To establish a karst geology, certain types of rocks must be identified. Karst can occur in either carbonate or evaporite rocks.
The carbonates, such as limestone or dolomite, react in a chemical process (usually with dissolved carbon dioxide or organic acids) to dissolve the rock. Common minerals include calcite, aragonite, dolomite, and magnesite (manganese carbonate). Impurities, which tend to inhibit karstification, include chert, flint, authigenic (formed in place) quartz and feldspar, and clay minerals.
The evaporite rocks, such as halite, gypsum, and anhydrite, dissolve with water (without any carbon dioxide or acid) to form karst. The major karst landforms are similar to those of carbonate karst terrain; however, because mechanical weathering in theses rocks may proceed much faster than solution, minor solution features (or lapies) may not develop.