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Title

A multi-method approach for speleogenetic research on alpine karst caves. Torca La Texa shaft, Picos de Europa (Spain)

AuthorsBallesteros, Daniel; Jiménez-Sánchez, Montserrat; Giralt, Santiago ; García-Sansegundo, J.; Meléndez-Asensio, M.
Issue Date2015
PublisherElsevier
CitationGeomorphology 247: 35- 54 (2015)
Abstract© 2015 Elsevier B.V. Speleogenetic research on alpine caves has advanced significantly during the last decades. These investigations require techniques from different geoscience disciplines that must be adapted to the methodological constraints of working in deep caves. The Picos de Europa mountains are one of the most important alpine karsts, including 14% of the World's Deepest Caves (caves with more than 1km depth). A speleogenetic research is currently being developed in selected caves in these mountains; one of them, named Torca La Texa shaft, is the main goal of this article. For this purpose, we have proposed both an optimized multi-method approach for speleogenetic research in alpine caves, and a speleogenetic model of the Torca La Texa shaft. The methodology includes: cave surveying, dye-tracing, cave geometry analyses, cave geomorphological mapping, Uranium series dating (<sup>234</sup>U/<sup>230</sup>Th) and geomorphological, structural and stratigraphical studies of the cave surroundings. The SpeleoDisc method was employed to establish the structural control of the cavity. Torca La Texa (2653m length, 215m depth) is an alpine cave formed by two cave levels, vadose canyons and shafts, soutirage conduits, and gravity-modified passages. The cave was formed prior to the Middle Pleistocene and its development was controlled by the drop of the base level, producing the development of the two cave levels. Coevally to the cave levels formation, soutirage conduits originated connecting phreatic and epiphreatic conduits and vadose canyons and shafts were formed. Most of the shafts were created before the local glacial maximum (43-45ka) and only two cave passages are related to dolines developed in recent times. The cave development is strongly related to the structure, locating the cave in the core of a gentle fold with the conduits' geometry and orientation controlled by the bedding and five families of joints.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2015.02.026
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/123427
DOI10.1016/j.geomorph.2015.02.026
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2015.02.026
issn: 0169-555X
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