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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 root zone is the zone in a soil profile penetrated by plant roots [16].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
See all featured articles
Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
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
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for shafts (Keyword) returned 110 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 110
The Discovery, Exploration and Scientific Investigation of the Wellington Caves, New South Wales, 1963, Lane Edward A. , Richards Aola M.

Although research has been unable to establish a definite date of discovery for the limestone caves at Wellington, New South Wales, documentary evidence has placed it as 1828. The actual discovery could have been made earlier by soldiers or convicts from the Wellington Settlement, which dated from 1823. Whether the aborigines knew of the cave's existence before 1828 is uncertain, but likely, as in 1830 they referred to them as "Mulwang". A number of very small limestone caves were also discovered about the same time in the nearby Molong area. The Bungonia Caves, in the Marulan district near Goulburn, were first written about a short time later. On all the evidence available at present, the Wellington Caves can be considered to be the first of any size discovered on the mainland of Australia. The Wellington Caves are situated in a low, limestone outcrop about six miles south by road from the present town of Wellington, and approximately 190 miles west-north-west of Sydney. They are at an altitude of 1000 feet, about half a mile from the present bed of the Bell River, a tributary of the Macquarie River. One large cave and several small caves exist in the outcrop, and range in size from simple shafts to passages 200 to 300 feet long. Mining for phosphate has been carried out, resulting in extensive galleries, often unstable, at several levels. Two caves have been lit by electricity for the tourist trades; the Cathedral Cave, 400 feet long, maximum width 100 feet, and up to 50 feet high; and the smaller Gaden Cave. The Cathedral Cave contains what is believed to be the largest stalagmite in the world, "The Altar", which stands on a flat floor, is 100 feet round the base and almost touches the roof about 40 feet above. It appears that the name Cathedral was not applied to the cave until this century. The original names were "The Great Cave", "The Large Cave" or "The Main Cave". The Altar was named by Thomas Mitchell in 1830. See map of cave and Plate. Extensive Pleistocene bone deposits - a veritable mine of bone fragments - were found in 1830, and have been studied by palaeontologists almost continually ever since. These bone deposits introduced to the world the extinct marsupials of Australia, and have a special importance in view of the peculiar features of the living fauna of the continent. The names of many famous explorers and scientists are associated with this history, among the most prominent being Sir Thomas Mitchell and Sir Richard Owen. Anderson (1933) gives a brief outline of why the Wellington Caves fossil bone beds so rapidly attracted world-wide interest. During the 18th and early 19th Century, the great palaeontologist, Baron Georges Cuvier, and others, supposed that the earth had suffered a series of catastrophic changes in prehistoric times. As a result of each of these, the animals living in a certain area were destroyed, the area being repopulated from isolated portions of the earth that had escaped the catastrophe. The Bilical Deluge was believed to have been the most recent. Darwin, during the voyage of the Beagle around the world (1832-37), was struck by the abundance of Pleistocene mammalian fossils in South America, and also by the fact that, while these differed from living forms, and were in part of gigantic dimensions, they were closely related to present-day forms in that continent. Darwin's theory of descent with modification did not reconcile with the ideas of Cuvier and others. As the living mammalian fauna of Australia was even more distinctive than that of South America, it was a matter of importance and excitement to discover the nature of the mammals which had lived in Australia in the late Tertiary and Pleistocene.


A Survey of the Mineshafts at Peakshill Farm, Castleton, 1967, Mee B. L.

Geomorphology and Speleogenesis of Vertical Shafts in Carboniferous Limestone at Ystradfellte, Breconshire, 1967, Burke A. R.

Underground solution canyons in the Central Kentucky karst, U.S.A., 1967, Watson Richard A.
Solution canyons are underground voids 1 to 15 + meters wide, 3 to 45 + meters high, and 30 to 300 + meters long. Floors are stepped, ceilings level. Size increases downstream. Their course is sinuous, with some angularity. They occur parallel to and directly under or slightly offset from the thalwegs of re-entrant valleys tributary to major karst valleys. A section across a re-entrant and underlying solution canyon shows a rough hour-glass shape. Solution canyons are related genetically to solutional vertical shafts, forming where removal of the impermeable sandstone caprock permits the vertical descent of water through jointed limestone. Surface runoff concentrates along re-entrant thalwegs where a largo quantity of water goes underground. This water, plus subsurface water flowing over the caprock breached by the valleys, follows the easiest route to baselevel down major vertical joints oriented parallel to the thalwegs. Solution by water seeping down these joint planes forms solution canyons.

The Hydrology of a Glacierised Alpine Karst Castlegaurd Mountain, Alberta, PhD Thesis, 1983, Smart, Charles Christopher

Alpine karst throughout the world has been affected by past glaciation, and yet little is known of the interactions between glacier ice and karst. This dissertation attempts to gain some understanding of the problem through the study of the Castleguard Area, Alberta, where a karst aquifer is presently overlain by temperate glacier ice.
Quantitative fluorometric tracing and hydrometric measurements generated a broad data base on aquifer behaviour. Tracer breakthrough curves were interpreted using a new systematic approach which considers an explicit set of processes likely to affect the particular tracer under the given experimental conditions. Non-linearity in aquifer behaviour and rapid groundwater velocities demonstrated the aquifer to be an extreme conduit type Conduit springs are elements in a vertical hierarchy in which the topmost springs are "overflows" and exhibit greater flow variability than their associated "underflows". A numerical model was developed to simulate a conduit aquifer. It demonstrated that pulse train and recession analysis widely accepted methods of karst aquifer investigation, could be rather misleading when applied to conduit aquifers.
Interactions between ice and groundwater were observed at two scales: regulation water appeared to feed a diffuse percolation system and supraglacial melt passed into subglacial conduits which entered open vadose shafts. Karst is unlikely to be entirely subglacial in origin because of the limited aggressiveness of subglacial waters.
The Castlegaurd karst appeared to have originated preglacially in response to the breaching of impermeable caprock. Glaciation re-ordered the landscape and produced abundant clastic debris which subsequently blocked or obstructed karst conduits. Much of the resulting karst is paragenetic and comparatively immature due to glacial disruption and slow growth rates. Geomorphic and hydrologic interactions between ice and karst depend intimately upon the relationship between the geographic zones of the glacier and the aquifer.


Pseudo-karst dans les roches grso-quartzitiques de la formation Roraima (Gran Sabana, Venezuela), 1985, Pouyllau M. , Seurin M.
QUARTZITE PLATEAUX OF THE RORAIMA FORMATION (GRAN SABANA - VENEZUELA) - The high sandstone-quartzite plateaux of the Roraima period situated in the Gran Sabana region of south-east Venezuela have some specific macro- and micro-geomorphological characteristics. On one hand, this Precambrian sedimentary cover includes some spectacular relief consisting of high structural plateaux affected by major anticlines, synclines, and monoclines, partly dismantled by erosion. On the other hand, and on a smaller scale, pseudo-karst have developed on the surface (karren) and at depth (caves, shafts). Several hypotheses are put forward in an attempt to explain the genesis of this pseudo-karst.

The use of geophysical surveying methods in the detection of natural cavities and mineshafts, 1987, Mccann D. M. , Jackson P. D. , Culshaw M. G. ,
The use of geophysical methods for the location of cavities and mineshafts is reviewed in relation to engineering problems at the site investigation stage. Their success is limited by the resolution and penetration achieved by the particular method applied in a given situation. It is shown that no one single geophysical method will provide the answer to all the problems associated with cavity location but considerable improvement can be achieved by the application of several methods to a given problem. It is suggested that for most standard geophysical methods it is possible to detect a cavity whose depth of burial is less than twice its effective diameter. The concept of effective diameter is shown to be of considerable importance since the presence of the cavity or mineshaft does affect the physical properties of the surrounding rock mass and, hence, gives rise to a far larger anomalous zone than that produced by the cavity on its own

Etude statistique des cavits karstiques de la rgion monpelliraine, 1989, Brun, J. F.
Statistic study of karst caves of the Montpellier area - A statistical study of a speleological file concerning the karstic area of Montpellier was undertaken, aiming to detect some factors statistically linked with cave distribution or speleometry. Shafts are generally disconnected from horizontal systems, but they use sometimes pre-existing galleries. They are significantly deeper when grouped, or when presenting parallel shafts, or when being old shaped shafts with a large entrance. Splited zones contain more potholes, yet they are not statistically deeper. Horizontal caves exhibit a discontinuous distribution by altitude levels, which are regularly observed in every sector, when the effect of diastrophism is taken into account. Total filling seems to be the rule as soon as galleries have stopped their activity: use or re-use by present streams is required to avoid this process. Old levels of caves, above Upper Miocene surfaces, exhibit different orientation patterns of galleries than younger ones. Some limestone facies seems to allow a stronger vertical (or horizontal) cave development. A schematic history of cave development in this area is proposed.

Les karsts des Pyrnes-Orientales, 1989, Salvayre, H.
The karsts of Eastern Pyrenees (France) - Karsts in the Eastern Pyrenees occur in Palaeozoic limestones (syncline of Villefranche-de-Conflent) or in Mesozoic limestones. Horizontal caves of several kilometres (En Gorner, Fuilla, Les Ambullas) are found in the Palaeozoic; but the numerous shafts are in the Mesozoic limestones. The subterranean waters circulate freely in the upper parts of the massif (Fontrabiouse), while there are many saturated karst in coastal areas (Font-Estramar). Classical types of surface karst features develop in the Corbires massif; elsewhere, in the Palaeozoic limestones, this karst morphology does not exist or is hidden under covers.

Le karst du massif Moucherotte / Pic Saint-Michel (Isre, Vercors), 1991, Audra, Ph.
The karst of Moucherotte/Pic Saint-Michel (Vercors, Isre, France) - The massif of Moucherotte-Pic Saint Michel is located in the northeastern corner of the Vercors, in the area of Lans-en-Vercors and Saint-Nizier-du-Moucherotte. As anywhere in Vercors, this area is strongly marked by a dense karst relief. It harbours underground systems. Recent dye tracings (respectively from Sierre shaft, Choucas shaft, and Ira's Hole) allowed to determinate precisely the boundary of the catchment of the source called Bruyant. This basin spreads out from the Moucherotte to the Pic Saint-Michel, thus including a surface of 12km2. This is confirmed through the water balance. Of the 1600mm of yearly rainfall, 70% is infiltrated toward the source of the Bruyant. The water is conveyed through a main drain, probably mostly vadose, at the base of the recumbent fold. The landscape is due to the Quaternary processes. The two great landslides of "col de l'Arc" and of "Peuil" date back to this time. The glaciers have sculptured huge "combes" where many caves open, ancient places where sub-glacial waters were swallowing. These sub-vertical caves (which can measure up to 300m deep) with shafts and meanders, flow through large horizontal galleries older than the Quaternary (Combe Oursire shaft, Vallier cave). These galleries, hidden away in this huge limestone mass, are the witnesses of an earlier and very elaborate subterranean drainage. This system is entirely different from our present drainage system.

Etude d'un chevauchement dans les gouffres du Calernam et des Baoudillouns (Cipires, Alpes-Maritimes), 1991, Gilli, E.
Study of a trust plane in the Baoudillouns and Calernam Caves (Alpes Maritimes, France) - The shafts of Calernam and Baoudillouns are to be found in the Prealps of Grasse (Alpes-Maritimes). They are formed in inclined and over-lap folds, issued from the southward sliding of the sedimentary cover during the alpine orogeny. The cave studied here is the only example to date of a cave that totally crosses a tectonic slice and permits the observation of the thrust plane. Through this study, it can be observed that the bottom of the limestone series has been entirely planed and that abnormal contact (mechanical unconformity) resembles in most cases a normal one. No obvious neotectonic sign has been observed for the moment.

Le karst de Vaucluse (Haute Provence), 1991, Mudry J. , Puig J. M.
The catchment area of the Fontaine de Vaucluse system is more than 1100km2 wide, with an average altitude of 870m. The thickness of the Lower Cretaceous limestone (1500m) gives the system a very thick (800m) unsaturated zone. Karstification is highly developed (four shafts are more than 500m deep) as well as on the valley (pit of 300m depth inside the spring). The bottom of the shafts of the Plateau does not reach the saturated zone of the karst, as their flows are the chemical content of the seepage water. The maximum hydraulic gradient from the Plateau to the spring is low, only 0.3%. Dye tracings permit the assignment of the Ventoux-Lure rang (including its calcareous northern slope with a southward dipping) and the Vaucluse Plateau in the catchment area. The water balance computed by altitude belts shows that the rainfall strongly increases with altitude: 120mm at 200m, 1380mm over 1800m. The dynamic of the system, studied by discharge and physical and chemical content, shows of a well karstified media, that reacts with slight inertia upon the rainy periods, and that is made up of important reserves, particularly within the unsaturated zone, that supply long decline and depletion episodes.

Subterranean Waterworks of Biblical Jerusalem: Adaptation of a Karst System, 1991, Gill Dan,
Ancient Jerusalem has long been known to possess a system of subterranean waterworks by which the spring of Gihon, which issues outside the walls, could be approached from within the city, and its waters diverted to an intramural pool. Most scholars regarded these waterworks as man-made, but the techniques of underground orientation and ventilation employed by the builders, as well as the numerous anomalies and ostensible mistakes in design, mystified investigators. Geological investigation has revealed the waterworks to be part of a well-developed karst system, a network of natural dissolution channels and shafts, in the limestone and dolomite underlying the city. Thus, it was not through primary planning but by means of skillful adaptation of these pre-existing natural features that the city was ensured of a dependable water supply during both war and peace. Likewise, knowledge of the subterranean access may have played a role in David's capture of the Jebusite city

Alpine karsts. Genesis of large subterranean networks. Examples : the Tennengebirge (Austria) - the Ile de Crémieu, the Chartreuse and the Vercors (France), PhD Thesis, 1993, Audra, Philippe

This work, based on the study of several underground alpine networks, aims to propose some milestone in the history of these karstic regions.

The first part of the work is made up of three regional studies.

The Tennengebirge mountains are a massif of the limestone High Alps in the region of Salzburg in Austria. A cone karst close to the base level developed in the Neogene. Streams from the Alps fed the karst, resulting in the huge horizontal networks of which the Eisriesenwelt provides evidence. During the successive phases of upthrust, the levels of karstification, whether on the surface or deeper down, settled into a tier pattern, thus descending in stages from the base level. From the Pliocene era onwards, thanks to an increase in potential, alpine shafts replace the horizontal networks. The formation of these shafts is more pronounced during glaciation. The study of the Cosa Nostra - Bergerhöhle system developing 30 km of conduits on a gradient reaching almost 1 500 m provides a fairly full view of the karstification of this massif. It includes the horizontal levels developed in the Miocene and the Plio-Pleistocene, joined together by vertical sections. The most noteworthy features of the Tennengebirge, as in the neighboring massifs, lie first and foremost in the extreme thickness of the limestone which has recorded and immunized the differents steps of karstification. Secondly, the size of the networks can be, for the most part, accounted for by the contribution of allogenous waters from the streams of the Neogene and the glaciers of the Pleistocene. Generally sudden and unexpected, these flows of water engendered heavy loads (up to 600 m), simultaneously flooding several levels. To a lesser extent, the situation is similar today.

The Ile de Cremieu is a low limestone plateau on the western edge of the Jura. Due to its location in the foothills, the lobes of the Rhône glacier have covered it up, obliterating the surface karst. However, widespread evidence of anteglacial morphologies remains : paleokarst, cone karst, polygenic surface. Because of glacial plugging, access to the underground karst is limited. The main cavity is the cave of La Balme. Its initial development dates back to an early period. The morphological study has permitted the identification of several phases which go back to the Pleistocene and which are related to the Rhône glacier. The latter brought about modifications in the base level by supplying its merging waters as well as moraine material. These variations in the base level shaped the drainage structure. The underground glacial polishes are one of the noteworthy aspects recorded.

The massives of the Moucherotte and dent de Crolles belong to the northern French Prealps. They conceal large networks, respectively the Vallier cave and the Dent de Crolles. They were formed in the early Pliocene after the final orogenic phase and are in the form of horizontal conduits. The upthrust, which brought about the embanking of the Isère valley, left them in a perched position by taking away the basin which fed them. They were later, however, able to take advantage of waters from the Isère glacier during a part of the Pleistocene. The Vallier cave contains particularly glacio-karstic sediments of the lower Pleistocene, representing unique evidence of glaciation during this period. The vertical networks were put in place at the end of the Pliocene with the increase in karstification potential ; they underwent changes in the Pleistocene due to the effect of autochton and allogenous glaciers.

The second part of the work deals in general with the various forms and processes of karstification, sometimes going beyond the Alps. The study of cave deposits is a privileged tool in the understanding and reconstruction not only of the history of the networks but also the regional environment. The dating of speleothems by the U / Th method has very ofen given an age of over 350 000 years. The age of the networks is confirmed by the use of paleomagnetism which has yielded evidence of speleothems and glacio-karstic sediments anterior to 780 000 years. Anisotropic measurements of magnetic susceptibility have been used to distinguish the putting into place of glacio-karstic deposits by decantation.

Measurements of calcite rates lead to a typology of sediments based on their nature and carbonate content (rehandled weathered rocks, fluvial sands, carbonated varves, decantation clays). Granulometry confirms this differenciation by supplying precise details of transport and sedimentation modes : suspension and abrupt precipitation of clay, suspension and slow decantation of carbonated varves, suspension and rolling together with a variable sorting of sand and gravel. Mineralogical analyses oppose two types of detrital deposits. On the one hand, the rehandling of antequaternary weathered rocks extracted by the karst as a result of scouring during environmental destabilization and on the other hand, sediments characteristic of the ice age of the Pleistocene. The latter are not highly developed and their arrival in the karst is always later. Examination of heavy minerals, the morphoscopy of quartz grains and study of micromorphologies on thin blades provide precise details of conditions of evolution. The use of these methods of investigation allows for an accurate definition of the features of the evolution of the differents types of fillings, particularly speleothems, rehandled weathered rocks as well as carbonated varves. This wealth and complexity are emphasized by a detailed study of the sedimentary sequences of the Vallier cave and of the Bergerhöhle.
Speleogenesis is approached last of all in the light of above study. Emphasis is placed on the major part played by corrosion in the temporarily phreatic zone and on its many consequences (multi-level concept, simultaneous evolution of levels, origin of deep waterlogged karsts…).
Varia tions in the base level have induced karstification in contexts in which the potential was weak. These were followed by periods of increased potential to which were added the effects of glaciation. Perched horizontal levels belong to the first stages which ended in the early Pliocene, whereas alpine shafts developed in the second context. The role of structure and the parameters governing the shape of conduits (pits, meanders, canyons) are also dealt with. The different parts of the karst are borne in mind when dealing with the strength of karstic erosion during the ice age. It notably appears that it is weak on the crests and more or less non-existent in the deep parts of the karst which are liable to flooding. Finally, a preliminary analysis of an observation of neotectonic traces is presented.


HIGH-RESOLUTION SEISMIC EXPRESSION OF KARST EVOLUTION WITHIN THE UPPER FLORIDIAN AQUIFER SYSTEM - CROOKED LAKE, POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA, 1994, Evans Mw, Snyder Sw, Hine Ac,
We collected 43 km of high resolution seismic reflection profiles from a 14.5-hectare lake in the central Florida sinkhole district and data from three adjacent boreholes to determine the relationship between falling lake levels and the underlying karst stratigraphy. The lake is separated from karstified Paleogene to early Neogene carbonates by 65-80 m of siliciclastic sands and clays. The carbonate and clastic strata include three aquifer systems separated by clay-confining units: a surficial aquifer system (fine to medium quartz sand in the upper 20-30 m), the 25-35 m thick intermediate aquifer system (in Neogene siliciclastics), and the highly permeable upper Floridan aquifer system in Paleogene to early Neogene limestones. Hydraulic connection between these aquifer systems is indicated by superjacent karst structures throughout the section. Collapse zones of up to 1000 m in diameter and > 50 m depth extend downward from a prominent Middle Miocene unconformity into Oligocene and Upper Eocene limestones. Smaller sinkholes (30-100 m diameter, 10-25 m depth) are present in Middle to Late Neogene clays, sands, and carbonates and extend downward to or below the Middle Miocene unconformity. Filled and open shafts (30-40 m diameter; 10-25 m depth) ring the lake margin and overlie subsurface karst features. The large collapse zones are localized along a northeast-southwest line in the northern ponds and disrupt or deform Neogene to Quaternary strata and at least 50 m of the underlying Paleogene carbonate rocks. The timing and vertical distribution of karst structures are used to formulate a four-stage model that emphasizes stratigraphic and hydrogeologic co-evolution. (1) Fracture-selective shallow karst features formed on Paleogene/early Neogene carbonates. (2) Widespread karstification was limited by deposition of Middle Miocene clays, but vertical karst propagation continued and was focused because of the topographic effects of antecedent karst. (3) Groundwater heads, increase with the deposition of thick sequences of clastics over the semipermeable clays during Middle and Late Neogene time. The higher water table and groundwater heads allowed the accumulation of acidic, organic-rich soils and chemically aggressive waters that percolated down to Paleogene carbonates via localized karst features. (4) After sufficient subsurface dissolution, the Paleogene carbonates collapsed, causing disruption and deformation of overlying strata. The seismic profiles document an episodic, vertically progressive karst that allows localized vertical leakage through the clay-confining units. The spatial and temporal karst distribution is a result of deposition of sediments with different permeabilities during high sea levels and enhanced karst dissolution during low sea levels. Recent decreases in the potentiometric elevation of the Floridan Aquifer System simulates a sea-level lowstand, suggesting that karst dissolution will increase in frequency and magnitude

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