Vrata Tunnel and at the contact with flysch in the Učka Tunnel. However, karstification advancing in all directions at a similar rate is quite rare. The need to have the roadway and/or tunnel above water from a spring is the biggest possible engineering-geological, hydrogeological and civil engineering challenge. Significant examples are those above the Jadro spring (Mravinci tunnel) in flysch materials or above the Zvir spring in Rijeka (Katarina tunnel), and in fractured Mesozoic carbonates.


Speleology Karst Engineering geology Tunnels Croatia 



Many thanks to prof. Paul Williams who checked our English text, and Ph.D Srećko Božičević who gave us some useful information about caves in tunnels.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Civil EngineeringUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Joint Doctoral/PhD Programme Geo-Engineering and Water Management StudiesUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  3. 3.Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU), Committee for KarstZagrebCroatia
  4. 4.Croatian Speleological Federation, The Society for the Research, Surveying and Filming of Karst Phenomena (DISKF)ZagrebCroatia

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