Advances in Earth Science ›› 2003, Vol. 18 ›› Issue (6): 891-898. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2003.06.0891

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Liu Hong, Zhou Yan   

  1. Yunnan Institute of Geography, Yunnan University, Kunming 650223. China
  • Received:2003-01-04 Revised:2003-06-15 Online:2003-12-20 Published:2003-12-01

Liu Hong, Zhou Yan. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF CAVE DEVELOPMENT IN SHILIN[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2003, 18(6): 891-898.

Shilin County, which got her name after Shilin karst formed, is 86 km south of Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan Province. The karst area covers 900 km2. Among them 350 km2 are Shilin karst landscapes, which has been set as state-level natural protected area. Cave is one of the most developed karst features, too. From 1995 to 2000,  around 70 caves were explored. Based on their section shapes, location and hydrogeological settings differences, they could be classified into three types of caves. The first type is fracture-like cave, formed by the enlargement by water along fractures. There are innumerable such type of caves developed in Shilin landform areas. Such type of caves is small, 0.5~2 m wide and 20~40 m deep. Strictly, the cave was the outcome of Shilin evolution. The second type of cave is horizontal caves, which mainly developed in the Fengcong -shallow depression landscape areas, right outside of Shilin landscapes. Those caves are very complicated, in view of their shapes or genesis. The third type is slope caves, and they mainly distribute at Fengcong-depression karst areas or hillsides of lower mountains, where ground water table is around 100~150 m deep. The cave is commonly connected with vertical shafts or collapse dolines as entrance. The fast flows play a great role in the formation of such type of cave. Generally, the cave development in Shilin County enjoys the following characteristics: (1) The cave development mainly concentrates in three elevation zones. (2) The development of cave is strongly controlled by the lithology of carbonate rocks. Most caves developed in Permian and Carboniferous carbonate strata areas. (3) Small and medium scales caves dominate absolutely. (4) Most caves have active water flow and are at the near water table stage. As the ceiling rock of caves is very thin, karst-windows are well developed. Most caves are water caves, which are normally shallow buried and (5) the orientation of cave passage obviously controlled by structure fissures and there is a great difference between caves of the east and west part of the region. In west, the orientations of caves are dominant by S-N or near S-N direction. But in east  the W-E or near W-E orientations are predominant. The three water tracing tests in Tianshengguan area, the northeast part of Shilin have revealed the complicacy of underground cave system of this region: the North-south and West-east  underground water systems coexist. In low-water period, the West-east conduit-fissure system works very well, but during high water level, some water drains in N-S direction. Obviously the caves show different stages of paragenesis. Caves suffered the alternation of several periods of deposition and periods of fast water flows and flood water.

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