Thursday, June 17, 2010
Slovakia - Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst
Ochtinská Aragonitová Jaskyňa or Ochtinská Aragonite Cave in Slovakia.
Sent by Nataša from Spišská Nová Ves in Slovakia.
The Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst lie over a total area of 55,800 ha and topographically comprise limestone plateaus dissected by deep river valleys. The territory is characterized by a fully developed karst landscape, of which dolines are the most typical surface landform. These have developed through solution and are, on average, 100 m wide and 20 m deep. Other surface phenomena include sinkholes and karren fields. This is the most extensively explored karst area in Europe, and a total of 712 caves have so far been identified. Many of the younger caves which have formed at the plateau edges, such as Krasnchorska and Gombasecka, occur on several levels and contain dripstone decorations. The most notable of these is the Baradla-Domica cave system which is 21 km long and connects Hungary with Slovakia. These caves are also noted for having the world's highest stalagmite, aragonite and sinter formations and an ice filled abyss, which considering the territory's height above sea level, is a unique phenomenon for central Europe. All these karst landforms are the result of long-term geomorphologic processes typical of this temperate climatic zone.