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Inception and subsequent development of conduits in the Cuilcagh karst, Ireland

Brown, Leslie (2005) Inception and subsequent development of conduits in the Cuilcagh karst, Ireland. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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      This thesis explores speleogenesis within the Dartry Limestone Formation of Cuilcagh
      Mountain by considering the hydrogeology of the aquifer in the modern setting but also
      by considering its evolution since it was deposited during Asbian (Dinantian) times. Due
      to the synclinal structure of the region, which gently plunges northwestwards, the aquifer
      remains buried beneath the upland and is not exposed to the south. However, the
      formation outcrops along its northern and eastern upland margins where resurgences
      drain the aquifer via an extensive network of cave systems, which include Marble Arch
      Cave. In the west, the aquifer lies near surface but a significant artesian resurgence,
      Shannon Pot Rising, emerges from the aquifer via c. 20m of overlying sandstones and
      shales. Water tracing experiments undertaken during this research project have added
      significant clarity to the hydrological regime that operates within this karst aquifer. These
      tests have shown that whilst extensive conduit systems are present at the eastern and
      northern margins of the uplands, Shannon Pot Rising in the west is the outlet for a
      regional conduit system that operates beneath Cuilcagh Mountain where the aquifer
      remains buried and in places confined. Water tracing has also identified that the boundary
      between the regional and marginal systems correlates to an igneous intrusion, the
      Cuilcagh Dyke. Hydrochemical data from Shannon Pot Rising indicates that the regional
      system has both shallow and deep flow components. This and hydrogeological evidence
      indicates that Shannon Pot developed as an overflow and that it's conduits formed at
      depth and unrelated to surface processes. Study of the cave systems at the eastern and
      northern margins have identified a number of lithological discontinuities within the
      sequence that have guided conduit inception within the aquifer. These early systems were
      later modified when the aquifer became unconfined and surface karst landforms

      Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
      Additional Information: EThOS Persistent ID
      Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
      G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
      Schools: School of Applied Sciences
      Depositing User: Graham Stone
      Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2009 13:57
      Last Modified: 28 Jul 2010 19:37


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