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Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 11 Jul, 2012
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

Klimchouk on 26 Mar, 2012
Dear Colleagues, This is to draw your attention to several recent publications added to KarstBase, relevant to hypogenic karst/speleogenesis: Corrosion of limestone tablets in sulfidic ground-water: measurements and speleogenetic implications Galdenzi,

The deepest terrestrial animal

Klimchouk on 23 Feb, 2012
A recent publication of Spanish researchers describes the biology of Krubera Cave, including the deepest terrestrial animal ever found: Jordana, Rafael; Baquero, Enrique; Reboleira, Sofía and Sendra, Alberto. ...

Caves - landscapes without light

akop on 05 Feb, 2012
Exhibition dedicated to caves is taking place in the Vienna Natural History Museum   The exhibition at the Natural History Museum presents the surprising variety of caves and cave formations such as stalactites and various crystals. ...

Did you know?

That speleogen is a secondary cave structure formed by dissolving, such as a dome pit or a scallop [10].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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Geochemical and mineralogical fingerprints to distinguish the exploited ferruginous mineralisations of Grotta della Monaca (Calabria, Italy), Dimuccio, L.A.; Rodrigues, N.; Larocca, F.; Pratas, J.; Amado, A.M.; Batista de Carvalho, L.A.
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
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Your search for detritus (Keyword) returned 23 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 23
Origin of the sedimentary deposits of the Naracoorte Caves, South Australia, , Forbes Ms, Bestland Ea,
The origin of the sediments located in the Naracoorte Caves (South Australia) was investigated via the analysis of strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr), elemental geochemistry, and mineralogy. Sedimentary deposits located in Robertson, Wet, Blanche and several other chambers in Victoria Cave are all variable mixes of fine sand and coarse silts, which display similar and consistent strontium isotope ratios (0.717-0.725). This suggests that over the 400[no-break space]ka time frame that these deposits span there has been minimal variation in the source of the clastic sediments. Increased strontium concentrations for these cave sediments correspond with increasing silt content, yet there is no correlation between 87Sr/86Sr ratios and silt content. This implies that the silt-sized component of the sediments is the main contributor of strontium to the cave sediments. Comparisons of 87Sr/86Sr with regional surficial deposits show a significant correlation between the cave sediments (avg: 0.7228; n = 27), the fine silt lunettes of the Bool Lagoon area (avg: 0.7224; n = 4), the sandy A horizons of the Coonawarra Red Brown Earths (RBEs; avg: 0.726; n = 5), and Holocene age podsolic sand deposits (0.723). These data suggest that there has been substantial flux from this group of deposits to the caves, as would be expected considering prevailing winds. This relationship is further supported by a strong correlation between many trace elements, including Ti, Zr, Ce, and Y; however, variations in clay mineralogy suggest that the fine silt-dominated lunettes and Padthaway RBEs were not significant contributors to the cave deposits. Hence, the detritus entering the caves was more than likely from areas proximal to the cave entrance and was dominated by medium grain-sized materials. Major regional deposits, including the coarser-grained, calcite-rich Bridgewater Formation sands, basalts from the lower SE, Padthaway Horst granites, Gambier limestone, and metamorphics from the Adelaide geosyncline show minimal correlation in 87Sr/86Sr ratios, elemental geochemistry, and mineralogy with the cave sediments, and are discounted as significant sources. In comparison, 87Sr/86Sr ratios for the Coorong silty sands (0.717-0.724), Lower Murray sands (0.727-0.730), and the medium size silt component of the Murray-Darling River system (0.71-0.72), compare favourably with the cave sediments. This relationship is further supported by similarities in elemental chemistry and mineralogy. Thus, much of the strontium-rich silt that is now located in the Naracoorte Cave sediments likely originated from the Murray-Darling basin. Over time, this material has been transported to the SE of South Australia, where it mixed with the medium sand component of the regressive dune ridge sequence, locally derived organic matter, limestone fragments, and fossil material to produce the unique deposits that we see evident in many of the chambers of the Naracoorte Cave system today

The dynamics of population in the Isopod Proasellus slavus ssp.n. and the larvae of Chironomids in the hyporheic water of the river Drava with regard to pollution., 1976, Lattingerpenko Romana, Mestrov Milan, Tavcar Vlatka
If we sum up the data and observations derived from our researches on the Drava river, we conclude after consideration of surface water fauna and after comparison of chemical parameters that it influences the hyporheic water of a rough gravel-sandy alluvium more than 2 m deep, while in the compact sandy substratum it has less influence. The next conclusion is that the horizontal and vertical distribution of Proasellus slavus ssp.n. in the alluvium of the Drava river, depends upon the granulation of substratum, with reference so the largeness of interstices; that the populations vary in density and structure according to the nature of water which irrigates these alluviums; and finally upon the quantity of detritus which this water contains. Concerning the influence of the sewage waters the effect of a sudden action of very polluted water is not known but it is certain that the increasing of decaying material to the alfa-meso saprobial level of the river water does not threaten either the existence or the development of the populations of Proasellus slavus ssp.n.

The vertical distribution of stygorhithral ciliates in the Fulda-River (Contribution to the knowledge of mesopsammal ciliates in running freshwater)., 1976, Lupkes Gunther
19 species of ciliates were found in interstitial biotopes of the Fulda Headwater. Two of these were new: Haplocaulus hengsti, n.sp. and Epistylis rotti, n.sp. (Peritrichida). The number of ciliate species decreases from the surface down so deeper layers; in a depth of 50 cm, only three species were found: Haplocaulus hengsti and Epistylis rotti and another small ciliate Trachelophyllum apiculatum. There was little detritus in this layer, and so, the abundance of the ciliates was low. On the other hand, there is little predation in deeper layers of stygorhithral sand and gravel. Small, long and thin ciliates seem so be specially adapted to life in deeper regions of the stygornithral Stygorhithral ciliates are related to custygal species with respect to several characteristics of their morphology and general biology.

The effect of cave entrances on the distribution of cave-inhabiting terrestrial Arthropods., 1976, Peck Stewart B.
Populations of cave invertebrates are generally considered to be food-limited. The cave entrance is a major source of food input into the community in the form of decaying organic matter. Thus, the densities of scavenging terrestrial cave invertebrates should be related to the distance from the cave entrance because this represents a measure of food abundance. A test showed this expectation to be true in Crossings Cave, Alabama. A population density peak occurred 10 m inside the cave where the dark zone and detritus infall regions meet. The greatest population peak occurred at 100 m where densities of crickets and their guano are highest. The pattern should hold for most caves, but the actual distances will vary in each site depending on its circumstances. When the fauna was removed from the cave, the remnant had not regained community equilibrium a year later. Removal of the dominant scavenger, a milliped, allowed other species populations to expand because of decreased competitions.

Distribution and Habitat Diversity of Subterranean Amphipods in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, U.S.A., 1981, Holsinger John R. , Ward James W.
Subterranean amphipods have been collected from 35 locations on the eastern and western slopes of the Continental Divide in Colorado. All belong to the exclusively subterranean genus Stygobromus. Five species have been identified, two of which are undescribed. Specimens have been collected from (a) the hyporheic zone of rivers, (b) interrupted streams, (c) springs, and (d) seeps at elevations from 1597-2134 m a.s.l. Stygobromus occurs in several habitat types in interrupted drainage basins including sources, seeps, and isolated pools containing leaf detritus. All habitats contained waters which were cool to cold with dissolved oxygen values ranging from 4.3 ppm to fully saturated. Most waters exhibited soft or medium hardness, although one spring containing an undescribed species of Stygobromus had very hard waters (203 ppm bound CO2) and was mildly saline (913 mg/l TDS). There is evidence that the subterranean amphipods are phreatobites which, only under special conditions, establish relatively permanent populations in epigean habitats. Although little is known regarding ecology, zoogeography, or even taxonomy of the subterranean fauna of this region, stygobromid amphipods from the Cordilleran of western North America are apparently represented by fewer well differentiated species per unit area than their congeners from the geobiologicably older Appalachian region of eastern North America where numerous species are found in caves.

Environmental Implications of Competitive Growth Fabrics in Stalactitic Carbonate., 1983, Broughton Paul L.
Competitive growth fabrics in stalactitic carbonate are not as widespread as commonly supposed. Most radial columnar crystals are attributed to the coalescence of a precursor crystallite mosaic comprised of syntaxial overgrowths. This secondary fabric is the consequence of carbonate precipitation from a thin water film. Competitive growth, however, is much rarer and arises from two contrasting environments: an influx of detritus interrupting carbonate precipitation, and cave flooding. Thick layers of impurities favour deposition of randomly oriented seed crystals on the growth surface. These result in competitive growth centres when the renewal of carbonate precipitation fails to have crystallographic allegience to the substrate. Competitive growth centres resulting in regularly spaced stellate arrays are favoured habits of fibrous aragonite. Competitive growth in calcite is more likely with conditions of cave flooding, when normal growth of syntaxial overgrowths is suppressed. This results in competitive growth between large terminations with planar faces.

MICROBIAL DECOMPOSITION OF ELM AND OAK LEAVES IN A KARST AQUIFER, 1993, Eichem Ac, Dodds Wk, Tate Cm, Edler C,
Dry Chinquapin oak (Quercus macrocarpa) and American elm (Ulmus americana) leaves were placed in four microcosms fed by groundwater springs to monitor changes in dry mass, ash-free dry mass, and microbial activity over a 35-day period. Oxygen microelectrodes were used to measure microbial activity and to estimate millimeter-scale heterogeneity in that activity. Oak leaves lost mass more slowly than elm leaves. Generally, there was a decrease in total dry weight over the first 14 days, after which total dry weight began to increase. However, there were consistent decreases in ash-free dry mass over the entire incubation period, suggesting that the material remaining after initial leaf decomposition trapped inorganic particles. Microbial activity was higher on elm leaves than on oak leaves, with peak activity occurring at 6 and 27 days, respectively. The level of oxygen saturation on the bottom surface of an elm leaf ranged between 0 and 75% within a 30-mm2 area. This spatial heterogeneity in O2 saturation disappeared when the water velocity increased from 0 to 6 cm s-1. Our results suggest that as leaves enter the groundwater, they decompose and provide substrate for microorganisms. The rate of decomposition depends on leaf type, small-scale variations in microbial activity, water velocity, and the length of submersion time. During the initial stages of decomposition, anoxic microzones are formed that could potentially be important to the biogeochemistry of the otherwise oxic aquifer

RAPID ENTRENCHMENT OF STREAM PROFILES IN THE SALT CAVES OF MOUNT SEDOM, ISRAEL, 1995, Frumkin A, Ford Dc,
Rock salt is approximately 1000 times more soluble than limestone and thus displays high rates of geomorphic evolution. Cave stream channel profiles and downcutting rates were studied in the Mount Sedom salt diapir, Dead Sea rift valley, Israel. Although the area is very arid (mean annual rainfall approximate to 50 mm), the diapir contains extensive karst systems of Holocene age. In the standard cave profile a vertical shaft at the upstream end diverts water from a surface channel in anhydrite or elastic cap rocks into the subsurface route in the salt. Mass balance calculations in a sample cave passage yielded downcutting rates of 0.2 mm s(-1) during peak flood conditions, or about eight orders of magnitude higher than reported rates in any limestone cave streams. However, in the arid climate of Mount Sedom floods have a low recurrence interval with the consequence that long-term mean downcutting rates are lower: an average rate of 8.8 mm a(-1) was measured for the period 1986-1991 in the same sample passage. Quite independently, long-term mean rates of 6.2 mm a(-1) are deduced from C-14 ages of driftwood found in upper levels of 12 cave passages. These are at least three orders of magnitude higher than rates established for limestone caves. Salt cave passages develop in two main stages: (1) an early stage characterized by high downcutting rates into the rock salt bed, and steep passage gradients; (2) a mature stage characterized by lower downcutting rates, with establishment of a subhorizontal stream bed armoured with alluvial detritus. In this mature stage downcutting rates are controlled by the uplift rate of the Mount Sedom diapir and changes of the level of the Dead Sea. Passages may also aggrade. These fast-developing salt stream channels may serve as full-scale models for slower developing systems such as limestone canyons

Geomagnetic palaeosecular variation recorded in North And Central American speleothems, PhD thesis, 1995, Lean, C. M. B.

The aim of this project was to collect samples of stalagmites from Northern and Central America in order to produce records of the palaeosecular variation of the earth's magnetic field. Two stalagmites were sampled from Western Canada and ten from Mexico and Guatemala which could be compared with contemporaneous stalagmite records from these areas (Latham, 1981; Latham et al, 1982; 1986; 1987; 1989).
The stalagmites were generally weakly magnetised but remanence directions were stable upon stepwise thermal and alternating-field demagnetisation. Consistency in directions recorded between central and corresponding lateral sub-samples within two stalagmites (MSC2 from Canada and CP1 from Guatemala) inferred that any depositional errors caused by surface effects were less than the measurement errors. Grain size analysis showed the presence of a fine-grained magnetic fraction (0.01 - 0.1?:m) sourced from the cave drip-waters (either by direct deposition or by chemical precipitation) and a coarser magnetic fraction (0.01 - >10?:m) sourced from the flood-borne detritus. The latter source was dominant in stalagmites which were regularly inundated with water. The type of magnetic mineral present was determined by the geology of the catchment area; magnetite dominated in the Vancouver Island stalagmites, titanomagnetite in the Mexican stalagmites and haematite in the Guatemalan stalagmite.
Uranium-series dating of samples was hindered by the young ages of many of the samples, by low uranium concentrations and by the presence of allogenic thorium. If significant amounts of allogenic thorium were present, a sample age could be calculated based on an estimate of the initial thorium ratio ([230Th/232Th]0). Analysis of samples from Sumidero Recuerdo in Mexico, however, suggested that this ratio is not constant with time and may vary by a factor of two over approximately 1700 years. Due to these imprecisions many dates were out of stratigraphic sequence and age estimates were made assuming constant growth rates, except where growth had ceased for a finite length of time.
Records of sequential change of palaeomagnetic direction were obtained from the Mexican stalagmite SSJ3 and the Canadian stalagmite MSC2. The reliability of the latter record was confirmed by comparison with another Canadian stalagmite record (Latham et al, 1987) and contemporaneous lacustrine records. Other records were disappointing due to poor temporal resolution; each sub-sample represented a period of approximately 1000 years in Mexican stalagmites SSJ2 and SSJ4. Such slow growth rates are insufficient for the resolution of secular variation features with periods of less than 2000 years and are only suitable to gain information about the nature of long-term secular variations, for example the far-sided virtual geomagnetic poles and low inclinations predominant throughout the Holocene in Southern Mexico.
The existence of matching contemporaneous stalagmite records of secular variation together with the demonstrated lack of depositional inclination errors is encouraging, despite the sometimes "hit or miss" aspects of sample selection. Nevertheless it has been proved that speleothem records have the potential to complement the existing archaeomagnetic, lava and lacustrine data.


Palaeosecular variation observed in speleothems from western China and northern Spain, PhD thesis, 1996, Openshaw, S. J.

This study has produced records of the palaeosecular variation (PSV) of the earth's magnetic field from Speleothems from China and Spain. The ultimate aim of this project was to produce contemporaneous PSV records which would show that Speleothems accurately record ambient geomagnetic field behaviour. From Sichuan Province, China, five Speleothems were collected of which four were studied for their records of PSV. Eight Spanish Speleothems from the Cantabrian coast were collected but their weak magnetisation allowed only one record of PSV to be produced.
All speleothem sub-samples were weakly magnetised and had, on average, initial intensities of <100 x 10-8 Am2kg-1. Despite this, the majority of sub-samples were stable during stepwise alternating-field and thermal demagnetisation and each displayed a single component of magnetisation after removal of any secondary overprints. Rock magnetic experiments were hampered by low mineral concentrations but suggested that the remanences of each speleothem were carried by a mixture of multi and single-domain (titano-) magnetite and also by haematite present in significant quantities. The primary method of remanence acquisition appeared to be a depositional remanence sourced from flooding. This was corroborated by a linear relationship between sub-sample intensities and weight % acid insoluble detritus.
A selection of sub-samples from each speleothem were dated using uranium-thorium disequilibrium and alpha spectrometry. For the majority of sub-samples the low concentrations of uranium, high levels of detrital contamination and initially low chemical yields raised the associated dating inaccuracies above the quoted level for alpha spectrometry of 5-10%. Two Spanish Speleothems had high uranium concentrations and little, or no, detrital contamination. Percent age errors of these Speleothems ranged from 1 to 6%. Comprehensive experiments on the efficiencies of three electrodeposition methods were also undertaken. The most efficient method was found to be a modified version of the Hallstadius method (Hallstadius, 1984), which consistently achieved chemical yields between 40 and 90% for uranium and thorium.
In order to correct more analytically for the presence of detrital contamination, the leachate/leachate method of Schwarcz and Latham (1989) was tested. The maximum likelihood estimation data treatment technique (Ludwig and Titterington, 1994) was used to calculate dates from these analyses. Tests on Mexican speleothem SSJ2 gave excellent results allowing a revised dating scheme to be adopted. Tests on some sub-samples from Chinese Speleothems were generally unsuccessful due to analytical errors.
The isotope 210Pb was used to date the top surface of one speleothem. A constant growth rate was inferred which was significantly less than that calculated from the 230Th - 234U dating method. This was thought to be due to the former techniques inability to resolve growth rates of periods of less than 200 years.
Despite the dating errors associated with each speleothem the records of PSV compare well with each other and with contemporaneous records from China, Japan and also the UK (for the Spanish record). In addition. agreement with PSV data modelled from observatory records suggested that westward drift of the non-dipole geomagnetic field was predominant during the past 10ka.


Principal features of evaporite karst in Canada, 1997, Ford Dc,
Outcrops of sulfate arid mixed sulfate-carbonate rocks are common everywhere in Canada outside of the Shield province. Interstratal salt deposits are abundant in the interior lowlands. Types of karst that occur are determined chiefly by relations between (i) formation thickness and purity, (ii) regional topography and hydraulic gradient (iii) effects of receding Wisconsinan and earlier glaciers, and (iv) extent of modern permafrost. Exposures of bare karst on thick, pure sulfate formations are comparatively rare. Two principal landform types found on them are: (1) high-density polygonal karst (micro-sinkhole densities of thousands per km(2)); where hydraulic gradients are high and tills are thin; (2) hills and ridges of blocks uplifted and fractured by hydration (anhydrite) tectonics at paleo-icefront positions where hydraulic gradients are low. Deeply till-mantled karst dominated by collapse and suffosion sinkholes in the mantling detritus is well developed in southwestern Newfoundland and in central and northern Nova Scotia. Covered karst is abundant on sulfates conformably overlain by carbonate br elastic strata; collapse sinkholes ale the principal landform. Very large breccia pipes (up to 25 x 15 km) ale associated with deep subrosion of salt during glacier recessions. Syngenetic breccia karst is a fourth, distinct category created in some formations of thin, interbedded dolostones and sulfates. Where these are exposed td high hydraulic gradients, deep calcite-cemented breccias were formed in a first generation, upon which sinkhole and pinnacle karsts and dissolution drape topographies were able to develop rapidly in late-glacial and post-glacial conditions

Petrography, strontium, barium and uranium concentrations, and strontium and uranium isotope ratios in speleothems as palaeoclimatic proxies: Soreq Cave, Israel, 1999, Ayalon A, Barmatthews M, Kaufman A,
The reconstruction of the palaeoclimate of the eastern Mediterranean region for the last 60 ka BP is based on the delta(18)O and delta(13)C variations of speleothems from Soreq Cave, Israel. Climatic conditions during most of the rime interval between 60 and 17 ka BP (the period equivalent to the last glacial) were relatively cold and dry, while they were warmer and wetter from 17 ka BP to the present. At similar to 17 ka BP, there was a major climatic change with a sharp increase in annual rainfall and temperature and a very wet period occurring between 8.5 and 7.0 ka BP. During the colder and drier period, large, detritus-free, preferentially oriented calcite crystals were deposited from slow-moving water. As a result of a sharp change in the hydrological regime at similar to 17 ka BP, fast-moving water started entrainment of the soil and carrying detrital material into the cave, and the calcite crystals deposited became small and anhedral. Coinciding with the petrographic and isotopic changes, a sharp drop occurred in the concentrations of strontium, barium and uranium, and in the ratios Sr-87/Sr-86 and (U-234/U-238)(0), which reached mini mum values during the wettest period. This drop reflects enhanced weathering of the soil dolomite host rock. During colder and drier periods, higher trace-element concentrations and higher isotopic ratios reflect an increase in the contribution of salts derived from exogenic sources (sea spray and aeolian dust), and a reduced contribution of weathering from the host dolomites

Plio-Quaternary karst development in the French Prealps: Speleogenesis and significance of cave fills, 2000, Audra P.
Three French cave systems in the Prealps in the Vercors and Devoluy mountain areas are described. It is possible to reconstruct their evolution by analyzing their morphology and by dating the karst fill using paleomagnetism and U/Th. Cave development began at the end of the Miocene during uplift when inclined tubes formed in the epiphreatic zone. Later the tubes were partially blocked by weathered detritus from the surface. Uplift diverted former recharge away from the caves and extensive calcite deposition occurred. The cave systems were reactivated during glaciations, with flooding to considerable depths. The epiphreatic zone was blocked with calcareous varves from meltwater. During interglacial periods, either calcite deposition or dissolution occurred, depending on the altitude and density of the soil cover.

Morphogenesis of the Garlika Shaft in conditions of the contact karst, 2001, Baron, Ivo

The Garlika Shaft is located in at about 2 km long W-E depression in southern part of the Silica Plateau (the Slovak Karst Biosphere Reservation, Slovak Republic). The origin of the Garlika shaft is different than most of the other shafts of the Slovak Karst plateaus. Formerly a sinkhole of an ephemeral stream has developed to the shaft due to several factors. A thin water film corrosion and a wall water stream corrosion extended the former fissure. Then, after the stream decrease, thin water film corrosion and a tectonic breccia crumbling has modelled the deeper parts of the shaft. The entrance part of the shaft has been influenced with frost weathering, corrosion of the condensed water and corrosive action of lichens, moss and rotting organic detritus.


Quartzite dissolution: karst or pseudokarst?, 2003, Wray, R. A. L.

A wide range of landforms of great similarity to limestone karst is found on many of the world's quartz sandstones and quartzites. These landforms have often been dismissed as pseudokarst, but recent investigation shows that the dissolutional removal of silica, even quartz, under earth-surface conditions is a critical process in their formation. They must therefore be regarded as true karst features. Recognition of these genetically similar forms on quartzose rocks now demands the worldwide adoption of a less restrictive, process-based, karst definition. Direct evidence for this near-surface dissolutional weathering is not common. Examples of this process are reviewed here, along with further evidence for the dissolution of silica from within the quartz sandstones of the Sydney Basin in temperate south-eastern Australia. Some of the complex processes by which dissolution attacks the rock remain unclear. However the solubility, thermodynamics, fluid throughput and physical removal of detritus are all critical factors in the formation of what can only be termed karst on quartzites and quartz sandstone.


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