Articles | Volume 6, issue 2
31 Mar 2006
31 Mar 2006

Karst flash floods: an example from the Dinaric karst (Croatia)

O. Bonacci, I. Ljubenkov, and T. Roje-Bonacci

Abstract. Flash floods constitute one of the deadliest and costliest natural disasters worldwide. This paper explains the karst flash flood phenomenon, which represents a special kind of flash flood. As the majority of flash floods karst flash floods are caused by intensive short-term precipitation in an area whose surface rarely exceeds a few square kilometres. The characteristics of all flash floods are their short duration, small areal extent, high flood peaks and rapid flows, and heavy loss of life and property. Karst flash floods have specific characteristics due to special conditions for water circulation, which exist in karst terrains. During karst flash floods a sudden rise of groundwater levels occurs, which causes the appearance of numerous, unexpected, abundant and temporary karst springs. This paper presents in detail an example of a karst flash flood in the Marina bay (Dinaric karst region of Croatia), which occurred in December 2004.