Challenges in cave monitoring and sampling – experiences from speleothem-based researches in Croatian caves
Speleothem-based research aimed to the reconstruction of the Quaternary environment in Dinaric karst has been conducted in several Croatian caves. As the interpretation of the palaeoenvironmental signal archived in speleothems relies on identifying and understanding processes between atmosphere and cave precipitates, especially hydrological behaviour, cave monitoring is crucial. Despite relatively simple sampling and monitoring protocols, series of problems and complications has arisen, caused by different natural and technical reasons. Extreme weather events such as enormous precipitation, prolonged drought or snow drifts, each in their own way can cause sample loss, while technical issues associated with equipment failures can lead to data loss. Even biological threats occurred, both man-induced and of natural origin. Although the later cannot be eliminated, as well as extreme weather, experience gained substantially helps to minimize negative effects. On the other hand, most of the technical issues are resolvable, and suggested solutions have been regularly implemented.
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