Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms
Based on "A Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology with Special to Environmental Karst Hydrology" EPA/600/R-02/003, 2002, EPA: Washington, DC., Speleogenesis Glossary includes 2699 cave & karst terms
(Slavic word for field.) 1. A large, flat floored depression in karst limestone, whose long axis is developed parallel to major structural trends and can reach tens of kilometers in length. Superficial deposits tend to accumulate on the floor. Drainage may be by either surface watercourses (when the polje is said to be open) or swallow holes (a 'closed' polje.) Their development is encouraged by any impedance in the karst drainage . 2. Polje or karst polje signifies the flatbottomed lands of closed basins which may extend over large areas, as much as 1,000 km2. The flat floor of the polje may consist of bare limestone, of a nonsoluble formation (and so with rolling topography), or of soil. The polje will show complex hydrogeological characteristics such as exsurgences, swallow holes, estavelles, and lost rivers. In colloquial use, the term polje is applied to flat-bottomed lands which are overgrown or are under cultivation . 3. Large flat-floored closed karst depression, with sharp slope breaks between the commonly alluviated floor and the marginal limestone. Streams or springs drain into poljes and outflow is underground through ponors. Commonly the ponors cannot transmit flood flows, so many poljes turn into wet-season lakes. The form of some poljes is related to the geological structure, but others are purely the projects of lateral dissolution and planation. The Dinaric Karst has many poljes; the Livansko polje is around 60km long and 7km wide. The word is Slovene (common also to other Slav languages) for a field, reflecting the agricultural value of the alluvial polje floor soils . Synonym: interior valley; (French.) polje; (German.) Polje; (Greek.) polye; (Italian.) polje; (Russian.) polje; (Spanish.) polje; (Turkish.) golova, polye; (Yugoslavian.) polje. See also karst polje.