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Skocjan Caves Park, Slovenia
 

 

Position and surface

The narrow protected area covers 4.15 square kilometres and encompasses the area above the Škocjan Caves, the Reka River gorge and the surrounding collapse dolines. It comprises the villages of Škocjan, Betanja and Matavun. The area of influence of the Park covers 450 square kilometres and comprises the entire Reka River watershed. It lies at the extensive junction of the karst and nonkarst worlds. At the easternmost border of the area of influence reigns the 1,796-metre high Snežnik that is the highest non-alpine mountain in Slovenia.

Position

The Škocjan Caves Regional Park is situated in the Škocjan Karst, a vast flat landscape that lies at an altitude between 420 and 450 metres in the south-east of the Karst. To the north Gabrk, Čebulovica (642 m) and Vremščica (1,026 m) rise; to the east and south there are the flysch Vremščica foothills and Brkini. To the north-west, there are the Divača Karst and Karst plains and hills.

The narrow protected area of the Škocjan Caves Park.

The narrow protected area of the Škocjan Caves Park.

Surface

At first sight, the Škocjan Karst surface appears to be flat, but in reality it is heavily broken. This characteristic landscape that developed in limestones is named Karst, the word being derived from the name of the area Karst. The solubility of rocks that form the Earth's surface is the most effective agent of karstification. Calcite, the main constituent in limestone, is dissolved by water and drained through underground channels.

Falling water in the Karst sinks and drains underground through fissures. The caves are formed in this way; on the surface this occurs in different karst depressions of various sizes. The most frequent karst depressions are sinkholes. They yield a diversity of features from bowl-shaped or funnel-shaped depressions; they are mostly up to 10 metres deep with diameters of up to 50 metres. The sinkholes developed where drainage underground exists and the dissolving of rock is the strongest.

Much larger than sinkholes are collapse dolines. The name indicates that they were formed due to the collapse of the ceilings above underground chambers. They are usually steep-sided, and vertical rock walls are common as well. They are not formed suddenly due to collapse but to long-term crumbling of roofs and walls above chambers and the Reka River underground flow that dissolves the crushed rock and carries it away.

 
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Temperature: 8.2 °C
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Park's Management: Skocjan 2, 6215 Divaca, Telephone: +386 (0)5 70 82 100, Fax: +386 (0)5 70 82 105, psj@psj.gov.si
Park's Information Centre (Cave visits): Telephone: +386 (0)5 70 82 110, Fax: +386 (0)5 70 82 111, psj.info@psj.gov.si