The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 36 Number 2: 1-5 - April 1974

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Deducing Flow Velocity in Cave Conduits from Scallops
Rane L. Curl


Flowing water in caves frequently forms dissolution patterns called scalloops, on limestone surfaces. It has long been known that scallops may be used to indicate past flow direction. More recently, it has been learned that information about flow velocity may also be obtained from them.

The basic hydrodynamic phenomena that control the characteristic dimensions of scallops have been deduced from experiments in their generation on soluble surfaces and are summarized here. Relations are developed for estimating the average flow rate in conduits, given certain dimensional information about scallops and about the conduit.

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