Accession Number : ADA557280

Title :   Cave Rings


Personal Author(s) : Boland, Emma ; Balmforth, Neil ; Caulfield, Colm-Cille

Full Text :

Report Date : 13 Oct 2010

Pagination or Media Count : 29

Abstract : Cave Rings are cave formations, or speleothems, consisting of thin circles on cave floors,normally found surrounding a water splash point, beneath stalactites. The rings range in diameter from a few centimetres to roughly two metres, and the width and height of the deposit ranges from a few millimetres to a few centimetres. Elliptical formations have also been observed in locations with tilted cave floors. The rings tend to occur in locations where the floor is without strong flows, and with a layer of dust or mud, although it is not clear whether this merely aids their discovery, or is related to their formation. There are currently two theories within the caving community as to the method of ring formation. The first, designated the splash ring mechanism, is thought to be the method responsible for producing the larger rings, and postulates that the rings are formed due to the accumulation of deposits from secondary drops being ejected from the primary drop site. This requires that the majority of the secondary drops fall to the same radius. The second theory, designated the fall down ring mechanism, thought to be responsible for the smaller sized rings, theorises that the rings are formed due to the accumulation of secondary drops produced from the spontaneous breakup of the primary drop during its fall. The aim of this project is to show, through analysis and experiments, that both the splash ring and fall down ring hypotheses are clearly false. We also test a new hypothesis, that cave rings are formed in the same manner as coffee rings, that is, due to the enhanced deposition at the edges of sessile drops.


Subject Categories : Geology, Geochemistry and Mineralogy
      Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE