Kras tatrzański— rozwój wiedzy w ostatnich trzydziestu latach

Michał Gradziński, Helena Hercman, Ditta Kicińska, Grzegorz Barczyk, Pavel Bella, Peter Holúbek


Karst in the Tatra Mountains — developments of knowledge in the last thirty years.
A b s t r a c t. The paper presents the latest results of studies on karst phenomena in the Tatra Mountains. Three periods of pre-Neogene karstification have been identified, that is Middle to Late Triassic, Albian and Palaeocene to Early Eocene. Up to now, 1168 caves have been registered in the Tatra Mts: 805 in Poland and 363 in Slovakia. Their total length exceeds 175 km.Wielka Śnieżna Cave from Mt. Małołączniak (Czerwone Wierchy Massif), with its total length of more than 23 km and vertical extent 824 m, is the deepest and longest of those hitherto found in this region. In the recent years the idea on hydrothermal origin of a number of caves in this area has been put forward. Other caves formed under phreatic conditions display numerous phreatic loops. Therefore, spatial distribution of these caves does not mark the former position of a water-table. The direction of palaeoflow was generally similar to that of the modern karst drainage. The U-series dating of speleothems has revealed that the phreatic stage in development of some caves ended earlier than 1.2 Ma. The mean rate of valley deepening during the last 200 ka was estimated at 0.2–0.3 m/ka. The microbial origin of moonmilk deposits, which are very common in the Tatra caves, has been put forward. The analyses of speleothem isotopic composition show that not only temperature but also migration path of feeding water can govern the δ13O values. The palaeontological and archaeological findings in the Tatra caves are scarce. Presently, the cave lion bones and sculls accompanied by numerous bones of a cave bear were found in a Slovak cave (Medvedia jaskyňa). Dye-tracing tests, both in Polish and Slovak parts of the mountains, have been conducted to confirm connections between particular sink-holes and karst springs. The stable isotopic composition of karst-spring water and water residence time based on tritium content have been studied as well.

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