Vertical Cave Karst Landscape
Reference work entry
This is a karst cave with water flowing along vertical cave channels or steep cave walls. It is generally called a vertical shaft, natural well or dissolved well. They can be tens to hundreds of metres deep. These caves form as a result of a decrease in the water table, which causes thickening of the seepage zone and the downward development of sinkholes or the collapse of cave roofs. The bottom of the cave reaches the groundwater surface or the underground river body. Sinkholes and tiankengs are examples of this landform. In China, vertical karst caves are mainly located on the Yunnan-Guizhou plateau, especially in the mountainous areas of karst peak clusters. The Tianxing (Heavenly Star) cave system in Wulong, Chongqing City, is by far the deepest cavern system identified in China, with a maximum depth of 1,020 m. The deepest single descending shaft cave in China is the Miao Pit, which is 681 m deep and has a single drop of 491 m (Fig. 3).
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