University of Bordeaux Professor Presents Karst and Cave Studies in France

PeyraubeDr. Nicolas Peyraube is willing to study caves in the Philippines, particularly the Cavinti underground river and cave in Cavinti, Laguna.

An Associate Professor from the Department of Geology of the University of Bordeaux, Talence, France, presented a study of karsts and caves last September 5, 2018 at SESAM Lecture Hall, UPLB.

Dr. Nicolas Peyraube, who already visited SESAM early last year, is an expert in hydrology, caves and karst, with a PhD in air and water transfer in karst aquifers. He collaborated with a team of civil engineers and environment group of hydrologists and karstologists in his study of Cusac and Lascaux caves in France.

Also an expert in cave aerology, Dr. Peyraube said that studying of caves is important since there can be paintings, engravings, corpses and speleothems that must be preserved as historical relics. In addition, caves are also worthy to study since many diseases can be discovered within its ecology such as green disease from algae due to humidity and carbon dioxide from visitors; white disease from calcite deposition due to changes in ventilation; and mushroom disease because the aerology is fragile and any perturbation can help the development of species brought by visitors.

According to Dr. Peyraube, Cussac Cave, which has a width and height of five to six meters and its 1.5 km long, has paintings engravings and corpse and it is closed to public. Air in the cave is not breathable from June to December since there is too much carbon dioxide. Scientists have monitored Cussac Cave since 2007.

Meanwhile, Lascaux Cave is small compared to Cussac Cave. It has only a width and height two by five meters and it is only 250 meters long. This cave contains 1,900 paintings and considered as the most important cave in France. It is also closed to the public since 1970. The cave is monitored since 1960 and scientists placed more than 130 sensors.

At present, Dr. Peyraube is looking for collaborators, as he is also willing to study caves in tropical countries, particularly here in the Philippines. “There is a possibility that I could work on the Cavinti underground river and cave complex”, Dr. Peyraube said. He aims to monitor the water flow, temperature, electrical conductivity, pH and major ions of the Cavinti Cave, which is found in the Municipality of Cavinti, Laguna. 

About 70 SESAM faculty, staff and students attended the presentation. Dr. Peyraube is married to a Filipina named Dr. Jessica Villanueva, who is also alumna of UPLB and former research staff of SESAM.