Discussion on the article ‘Coastal and inland karst morphologies driven by sea level stands: a GIS based method for their evaluation' by Canora F, Fidelibus D and Spilotro G


Correspondence to: M. Parise, National Research Council, IRPI, Via Amendola 122-I, 70126 Bari, Italy. E-mail: m.parise@ba.irpi.cnr.it


Comments are presented on the article by Canora et al. (2012) dealing with karst morphologies driven by sea level stands in the Murge plateau of Apulia, southern Italy. Our comments start from cave levels, that are considered in the cited article as a proof of sea level stands. We argue that the presence of sub-horizontal passages in cave systems is not a sufficient condition for correlating them with hypothetical past sea level stands. Such a correlation must be based upon identification of speleogenetic features within the karst systems, and/or geological field data. The problems encountered when using cave surveys for scientific research, and their low reliability (especially in the case of old surveys) are then treated, since they represent a crucial point in the paper object of this discussion. Eventually, we present some final consideration on cave levels and terraces, and on the specific case study, pointing out once again to the need in including geological field data to correctly find a correspondance between flat landforms and sea level fluctuations. Our main conclusion is that field data and information on speleogenesis of the underground karst landforms cannot be disregarded in a study that claims to deal with the influence of sea-level changes on caves. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.