5
$\begingroup$

The Tsingy National Park is popular for its unique karstic plateaus. These karstic plateaus are thousands of large sharp pillars or needles that stretch towards the sky, creating a wide variety of unique niches. These formations are made from the process of water erosion on limestone.

Is a continent made up largely of these formations possible?

$\endgroup$
4
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Continents are large geological structures, made mostly of granite, covered with sediment. I suggest you settle for a medium-sized island. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jul 14 '18 at 1:41
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP if continents are granite covered with sediment and limestone is sedimentary rock, then it might be more possible than first seems likely. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jul 18 '18 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ @a4android: The problem is that limestone is sediment formed in water. The bulk of the continental masses has never been underwater. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jul 18 '18 at 13:05
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @AlexP It ain't necessarily so. Large tracts of, for example, Australia have been submerged at various times in its geological history. Also, all sedimentary rocks are formed by water. The proposition is not entirely implausible. The main problem is having a world where, at least, one continent has formed sufficiently large areas of limestone to produce karst plateaux. Perhaps a planet that is less geologically active. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jul 18 '18 at 13:17
2
$\begingroup$

I think from looking at a limestone map of USA that what you want isn't completely impossible.

You could perhaps have a continent with a couple of big mountain ranges and a big syncline between them. At some time in the past the large plain between the mountains was under a shallow sea that deposited limestone. And while the mountains were the only things above the sea level, they would be eroding some. What you need is a reason that your limestone doesn't get buried beneath a thick layer of insoluble sediment.

So, other continents at the poles to give you a lot of water locked up there NOW so your karst is exposed. Sometime in the past that water was all melted to mostly flood the continent of interest and lay down a lot of limestone.

You need the climate across a large area to be the sort of thing that on earth happens in smaller areas. Across a range of temperatures. You might want to write in differences in different places. It wouldn't all look the same.

Your vast karsty stuff is temporary on a geological scale, but it might exist when your story needs it to.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

I don't think a continent, they tend to be huge, can be like that, but there are somewhat large areas of the south american craton that are like that. The Tepuis of Guiana

The reason that I think that a continent can't be made up largely of karstic terrain is that continents are huge, both in time and space. In it's hundreds of millions of years of life there will be orogenies, like Hymalaya or Andes, basalt floods like the Siberian Traps, rifts and other geological phenomena. Also the karstic terrain is being eroded hard. That's why it has the plateaus, the spires and caves. That's erosion eating the karstic terrain and depositing the eroded soil in vast sedimentary basins. As time goes on the karstic region will become smaller and the sedimentary basin, made of the remains of the karstic terrain, bigger.

$\endgroup$
0

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.