vadose cave


vadose cave
   1. A cave that underwent most of its development above the water table. Within the vadose zone, drainage is freeflowing under gravity, and cave passages therefore have air above any water surface. The gravitational control of vadose flow means that all vadose cave passages drain downslope, they exist in the upper part of a karst aquifer, and they ultimately drain into the phreatic zone or out to the surface. Active stream caves, explorable by non-diving cavers, are by definition vadose (though they generally have phreatic origins). Characteristics of vadose caves are uneroded ceilings (except for immature phreatic features pre-dating the vadose conditions) and continuous downhill gradients (unless interrupted by short perched sumps). The main passage forms are canyons, with meanders and potholes, broken by subcylindrical, spray-corroded shafts that may demonstrate waterfall retreat. Some of the caves of Monte Canin, Italy, are spectacularly long and deep vadose systems [9].
   2. Older, higher cave passages found in the vadose zone; usually vadose caves have been abandoned by the ground water except in times of extreme aquifer recharge. Passages are usually appear as canyons and keyholes.

A Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology with Special Reference to Environmental Karst Hydrology. . 2002.

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