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Inventory of scientifically significant features in cave SSSI's (Southern England)

Farrant, A.R.; Lowe, D.J.. 2002 Inventory of scientifically significant features in cave SSSI's (Southern England). Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 17pp. (CR/02/034N) (Unpublished)

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Abstract/Summary

For each site (referred to by its SSSI and GCR names) each major and/or significant cave system is inventoried by way of an annotated outline map and appropriate text. Particular attention is paid to the more important and/or extensive groups of calcite speleothems and also the notable sections of undisturbed clastic sediments where known or identified. For both materials, their present state (as of 2001) is noted, but any monitoring exercise will have to start with a more detailed description for reference purposes. Locations of all significant sediments and deposits are indicated on the outline surveys. The scientific value of many caves lies in their passage morphology, as carved into the solid limestone. With rare exceptions, these features are not fragile and are barely impacted from cavers' visits. The main features are identified in this report, but without any attempt or need to detail most of them with reference to any future monitoring. For each site, the overall geological and geomorphological values are outlined only briefly by way of introduction. The reader is referred to Volume 12 of the Geological Conservation Review (Waltham et al., 1997), which contains fully referenced descriptions and evaluations of the geomorphological evolution of the sites. The results of explorations and research since 1997 are summarised in appropriately greater detail. The only references cited are those that post-date 1997 or are not cited in the GCR volume's extensive bibliography. Within nearly all the sites there are many smaller caves and potholes that add collectively to the scientific value of the site. Except for any with special significance, these are not described in detail but are all listed in Table 1 and described in Barrington and Stanton, (1977) and in Limestones and Caves of Wales (Ford, 1989). In particular, many sites are only of archaeological interest, and these are noted in Table 1, but are not dealt with here, as in many cases the entire cave is of interest. Furthermore, many caves contain small patches of undisturbed sediment and odd stalagmite deposits, whose scientific value is hard to quantify. Commonly, a stalagmite deposit may have little aesthetic value (for example if covered in sediment), but its potential scientific value may not be revealed unless a specific study is undertaken. Only some of the caves included in this report have had proper detailed geomorphological surveys, and even these will not have identified or reported all the significant features.

Item Type: Publication - Report (UNSPECIFIED)
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Physical Hazards
Funders/Sponsors: British Geological Survey
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This item has been internally reviewed but not externally peer-reviewed. Report made open by author in September 2016
Date made live: 15 Sep 2016 10:33 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/514407

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