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Odds and –ods!

Lost Johns ( Yorkshire) – another 1600ft. of passage discovered.

Dave Brook (ULSA) broke his collar bone forcing a squeeze 300ft. below the Allotment.

From the papers – Times (7-8-69): Lascaux Caves; the French Government has doubled the number of visitors into the cave to 10 per day.  The 20,000 year old paintings were attacked with fungus and the cave closed in 1963.  Last year the French allowed 5 visitors a day.

Guardian (?-8-69) – New chamber has been discovered in the Burgos Province, Spain, whose walls are covered with cave paintings.  Antelopes, Horses, stags and goats are represented; many animals are shown with their young or with unborn progeny in the womb.

A New Editorial Staff Service!!

On odd occasions members ask various questions about caving topics and some, though most are, not easily answered.  So far the benefit of those members a new series of ‘question and answer’ will appear from time to time in the B.B.  To set the ball rolling a member recently asked the meaning of the words ‘polje’, ponor, doline.  All of theses words seem to mean the same thing.  Do they and what do they mean?

Towards the end of the last century, a Serbo-Croatian geographer, Cvijic, described in detail the Yugoslavian limestone areas on the Adriatic coast.  Naturally he used a lot of Serbo-Croatian words to describe the features, peculiar to the area; one of these was the word ‘a bleak waterless place’ – Kras.  This type of area then becomes known as Karst.  I do not wish to enter into the arguments concerning the correct meaning of Karst; the definition which I prefer is that of Thornbury (1954): ‘The word karst is a comprehensive term applied to limestone and dolomite areas that possess a topography peculiar to and dependant upon underground solution and the diversion of surface waters to underground routes.’

There are of course a large number of English words which describe Karst features: words which differ from county to county.  Similarly, there are a large number of words in French and German performing the same task. In 1956 the Report of a Commission on Karts Phenomena set up the International Geographical Union, but made no mention of English words.  We are therefore left with foreign term; many of which are frequently misused.

If the writer really wants to read up on the subject, he should start by reading M.M. Sweetings article, ‘The Karstlands of Jamaica’, in The Geographical Journal, 124, 184-199. Meanwhile he may note that ‘doline’ means a pit at the bottom of which soil can be worked; a polje’ is a closed or almost closed valley up to 100 square miles of flat floor which may be flooded annually, and is of great importance of the local agriculture; a ‘ponor’ is a vertical shaft leading from the surface to a cave, ‘aven’ in French.

Finally, rather than use a dictionary or encyclopaedia to look up these terms the questioner would be well advised to use ‘A Glossary of Geographical Terms’ (ed: Sir Dudley Stamp, Longmans) as this goes more deeply into the differing opinions which usually exist concerning definitions of this type.