Underground Karst Levels
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In Europe underground karst levels were a subject of controversy for a long time. Today their existence is assured although in a few single cases it is still disputed. Swinnerton’s conception (1932) of the predominance of underground water-flow through the shallow phreatic zone supplies one of the causes of the formation of karst levels (see Chap. 6.3). It is this which explains the horizontal passages which stretch for kilometers in the Flint Mammoth Cave System in Kentucky (Gardner, 1935). Deike (1967), Miotke and Palmer (1972) have proved the relationship between this cave system and the surface morphology. The chronological identification of the underground karst level with systems of terraces on the surface in the Alps did not meet with approval from all sides. Krieg (1954, 1955) was in support of such levels and used Bock’s cave-river theory (1913) as evidence for them. This aroused intense debate in which Arnberger (1955) and Trimmel (1955) rejected both the cave-river theory and the levels as Krieg meant them, as well. Schauberger (1955) compiled the heights of all cave entrances of the greater limestone massives east of the Salzach and thereby confirmed a storeyed structure which was, however, attributed by others to petrographic causes. On the other hand Roglić (1960), who illuminated the relationship of river erosion to the karst process, failed to make any reference to a relationship between the phases of valley formation and underground karst levels. Droppa (1957) has convincingly proved that the storeyed structure is a result of phases in which the valley was deepened in the case of the Demänovské Jaskyne (Demänova Caves) in Slovakia.
KeywordsEvolution Level Interglacial Period Karst Water Cave System Piezometric Surface
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