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Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology

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Speleogenesis issues:

Original article

UIS KHS Commission
Limestone wall retreat in a ceiling cupola controlled by hydrothermal degassing with wall condensation (Szunyogh model) (Comments to Wolfgang Dreybrodt remark ''On feasibility of condensation processes in caves'', Speleogenesis and Evolution of Karst Aqui

Audra, Bigot and Mocochain (2003) proposed an explanation for the development of a hydrothermal cave in Provence ( France ), referring to the Szunyogh model (1989). Dreybrodt (2003) then shows by calculations that this model is unlikely. We will discuss Dreybrodt's answer here. Our conclusions will emphasise that Dreybrodt's hypothesis (transient conduction in a semi-infinite solid) is not the only possibility. When other conditions are considered (steady-state conduction with constant temperature at a finite distance), this cupola-development model can be valid.

The mechanism of wall retreat by corrosion linked to CO 2 degassing and water condensation is only possible providing the existence of a seepage flow close to the hydrothermal flow, which can maintain a sufficient thermal gradient over time.
The validity of Szunyogh's theory under these conditions has already been mentioned (Lismonde 2002, p. 292). Such a process also occurs in Movile cave ( Romania ), with values one order of magnitude lower as in our calculation. Condensation corrosion was demonstrated here using stable isotopes (Sarbu and Lascu 2001)