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Community news

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. ...

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 helictite is 1. generally small variety of stalactitic calcite growth that is twisted and contorted with no apparent regard for gravity. helictites form on cave walls, ceilings, and on stalactites. the growth develops as seepage water loses carbon dioxide from near its tip, having been supplied to that point by capillary action through a fine central canal. the helictite shape is created by crystal lattice distortion and crystal form changes within the calcite, but what causes these is uncertain. impurities may plan a role, and rare groups of parallel growing helictites may be wind-guided [9]. 2. irregular, twiglike, crystalline growths with varying orientations but often in crystal continuity, formed in caves by precipitation from bicarbonate solutions [20]. 3. a curved or angular twiglike lateral projection of calcium carbonate having a tiny central canal, found in caves [10]. also known as eccentric anemolite [20]; eccentric stalactite. synonyms: (french.) excentrique; (german.) exzentrisch gekrummter, tropfstein, excentriques; (greek.) stalaktits akanonistos; (italian.) stalattiti anomale, eccentiche; (spanish.) estalactita excentrica; (turkish.) duzensiz sarkit; (yugoslavian.) heliktit. related to curtain, dripstone, speleothem.?

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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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 flowstone (Keyword) returned 77 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 77
A mineralogical analysis of karst sediments and its implications to the middle-late Pleistocene climatic changes on the Tibetan Plateau, 1998,
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Zhang D. D. ,
The minerals in various categories of Tibetan karst sediments were divided into three groups: carbonate, iron and silicate. The carbonate minerals, including calcite, aragonite and dolomite, consist mainly of speleothem, tufa and sinter. Most of the speleothems indicates wetter and warmer periods in early and middle Pleistocene, the youngest being 194,000 years old. The second formation of carbonate mineral, tufa, implies an arid period starting 91,000 years BP. The iron minerals, goethite and hematite, are often mixed up with cave alluvial sediments that are interbedded with flowstones, and the depression sediments. They indicate strong oxidizing environments during their deposition, which is absent at present. The clay minerals, specially kaolinite, were contained in cave alluvial, flowstone and the depression sediments as well. Combined with stratigraphic study and U-series dating, the mineral analysis shows that warmer and wetter climates, which were suitable for speleothem development, probably disappeared 200 ka ago, and drier and colder climates dominated this plateau since then

The dynamics of flowstone deposition in the caves Postojnska, Planinska, Taborska and Škocjanske, Slovenia , 1998,
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Gams Ivan, Kogovš, Ek Janja

The results of flowstone deposition measurements in the caves Postojnska, Planinska, Taborska and Škocjanska Jama of the Slovene karst are given. From 0 to 180 mg of CaCO3 are precipitated from 1 litre of percolation water. The drippings during one year yield average 40 g of flowstone out of 1 m3 of percolation water; in the case of Orjaki, Škocjanske Jame, the deposition is even higher. Comparison of measurements of percolation water flowing either over the speleothems or over sheets of glass in Postojnska Jama since 1963 have shown numerous factors controlling the flowstone deposition. The quantity of precipitated flowstone expotentially increases by the growth of speleothem when water washes larger surfaces of the speleothem. Gravimetric determination of flowstone deposition on sheets of glass (61x18 cm) gave in 34 years an average flowstone growth of 0.11 mm per year.


Interaction between cave systems and the lowering karst surface; case study: Laški Ravnik, 1998,
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Š, Uš, Terš, Ič, France

An inventory of denuded and exhumed deep phreatic cave forms that have been detected on the karstified surface of the Laški Ravnik (east of Planinsko polje, Slovenia) is presented and described. Features observed include denuded completely-filled channels, washed-out channels, accumulations of cave loam (originating from caves that are now completely destroyed), conglomerate and flowstone. The source area for the sedimentary infills might be the Cerkniščica river catchment. Cave patterns revealed by the study fit well to aspects of the Ford-Ewers' cave development model, and also indicate the validity of some of the observations made by R. Curl, S. Worthington and D. Lowe.


Mineralogy of Kartchner Caverns, Arizona, 1999,
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Hill, C. A.
The mineralogy of Kartchner Caverns is both diverse and significant. Six different chemical classes are represented in this one cave: carbonates, nitrates, oxides, phosphates, silicates, and sulfates. It is significant primarily because: (1) the silicate minerals, nontronite and rectorite, have never before been reported from a cave occurrence; (2) the nitrate mineral, nitrocalcite, has never been described using modern techniques; (3) birdsnest needle quartz has been reported only from one other, non-cave, locality; and (4) extensive brushite moonmilk flowstone has not been reported from anywhere else in the world. Kartchner is a beautiful cave because its carbonate speleothems are colorful (shades of red, orange, yellow and tan) and alive (still wet and growing).

The Makapansgat Australopithecine site from a speleological perspective, 1999,
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Latham Alf G. , Herries Andrew, Quinney Patrick, Sinclair Anthony, Kuykendall Kevin,
Remains of Australopithecus africanus from the Limeworks Cave, Makapansgat, South Africa, are believed to belong mainly to a metre-thick, bone-rich, speleothem layer. The flowstone is one stratum among a sequence of speleothems, muds, silts, sands and fine and coarse breccias, the study of which has evoked some disagreement. The limeworkers' excavations revealed some stratigraphic relationships but they have obscured others. Partly because of this, controversy surrounds the supposition about whether there are separated depositional basins within the overall site and, if so, whether strata can be securely correlated. This is important because a reconstruction of an overall stratigraphic sequence was used as a basis for a magnetostratigraphic reversal record and by which the site has been tentatively dated. There is qualification and disagreement about the origin of the various flowstones and the actual depositional environment of the muds and silts. Evidence is presented which rules out some previous interpretations. From the point of view of the Australopithecine fossils themselves, it can be said that the calcite matrix in which they were provenanced was a low-energy environment and that the dense bone accumulation of this layer almost certainly did not arise by the action of floods, as previously supposed. The most likely main cause of the dense accumulation was hyena denning activity. It is clear that further work is needed to see how a reliable overall sequence can be established and that closer sampling is required for magnetostratigraphy

Speleothem fall (an example of a sudden stalactite collapse in Škocjanske Jame), 1999,
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Kranjc, Andrej

On March 2 or 3, 1999 a stalactite fell from the roof in Velika Dvorana (Tiha Jama, Škocjanske Jame). This was a cave shield or palette developed on the ceiling, 17 m above the floor. Stalactites up to 2 m long were hanging on the underside of the shield. The collapsed stalactite mass weighed about 2500 kg. On the floor it split into some large (up to 300 kg) and many smaller pieces. The author thinks that bulk fell off as it reached its critical weight. The speleothem type called "shield" is extremely fragile and not well fixed at its base. In the place where this shield developed there is a strong (up to one l/min) inflow of saturated water and it has been estimated up to 2,5 kg of flowstone/year could be deposited. In Škocjanske Jame active shield-like stalactites mostly have fallen from the roof in the places where they are fed by saturated water. However, in a human timescale such events are extremely rare.


Results of a Speleothem U/Th Dating Reconnaissance from the Helderberg Plateau, New York, 2000,
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Lauritzen, S. E. , Mylroie, J. E.
The Helderberg Plateau consists of Silurian-Devonian carbonates that crop out across central New York State, supporting a well-developed, multiply glaciated karst. Stalagmites and flowstone were collected from five caves spread across a 60 km long traverse of the Plateau from Albany west-northwest to Schoharie County. Subsamples from these spleothems yielded 36 U/Th alpha count dates ranging from 3 ka to >350 ka. While the data reported here are only a reconnaissance study, they represent the most comprehensive geochronologic data base for any karst area in the northeastern United States. Hollyhock Hollow, southern Albany County: two cave-fill samples yielded three dates of 70-56 ka and four dates of 41-35 ka; the mid-Wisconsin dates may reflect the caves southerly position. Onesquethaw Cave, central Albany County: two stalagmites yielded 5 dates, all Holocene (<9 ka); the dates suggest that Onesquethaw Cave may be post-glacial in origin. Caboose Cave, eastern Schoharie County: five stalagmite and flowstone samples provided 13 dates, ranging from 207-56 ka, with distinct clusters at 100-56 ka and 207-172 ka; the dates support the cave being older than the last glaciation. Schoharie Caverns, 2 km west of Caboose Cave: six samples from one flowstone all dated to >350 ka; the dates indicate that the cave has survived more than one glaciation. Barrack Zourie Cave, western Schoharie County: two stalagmites yielded four dates, which cluster at 161-158 ka, with a younger overgrowth at 61 ka (two previously reported dates were 165 ka and 277 ka); the dates support the cave being older than the last glaciation. The U/Th dates indicate that both pre- and post-glacial caves exist in New York. The dates cluster in the 100-56 ka and 207-158 ka range, and there are a surprising lack of dates from the last interglacial (130-120 ka), possibly an artifact of the sampling regime.

Doline morphogenetic processes from global and local viewpoints, 2000,
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Gams, Ivan

Geomorphogenetical processes of solution dolines are evident from restraints in their global and local distribution: more precipitation than potential evapotranspiration, permeable soil cover, water level and solution front (transition from aggressive to flowstone depositing water) below shallow epikarst, slope inclination below 30°, solid soluble rock. Dolines are an effect of local accelerated solution. In initial phase they are connected with more fractured stone, as the grains have greater specific (surface/volume) surface exposed to soil moisture. Effect of stone fracturing on solution was tested in laboratory. Later growth of basin is based on automatism, as the size of soil/stone interface is increased with deepening of the basin. Funnel-like dolines with growth usually convert in a bowl-like form with greater exceeding. The form is controlled also by water permeability of soil and solifluction. In temperate climate the two million year long Pleistocene offered with more moisture from snow and with intensive fracturing of stone better conditions for doline development than the warmer Neogene and Holocene when man's impact in last centuries essentially redused primary forest environment and thus processes in the basins. Collapse dolines are not taken into account.


The fossilized tubes from the roofless cave - probably the oldest known remains of the cave worm Marifugia (Annelida: Polychaeta), 2000,
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Mihevc, Andrej

The paper is a report on the discovery of tubes of a fossilized cave serpulid in a roofless cave in the quarry above Črni Kal village. The site and shape of the fossilized tubes are described. The animals lived attached to the scallops in the wall of the passage. The passage was later filled with clay deposits, followed by a layer of flowstone several metres thick. The roof of the passage has been removed by karst denudation and flowstone now reaches to the surface. Fragments of tubes of animals of various sizes have been preserved, attached to the rock wall; those tubes which grew at a right angle to the wall have broken off but have been preserved in the sediment. In terms of their dimension and shape the tubes remind one of the tubes of the more recent cave serpulid Marifugia cavatica Absolon and Hrabe. The positions of the preserved tubes and the dating of the nearby sediments by palaeomagnetic method indicate that the remains of the serpulids are from the Pliocene epoch or older.


Recent active faults in Belgian Ardenne revealed in Rochefort Karstic network (Namur Province, Belgium), 2001,
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Vandycke S. , Quinif Y. ,
This paper presents observations of recent faulting activity in the karstic network of the Rochefort Cave (Namur Province, Belgium, Europe). The principal recent tectonic features are bedding planes reactivated as normal faults, neo-formatted normal faults in calcite flowstone, fresh scaling, extensional features, fallen blocks and displacement of karstic tube. The seismotectonic aspect is expanded by the presence of fallen blocks where normally the cavity must be very stable and in equilibrium. Three main N 070degrees fault planes and a minor one affect, at a decimetre scale, the karst features and morphology. The faults are still active because recent fresh scaling and fallen blocks are observable. The breaking of Holocene soda straw stalactites and displacements of artificial features observed since the beginning of the tourist activity, in the last century, also suggest very recent reactivation of these faults. This recent faulting can be correlated to present-day tectonic activity, already evidenced by earthquakes in the neighbouring area. Therefore, karstic caves are favourable sites for the observation and the quantification of recent tectonic activity because they constitute a 3-D framework, protected from erosion. Fault planes with this recent faulting present slickensides. Thus a quantitative analysis in term of stress inversion, with the help of striated faults, has permitted to reconstruct the stress tensor responsible for the brittle deformation. The principal NW-SE extension (sigma(3) horizontal) is nearly perpendicular to that of the present regional stress as illustrated by the analysis of the last strong regional earthquake (Roermond, The Netherlands) in 1992. During the Meso-Cenozoic, the main stress tectonics recorded in this part of the European platform is similar to the present one with a NE-SW direction of extension. The discrepancy between the regional stress field and the local stress in the Rochefort cave can be the result of the inversion of the sigma(2) and sigma(3) axes of the stress ellipsoid due to its symmetry or of a local modification at the ground surface of the crustal stress field as it has been already observed in active zones

Valeur et repartition de la dissolution specifique dans les karsts des montagnes Nakanai, 2001,
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Audra Ph.
Hydrochemical research has been carried out in Nakanai Mountains, a karst system located in the tropical wet areaThree types of water feed the underground karst: the first is diffuse seepage across thick soil and forest cover, which is generally supersaturated, producing flowstone deposition in conduits located close to the surfaceThe second is open joints, which allow the introduction of higher seepage discharge, this can be more aggressiveThis diffuse input constitutes the base flowThe third occurs during rainfall, when ephemeral gullies begin to be active, bringing high discharge of aggressive waterDuring high water, solution load tends to decrease, according to dilutionMost of the evolution of deep karst drainage system depends on this type of ephemeral inputMean solution load of underground streams tends to decrease with altitude, as shown by progressive disappearing of calcite deposition in the riverbedAccording to the estimated data (12 m annual rainfall, solute load), karst denudation rate seems to reach about 400 m3 / km2 / year, that is close to the highest world standardNevertheless, this value is lower than estimated before, taking into account the lowering of the solution load with altitude and during high water

The genesis of the Tennengebirge karst and caves (Salzburg, Austria), 2002,
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Audra, Ph. , Quinif, Y. , Rochette, P.
Research has been carried out in the Tennengebirge Massif (Salzburg, Austria) with specific attention to karst morphology, cave systems, and sediments. This study reveals the genesis of the karst and the underground systems of the Tennengebirge, since the Oligocene. Large horizontal systems, which date back to the Miocene, were studied through the example of the caves Hornhhle and Eisriesenwelt, which respectively represent Ruinenhhlen (cave ruins) and Riesenhhlen (giant caves). The Cosa-Nostra - Bergerhhle System is typical of a mostly vertical, large, high-relief, alpine cave. The main characteristic of this network is major development in the vadose zone. Shaft morphology is in stairs beneath a faulted roof. At greater depth, they connect to a perched epiphreatic zone, which is typical of a dammed karst. The main underground sediments are of paleoclimatic and hydrodynamic significance, corresponding to hot, stable, or unstable environments (flowstones, reworked weathered rocks) and cold environments (carbonate varves, glacial pebbles). A preliminary study of the Tennengebirge sediments reveals significant information about its evolution throughout Pliocene-Quaternary time. Hhlen- und Karstgenese im Tennengebirge (Salzburg, sterreich) Es handelt sich um Erforschungen des unterirdischen Hhlensystems im Tennengebirge mit Hilfe der Erforschung der Karstsedimente. Durch die Beobachtung der Morphologie und der Ausfllungen kann die Geschichte der verschiedenen Hhlenorganisationen nachgezeichnet werden. Wir haben die groen horizontalen Hhlensysteme des Miozns anhand der Hornhhle und der Eisriesenwelt studiert, die wiederum ein Beispiel fr Ruinen- und Riesenhhlen sind. Das Cosa-Nostra - Bergerhhle System ist ein Beispiel fr die groen vertikalen Alpenschchten, das an seiner ausgeprgten Entwicklung der vadosen Zone erkenntlichist. Die Schchte haben die Morphologie von Treppen unter einem Kluftdach. Sie sind tief unten mit einer gestuften phreatischen Zone verbunden, die einen abgedmmter Karst enthllen. Die wichtigsten unterirdischen Sedimente haben eine Bedeutung auf dem Gebiet der Paloklimatologie und der hydrodynamik. Sie entsprechen entweder warmen und bestndigen oder kalten Umgebungen oder einer Umbegung in der das natrliche Gleichgewicht unterbrochen wurde (Sinterformation, vernderte Sedimente aus Alteriten, Karbonatwarven, glazial Schotter). Die Erforschung der Sedimenten in der Bergerhhle bringt wichtige Informationen ber die Entwicklung der Hhlensysteme im Plio-Quartr. Durch die gesamte Erforschung kann die Entstehung der Hhlen- und Karstgenese im Tennengebirge seit dem Oligozn nachgezeichnet werden.

Pamukkale (Hirapolis) : un site de travertins hydrothermaux exceptionnel de Turquie, 2002,
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Nicod, Jean
Pamukkale (Hierapolis): An outstanding site of hydrothermal travertines in Turkey - These travertines result from the deposit of carbonates near the hydrothermal springs, on the main active fault zone on the northern border of the Denizli basin (W Turkey). Their high mineralised water, rich of CO2 of geothermal origin, accumulate limestone in the fissure ridges and in the cascades on the front of the old travertines balcony, building up in it flowstone and rimstone dams. This site is particularly important as much for the archaeological and palaeoenvironmental researches as the palaeoseismic and neotectonics regional data.

Karstology and the opening of caves during motorway construction in the karst region of Slovenia, 2002,
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Knez Martin, Slabe Tadej
The nature of karst makes constructing a roadway across karst areas a complex task, which is why karstologists take part in motorway construction across Slovenia's karst. Working with planners, karstologists select the best route on the basis of preliminary research. Then they carry out regular karstological monitoring of the construction, to study newly discovered karst phenomena, mostly caves, and also help builders overcome the challenges of karst in a way that will preserve nature as much as possible. During the recent construction of a section of motorway, more than three hundred caves were encountered within a sixty-kilometre stretch of road. Varied tectonic and lithostratigraphical conditions make it even more difficult to predict the cave locations in advance. Various types of cave reflect the development of the aquifer due to the lowering of the groundwater level and of the karst surface. All caves are explored, and the sediments and flowstone in them studied, in an attempt to preserve the most important ones. Caves are an important part of Slovenia's natural heritage, and research contributes new knowledge about the morphology and development of the karst region. Knowledge of unroofed caves and their traces on the karst surface provides a distinct advantage in planning new road sections. Expertise derived from recent experiences enables these features to be detected on the karst surface before the earth moving begins.

Reconstruction of Alpine Cenozoic paleorelief through the analysis of caves at Siebenhengste (BE, Switzerland), 2002,
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Hauselmann P. , Jeannin P. Y. , Monbaron M. , Lauritzen S. E. ,
The cave region of Siebenhengste, situated north of Lake Thun (Switzerland), contains one of the most important cave systems in the world, which extends from 500 to 2000 m a.s.l. It has a complex multiphase history. The recognized speleogenetic phases are related to spring level and to old valley floors. The six most recent phases were investigated in St. Beatus cave and Barenschacht. They suggest a progressive Quarternary Aare valley incision to 890, 805, 760, 700, 660, and 558 in a.s.l. that is confirmed by statistical analysis of small caves. U/Th-datings of flowstone allowed a timing of the valley deepening phases: the valley bottom was at 760 in already before 350 ka, the one at 700 in was active between 235 and 160 ka. The cave morphology in the upper part of the cave system was coupled with sedimentological observations. This combination leads to the hypothesis that the uppermost (oldest) cave parts were already created in the Miocene, during and after the last deposition of the Molasse. Ideas about the evolution of the paleorelief suggest that today's Aare valley is a product of glacial erosion, and that the old Aare valley shifted its position several times between the Miocene and today. (C) 2002 Editions scientifiques et medicales Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved

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