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West Bosnia Canton is a canton in the western part of Bosnia. The capital is in Livno.

This map
showing the location of the canton within Bosnia and Herzegovina and more info.

The area of the canton, which includes 6 municipalities (Drvar, Bosansko Grahovo, Glamoč, Kupres, Livno, Tomislavgrad), is 5,020 km², a tenth of the surface of Bosnia-Herzegovina. At the 1991 census, 115,726 people inhabited the Canton; at present, there are about 90,000. Rugged and wide karst fields characterize the Canton geographically.

Karst or Classical Karst is the English name for Kras, a Slovenian region on a limestone plateau. Its name has lent itself to signify any similar landscape, as described below.
In physical geography, karst is a geological topography in which the landscape is marked by underground drainage patterns and there may be no surface drainage at all. This is usually the result of the effect of mildly acidic rainfall on limestone and dolomite bedrock.
This geological process results in distinctive features including sinkholes or dolines (closed basins), vertical shafts, disappearing streams, and springs, and after sufficient time complex underground drainage systems (karst aquifers) and extensive caves and cavern systems.
The carbonic acid which causes these features is formed as rain passes through the atmosphere picking up CO2, which dissolves in the water. Once the rain reaches the ground, it passess through the soil, gathering up more CO2 to form a carbonic acid solution: H2O + CO2 → H2CO3.

This mildly acidic water naturally seeps through and begins to dissolve any fractures and bedding planes in the limestone bedrock. Over time these fractures enlarge as the bedrock continues to dissolve. Openings in the rock increase in size, and an underground drainage system begins to develop, allowing more water to pass through, accelerating the formation of karst features.
Karst topography poses some difficuties for human inhabitants. Sinkholes can develop gradually as surface openings enlarge, but quite often progressive erosion is unseen, and the roof of an underground cavern suddenly collapses. Such events have swallowed homes, cattle, cars, and farm machinery.
Farming in karst areas must take into account the excessive drainage. The soils may be fertile enough, and rainfall may be adequate, but rainwater quickly moves through the crevices into the ground, sometimes leaving the surface soil parched between rains.

Water supplies from wells in karst topography are inherently hazardous, as the well water may simply run from a sinkhole in a cattle pasture, through a cave, to the well, without the normal filtering that occurs in a porous aquifer.

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Additional Photos by Don Qui (DonQ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 458 W: 95 N: 554] (2625)
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