CERNIČKO POLJE  -  ЦЕРНИЧКО ПОЉЕ
The Devon Karst Research Society.
The Karstography of the DINARIC KARST IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Part 3.  Eastern Herzegovina.
CERNIČKO POLJE  -  ЦЕРНИЧКО ПОЉЕ
Cernica Polje, BiH-RS Trebinje Region - Gacko Municipality.

Updated 12 November 2006.

CERNIČKO POLJE   -  ЦЕРНИЧКО ПОЉЕ

"Fairy Cave" Karst Resurgence Spring

Vrelo "Vilina Pećina"

Врело "Вилина Пећина"

Section 3.0.    KARST SPRINGS  -  KRAŠKI IZVORI  I  VRELA  -  КРАШКИ ИЗВОРИ И ВРЕЛО :

There are many karst springs along the whole length of Cerničko Polje. We shall try to enumerate and describe them here, as and when we have investigated each one.

3.1...."FAIRY CAVE" KARST RESURGENCE SPRING  -  VRELO "VILINA PEĆINA"  -  ВРЕЛО "ВИЛИНА ПEЋИНА" :
...........[Also previously known as VILIĆ PEĆINA, ca.1896.]
This intermittent B-type (allogenic) resurgence karst spring has a very large cave entrance. It is located on the northern border of the polje-floor, below and to the west of the village of Ključ, at the tectonic (overthrust) contact between Eocene Flysch and Limestone, at an elevation of 850m. asl. This spring is one of the two sources of the short karst river "Ključka Rijeka".

.....
Image CP3.1. (above-left) and Image CP3.2. (above-right)
The two views clearly illustrate the enormity of the entrance dimensions. The Project's Hungarian Team are partly assembled in front of the cave entrance in the right-view.
(Photos :  CP3.1. by Prof. Dragoslav Banjak, 02 September 2006. and CP3.2. by Gergely Balázs, 12 August 2006.)

Both the views of the entrance were recorded from the vantage point of the top (dry) entrance of the Izvor "Vilina Pećina" directly opposite. The vrelo was devoid of flowing water on both occasions and was even drier inside than when visited a year previously. During August 2005., the interior had a lake. In 2006., there was no lake.


 

Image CP3.3. (left)
A view of the general arrangement inside the entrance chamber.
(Photo :  Gergely Balázs, 12 August 2006.)

This cave is formed on massive fractures which are also evidenced in a spectacular fashion outside and nearby to the east in the polje.
Cavern collapse (block breakdown) processes here are aided by the enormous quantity and power of the resurging water in the wet winter months.
This resurgence cave (= vrelo) is the downstream outlet-vent from the massive phreatic conduit aquifer fed by certain ponors in the higher elevation of Gatačko Polje. The difference in variation between Qmin and Qmax  of the intermittent flow from this typical resurgence cave is very large. Qmin (apparent)  = 0 m³ sec­¹., whilst Qmax  = 50 m³ sec­¹. has only been guaged as the combined flow from both vrelo + izvor output at the nearby weir adjacent to the ponor.


......Image CP3.4. (above)
......Climbing up the steep, karst-corroded inside rear wall of the entrance chamber.
......(Photo :  Gergely Balázs, 12 August 2006.)

For various reasons, we are limiting further web-published coverage of this cave system.
The entrance area provides several interesting features. The images below indicate some of these.
The image on the left illustrates a large kamenitza in the entrance chamber. It is about 0.9m diameter at the water level. The image on the right illustrates the size of the limestone boulders just outside the entrance. A member of our team is providing a convenient scale behind the tree.
 
 


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Image CP3.5. (above-left) and Image CP3.6. (above-right)
(Photos :  CP3.4. by Igor Trklja, 02 September 2006. and CP3.5. by B. Lewarne, 12 August 2006.)

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"Fairy Cave" Karst Exsurgence Spring

Izvor "Vilina Pećina"

Извор "Вилина Пећина"

3.2...."FAIRY CAVE" KARST EXSURGENCE SPRING  -  IZVOR "VILINA PEĆINA"  -  ИЗВОР "ВИЛИНА ПEЋИНА" :
This permanent A-type (authigenic) karst exsurgence spring has at least two cave entrances, an accessible fossil upper entrance and an hydrologically active lower entrance, which is currently obscured beneath a boulder pile. It is located on the northern border of the polje-floor, below and to the west of the village of Ključ, at the tectonic (overthrust) contact between Eocene Flysch and Limestone, at an elevation of 850m. asl. directly opposite the large entrance of Vrelo "Vilina Pećina".
This spring is the permanent one of the two sources of the short karst river "Ključka Rijeka". Although we are referring to it's functionality as that of an A-Type (authigenic) karst spring, there is currently some question about this status.
In connection with this, we are investigating the hydrology of some of the ponors on the northern side of the Baba Massif around Bašići in Gatačko (Malo) Polje.

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Image CP3.7. (above-left)...One of the investigative team members standing in front of the high-level cave entrance of the spring-cave, now long-abandoned by the exsurging water.
Image CP3.8. (above-right)...A view looking up-slope and out from the interior of the entrance passage.
(Photos :  CP3.6. by Prof. Dragoslav Banjak, 02 September 2006. and CP3.5. by Gergely Balázs, 12 August 2006.)

The wide upper entrance leads into a sloping series of dry passages, long abandoned by the exsurging water, which now appears from a separate orifice developed on the same neo-vertical fracture, but about 20 metres lower down near the polje floor.
This cave issues what is effectively "karst groundwater" percolating down through the hinterland of the adjacent karst massif. This is a permanent flow with little variation between Qmin and Qmax throughout the year. Thus, it provides the basic flow of the Ključka Rijeka all year round. It is therefore of no co-incidence that the leat carrying water to the ponor-mills 300 metres downstream takes off from below this cave rather than from its more massive but intermittent neighbour.
We have yet to investigate this cave system more thoroughly, together with its hydrology.

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"Studenac" Karst Exsurgence Spring

Izvor "Studenac"

Извор "Студенац"

3.3...."STUDENAC" KARST EXSURGENCE SPRING  -  IZVOR "STUDENAC"  -  ИЗВОР "СТУДEНАЦ" :
This is a permanently flowing A-type (authigenic) karst exsurgence spring. It is located at the extreme eastern end of the Western Section of Cerničko Polje, out on the polje-floor north-west of the Ponor "Ključka Rijeka", at an elevation of 850m. asl. The low yield of this spring trickles down to join the upstream end of the ponor-approach canyon.

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Image CP3.9. (above-left)...A view of the arrangement of Izvor "Studenac"...........Image CP3.10. (above-right)...A closer view of the output spout and collection trough.
(Photos :  B. Lewarne, 27 August 2005.)

This is another permanent flow karst spring with little variation between Qmin and Qmax throughout the year. It's supply is the karst "groundwater" in the enormous limestone massif behind the spring. This water is potable.

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"Mijailov" Karst Exsurgence Spring
Izvor "Mijailov"

Извор "Мијаилoв"
3.4...."MIJAILOV" KARST EXSURGENCE SPRING  -  IZVOR "MIJAILOV"  -  ИЗВОР "МИЈАИЛОВ" :
This is a permanently flowing A-type (authigenic) karst exsurgence spring. It is located in the centre of the Western Section of Cerničko Polje. We currently have no further information about or images of this captured spring.
CERNIČKO POLJE   -  ЦЕРНИЧКО ПОЉЕ
3.5....[Unknown] KARST EXSURGENCE SPRING  -  IZVOR [nepoznat]  -  ИЗВОР [непознат] :
This is a permanently flowing A-type (authigenic) karst exsurgence spring, located in the Eastern Section of Cerničko Polje.

..........
Image CP3.11. (above-left)...A contextual view of a captured karst spring in the Eastern Section of the Polje...........Image CP3.12. (above-centre)...A closer view of the output spout and collection trough.
Image CP3.13. (above-right)...A side view of the karst spring looking in a westerly direction.
(Photos :  B. Lewarne, 27 August 2005.)

We currently have no further information about this karst spring.

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