The National Karst Database (NKD)

In 2000 BGS embarked on constructing a more comprehensive database of national karst information. The aim being to retrieve karst data from field slips and paper maps with additional fine-scale detail gathered during fieldwork, from remote sensing techniques such as LiDAR (light detection and ranging) and from existing documentary data sources such as historical and modern Ordnance Survey maps, cave surveys, academic papers and historical documents. Other datasets such as a legacy Applied Geology database and the Mendip Cave Registry data are also being used to identify other sources of information where relevant.

We collect data on five main types of karst feature:

  • Sinkholes (or dolines)
  • Stream sinks
  • Caves
  • Springs
  • Incidences of associated damage to buildings, roads, bridges and other engineered works

Since the database was set up in 2002 data covering most of the evaporite karst areas of the UK have now been added, along with data covering about 60% of the Chalk, and 35% of the Carboniferous Limestone outcrops. Many of the classic upland karst areas have yet to be included.

Recorded so far are:

  • Over 800 caves
  • 1300 stream sinks
  • 5600 springs
  • 10 000 sinkholes