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Featured article from geoscience journal

Journal of Hydrology, 2010, Vol 388, Issue 1, p. 157-172
The impact of glacier ice-contact and subglacial hydrochemistry on evolution of maze caves: A modelling approach
Abstract:

Labyrinth and maze cave networks are a conspicuous feature in formerly glaciated stripe karst in Scandinavia. Often found in topographically “impossible” situations, their genesis is attributed to glacial ice-contact conditions. This is further supported by observing that individual networks may either be influent, effluent or through-flow; depending on the attitude of the host rock and former glacier directions. The ice-contact hypothesis is tested by using a finite difference, fracture network model where chemical and hydrological conditions can be varied. Subglacial chemistry alone (low partial pressure of CO2, low temperature) is not sufficient to favour mazes over linear caves. However, when coupled with high input saturation ratio, high and varied hydraulic gradients and glacial hydrology, the model produced cave patterns comparable in scale and complexity to our field examples.