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Abstract

Detailed structural analysis and geomorphological observations supplemented by the analysis of the distribution of karst conduit directions have been performed in 23 morphologically diverse caves in the Tatra Mountains. Based on these studies, a development scheme of vadose cave passages has been proposed for the most common geological settings in the fold-and-thrust-belt: (1) single-plain faults, (2) multiple fault cores, (3) bedding plane fractures and (4) hinge zones of recumbent folds. Results indicate that the dynamics of the massif (local gravity sliding in the nearby slope zone and regional stress fields), along with the structural pattern, influences the predisposition of structural and stratigraphic discontinuities to karst drainage. Constant tectonic stress fields affected the massif during the entire speleogenesis. This led to the rejuvenation of the same displacements in successive tectonic events, which resulted in promoting this reactivated structures in successive speleogenetic phases. Structures along which older cave levels had developed were also utilized later by vadose and phreatic drainage, leading to the intersection of the vadose passages with elevated paleo-phreatic cave levels. Independently, formation of entirely vadose caves, guided by the same group of weak and rejuvenated planes, was enabled. In the Tatras, the concentric and recumbent geometry of the main folds resulted in steep dipping of the bedding planes over a distance up to a few hundred meters which makes the bedding plane fractures subject to karst water circulation in these geologic and geodynamic settings.

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.5038/1827-806X.44.3.10

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