Helictite - Journal of Australasian Speleological Research
Papers, Reviews and Abstracts published in
Volumes 40 (2007 - 2011) to Volume 43 (2017)

Helictite Indexes page    Abstracts of Vols 30 - 39    Helictite Home page    Key to Abstractors

The abstracts appear in reverse order of the publishing sequence in Helictite.


Title: Fauna of a granite cave: first data from Britannia Creek Cave (3GP10-48), Wesburn, Victoria, Australia
Authors: IANNELLO, Silvana; GREENSLADE, Penelope; PALMER, Grant
Published: March 2017, Helictite
43:1-13
Abstract by authors: There are few studies in Australia on the fauna of granite caves. Britannia Creek Cave is a granite cave heavily used for recreation yet it has never been mapped nor has the cave fauna been documented. We present here the cave system showing eight ecological zones, A to H, which we mapped, each with different light and moisture characteristics. The faunal diversity and composition in each zone is reported using data recorded from three surveys conducted in April, August and October 2015. For all fauna observed, the zone in which it occurred was noted. Taxa were identified to species level or to genus or family where species was unknown. The composition of fauna assemblages was investigated using Multi-Dimensional Scaling (MDS). Three taxa, the Raphidophoridae (cave crickets), Keroplatidae (glowworms) and Araneae (spiders), were most abundant and occurred in all eight zones. Known cave dwellers, such as Arachnocampa (Campara) gippslandensis (glowworm) were observed in small isolated clusters in three zones, C, E and H. The highest number of taxa (7) were present in the transition zone B, followed by zone A (6) and a dark zone F (6). Fewest taxa (2) were present in transition zone D. Because there are few publications on the biology of granite caves in Australia, our data can contribute to determining future conservation and land management priorities, especially in regard to recreational use which we also recorded.
Includes: 7 figures (3 colour images, 2 maps, 2 graphs), 2 tables, 38 refs
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Title: Obituary: Kenneth George Grimes 19 October 1944 - 17 August 2016
Authors: WHITE, Susan
Published: December 2016, Helictite
42:39-41
Abstract by GNB: Obituary of Kenneth George Grimes. Born 19 October 1944, Died 17 August 2016. Co-editor of Helictite 1998-2016.
Includes: 1 colour image, 1 B&W image
Keywords: Kenneth George Grimes
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Title: The 1830 Cave Diaries of Thomas Livingstone Mitchell
Authors: DUNKLEY, John R.
Published: December 2016, Helictite
42:21-37
Abstract by author: In 1830 the Surveyor-General of NSW, Thomas (later Sir) Mitchell gathered bones at Wellington and other cave sites in the NSW Central West, initiating almost two centuries of palaeontological research. This paper transcribes his previously unpublished diaries for the key 16 days of this essentially 'private' expedition to Molong, Borenore, Wellington and beyond, during which he spent 13 days in cave exploration and several more drawing cave maps and sketches. Mitchell’s background, motivation and outcomes are discussed along with the contributions of some minor players.
Includes: 11 figures (1 colour map, 4 colour images, 1 B&W image, 4 diary entry reproductions), 26 refs
Keywords: Sir Thomas Mitchell, Wellington Caves, Molong, Borenore, expeditions
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Title: The discovery of a Dodo Raphus cucullatus Linn. (Aves, Columbiformes) in a highland Mauritian lava cave
Authors: MIDDLETON, Gregory J.; HUME, Julian P.
Published: July 2016, Helictite
42:13-20
Abstract by author: In September 2006, during a survey of Mauritian caves for cockroaches (Blattodea), a skeleton of a Dodo (Raphus cucullatus Linn. 1758) termed 'Dodo Fred' was serendipitously discovered in a highland lava cave. It was subsequently removed from the cave for curation. It is only the second individual associated skeleton to be found, the only one recorded in context and in modern times, and has been called 'the most scientifically important Dodo in the world'. This paper records the circumstances surrounding its discovery, and provides additional information concerning other Dodo subfossil deposits. The preservation of bone material in lava tubes is also discussed. The publication of this paper has unfortunately been considerably delayed, so some of the factual content is no longer novel.
Includes: 13 figures (3 maps, 7 colour images, 3 B&W images), 31 refs
Keywords: Dodo, subfossil, associated skeleton, Mauritius, lava cave
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Title: The Speleotourist Experience: Approaches to Show Cave Operations in Australia and China
Authors: CRANE, Ralph; FLETCHER, Lisa
Published: April 2016, Helictite
42:1-11
Abstract by author: This article provides a comparative study of commercial cave tourism in Australia and China, focussing on the methods of site interpretation and presentation used by selected show caves. The key point of contrast between the commercial speleotourist experiences offered in Australia and China is in the relative priority given to site conservation and framing the cave as a spectacle for the enjoyment of visitors. The discussion draws on the authors’ field research, visiting show caves as tourists to consider the significance of developments in ecotourism and geotourism for show cave management in Australia and China.
Includes: 12 figures (colour images), 35 refs
Keywords: Show caves Australia, show caves China, show cave management, ecotourism, geotourism
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Title: Managing the Survey Information of the Caves of Judbarra / Gregory National Park, Northern Territory
Authors: KERSHAW, Bob
Published: 2012, Helictite
41:87-94
Abstract by author: The extensive caves in the Judbarra / Gregory National Park have been surveyed using traditional techniques since 1990. The techniques used have developed over time, as new technologies have become available to cavers. With the introduction of hardware such as Global Positioning System handheld units and electronic survey equipment, surveying has become easier, especially in small physically restricting passages. The use of computers and cave data reduction software since the mid-1990s has automated the calculation and plotting of survey shot data. Software that enables the production of maps is time-consuming to learn to use; however, the maps are of high quality, and are easy to maintain and adjust as subsequent expeditions continue to add cave survey data. As the amount of data and the number of users of the data grow, a set of protocols has been developed to ensure the integrity and security of a master data set.
Includes: 10 figures (3 maps, 4 diagrams, 3 colour photos), 2 tables, 5 refs
Keywords: Cave surveying, map production, data management, expeditions, Australia
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Title: Preliminary notes on the Cavernicolous Arthropod Fauna of Judbarra / Gregory Karst Area, northern Australia
Authors: MOULDS, Timothy; BANNINK, Peter
Published: 2012, Helictite
41:75-85
Abstract by authors: The Judbarra / Gregory Karst Region is situated in the Judbarra / Gregory National Park, west of Timber Creek, Northern Territory. Several large joint controlled maze caves occur within the area, developed within and below a prominent dolomitic layer (the Supplejack Member). The caves are predominantly shallow in depth (< 15 m below the surface) but are occasionally developed deeper as multi-level systems, reaching the aquifer. Two biological surveys from the largest caves have revealed 56 morphospecies from 43 families, 19 orders, and 7 classes. All collecting was undertaken in the northern dry season (April to September) and consisted predominantly of opportunistic collecting. The diversity of invertebrates collected from the Judbarra / Gregory karst comprised non-troglobionts (48 species, 86%), troglobionts (5 species, 9%), stygobionts (2 species, 3%), and trogloxenes (1 species, 2%). Five of the species are considered to be potential troglobionts, and two potential stygobionts as indicated by troglomorphisms such as elongate appendages and reduced or absent eyes. The five troglobiont species are an isopod (Platyarthridae: Trichorhina sp.), a scorpion (Buthidae: Lychas? sp. nov.), a pseudoscorpion (Geogarypidae: Geogarypus sp. nov.), a millipede (Polydesmida: sp.), and a planthopper (Meenoplidae: sp.). The two stygobiont species are a hydrobiid snail (Hydrobiidae: sp.), and an amphipod (Amphipoda: sp.). The troglobiont scorpion is only the second collected from a cave environment from continental Australia.
Includes: 6 figures (2 maps, 3 diagrams, 1 colour photo), 2 tables, 55 refs, 1 additional colour photo
Keywords: Biospeleology, troglobiont, stygobiont, scorpion, tropical
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Title: Karst and Paleokarst Features involving Sandstones of the Judbarra / Gregory National Park, Northern Territory, Australia
Authors: GRIMES, Ken G.
Published: 2012, Helictite
41:67-73
Abstract by author: In addition to carbonate karsts, the Judbarra / Gregory National Park of tropical northern Australia has karst and paleokarst features associated with Proterozoic sandstone units. On a sandstone plateau in the Newcastle Range, there are several large collapse dolines formed in the Proterozoic Jasper Gorge Sandstone. As there is a carbonate unit, the Proterozoic Campbell Springs Dolostone, lying about 110 m beneath the plateau surface, these sinkholes may be subjacent karst features resulting from the upward stoping of large cave chambers. In the Far Northern area of the Judbarra Karst Region, areas of chert breccia are shown on the geological maps, and linear bodies of brecciated sandstone are inset into the carbonate beds of the Skull Creek Formation. The sandstone is derived from the Jasper Gorge Sandstone, which overlies the Skull Creek Formation in adjoining areas. The breccia is interpreted as paleokarst of uncertain age resulting from subsidence of the sandstone into karst trenches or collapsed cavities developed in the underlying carbonate beds.
Includes: 7 figures (3 maps, 2 diagrams, 2 colour photos), 1 table, 10 refs
Keywords: Karst, sandstone, subjacent karst, paleokarst, Australia
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Title: Epikarstic Maze Cave Development: Bullita Cave System, Judbarra / Gregory Karst, Tropical Australia
Authors: MARTINI, Jacques E.J.; GRIMES, Ken G.
Published: 2012, Helictite
41:37-66
Abstract by authors: In the monsoon tropics of northern Australia, Bullita Cave is the largest (120 km) of a group of extensive, horizontal, joint-controlled, dense network maze caves which are epikarst systems lying at shallow depth beneath a welldeveloped karrenfield. The Judbarra / Gregory Karst and its caves are restricted to the outcrop belt of a thin bed of sub-horizontal, thinly interbedded dolostone and calcitic limestone – the Supplejack Dolostone Member of the Proterozoic Skull Creek Formation. Karst is further restricted to those parts of the Supplejack that have escaped a secondary dolomitisation event. The karrenfield and underlying cave system are intimately related and have developed in step as the Supplejack surface was exposed by slope retreat. Both show a lateral zonation of development grading from youth to old age. Small cave passages originate under the recently exposed surface, and the older passages at the trailing edge become unroofed or destroyed by ceiling breakdown as the, by then deeply-incised, karrenfield breaks up into isolated ruiniform blocks and pinnacles and eventually a low structural pavement. Vertical development of the cave has been generally restricted to the epikarst zone by a 3 m bed of impermeable and incompetent shale beneath the Supplejack which first perched the watertable, forming incipient phreatic passages above it, and later was eroded by vadose flow to form an extensive horizontal system of passages 10-20 m below the karren surface. Some lower cave levels in underlying dolostone occur adjacent to recently incised surface gorges. Speleogenesis is also influenced by the rapid, diffuse, vertical inflow of storm water through the karrenfield, and by ponding of the still-aggressive water within the cave during the wet season – dammed up by "levees" of sediment and rubble that accumulate beneath the degraded trailing edge of the karrenfield. The soil, and much biological activity, is not at the bare karren surface, but down on the cave floors, which aids epikarstic solution at depth rather than on the surface. While earlier hypogenic, or at least confined, speleogenic activity is possible in the region, there is no evidence of this having contributed to the known maze cave systems. The age of the cave system appears to be no older than Pleistocene. Details of the speleogenetic process, its age, the distinctive nature of the cave systems and comparisons with other areas in the world are discussed.
Includes: 29 figures (5 maps, 6 diagrams, 18 colour photos), 45 refs
Keywords: Tropical monsoon karst, network maze caves, epikarst, karren
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Title: Surface Karst Features of the Judbarra / Gregory National Park, Northern Territory, Australia
Authors: GRIMES, Ken G.
Published: 2012, Helictite
41:15-36
Abstract by author: In the monsoon tropics of northern Australia, a strongly-developed karrenfield is intimately associated with extensive underlying epikarstic maze caves. The caves, and the mesokarren and ruiniform megakarren are mainly restricted to a flat-lying, 20 m thick, unit of interbedded limestone and dolomite. However, microkarren are mainly found on the flaggy limestones of the overlying unit. These are the best-developed microkarren in Australia, and possibly worldwide. A retreating cover results in a zonation of the main karrenfield from a mildly-dissected youthful stage at the leading edge through to old age and disintegration into isolated blocks and pinnacles at the trailing edge. Cave undermining has formed collapse dolines and broader subsidence areas within the karrenfield. Tufa deposits occur in major valleys crossing the karrenfield. The karrenfield shows some similarities to other tropical karren, including tsingy and stone forests (shilin), but in this area there has not been any initial stage of subcutaneous preparation.
Includes: 17 figures (3 maps, 2 diagrams, 10 sets of colour photos, 2 sets of B&W photos), 1 table, 40 refs, 1 appendix
Keywords: Karst, karren, tsingy, stone forest, microkarren, ruiniform, epikarst, tufa, tropical, Australia
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Title: A History of Cave Exploration in the Judbarra / Gregory National Park
Authors: KERSHAW, Bob
Published: 2012, Helictite
41:5-14
Abstract by author: The caves of the Judbarra / Gregory National Park were known to the Aboriginal tribes of the area who used them for art and ritual sites. The initial work by Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission Rangers Keith Claymore and Keith Oliver was followed by the Operation Raleigh Expedition from the UK in 1990, which made the first maps of the caves. Starting in 1991 regular exploration and mapping expeditions by Australian cavers were coordinated by Top End Speleological Society and Canberra Speleological Society. The surveyed passage length of all caves in Judbarra/Gregory National Park is almost 220km and the longest single connected system is the 122km Bullita Cave System in the Central Karst Area. Studies of the geology and biology of the caves were also conducted during this time and are reported on in separate papers in this volume.
Includes: 4 figures (2 maps, 1 B&W photo, 1 colour photo), 1 table, 24 refs, 2 additional colour photos
Keywords: History, cave exploration, surveying, Australia
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Title: Sand structures cemented by focussed flow in dune limestone, Western Australia
Authors: GRIMES, Ken G.
Published: 2011, Helictite
40(2):51-54
Abstract by author: Pendants, pillars and concretions of cemented sand are exposed in a dune limestone cave in southwest Western Australia. These are the result of focussed flow of carbonate-saturated water through the sand in a very early stage of eogenetic diagenesis. Vertical vadose fingered flow has cemented the pillars and pendants, and horizontal phreatic flow has produced a layer of elongated concretions along a bedding plane. Later cave development has exposed the cemented sand bodies.
Includes: 4 figures (3 colour photos), 16 refs
Keywords: syngenetic karst, eogenetic diagenesis, concretions, speleogens, sand speleothems, fingered flow, dune calcarenite, Australia
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Title: White-rumped Swiftlet Breeding Colony Size and Colony Locations in Samoa
Authors: TARBURTON, Michael K.
Published: 2011, Helictite
40(2):35-49
Abstract by author: This paper describes the breeding and roosting caves used by the White-rumped Swiftlet (Aerodramus spodiopygius) on Upolu and Savai’i, Samoa. Because these sites tend to be permanent and often difficult to locate, their locations and other information to help find them are provided as a guide for future workers. This study lasted four years and followed close after two devastating cyclones (Val & Ofa) so the data can form the basis for further study once the populations have fully recovered and equilibria for the populations is reached.
Includes: 3 tables (38 cave descriptions, maps), 1 colour photo, 2 maps, 35 refs
Keywords: Aerodramus spodiopygius, Swiftlet colony, Lava caves, Samoa
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Title: Australia’s crystalline heritage: issues in cave management at Jenolan Caves
Authors: SMITH, Moshumi J.; BURNS, Georgette Leah
Published: 2011, Helictite
40(2):27-34
Abstract by authors: This paper provides an environmental sustainability perspective on contemporary cave management issues in Australia through examination of Australia’s most prominent tourist cave attraction, Jenolan Caves. Five key issues are discussed: the administration and funding of the Jenolan Caves Karst Conservation Reserve; the extent of baseline data available; long-term access and transport arrangements to the caves; visitor management; and the provision of interpretation facilities. Each of these illustrates the difficulty of balancing the competing values and interests represented by conservation, commercialisation and tourism. Cave management at Jenolan has improved in recent years but further changes in policy and management structures are required to ensure environmental sustainability.
Includes: 4 figures (B&W photos), 46 refs
Keywords: karst, tourist cave, management, Australia
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Title: Microkarren in Australia - a request for information
Authors: GRIMES, Ken G.
Published: 2007, Helictite
40(1):21-23
Abstract by author: Microkarren are the smallest class of visible karren. They are finely-sculptured solutional forms, typically recognisable within a one centimetre grid. They come in a variety of patterns, of which fields of moderately to strongly sinuous microrills about 1mm wide and several decimetres long are the most conspicuous type. A descriptive terminology is suggested. Their genesis is uncertain, but appears to involve solution by thin films of water (dew, sea-spray or light rain) with surface-tension effects. In Australia their best development seems to be in the tropical monsoon (seasonally dry) and arid areas. However, these cryptic forms are poorly recorded and it is too early to make definite statements about their distribution. This note is a request for people to watch for them and report any sightings.
Includes: 5 photos, 7 refs
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Title: Tectonic and Talus Caves at Pilchers Mountain, New South Wales
Authors: SMITH, Garry K.
Published: 2007, Helictite
40(1):11-20
Abstract by author: There are fourteen known caves within the Pilchers Mountain Environmental Protection Reserve, in New South Wales, Australia. The reserve contains five main chasms which run generally East-West for approximately one kilometre, over a total width of half a kilometre. The chasms and caves were formed by massive sandstone block separation along sub-parallel joint planes. Movement of the blocks toward the valley floor was aided by the dip of the sandstone layers and presence of underlying shale bands which acted as slip planes when lubricated by groundwater. There are two distinct types of caves at Pilchers Mountain, "tectonic" caves formed by the movement of large blocks of bedrock, and "talus" caves amongst large breakdown rocks and boulders. The chasms provide a micro-climate which supports a pocket of dense, high canopy, subtropical rainforest, and the caves are home to populations of bats and other fauna. The European history of Pilchers Mountain is detailed in chronological order from the early 1800s to the present day. A Plan of Management is in the process of being formulated by stakeholders and interested parties to ensure the continued preservation of the reserve.
Includes: 8 figures (3 maps, 4 photos, 1 diagram), 1 table, 22 refs
Keywords: Pseudokarst, Tectonic Caves, Talus caves, Fissure caves, History, Management, New South Wales
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Title: The abode of malevolent spirits and creatures - Caves in Victorian Aboriginal social organization
Authors: CLARK, Ian D.
Published: 2007, Helictite
40(1):2-10
Abstract by author: A study of Aboriginal associations with Victorian caves finds that there is a rich cultural heritage associated with caves. This association has been found to be rich and varied in which caves and sink holes featured prominently in the lives of Aboriginal people - they were often the abodes of malevolent creatures and spirits and some were associated with important ancestral heroes, traditional harming practices, and some were important in the after death movement of souls to their resting places. Aboriginal names for caves, where known, are discussed.
Includes: 4 figures, 34 refs
Keywords: rock shelters, caves, dark zones, Aboriginal heritage, mythology, Victoria, Australia
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