ASSESSMENT ON THE IGCP 299 FIELD EXCURSION,1992
KARST OF VIRGINIA, WESTERN VIRGINIA AND KENTUCKY
Jacques Mudry ( Avignon, France)
This field trip, a very well scheduled one, was very fruitful to me, forenvironmental problems, for functioning and for genetic ones.
Problems of landfills (seen in Somerset, KY) and of waste waters ( ParkCity, KY) are common to all karst areas and need both studies and protection.
Apart from tours in splendid caverns (Luray, VA...), I have been veryinterested in the visit of Friars Hole Preserve, where Roy Jamesondemonstrated flow paths by structural segments ( bed partings, joints, bed/joint intercept, thrust faults...).
The masterpiece of the excursion was Mammoth Cave System. With thepleasant explanations of Dr Quinlan, I could compare this gigantic flatsystem with south-european "vertical" karsts. With a thin limestone series,whose dip is very low, microstructural features of each bed have polarizedkarst drainage, so that each stage, corresponding to a different base level, has its own flow pattern. It does not communicate a lot with another one. As in Friars hole Preserve, I have been very interested by this morpho-structural control of karstification. My other point is the naturallaboratory aspect of the system: it is a very good site for the study ofactual flow paths, because of the number of intermediate observation pointsof tracing tests between sinkboles and springs. The part of low gradients inunderground flows was also very interesting.
I would like to express my gratitude for the very good planning of thisexcursion by Percy Dougherty, George Huppert and Jack Hess and for thefriendship among all the karstologists met during this excursion.