Most of the terrain in the Kornati National park is karst-limestone which, in the distant geological past, arose from sediment from the sea. In the stone on the islands there are numerous fossils of crustaceans and fish. In the area there examples of all the typical forms of karst: bizarre shapes formed by the atmosphere, unexplored caves, areas of flat rock and, above all, cliffs. Karst rock is porous, rapidly draining and dry, and so therefore are the Kornati islands.
During the long period of Venetian occupation, the islands were used for supplied the Venetian fleet. Deforestation and subsequent erosion, and over grazed by sheep and goats, for whose benefit the scrub was periodically burnt over, impoverished the fauna and depopulated the islands, which were purchased by citizens of Murter during the late 19th century