Karst Terrain Real Estate Assessment

ASTM International’s soil and rock committee (D18) has developed a new standard that will aid real estate developers with preliminary karst terrain assessment. Karst is a type of terrain characterized by sinkholes, caves, sinking streams and large springs, which is a consequence of the presence of soluble bedrock such as limestone.

The new standard provides a protocol for karst assessments that can assist design professionals, plan reviewers, public works officials, and jurisdictional regulators in making an informed judgment on site development and management.

According to ASTM member and karst subcommittee task group leader Robert Denton, the new standard will allow determination of karst risk to commercial, industrial, and residential development, and whether karst features will impact such endeavors. The standard will also help professionals determine if detailed follow-up surveys will be required. This is the first standard practice to be originated by the ASTM karst subcommittee (D18.27) which was established in 2020.

“Most people are familiar with the threat posed by karst terrain, especially sinkholes, due to increased media coverage of specific incidents,” says Denton, senior geologist, karst SME, Terracon Consultants Inc. “This standard will help users understand the potential impact of karst terrain to site infrastructure, including buildings, power lines, pipelines, and roadways.”

Denton notes that the standard, soon to be published as D8512, will also help to determine the impact of karst at development sites to human health and the environment. 

ASTM welcomes participation in the development of its standards. JOIN ASTM

To purchase standards, contact ASTM International customer relations (tel +1.877.909.ASTM).

U.N. Sustainable Development Goals Supported:


Industry Sectors

Issue Month
Issue Year