EuroSpeleo 2016 Sessions

Caves and Karst in British Carbonate Rocks

Session code: OS7

Oral / Science, Main EuroSpeleo Conference

Prof John Gunn


There is nowhere else on earth where there is a greater temporal range of carbonate rock outcrops in such a small geographical area as in Great Britain. They comprise Quaternary freshwater carbonates (tufa and travertine), limestones and dolostones of Cretaceous, Jurassic, Permian, Carboniferous, Devonian, Silurian, Ordovician and Cambrian ages and Cambrian to Neoproterozoic metacarbonates. Geographically they extend from the southern coast of Devon to the northern coast of Scotland (about 900 km) and from the tip of western Wales to the Cliffs of Dover in the east (about 450 km). Surface karst landforms have developed and caves can be explored in rocks of most ages but the vast majority of caves are in rocks of Carboniferous age. This presentation will briefly outline the characteristics of cave and karst development in each of the main geographic areas.


40 years of caving & karst research
Chairman BCRA