From a hydrological point of view, active caves are a series of connected conduits which drain water through an aquifer. Water tends to choose the easiest way through the system but different geological and morphological barriers act as flow restrictions. The number and characteristics of restrictions depends on the particular speleogenetic environment, which is a function of geological, geomorphological, climatological and hydrological settings. Such a variety and heterogeneity of underground systems has presented a challenge for human understanding for many centuries. Access to many underground passages, theoretical knowledge and recent methods (modeling, water pressure-resistant dataloggers, precise sensors etc.) give us the opportunity to get better insight into the hydrodynamic aspect of caves. In our work we tried to approach underground hydrodynamics from both theoretical and practical points of view. We present some theoretical background of open surface and pressurized flow in underground rivers and present results of some possible scenarios. Moreover, two case studies from the Ljubljanica river basin are presented in more detail: the cave system between Planinsko polje and Ljubljansko barje, and the cave system between Bloško polje and Cerkniško polje. The approach and methodology in each case is somewhat different, as the aims were different at the beginning of exploration. However, they both deal with temporal and spatial hydrodynamics of underground waters. In the case of Bloško polje-Cerkniško polje system we also explain the feedback loop between hydrodynamics and Holocene speleogenesis.
Prelovšek, Mitja; Janez Turk; and Franci Gabrovšek.
Hydrodynamic aspect of caves.
International Journal of Speleology,
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/ijs/vol37/iss1/2