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Zones of enhanced dissolution and associated cave morphology in an uplifted carbonate island karst aquifer, northern Guam, Mariana Island

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Author(s): TaboroŇ°i,D. | Jenson,J.W. | Mylroie,J.E.

Journal: Speleogenesis and Evolution of Karst Aquifers
ISSN 1814-294X

Volume: 1;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 3255;
Date: 2003;
Original page

Keywords: speleogenesis | secondary porosity | groundwater | freshwater lens | Northern Guam Lens Aquifer

ABSTRACT
In contrast to Paleozoic limestones where drainage is based on classical cave systems (secondary porosity), young limestones of uplifted carbonate islands retain substantial distributed primary porosity. Consequently, speleogenesis on such islands is restricted to environments where dissolution is sufficiently focused to produce caves. Thus, on Guam and similar islands, solution voids large enough for human traverse occur only in settings where dissolution has been focused by hydrologic or geologic boundaries. In the vadose zone, these boundaries are lithologic contacts or structural discontinuities that channel the flow of aggressive water. In the phreatic zone, the boundaries are hydrologic contacts, where aggressive water is produced through the mixing of saturated waters. These geologic and hydrologic settings are sites of significant speleogenesis, each characterized by morphologically and hydrologically distinct types of caves.
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