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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 macrokarst is karst area with large morphological features. the term is not easily defined because it lacks limits [20]. synonym; (italian.) merocarsismo. compare microkarst.?

Checkout all 2699 terms in the KarstBase Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms

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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 precipitation (Keyword) returned 468 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 468
Spatial variability in cave drip water hydrochemistry: Implications for stalagmite paleoclimate records, , Baldini Jul, Mcdermott F, Fairchild Ij,
The identification of vadose zone hydrological pathways that most accurately transmit climate signals through karst aquifers to stalagmites is critical for accurately interpreting climate proxies contained within individual stalagmites. A three-year cave drip hydrochemical study across a spectrum of drip types in Crag Cave, SW Ireland, reveals substantial variability in drip hydrochemical behaviour. Stalagmites fed by very slow drips ( 2[no-break space]ml/min) sites, apparently unconnected with local meteorological events. Water from these drips was typically undersaturated with respect to calcite, and thus did not result in calcite deposition. Data presented here suggest that drips in this flow regime also experience flow re-routing and blocking, and that any stalagmites developed under such drips are unsuitable as mid- to high-resolution paleoclimate proxies. Most drip sites demonstrated seasonal [Ca2] and [Mg2] variability that was probably linked to water excess. Prior calcite precipitation along the flowpath affected the chemistry of slowly dripping sites, while dilution predominantly controlled the water chemistry of the more rapidly dripping sites. This research underscores the importance of understanding drip hydrology prior to selecting stalagmites for paleoclimate analysis and before interpreting any subsequent proxy data

Paleoclimate and location of the border between Mediterranean climate region and the Saharo-Arabian Desert as revealed by speleothems from the northern Negev Desert, Israel, , Vaks A. , Barmatthews M. , Ayalon A. , Matthews A. , Frumkin A. , Dayan U. , Halicz L. , Mogilabin A. , Schilman B. ,
Speleothem bearing karstic caves of the northern Negev Desert, southern Israel, provides an ideal site for reconstructing the paleoclimate and paleo-location of the border between Mediterranean climate region and the Saharo-Arabian Desert. Major periods of speleothem deposition (representing humid periods) were determined by high resolution 230Th-U dating and corresponding studies of stable isotope composition were used to identify the source of rainfall during humid periods and the vegetation type. Major humid intervals occurred during glacials at 190-150[no-break space]ka, 76-25[no-break space]ka, 23-13[no-break space]ka and interglacials at 200-190[no-break space]ka, 137-123[no-break space]ka and 84-77[no-break space]ka. The dominant rainfall source was the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, with a possible small contribution from southern tropical sources during the interglacial periods. When the interglacial interval rainfall was of Eastern Mediterranean origin, the minimum annual rainfall was ~ 300-350[no-break space]mm; approximately twice than of the present-day. Lower minimum amounts of precipitation could have occurred during glacial periods, due to the cooler temperatures and reduced evaporation. Although during most of the humid periods the vegetation remained steppe with mixed C3 C4 vegetation, Mediterranean C3 type steppe-forest vegetation invaded southward for short periods, and the climate in the northern Negev became closer to Mediterranean type than at present. The climate was similar to present, or even more arid, during intervals when speleothem deposition did not occur: 150-144[no-break space]ka, 141-140[no-break space]ka, 117-96[no-break space]ka, 92-85[no-break space]ka, 25-23[no-break space]ka, and 13[no-break space]ka-present-day.Precipitation increase occurred in the northern Negev during the interglacial monsoonal intensity maxima at 198[no-break space]ka, 127[no-break space]ka, 83[no-break space]ka and glacial monsoonal maxima at 176[no-break space]ka, 151[no-break space]ka, 61[no-break space]ka and 33[no-break space]ka. However, during interglacial monsoonal maxima at 105[no-break space]ka and 11[no-break space]ka, the northern Negev was arid whereas during glacial monsoonal minima it was usually humid. This implies that there is not always synchroneity between monsoonal activity and humidity in the region.Oxygen isotopic values of the northern Negev speleothems are systematically lower than contemporaneous speleothems of central and northern Israel. This part is attributed to the increased rainout of the heavy isotopes by Rayleigh fractionation processes, possibly due to the farther distance from the Mediterranean coast

Spatial distribution of δ180 in meteoric precipitation, , Bowen G. J. , Wilkinson B.

Recharge of Phreatic Aquifers in (Semi-)Arid Areas, ,
Groundwater use is of fundamental importance to meet the rapidly expanding urban, industrial and agricultural water requirements in (semi) arid areas. Quantifying the current rate of groundwater recharge and define its variability in space and time are thus prerequesites for efficient groundwater resource managment in these regions, where such resources are often the key to economic development. Attention focuses on recharge of phreatic aquifers, often the most readily-available and affordable source of water in (semi) arid regions. These aquifers are also the most susceptible to contamination, with the recharge rate determining their level of vulnerability. (Semi) arid zone recharge can be highly variable, the greater the aridity, the smaller and potentially more variable the natural flux. Its determination is an iterative process, involving progressive data collection and resource evaluation; there is also a need to use more than one technique to verify results. Direct, localised and indirect recharge mechanisms from a spectrum of known sources are addressed in the framework of recharge from precipitation, intermittant flow and permanent water bodies. The approach taken for each of these reflects the nature and current understanding of the processes involved. The volume also reviews current recharge estimation challenges, outlines recent developments and offers guidance for potential solutions.

Sulfate reducing bacteria in microbial mats: Changing paradigms, new discoveries, 0000, Baumgartner Lk, Reid Rp, Dupraz C, Decho Aw, Buckley Dh, Spear Jr, Przekop Km, Visscher Pt,
Sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) have existed throughout much of Earth's history and remain major contributors to carbon cycling in modern systems. Despite their importance, misconceptions about SRB are prevalent. In particular, SRB are commonly thought to lack oxygen tolerance and to exist only in anoxic environments. Through the last two decades, researchers have discovered that SRB can, in fact, tolerate and even respire oxygen. Investigations of microbial mat systems have demonstrated that SRB are both abundant and active in the oxic zones of mats. Additionally, SRB have been found to be highly active in the lithified zones of microbial mats, suggesting a connection between sulfate reduction and mat lithification. In the present paper, we review recent research on SRB distribution and present new preliminary findings on both the diversity and distribution of [delta]-proteobacterial SRB in lithifying and non-lithifying microbial mat systems. These preliminary findings indicate the unexplored diversity of SRB in a microbial mat system and demonstrate the close microspatial association of SRB and cyanobacteria in the oxic zone of the mat. Possible mechanisms and further studies to elucidate mechanisms for carbonate precipitation via sulfate reduction are also discussed

Karst-hydrological researches in Hungarian caves., 1965, Kessler Hubert
Although Hungary does not belong to the large Karst countries, extensive speleologic and karst-hydrologic investigations are carried out. On the one hand, Hungary owns one of the largest stalactite caves in the world, on the other hand the majority of raw materials and the connected industries are linked with Karst regions which pose particular water supply problems. The largest water supplying caves are in the North of Hungary. The best known cave is the Aggtelek cave with a length of 22 km, but there are numerous other, recently disclosed caves of a length of 1-5 km, which were discovered by way of artificial means and on the basis of many years of hydrologic observations. Of particular interest are the active thermal caves with waters of 30C. In one of these latter a diver discovered and measured a siphon of a length of 300 m. By way of experiment, speleotherapic treatments were applied in some of these caves. By calculation of decades of series of measures an applicable formula was established for the calculation of the percent of seepage in the Karst regions. In several of these caves the influence of precipitation on the intensity of stalactite formation was measured. The indication of the so-called ,,year-rings" in the stalactites furnishes data concerning precipitation of bygone millenaries, which are also valuable for the investigation of periods. In several caves the changes in ion concentration of the water currents was measured and the correlation with the cross section of the caves was determined. On the basis of complex measurements in Karst sources the possibility of disclosing hitherto unknown cave systems arises. In this manner, recently several caves were artificially discovered.

Factors affecting the response of small watersheds to precipitation in humid areas, 1967, Hewlett J. D. , Hibbert A. R.

Drought and Murray Cave, Cooleman Plain, 1969, Jennings J. N. , Nankivell I. , Pratt C. , Curtis R. , Mendum J.

The drought culminating in 1967-68 opened water-traps in Murray Cave, thus permitting the re-exploration and survey in January 1968, of a further 1,000 feet of the main passage. Previous explorations, of which oral tradition persisted, are known to have taken place in 1902-3 and some details of the early visitors are presented. The characteristics of the extension are predominantly shallow phreatic in nature and about half of it episodically functioning in this way at the present time; the water-traps along it are inverted siphons in the strict sense and located at the sharpest changes in cave direction. The exploration limit consists of a rockfall beneath a doline, which appears, therefore, to be at least in part a collapse doline. Beneath two other dolines the cave has no sign of collapse, though tall avens reach towards the surface; these dolines are due to surface solution only. The forward part of the cave is overlain by a short, steep dry valley; the relationship between the two remains problematic but there is good reason not to regard the dry valley as the determinant of the cave's location. The evidence is now stronger for an earlier hypothesis that the cave was formerly the outflow cave of nearby River Cave, a perennially active stream cave. It also seems likely that the episodic activity of Murray Cave is due to flood overflow from River Cave. The hydrological regime of the cave is compared with precipitation records of the nearby stations. The episodic flow through the cave does not require an abnormally wet winter; it can follow fairly quickly after complete emptying of the water-traps and approaches an annual event. Draining of the water-traps is a much less frequent event, but whether a series of low rainfall years is necessary, or a single pronouncedly dry year is sufficient to achieve this, cannot be determined from available data. On either count, it seems probable that the cave opened up two or more times between the known occasions of 1902-3 and 1968 in the period 1909-53 when the cave was visited infrequently.


River Cave, Cooleman Plain, Kosciusko National Park, And Its Hydrological Relationships, 1969, Jennings, J. N.

River Cave is a Zwischenhohle (between-cave) in which the active river passage is reached through a former tributary stream passage from a dry valley. Now vadose in character, it is of gentle gradient, with some normally and some temporarily water-filled reaches of shallow phreatic nature. There is only a single level of development. Water tracing has confirmed previous inferences that it is mainly fed from the South Branch watersink, that its normal flow goes to the Blue Waterholes, the main rising of the Plain, and that there is flood overflow to Murray Cave, which is shown to have been formerly the normal outflow cave of the system. In the changeover from one outflow point (Vorfluter) to another, a shorter, steeper cave and longer surface course has been replaced by a longer cave of shorter gradient. Ev's Cave, a flood inflow cave of the South Branch, may also feed River Cave and Keith's Faint Cave is inferred to be part of the link between South Branch Sink and River Cave. It has the aspect of an early stage of vadose development from phreatic conditions. Previous interpretation of Glop Pot as a true phreatic relic is maintained in the light of new facts. Evidence is lacking with which to date the caves at all reliably. Glop Pot possibly belongs to a phase of surface planation of Tertiary age whereas the other caves are likely to be consequent on Pleistocene dissection. The tributary passage of River Cave and its associated dry valley may have lost their stream in the Holocene when Murray Cave became intermittent in action also. The Murray Cave event is due to subterranean piracy associated with rejuvenation whereas the loss of the tributary stream is probably in part due to increasing warmth and less effective precipitation.


Karst processes of the eastern upper Galilee, Northern Israel, 1974, Gerson R,
Karst processes dominate most of the geomorphic activity in the Upper Galilee, consisting mainly of dolomites and limestones. Study of the chemical evolution of water passing through the karst hydrologic cycle clearly shows that the major portion of its carbonate solute is gained subaerially and in the upper part of the vadose zone. Most cave and spring water is already saturated with respect to aragonite and calcite.The karst depressions typical to surface morphology are mostly associated with fault-line traces. Their evolution is possible mainly in areas sloping initially less that 5[deg].The absence of evolved caves, representing well-developed karst of an earlier period, is attributed mainly to the marginal climate throughout the past combined with tectonic, and hence hydrologic, instability of the region.The discharge of the karst prings shows clearly dependence on annual precipitation, with a lag of about 2 years of the response to drought or more humid periods. Long-term fluctuations are larger in the smaller T'eo Spring than in the affluent 'Enan Springs.Most of the denuded material is extracted from the region as dissolved load via underground conduits and only small amounts as clastics. Mean long-term denudation is approximately 20 mm/1000 years, averaged for the surface area contributing to the springs.In spite of the above, most topographic forms are shaped by runoff erosion, active during medium to high intensity rainstorms. Solution processes prevail during low to medium rainfall intensities, while different parts of the region are denuded at similar rates. Even in karst depressions, erosion becomes dominant after their bottoms are covered by almost impervious terra-rossa mantle

Hydrogeologic Constraints on Yucatan's Development, 1974, Doehring Do, Butler Jh,
The Republic of Mexico has an ambitious and effective national water program. The Secretaria de Recursos Hidraulicos (SRH), whose director has cabinet rank in the federal government, is one of the most professionally distinguished government agencies of its kind in the Americas. Resources for the Future, Inc., has been assisting the World Bank with a water planning study which the Bank is undertaking jointly with the Mexican government. The study is intended to provide guidelines for the development of government policies and projects designed to bring about the most efficient use of Mexico's water resources. However, to date, their study has not been directed toward the growing problems of the northern Yucataan Peninsula which are discussed here.LeGrand (13) suggested that man has inherited a harsh environment in carbonate terranes. In the case of the northern Yucatan Peninsula, the physical environment creates a set of hydrogeologic constraints to future economic and social development. Planning for intermediate and long-range land use on the peninsula must be related directly to the limited and fragile groundwater source. Continued contamination will make future aquifer management a difficult challenge for federal, state, and territorial agencies. We conclude that any strategy for long-range land use in the study area should include establishment of a regional aquifermonitoring network for long-term measurements of key hydrogeologic parameters, including precipitation, evapotranspiration, water table elevations, and water quality. Information from this network would flow into a central facility for storage, interpretation, and analysis. At present the SRH is collecting some of these data. Expansion of the existing program to provide sound information for regional planning will greatly benefit present as well as future generations. If such a program is implemented, it will represent a model for regional planning in other tropical and subtropical karstic terrains

Paleohydrology and Streamflow Simulation of three Karst Basins in Southeastern West Virginia, U.S.A., PhD Thesis, 1975, Coward, Julian Michael Henry

This study was undertaken to gain a better understanding of karst hydrology. To do this, the present day hydrology and the paleohydrology were determined in three karst basins. The basins chosen were the Swago, Locust and Spring Creek basins in Pocahontas and Greenbrier Counties, West Virginia. A number of conventional field techniques were used successfully in this study, including the following: current meter and dye dilution gauging; dye and lycopodium stream tracing; geological and cave mapping; the setting up of stage recorders; geochemistry; and limestone erosion measurements. The climate of the region was investigated to obtain realistic precipitation, temperature and potential evaporation data over the study basins.
It was found that the mean precipitation over two of the basins was 30% higher than recorded data in the valleys. The karst development of the basins was found to take place in four major stages. These were: A) initial surficial flow, B) strike controlled drainage, C) major piracies from one sub-basin to another, and D) shortening of the flow routes. The major controls on the karst development were found to be: A) the Taggard shale, B) the strike direction, which controlled early basin development, and C) the hydraulic gradient from the sink to rising, which controlled later basin development.
To better assess the quantitative hydrology, and to assist in determining the type of unexplorable flow paths, a watershed model was developed. This modelled the streamflow from known climatic inputs using a number of measured or optimized parameters. The simulation model handled snowmelt, interception, infiltration, interflow, baseflow, overland flow, channel routing, and evaporation from the interception, soil water, ground water, snowpack and channel water. The modelled basin could be split up into 20 segments, each with different hydrological characteristics, but a maximum of 3 segments was used in this study.
A total of 29 parameters was used in the model although only 10 (other than those directly measurable) were found to be sensitive in the three basins. The simulated streamflow did not match the real flows very well due to errors in the data input and due to simplifications in the model. It was found, however, that as the proportion of the limestone in a segment increased the overland flow decreased, the interflow increased, the baseflow and interflow recessions were faster, the soil storages were smaller and the infiltration rate was higher, than in segments with a larger proportion of exposed clastics. The flow characteristics of the inaccessible conduits were inferred from the channel routing parameters and it was postulated that the majority of the underground flow in the karst basins was taking place under vadose conditions.


Geomorphology of the North Karst, South Nahanni River Region, Northwest Territories, Canada, PhD Thesis, 1976, Brook, George Albert,

First investigated on the ground in June 1972, the Nahanni karst of northern Canada is the most complex karst terrain yet reported from high latitudes. It is centered at 61°28' N, longitude 124°05' W and lies within the zone of discontinuous permafrost. Mean annual temperature is 24°F and mean total precipitation 22.3 inches. Principal karst forms are fracture-located karst streets and irregularly-shaped closed depression called karst platea which may be up to 600 feet in depth. Platea often contain karst towers which are residuals of wall recession. Vertical-walled pond dolines up to 120 feet deep are common in bare karst areas while subjacent karst collapse, subsidence and suffosion depressions occur on marginal shale- and drift-mantled surfaces. Three small poljes have been identified, two produced entirely by solution, the other a structural form. These are periodically inundated. There are several peripheral fluvial canyons up to 3,000 feet deep that are blocked by glacial drift and which presently drain underground. Similarity in the hydrogeological properties of Nahanni Formation limestones at a variety of scales has led to the development of morphologically-identical karst forms which range in size from inches up to hundreds of feet. Furthermore, many of these landforms are part of a developmental sequence that at one scale links vertical-walled dolines, karst streets, platea and poljes; and at another links solution pits, grikes and joint hollows on limestone pavements. The evidence suggests that poljes form by the coalescence of dolines and uvalas just as Cvijic suggested in 1918. In attempting to explain the almost "tropical" nature of the sub-arctic Nahanni karst landform assemblage, a number of facts are of importance.
(a) The Nahanni Formation limestones have been highly warped and intensively fractures during the past one million years. Open fractures have encouraged karstification by allowing easy movement of water underground. Warping has provided the relief necessary for the development of solutional forms with a distinct vertical component.
(b) The karst can not be considered relict because it was glaciated during the Pleistocene. In addition the hydrological activity in it today is comparable with that in many humid tropical karst areas.
(c) Solutional denudation rates governed by aspects of surficial and bedrock geology may in some localized areas be equivalent to rates in humid tropical carbonate regions.
(d) At present rates, the most highly developed forms could have been produced within the last 200,000 years and because there is evidence to indicate that the karst may not have been glaciated for up to 250,000 years, such a period has been available for solutional development.
Because the Nahanni region has not been glaciated for an extremely long period, it may be one of only a few high-latitude carbonate terrains that have had time to develop fully. Its very existence questions the validity of the concept that the intensity and direction of karst development is climate-controlled. In the Nahanni at least, the structural and lithological properties of the host limestone appear to have been of greater importance. The labyrinth karst type present in regions of humid-tropical to sub-arctic climate, is an outstanding example of a structurally-controlled karst landscape. It may well be that the same controls also influence the distributions of other karst types.


Karst Hydrogeology and Geomorphology of the Sierra de El Abra and the Valles-San Luis Potosí Region, México, PhD Thesis, 1977, Fish, Johnnie Edward

The general objective of this work was to develop a basic understanding of the karst hydrology, the nature and origin of the caves, the water chemistry, the surface geomorphology, and relationships among these aspects for a high relief tropical karst region having a thick section of limestone. The Valles-San Luis Potosí region of northeastern México, and in particular, the Sierra de El Abra, was selected for the study. A Cretaceous Platform approximately 200 km wide and 300 km long (N-S) delimits the region of interest. A thick Lower Cretaceous deposit of gypsum and anydrite, and probably surrounded by Lower Cretaceous limestone facies, is overlain by more than 1000 m of the thick-bedded middle Cretaceous El Abra limestone, which has a thick platform-margin reef. The Sierra de El Abra is a greatly elongated range along the eastern margin of the Platform. During the late Cretaceous, the region was covered by thick deposits of impermeable rocks. During the early Tertiary, the area was folded, uplifted, and subjected to erosion. A high relief karst having a wide variety of geomorphic forms controlled by climate and structure has developed. Rainfall in the region varies from 250-2500 mm and is strongly concentrated in the months June-October, when very large rainfalls often occur.
A number of specific investigations were made to meet the general objective given above, with special emphasis on those that provide information concerning the nature of ground-water flow systems in the region. Most of the runoff from the region passes through the karstic subsurface. Large portions of the region have no surface runoff whatsoever. The El Abra Formation is continuous over nearly the whole Platform, and it defines a region of very active ground-water circulation. Discharge from the aquifer occurs at a number of large and many small springs. Two of them, the Coy and the Frío springs group, are among the largest springs in the world with average discharges of approximately 24 m³/sec and 28 m³/sec respectively. Most of the dry season regional discharge is from a few large springs at low elevations along the eastern margin of the Platform. The flow systems give extremely dynamic responses to large precipitation events; floods at springs usually crest roughly one day after the causal rainfall and most springs have discharge variations (0max/0min) of 25-100 times. These facts indicate well-developed conduit flow systems.
The hydrochemical and hydrologic evidence in combination with the hydrogeologic setting demonstrate the existence of regional ground-water flow to several of the large eastern springs. Hydrochemical mixing-model calculations show that the amount of regional flow is at least 12 m³/sec, that it has an approximately constant flux, and that the local flow systems provide the extremely variable component of spring discharge. The chemical and physical properties of the springs are explained in terms of local and regional flow systems.
Local studies carried out in the Sierra de El Abra show that large conduits have developed, and that large fluctuations of the water table occur. The large fossil caves in the range were part of great deep phreatic flow systems which circulated at least 300 m below ancient water tables and which discharged onto ancient coastal plains much higher than the present one. The western margin swallet caves are of the floodwater type. The cave are structurally controlled.
Knowledge gained in this study should provide a basis for planning future research, and in particular for water resource development. The aquifer has great potential for water supply, but little of that potential is presently used.


Structure, Sediments and Speleogenesis at Cliefden Caves, New South Wales, 1978, Osborne, R. Armstrong L.

The Cliefden Caves have developed in the Late Ordovician Cliefden Caves Limestone mainly by solution in the phreatic zone. Speleogenesis has been inhibited in steeply dipping thinly bedded limestone and shows a high degree of structural control. Collapse has been significant in late stage development of the caves. Much sediment has been deposited in the four caves studied in detail - Main Cliefden, Murder, Boonderoo and Transmission. Formed in the phreatic zone, layered clay fill is the earliest sediment deposited and occurs in all but Transmission Cave. The phosphate mineral heterosite is found in these sediments. Subaqueous precipitation deposits deposited in the phreas or vadose pools are distinguished from speleothems by their texture. Aragonite is inferred to have been deposited in these sediments and to have since inverted to calcite. Friable loam and porous cavity fill are the most common vadose deposits in the caves. Vadose cementation has converted friable loam to porous cavity fill. Speleothem deposits are prolific in Main Cliefden, Murder and Boonderoo Caves. Helictites are related to porous wall surfaces, spar crystals result from flooding of caves in the vadose zone and blue stalactites are composed of aragonite. Cliefden Caves belong to that class proposed by Frank (1972) in which deposition has been more important than downcutting late in their developmental history.


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