Observations of the solution rate of limestone tablets from 1993 to 1997 have been utilized to clarify the degree of karstification from northern to southern Japan.
Limestone tablets were placed at seven observation points stretching from northern to southern Japan : Toma, Abukuma, Chichibu, Akiyoshidai, Shikoku Onogahara, Ryugado, and Minamidaito. Three groups of four limestone tablets from Slovenia, Guilin (China), Chichibu, and the fourth tablet from limestone indigenous to the obsevation point, were arranged on three levels at each observation point : 1.5m above the ground, the A3 horizon, and the B2
horizon. Measurements were taken of the solution rates of the tablets at each observation point from 1993 to 1997. Thornthwaite's method was used for calculating water balance to ascertain the relation between solution rate and water balance factors. The solution rates of limestone tablets placed 1.5m above the ground show a high correlation coefficient between (water surplus (WS) minus water deficit (WD)). On the other hand, limestone tablets planted in the soil had a solution rate from two to three times higher than those suspended in the air. The solution rates of limestone tablets located in the A3
horizons exhibited the highest annual precipitation correlation coefficient. The high CO2
values under warm, humid conditions may account for the higher solution rates of the tablets planted in the soil.
The solution rate tendency curve achieved its greatest range during the five years in direct proportion to the WS-WD ratio in 1993, when a cool, humid summer prevailed throughout most of Japan. The solution rate tendency curve marked its smallest range during the five years in proportion to the WS-WD ratio at all locations for limestone tablets suspended in air in 1994, under conditions of an extremely hot and dry summer, such as occurs only once in a hundred years. In general, however, the solution rates of the limestone tablets were high when the WS-WD ratio ranged between 1, 000 to 1, 600mm. Within this range, the solution rates at each observation point decreased slightly as the WS-WD ratio decreased.
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