I've reread a part of a book about geochemistry and it reminded me that just about any element can dissolve in water if the pH is right. Later an examples of aluminium or iron dissolving en masse in various regions and getting deposited was given, like the Amazon transporting few millions of tons of iron to the Atlantic this way.


Whats stopping other types of rocks to form their karst-like landscapes and structures, here on Earth?

My guess

Carbonate (and other calcium rich) rocks are widespread and conditions for their dissolution easy enough to achieve, that such formations made out of other rocks are seem much rarer in comparison.

  • $\begingroup$ I think you're talking about solutional limestone caves, aren't you? If not, please specify why that isn't the answer to your question. $\endgroup$ Mar 27, 2023 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertRapplean because karst terrain also has its surface features, like karst ribs, grabens and bowls, ponors and poljas or even karst springs Edit: Of course I want to know about underground features too, but I don't want to dismiss the surface ones $\endgroup$
    – Yulian
    Mar 27, 2023 at 18:02
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ *"Just about any element can dissolve in water if the pH is right": Too bad that rocks are most usually formed of various minerals and not of uncombined elements. It doesn't matter whether aluminium dissolves in water or not, what matters is whether alumina dissolves in water. (Spoiler: it does not.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 27, 2023 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately I'm not a geochemist, but I think you are mostly right:

There are also halite and gypsum that are dissolvable but less distributed and less permittable, thought they can form karst forms of relief (gypsum karst, salt/halite karst); and pseudokarst (loess pseudokarst for example) which may be interesting too


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