Limestone pavement

Limestone pavement
Detail of the large limestone pavement in the Yorkshire Dales between Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent.
Limestone pavement above Malham Cove

A limestone pavement is a natural karst landform consisting of a flat, incised surface of exposed limestone that resembles an artificial pavement.[1] The term is mainly used in the UK where many of these landforms have developed distinctive surface patterning resembling block of paving.[2] Similar landforms in other parts of the world are known as alvars.


Formation of a limestone pavement

Conditions for limestone pavements are created when an advancing glacier scrapes away overburden and exposes horizontally-bedded limestone, with subsequent glacial retreat leaving behind a flat, bare surface. Limestone is slightly soluble in water and especially in acid rain, so corrosive drainage along joints and cracks in the limestone can produce slabs called "clints" isolated by deep fissures called "grikes" or "grykes",[2] terms derived from the North of England dialect. If the grykes are fairly straight and the clints are uniform in size, the resemblance to man-made paving stones is striking, but often they are less regular. Limestone pavements that develop beneath a mantle of topsoil usually exhibit more rounded forms.

Notable examples

Limestone pavements can be found in many previously-glaciated limestone environments around the world. Notable examples are found in the Yorkshire Dales in Northern England, such as those above Malham Cove and on the side of Ingleborough. They are also found in the Stora Alvaret in Öland, Sweden; in the Burren, County Clare, Ireland and in the Désert de Platé,[3] in the French Alps.

See also


  1. ^ Introduction - Limestone Pavement Conservation Retrieved on 2008-06-29
  2. ^ a b Anon. "Geology and geomorphology". Limestone Pavement Conservation. UK and Ireland Biodiversity Action Plan Steering Group. Retrieved 30 May 2011. 
  3. ^ Geology - Refuge de Platé Retrieved on 2010-08-09

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • limestone pavement — noun (geology) A surface of exposed limestone resembling a pavement • • • Main Entry: ↑lime …   Useful english dictionary

  • limestone pavement —    1. A level, or gently inclined, bare limestone surface scored and fretted by karren. The stripping of soil or cover rocks to expose the bare rock pavement is a glacial process, and the development of the karren both the dissolutional… …   Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology

  • limestone pavement —    (not preferred)    refer to pavement karst …   Glossary of landform and geologic terms

  • limestone pavement — noun A natural karst landform consisting of a flat limestone slabs (clints) separated by fissures (grikes) …   Wiktionary

  • limestone pavement —   a lagstone pattern appearing on exposed, flat upper surfaces of a mass of limestone. Water runs along joints and cracks in the rock and rapidly enlarges them through carbonation. These cracks are called grikes. The blocks they leave defined are …   Geography glossary

  • Pavement — may refer to:* Pavement (material), the durable surfacing of roads and walkways ( road surface in British English) * Sidewalk, a walkway along the side of a road, in American English ( pavement in British English and Philadelphia dialect) *… …   Wikipedia

  • pavement —    See limestone pavement …   Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology

  • pavement — noun 1》 Brit. a raised paved or asphalted path for pedestrians at the side of a road. 2》 N. Amer. the hard surface of a road or street. 3》 Geology a horizontal expanse of bare rock with cracks or joints: a limestone pavement. Origin ME: from OFr …   English new terms dictionary

  • pavement karst —    Areas of bare limestone, usually sculpted by solution erosion into karren of various types and where soils have been stripped off, commonly by glaciation in alpine areas (e.g., Rocky Mountains, USA) and high latitudes, and by water erosion in… …   Glossary of landform and geologic terms

  • Carboniferous limestone — is a type of limestone rock, which was laid down in Great Britain and Ireland in the Dinantian stage of the Carboniferous period. It was formed between 363 and 325 million years ago. It is one of the three most common types of limestone found in… …   Wikipedia

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