Understanding karst environments by thermo-hygrometric monitoring: preliminary results from the Cesi Mountain karst system (Central Italy)

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Lucio Di Matteo *
Simona Menegon
Augusto Rossi
Stefano Liti
(*) Corresponding Author:
Lucio Di Matteo | lucio.dimatteo@unipg.it

Abstract

The understanding of karst systems is of paramount importance for the protection and valorisation of these environments. A multidisciplinary study is presented to investigate the possible interconnection between karst features of a karst area located in the south-western part of the Martani chain (Cesi Mountain, Central Italy). This hydrogeological structure contributes to recharge a deep regional aquifer. The latter feeds the high discharge and salinity Stifone springs. In the southwestern part of Martani chain, seven caves have been mapped, five of which are hosted in the Calcare Massiccio Formation. The analysis of thermo-hygrometric data collected since Autumn 2014 into the caves and those from external meteorological stations, showed the timing of the airflow inversion occurring on late winter/early spring and summer/ early autumn. Despite the complexity of the morphology of caves and of conceptual models of airflow pattern, these data seem to indicate that the monitored small caves could be interconnected to a considerably wider cave system. Data here presented coupled with the knowledge on hydrogeological and geological-structural setting of the limestone massif are useful to drive future speleological explorations, aiming to discover new large cavities and to better understand the water recharge process.

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