Cave reconnaissance in southern Thailand

Krabi’s beautiful karst topography

Krabi’s beautiful karst topography.

Sakonvan Chawchai, Akaneewut Chabangborn, and Ludvig Löwemark from IGV together with River Shen and Yu Wei Chang (O-John) from National Taiwan University performed an extensive survey of caves in the province of Krabi in southern Thailand. Cave dropstones (stalagmites) are an excellent archive for paleoclimate reconstructions and the researchers hoped to find good samples that would be suitable for further analyses. Read more in Sakonvan’s fieldwork report.

Fieldwork Report
A flowstone curtain forms the entrance to this caveKrabi Province is located approximately 814 kilometers south of Bangkok and is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in southern Thailand. Krabi’s landscape is characterized by steep limestone cliffs along the shore and limestone (karst) towers both offshore and inland along the alluvial plains which make it an ideal target for a cave survey. During July 2010, we visited more than 50 caves located in Krabi Province.
Visiting the caves of southern Thailand not only means beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, but also exciting meetings with snakes, bats, darkness and high humidity. Many of the 50 caves we visited were not suitable for our research, and only three caves seemed to contain what we had been looking for: excellent stalagmites! Broken pieces of these were sampled and are now being analyzed at the National Taiwan University (Hendy test, determination of 230Th-ages). In a second step the most promising samples will be analyzed in detail.


A flowstone curtain forms the entrance to this cave.

speleothemsspeleothems

(Left) the speleothems decorate the inside of the chamber like furniture in a room... (Right)... and these formations remind of a lamp on a ceiling.

stalactitesstalactites and stalagmites clean in calcite and aragonite

(Left) These thin stalactites grow around 2 mm per year. They look like heavy monsoon rain. (Right) In one cave we found these stalactites and stalagmites which are clean in calcite and aragonite.

River Shen is collecting broken pieces of stalagmite

River Shen is collecting broken pieces of stalagmite.

Ludvig and River inside an ideal jungle of stalagmites

Ludvig and River inside an ideal jungle of stalagmites.

Our Team: Akkaneewut (Nut), O-John, Sak (our local guide), Ludvig and Sakonvan (Moo) in one of the caves.

Our Team: Akkaneewut (Nut), O-John, Sak (our local guide), Ludvig and Sakonvan (Moo) in one of the caves.

Many types of speleothems

Many types of speleothems are present inside this cave: stalagmites, stalactites, columsn and flowstones in different shapes and colors. However the Tower of Pisa is the most attractive!

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