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  15.05.2020, 07:00h


How it all began: travertine forms

The conditions such as the water flow rate, slope and structure of the river bed differ at every waterfall location, thus creating different waterfalls, and even creating different sites within the same barrier.

The most common forms of travertine in karst watercourses are the underwater sheaths, thresholds and barriers found at the base of the karst rapids, curtains and consoles. These structures are formed at the sites where water runs down vertical cliffs and travertine is precipitates due to the action of the living community, while the grooves, fissures and pipes are formed at sites where larger quantities of water fall, creating waterfalls.

The Krka River has exceptionally suitable physicochemical conditions and the perfect hydrological state for the deposition of travertine. That is why seven majestic waterfalls have formed along its course. However, though on the same river, these travertine barriers and waterfalls differ, as at different sites, the rate of travertine deposition can vary. Moreover, the deposition of travertine on the river began in different periods of time. The conditions such as the water flow rate, slope and structure of the river bed differ at every waterfall location, thus creating different waterfalls, and even creating different sites within the same barrier.

The development of travertine barriers is such that the travertine thresholds are formed first, on slightly raised surfaces in the river, under the water’s surface. These thresholds then grow vertically, slowing the flow of water and creating a cascade, making upstream flow slower and downstream flow faster. This in turn creates a range of different forms: thresholds, curtains, covers, beards, undercuts, semi-caves, cones, pipes, wells, caves, etc.

The travertine formations develop gradually, from the simplest (thresholds, travertine barriers) to more complex forms and series of forms (barriers with caves, semi-caves, travertine curtains, consoles, etc.). The appearance of travertine that grows on the falls is not compact. Under the falls, hollows are formed, creating completely new microspaces that cannot be easily seen.

Based on the structure and size of the travertine barriers, we know that the majority of travertine is deposited near the end of the river’s flow, where the water flows slower. Skradinski buk on the Krka River is the longest travertine barrier in Europe.