The Transvaal Karst is a world important example of a Karst developed on a very old dolomite. Its unique character is due to the composition of the rock and history of development. The dissolution of the dolomite is interesting and has an important effect on the character of the caves developed. The caves preserved in this area include the longest known in South Africa and are perhaps among the largest dolomite systems known in the world. They are very old and in some cases contain important palaeontological deposits (Australopithecine fauna). The caves to various degrees are in a state of de-generation, having been exposed for a very long period above the water-table. For the greater part of the Karst area, aggressive vadose waters, and long exposure has resulted in the accumulation of a thick covering of residual material. The plateau-like geomorphology and low rainfalls has prevented physical erosion and significant removal of this debris from the land surface. The caves themselves are often characterized by collapse and in general lack of formations. Massive calcite formation in the caves is usually partly or nearly completely redissolved and are relics of past colder climatic periods with winter rains. Formations active now are small, usually delicate and often due directly to evaporation. The heavy mantle of residual debris preserved under some of the more ancient of South African landsurface relics (the African Surface) poses a serious economic problem of stability, with mans’ utilization of the environment. A greater understanding of the Karst, its evolution and properties is thus of considerable practical importance.
Martini, J. and I. Kavalieris.
The karst of Transvaal (South Africa).
International Journal of Speleology,
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/ijs/vol8/iss3/1