Tenth Anniversary Special Volume
Review and Prospect of the Speleological Society of Japan -Introduction-
|The trend of the Speleological Society of Japan after the organization in 1975 and the prospect for the future are briefly dealt.|
Review of the Studies concerning Physical Speleology in Japan
In Japan, the reports on caves appeared for the first time in scientific magazines before and after 1890. Those on lava caves were made in 1883, and on limestone caves in 1903. But many people have paid increased attention to caves since some caves were designated to the natural monuments in the 1920's. The surveys and studies of caves in that time were descriptive investigations regarding the morphology of caves and the speleothems. In the 1950's, caves aroused the interest of geologists because vertebrate fossils were discovered in the cave deposits. Before and after 1970, several papers concerning the development of caves were published. These papars dealt with the relation between the vertical distribution of caves and the age of cave development. In the midst of the 1970's, it was recognized by the minute observation of corrosional feature of caves that many caves had developed from the phreatic tube. The Speleological Society of Japan was organized in 1975, when cave researching was becoming active. During the present decade, the speleological investigations have developed rapidly. The lectures at the annual meeting and the papers in the journal of the Speleological Society of Japan deal with various subjects in geological branches as follows.
a. Studies of the morphology, origin and development of limestone caves. Since 1975, several caves have been surveyed and investigated in detail, and the origin and development of these caves have been clarified. These caves have different and characteristic histories; accordingly the origin and development can not be explained on one specific theory. And also, the systematic studies of cave development, karst topography and ground water system have been pursued gradually.
b. Studies of speleothems and cave minerals. The researchers of speleothems and cave minerals are very few, but during the decade from 1975, new localities of cave minerals have been found almost every year. The theoretical investigations of speleothems have also been carried out.
c. Studies of karst hydrology and geochemical research of cave water. These researches were carried out on several caves, especially, caves in Akiyoshi karst region. The corroborative studies of ground water in this region were pursued by the tracer of chemicals, and the ground water system was clarified. By the way, on the chemical analysis of cave and spring water, it was clarified that the ground water system is divided by chemical composition of water, and where the origin of ground water is begun to be made clear.
d. Other studies. The most interesting studies are conducted by the ESR dating method. This method
was first established by the dating of stalactites in Akiyoshi-do Cave in 1975. Then, this method has been available for geology, archaeology, anthropology etc. The ESR dating method is expected to be an important method of cave chronology.
Japanese Cave and Fissure Deposits and Paleontology
|Occurrence of abundant animal fossils in the deposits of caves and fissures was known for long, and those fossils have been treated with scientific interest. Among the published records of such fossils, the work of W. BUCKLAND (1823), a British paleontologist, is notable. In Japan, fossils in fissure deposits were reported first from the Kuzuu Formation (SHIKAMA, T., 1933, 1937, 1949). Since then, a number of fossil occurrences have been recorded in Yamaguchi, Shizuoka, Aomori and Okinawa Prefectures etc. Most of the fossils in cave or fissure deposits are vertebrates, of which mammals are studied fairly well while the knowledge of other taxa such as reptiles and birds is still insufficient. Geologic age of the deposits, as inferred from the fossils, ranges from Middle to Late Pleistocene, and little is known about older deposits of this kind. It is supposed, accordingly, that the cave and fissure deposits in Japan were accumulated mostly during the Middle-Late Pleistocene period. As for the fossil mammals, nearly one half of the species must have becolne extinct by the Late Pleistocene time (HASEGAWA, Y., 1977).|
Recent Development of Biospeology in Japan
|The development of Japanese biospeology in the past decade or so is delineated mainly from the view-point of terrestrial animals. Investigations made in this period were focused on artificial cavities aud the upper hypogean zone, bringing about very satisfactory results. On the contrary, aquatic forms were little studied, although efforts were continued to clarify the psammobiontic fauna of Japan.|
Review of Anthropology and Archaeology in Japanese Cave Sites
|The history of anthropology and archaeology from cave sites and rock shelters in Japan, and their reccent some important results are briefly introduced.|
A Short Review of Caving Techniques
|About sixty years ago the late councilor of the Speleological Society of Japan, Hiroshi YAMAUCHI, began a cave exploration in Japan by his unaided efforts. During this period, he pioneered the creative caving techniques and equipments, for example, cave measurement materials and methods, wire ladder and travelling lifeline system, making the exploration possible for Japanese cavers and still retaining today; this should never be forgotten. Every member of the Speleological Society of Japan, irrespective of specialty, must hold a competent skill of caving techniques. Recently, there are three important topics of caving techniques concerning single rope techniques, cave diving and cave rescue. These topics are discussed side by side in some technical publications and international organizations. I hope the members of caving techniques section will be to tackle these technical problems and will be to throw a new light in this field, over the next ten years.|
|Masamichi OTA, Tadashi
KURAMOTO and Akihiro SUGIMURA
Present State and History of the Speleologial Society of Japan
|The circumstances before the organization of the society and the development after 1975 foundation are shortly described.|