Main content area

Evolution of a karst polje influenced by glaciation: The Gomance piedmont polje (northern Dinaric Alps)

Žebre, Manja, Stepišnik, Uroš, Colucci, Renato R., Forte, Emanuele, Monegato, Giovanni
Geomorphology 2016 v.257 pp. 143-154
glaciation, glaciers, ground-penetrating radar, ice, karsts, morphogenesis, piedmont, porosity, runoff, streams, surface drainage, Alps region
Gomance is a piedmont karst polje in the northern Dinaric Alps presenting geomorphological and sedimentological evidence of past glaciation. During the Pleistocene the polje was situated at the edge of the Snežnik and Gorski Kotar ice fields from where two outlet glaciers reached Gomance. The morphogenesis of the polje was reconstructed by means of geomorphological mapping, sedimentological studies, and ground penetrating radar (GPR) measurements, supported by hand-drillings. With GPR an almost entirely buried moraine system was also imaged and mapped, crucial in reconstructing the polje history. The depression was karstified and well drained without any surface streams before the Last Glaciation. When the glacier front reached the depression, the entire floor became covered by glacial and outwash deposits. Surface runoff dominated over karst drainage in a large part of the polje, particularly where distal outwash deposits with low effective porosity functioned as an aquitard. These deposits diverted surface drainage toward the lowest edge of the polje, which functioned as a ponor front along the entire length. The outwash system of the Gomance polje was active during the Last Glaciation as suggested by radiocarbon-dated outwash deposits.