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Featured article from karst/cave journal

NSS
Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, 2011, Vol 73, Issue 1, p. 31-44
Subglacial Maze Origin in Low-Dip Marble Stripe Karst: Examples from Norway
Abstract:

Maze caves or network caves are enigmatic in their evolution, as they form flow nets rather than more efficient, direct point-to-point flow routes. Network caves are often characterized by uniform passage dimensions in several directions, which indicates simultaneous dissolution of most available fractures. Nonshauggrotta in Gildeska° l, northern Norway, is formed in low-dip marble strata and situated as a relict in a topographical and hydrological hanging position, thus lacking a modern drainage area. The cave displays a reticulate network geometry dictated by two orthogonal fracture sets. Passage morphology and paleocurrent marks in the cave walls (scallops) demonstrate that the cave evolved under water-filled conditions (phreatic) and that the relatively slow flow was directed uphill towards the confining aquiclude and the cliff face. In that sense, it has some resemblance to hypogene caves. However, we propose that the cave is a result of ice-contact speleogenesis, as it developed in the lee side of the Nonshaugen ridge under topographically directed glacier flow and seems independent of the otherwise variable flow regimes characteristic of the glacial environment.