Abstracts of Volume 40 (2007) to Volume 48 (2023)
Helictite - Journal of Australasian Speleological Research

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Abstracts of Volume 30 (1992) to Volume 39 (2006)

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Title: A late nineteenth century collection of fossils from the Naracoorte Caves highlights the role of the South Australian Museum in the history of the site
Authors: REED, Elizabeth H. ; TRELOAR, Jessie-Briar ; BINNIE, Mary-Anne N ; THURMER, Jennifer
Published: Feb 2024, Helictite 48:19-32
Abstract by author: The Naracoorte Caves World Heritage site is renowned for its well-preserved deposits of fossil vertebrates spanning the last 500,000 years. Palaeontological research at the Caves began in earnest in 1969 following the discovery of the Fossil Chamber in Victoria Cave. Prior to that, records of fossil discoveries were largely restricted to incidental finds of material during caving activities or cave tourism developments in the Caves Reserve and the broader Naracoorte cave complex. The Reverend Julian Tenison-Woods first reported vertebrate fossils from Naracoorte Caves in 1858. However, there is no record of museum accession for this material and its current whereabouts is unknown. Discovery of megafauna fossil material was widely reported in 1908 and later, but there is very limited information regarding fossil collections made at Naracoorte during the middle to late nineteenth century. Here we report on fossil material collected from Naracoorte Caves and curated at the South Australian Museum by Amandus Zietz in 1888. The collection includes a range of small bones that are labelled and mounted, suggesting they were once used for public outreach or display. These fossils may represent the earliest museum collection currently known from Naracoorte Caves and highlight the South Australian Museum’s long association with the caves and the early history of palaeontological investigation at this globally significant locality.
Includes: 5 figures (10 colour images, 2 B&W images), 40 refs, Appendix
Keywords: Naracoorte Caves, fossils, Amandus Zietz, Quaternary, South Australian Museum, World Heritage
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Title: Bubble-drip and Bubble-blowing Straw Stalactites - a small remarkable natural wonder
Authors: SMITH, Garry K.
Published: Nov 2023, Helictite 48:11-17
Abstract by author: Bubble-blowing straw stalactites are not common and are a result of solution pushing gas bubbles out the end of a straw. These bubbles consequently burst shortly after exiting the straw's central channel. However, a handful of these rare oddities have been recorded with a bubble that remains intact at the base of the straw, while solution flows over the bubble surface and drips from beneath. Some of these bubbles can be 20 mm or larger in diameter. It is proposed that these small remarkable natural wonders should be called 'bubble-drips' - if the bubble remains intact for several consecutive solution drips. This would distinguish the phenomenon from bubbles that burst upon exiting the straw and those which remain at the straw tip for some period of time. Research by Johnson (2022) suggests that the rare speleothems termed 'cave turnips' are created by bubble-blowing stalactites and, more specifically, the variant to be now called bubble-drips. Very little research appears in available literature surrounding both bubble-drips and bubbleblowing straws. A number of hypotheses relating to the possible environmental conditions leading to the creation of bubble-drips are provided. This paper makes suggestions for research that could be undertaken to validate or disprove the hypotheses provided.
Includes: 6 figures (16 colour images), 11 refs
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Title: Calcium Carbonate Rafts, Cones and Conulites: Speleothems and Calthemites
Authors: SMITH, Garry K.
Published: Jul 2023, Helictite 48:1-10
Abstract by author: Cave rafts are found on the surface of still pools, usually in parts of caves or mines with little air movement. They are most commonly composed of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the form of calcite or aragonite, however there have been documented occurrences of gypsum, native sulphur and oxide rafts. Cave rafts are precipitated from supersaturated water in many settings including caves, mines, spring-fed rivers and under man-made concrete structures. Despite being very thin and fragile, rafts can create incredible structures that look like stalagmites when sunk in a constant location under a drip. Degassing of carbon dioxide (CO2) from solution is the prominent driving force causing the deposition of rafts in caves and mines, whereas deposition from solution derived from concrete is driven by absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere into solution. Free floating rafts can be classified as fine floating rafts, whereas rafts that are attached to a pool bank can grow thicker and develop into what are considered to be massive calcite crusts. Rafts in caves are classified as ‘speleothems’, however rafts created outside the cave environment are excluded due to the definition of the term. It is proposed that rafts created in or around man-made environments (outside caves) be classified as 'calthemites'. It is proposed that a drip hole resembling a splash cup, created in a pile of rafts, where the flakes have become fused together or lined with calcite should be called a 'raft splash cup' a subtype of conulite.
Includes: 14 figures (13 colour images, 1 B&W image), 16 refs
Keywords: cave raft, calcite raft, calcium carbonate, raft cone, tower cone, calcium hydroxide, micro raft, volcano cones, conulite, speleothem, calthemite
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Title: Drainage derangement at Howitzer Hill in the Trowutta-Sumac Karst, north-west Tasmania
Authors: SLEE, Adrian ; MC INTOSH, Peter
Published: Mar 2023, Helictite 47:13-19
Abstract by authors: The Trowutta-Sumac karst is the most extensively karstified dolomite terrain in northwest Tasmania. Here, exposed surface dolomite karst covers an area of more than 140 km2 within a triangularshaped 380 km2 region. In the region Precambrian dolostone units of the Black River Group crop out either as extensive hills or as karst pockets and interstratal karst lying adjacent to or beneath Cambrian and Tertiary volcanic rocks. To date studies on this karst system have been limited, except for those around well-known locations. Elsewhere hundreds of sinkholes pockmark the region; in some locations they form complex polygonal karst terrain. The subsurface hydrology of the area is unknown. Although karst stream sinks and small cave systems have been located, the abundance of sinkholes indicates that regional karst aquifers may exist, but stream resurgences are rare and those that have been documented are associated with small meander cut-off caves on large streams with clear direct surface connections between stream sinks and resurgences, notably at Julius River and Lamprey Creek. Recent field investigations by the authors have documented an intensely karstified area in the eastern Howitzer Creek catchment north of the Arthur River. Here, the informally named Howitzer Hill presents a complex polygonal karst landscape associated with karstic subsurface flow. This study describes the Howitzer Hill karst, the landforms present, dye tracing methodology and results obtained.
Includes: 6 figures (4 colour images and maps), 1 table, 10 refs
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Title: Rootsicles, roots and caves
Authors: SMITH, Garry K.
Published: July 2022, Helictite 47:1-12
Abstract by author: The generic term 'rootsicle' has been used for several decades to describe plant roots in caves that are coated in a secondary mineral deposit. Rootsicles are found in shallow caves worldwide and take on a variety of forms and mineral coatings, but most commonly calcite. In caves, rootsicles can take on similar forms to stalactites, columns and stalagmites. There are at least three types of interactions that can take place between roots and secondary cave deposits, one of which results in a form that cannot be considered a rootsicle. There can be large variations in morphology and petrology between rootsicles growing at a cave entrance, to those in the twilight and dark zones. Influencing factors can include microclimate around developing rootsicles (temperature, humidity) and also light intensity. However, rootsicle-like forms are not restricted to caves. Above-ground plant roots can also become coated in secondary minerals and the resulting structure can look very similar to those formed underground. While above-ground forms are obviously not speleothems, it is not unreasonable to also describe them as rootsicles given similarities in their forms and in the multiplicity of influences on their development. A revised definition is therefore proposed to better capture the current knowledge surrounding the formation of rootsicles and associated structures.
Includes: 16 figures (colour images), 1 table, 38 refs
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Title: Palaeoenvironmental proxies used to reconstruct the Quaternary of Australia: a case study from Naracoorte Caves, South Australia
Authors: BAMPTON, Tiah
Published: April 2021, Helictite 46:1-13
Abstract by author: Understanding environmental changes through time gives insight into past faunal community change and possible explanations for extinctions. Australia has a rich climate history that has been studied using multiple proxies including both marine and terrestrial records. The Naracoorte Caves World Heritage Area contains sedimentary and fossil records within well stratified sequences, which span the last 500,000 years. Stable isotope analysis of biogenic material, such as mammalian tooth material, has become a globally recognised proxy for the purpose of palaeoenvironmental reconstructions. With refined chronology and dating techniques, stable isotope analysis at the Naracoorte Caves has the potential to provide a palaeoenvironmental record through the Quaternary. Comparing this record with changes in biodiversity through time allows for improved reconstruction of the palaeoecology of local vertebrate faunas. This in turn allows for the elucidation of extinction events that have occurred and their possible links to changes in the environment.
Includes: 2 figures (2 colour images), 77 refs
Keywords: Naracoorte Caves, Quaternary, Palaeoenvironmental proxies, stable isotopes, palaeoecology, Caves
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Title: Some impacts of war on karst environments and caves
Authors: KIERNAN, Kevin
Published: April 2021, Helictite 46:15-45
Abstract by author: Humanitarian concerns generally predominate when the harmful effects of armed conflict are considered. However, armed conflict also typically implies considerable damage also being inflicted upon the environment. When the biology and physical landscapes around theatres of war are damaged, not only does that degrade natural environmental values, but it can often also compound the social and cultural impacts, due to the resulting disrupted supply of ecosystem services such as productive soils and healthy water supplies. Attempts to better protect the environment using the international laws of war generally continue to be founded upon international humanitarian law alone, but greater recognition of natural environmental values is warranted. Karst environments have figured prominently in many past conflicts. Some consideration of the harms karstic battlefields have suffered, or to which they are likely vulnerable, might allow insights that could allow the possibility of better integrating karst into emerging legal protocols. Activities within caves during wartime represent only a relatively minor part of the damage that can be caused to caves and karst because wider interventions in natural process systems are caused by disturbance of the surface environment. Impacts generated during active combat are often also dwarfed by those that result from pre-conflict military preparations and from post-war circumstances that are initiated by wartime activities. The latter includes on-going degrading processes, such as continuing soil erosion originally triggered by combat-phase impacts. In the absence of specific research, potential harm caused to cave biota can only be estimated by analogy with the effects of war upon human health. Legal instruments available to better safeguard the environment during armed conflicts remain poorly developed, and they are also negated when potential military targets such as guerrilla bases are established within karst areas.
Includes: 20 figures (18 colour images, 2 B&W images), 125 refs
Keywords: karst, geoheritage, sustainable development, weapons, war industries, bomb craters, refugees, unexploded remnants of war
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Title: Investigation into the geoconservation significance of the Lost World boulder caves, Mt Arthur, Tasmania
Authors: MC NAB, Sarah
Published: Dec 2021, Helictite 46:47-64
Abstract by author: This report outlines the geoconservation significance of the Lost World boulder caves of Mount Arthur in Wellington Park, Southern Tasmania. The study carried out an investigation into the geodiversity and the geoconservation significance of the site, analysed current and possible future threats to the site, and also recommended some potential management approaches for the site. It is hoped that this study will motivate further research into the role of these caves as a unique habitat, whilst also prompting the application of more targeted environmental management approaches to the area.
Includes: 14 figures (11 colour images, 4 maps), 1 table, 29 refs
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Title: Gap Creek Valley and boulder caves within the Watagans National Park
Authors: SMITH, Garry K.
Published: March 2019, Helictite 45:1-10
Abstract by author: The upper reaches of the Gap Creek valley are located in the Watagan Mountains, which form part of the Great Dividing Range to the west of Newcastle. The mountains in this vicinity are typically characterised by flat ridgelines, numerous sandstone cliffs, steep slopes and deeply fissured gullies. The steeply sloping valleys are eroded from sandstone and conglomerate bedrock. In many places 30 to 50 metre cliffs tower above, while other parts of the valleys have steep scree slopes covered in dense rain forest. Large boulders which have broken free of the cliffs over millennia, have tumbled down the slopes and lay scattered amongst the forest, with greater numbers found in the Gap Creek perennial tributary gullies. A network of small caves have been created by the voids between the many boulders in the gullies and provide a habitat for a wide variety of fauna. Two of the larger caves have been surveyed and are described in detail. A literature search failed to locate any published material identifying the existence of boulder caves in the Gap Creek valley. The protected valley contains three distinct forest types, which supports a wide variety of vegetation, including many tall tree species. Much of the valley's post colonial history is centred around the timber industry which thrived for more than a century in the area, before becoming part of the Watagans National Park.
Includes: 20 figures (16 colour images, 3 maps, 1 diagram), 9 refs
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Title: On the 2017/2018 drought at Jenolan Caves
Authors: MURPHY, Simon J.
Published: March 2019, Helictite 45:11-26
Abstract by author: A severe drought is currently (September 2018) affecting Jenolan Caves, NSW, both above and below ground. Rainfall data are analysed to show that this drought has surpassed the once-in-25 years level and is now a once-in-a-century event. This is the second-driest period since records began in 1895, and the driest in 115 years. The water levels observed in rivers, pools and sumps of selected caves are documented, revealing the driest subterranean conditions observed there to date. Underground river flow rates are at record lows. A warming climate is enhancing the severity of the present drought, compared to historical events of similarly low rainfall.
Includes: 22 figures (14 colour images, 3 maps, 5 diagrams), 2 tables, 25 refs
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Title: Are the orthoquartzite towers and caves on the Borradaile Plains, Tasmania, formed by dissolution and arenisation?
Authors: SLEE, Adrian ; MC INTOSH, Peter D.
Published: February 2020, Helictite 45:27-37
Abstract by authors: The discovery of significant cave and karst landscapes formed in quartzites and sandstones in South America, Africa and Australia has led to a debate among scientists over the definitions of karst and the processes forming karst in quartzites. In the past these caves were listed under the ambiguous definition of 'pseudokarst' landforms. It is now generally agreed that the chemical dissolution of silica within massive quartzite or sandstone units plays a significant role in the development of certain types of quartzite caves and the term syngenetic karst may better describe non-carbonate landscapes where dissolution and sediment transportation by erosion processes both play major roles in karst development. The recent discovery of towers formed within Precambrian orthoquarzite rock adjacent to Tertiary basalt on the edge of the Borradaile Plains in northern Tasmania poses questions regarding the processes of quartzite dissolution and karst development in silica rich rocks in an area that has had a subalpine or glacial climate for much of the Quaternary. It is suggested that the overlying basalt has been stripped from around the towers by Quaternary erosion and the caves have formed by arenisation induced by acidic upland soils.
Includes: 10 figures (8 colour images, 2 maps), 47 refs
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Title: A preliminary study of the use of hind limb skeletal elements to identify Australian rodent species (family Muridae) from Quaternary fossil cave deposits
Authors: PARKER, Evan
Published: February 2020, Helictite 45:39-50
Abstract by author: The hind limb bones from small mammals are some of the more abundant elements found within cave fossil deposits and may be useful for species identification where craniodental elements are lacking. In this paper the usefulness of the hind limb elements (tibiofibula and femur) for species-level identification of eight native Australian rodents (family Muridae) from six South Australian genera is studied. A qualitative and quantitative methodology was adopted and observed differences assessed in hind limb bone morphology. Differences are reported between species on each of the two hind limb elements allowing identification of bones to species level. Identification keys are constructed using the most common identifiable features of limb elements. Identification of the femur could be made using measurements, while the tibiofibula required both quantitative measures and qualitative observed differences. Measures were taken using only digital vernier callipers and support one of the aims of the study: to be able to identify the limb bones to species level in the field without any specialised equipment. Results support that the observed and measured morphological differences between hind limb elements can be used to accurately identify the eight studied Australian murid rodents to a species level.
Includes: 9 figures (6 images, 3 diagrams), 5 tables, 27 refs
Keywords: mammal, rodent, Muridae, postcranial elements, Quaternary, caves
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Title: Karst Studies in Australia 1916 (Translated by John Pickett)
Authors: DANEŠ, J.V.
Published: December 2018, Helictite 44:1-30
Abstract by GNB: This paper was presented on 28 January 1916 and originally published in: Karststudien in Australian 1916, Sitzungsberichte der königlichen böhmischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse, Jahrgang 1916, VI, 1-75, (Meeting reports of the Royal Bohemian Society of Sciences, Mathematical-Scientific Class, Volume 1916, Part 6, Pages 1-75). It has been translated to English from the original German by John Pickett, retaining sentence construction and meaning of all phrases.
Includes: 4 B&W illustrations, 38 footnotes
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Title: The Australian travels of Jiří Viktor Daneš: Geographer, speleologist and world traveller
Authors: DUNKLEY, John ; WELCH, Bruce
Published: December 2018, Helictite 44:31-43
Abstract by GNB: The key documents discussed here are a 76-page professional paper ''Karststudien in Australien'' written in German and published in Prague in 1916, a large 2-volume book ''Dvojím Rájem'' (Through a Double Paradise) in Czech, and some shorter articles by Daneš on Australian karst, limestone and other physiography, in English, German and Czech.
Includes: 28 figures (25 B&W images, 2 colour images, 1 map), 28 refs
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Title: New evidence confirms Thomas Hannay as the first photographer of Naracoorte Caves and emphasises the importance of historical writing in caves
Authors: REED, Elizabeth ; BOURNE, Steven
Published: December 2018, Helictite 44:45-58
Abstract by authors: Naracoorte Caves National Park in South Australia is a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its Quaternary vertebrate fossil record spanning the past 500,000 years. Although the primary heritage values of the park relate to the fossil deposits, significant other values include biological, geological, cultural and historical aspects. In 1860, the Reverend Julian Tenison-Woods commissioned a series of photographs of Blanche Cave for use by the engraver Alexander Burkitt in illustrating Woods' 1862 book Geological observations in South Australia. The identity of the photographer was unknown until recently, when we discovered an engraving in a Melbourne periodical that cited Thomas Hannay of Maldon as the producer of the photo. Despite this breakthrough, there was no direct evidence linking Hannay to Naracoorte Caves. In May 2018, we discovered an inscription on the wall of Blanche Cave that can be attributed to Thomas Hannay, providing evidence of the photographer's visit to the caves. This inscription highlights the importance of historical writing in caves as primary information for historical research. In this paper we present background information on the 1860 Hannay photographs of Naracoorte Caves and describe the inscription found in Blanche Cave. We also discuss the historical value of cave inscriptions and the issues relating to cave restoration projects that involve removal of 'graffiti'.
Includes: 13 figures (10 B&W images, 6 colour images), 18 refs
Keywords: Naracoorte Caves, Thomas Hannay, cave photography, Julian Tenison-Woods, Alexander Burkitt, historical graffiti, cave conservation
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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: Unusual caves and karst-like features in sandstone and conglomerate in Thailand
Authors: DUNKLEY, John ; ELLIS, Martin ; BOLGER Terry
Published: March 2018, Helictite 43:1-13
Abstract by authors: Caves are common, significant and widespread in Thailand; over 5,000 are recorded. Probably no other country has a closer human association with caves, largely based on Buddhist occupation, traditions and culture. About 90% are in limestone, but about 400 sites in sandstone are known from northeast Thailand, most are of significance to local communities although of limited scientific or speleological significance. A number known to contain running water are discussed in the context of favourable bedding planes or inceptions and other characteristics. Numerous authors have demonstrated that limestone caves develop along a restricted number of bedding planes within a limestone series but less discussion has occurred about the initiation and development in sandstone and similar non-carbonate caves. Comparisons are drawn with similar caves, karst-like and ruiniform features in India, Czech Republic, Australia and elsewhere, a number of which have received little exploration and research attention until recently. Although advances have been made in the last 25 years, sandstone terrains still remain insufficiently studied.
Includes: 36 figures (31 colour images, 5 maps and sketches), 32 refs
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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: 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 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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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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: 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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32 abstracts.

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