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Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

Klimchouk on 26 Mar, 2012
Dear Colleagues, This is to draw your attention to several recent publications added to KarstBase, relevant to hypogenic karst/speleogenesis: Corrosion of limestone tablets in sulfidic ground-water: measurements and speleogenetic implications Galdenzi,

The deepest terrestrial animal

Klimchouk on 23 Feb, 2012
A recent publication of Spanish researchers describes the biology of Krubera Cave, including the deepest terrestrial animal ever found: Jordana, Rafael; Baquero, Enrique; Reboleira, Sofía and Sendra, Alberto. ...

Caves - landscapes without light

akop on 05 Feb, 2012
Exhibition dedicated to caves is taking place in the Vienna Natural History Museum   The exhibition at the Natural History Museum presents the surprising variety of caves and cave formations such as stalactites and various crystals. ...

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That accretion is land addition by sediment deposition of a stream [16].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
See all featured articles
Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for alpine caves (Keyword) returned 12 results for the whole karstbase:
Les grandes cavits alpines, 1984, Delannoy J. J. , Maire R.
THE LARGE ALPINE CAVES: DISTRIBUTION AND HYDROGEOLOGICAL CONTEXT - Western Alps possess about 40 caves deeper than 500m. The large karstic systems are situated principally in the external alpine zone (subalpine ranges) and secondly in the internals alpine zone (Marguareis). These caves develop in different structural patterns (perched syncline, anticline...). The vadose zone is characterised by a vadose circulation, the phreatic zone has a diverse importance, depending on geological structure.

La traversee du Gebroulaz en Vanoise. Morphologie d'une cavite gypseuse de haute montagne, 1996, Audra Ph. , Hoblea F.

Role of epiphreatic flow and soutirages in conduit morphogenesis: the Barenschacht example (BE, Switzerland), 2003, Hauselmann P. , Jeannin P. Y. , Monbaron M. ,
Role of epiphreatic flow and soutirages in speleogenesis: the Barenschacht example (BE, Switzerland).- Observations in the deep parts of Barenschacht allow the linkage of two existing theories about cave genesis (FORD & EWERS 1978, AUDRA 1994). The transition from vadose canyon to phreatic tube is not observed at the perennial karstwater table, but at the floodwater table. The galleries below all show phreatic morphology despite temporary vadose flow. Therefore, the boundaries of the distinct phases of cave genesis are inclined. In low-water situation, the looping galleries empty through the so-called soutirages. These form through corrosion along discontinuities and are generally found in the epiphreatic realm. The water flowing through the soutirages reaches the perennial watertable and then the spring. It seems possible that the model presented here is also valid for non-alpine caves

Ice and Alpine Caves in Slovenia in older literature (17th to 19th century), 2004, Kranjc, Andrej

The first printed literature mentioning caves in a nowadays Slovenia dates to the 16th century already (description of Cerkniško lake, research of underground water connections) but description of alpine and ice caves does not appear before the 17th century. The most important and the best known is Valvasor's work "Die Ehre des Herzogthums Crain" (1689). In the Alps he describes 3 caves, but none of them is a real cave. Exception is a spring of Savica which proved 250 years later to be really a spring cave. He described also some ice caves and ice formations in them. B. Hacquet visited some of the same caves a century later and in his work "Oryctographia carniolica …" (1778 - 1789) explained the formation of ice more realistically. In the middle of the 19th century appears a real speleological literature, as Schmidl's work "Die Grotten und Höhlen von Adelsberg …" (1854) is regarded as the first "modern speleological work". At the end of the 19th century the Gratzy's list of caves in Carniola (great part of the today's Slovenia) includes 7 caves from the Alps and 30 ice caves. The last are practically all out of the high mountains, where the ice caves are a normal feature. The 19th century literature including alpine and ice caves is very diversified, there are "classical" speleological works on ice caves as Fugger's "Eishöhlen und Windröhren" or Schwalbe's "Über Eishöhlen", and local literature or reports talking about extracting of ice for example.


Das Alter der Stalagmiten im Katerloch (2833/59): Erste Ergebnisse der Uran/Thorium Datierung, 2006, Boch R, Sptl C. , Kramers J.
For the first time precise ages are reported for stalagmites from Katerloch, one of Austrias most prominent dripstone caves. Age determinations using the mass-spectrometric Uranium/Thorium method were performed on drill cores taken near the base of dripstone formations. Seven stalagmites were sampled and yielded an age spectrum ranging from ca. 10,000 years before present to older than 450,000 yr. Two stalagmites formed during the Last Interglacial (basal ages of ca. 130,000 yr), while two other stalagmites, which are still active today, started growing at the onset of the current interglacial (the Holocene) ca. 11,000 - 10,000 yr ago. Based on these chronological data a mean growth rate of 0.3-0.5 mm/yr is calculated for these up to several meter long Holocene stalagmites, which is markedly faster than growth rates known from stalagmites in cooler, alpine caves.

Cave and Karst evolution in the Alps and their relation to paleoclimate and paleotopography, 2007, Audra P. , Bini A. , Gabrovš, Ek F. , Hä, Uselmann P. , Hoblé, A F. , Jeannin P. Y. , Kunaver J. , Monbaron M. , Š, Uš, Terš, Ič, F. , Tognini P. , Trimmel H. , Wildberger A.

Progress in the understanding of cave genesis processes, as well as the intensive research carried out in the Alps during the last decades, permit to summarize the latest knowledge about Alpine caves. The phreatic parts of cave systems develop close to the karst water table, which depends on the spring position, which in turn is generally related to the valley bottom. Thus, caves are directly linked with the geomorphic evolution of the surface and reflect valley deepening. The sediments deposited in the caves help to reconstruct the morphologic succession and the paleoclimatic evolution. Moreover, they are the only means to date the caves and thus the landscape evolution. Caves appear as soon as there is an emersion of limestone from the sea and a water table gradient. Mesozoic and early tertiary paleokarsts within the alpine range prove of these ancient emersions. Hydrothermal karst seems to be more widespread than previously presumed. This is mostly due to the fact that usually, hydrothermal caves are later reused (and reshaped) by meteoric waters. Rock-ghost weathering is described as a new cave genesis agent. On the contrary, glaciers hinder cave genesis processes and fill caves. They mainly influence cave genesis indirectly by valley deepening and abrasion of the caprock. All present datings suggest that many alpine caves (excluding paleokarst) are of Pliocene or even Miocene age. Progress in dating methods (mainly the recent evolution with cosmogenic nuclides) should permit, in the near future, to date not only Pleistocene, but also Pliocene cave sediments absolutely.


Eisdickenmessungen in alpinen Hhlen mit Georadar, 2007, Behm M. , Hausmann H.
Ground penetrating radar (GPR) has been used to determine the ice thickness at several locations in three alpine ice caves Eisriesenwelt, 1511/24, Salzburg; Dachstein-Mammuthhle, 1547/9, Upper Austria; Dachstein-Rieseneishhle, 1547/17, Upper Austria). It could be shown that shielded antennas with relatively high frequencies (500 MHz) are sufficient to penetrate the ice up to 15 m depth. 3D layouts (crossing profiles) were necessary to delineate the subsurface in detail and to verify that certain reflections in the radargramm sections originate from the subsurface. In almost all radargramm sections, the lower boundary of the ice body is identified by the onset of strong and sharp reflections. We attribute this to either increased humidity at the ice rock contact (due to melting) or to a sedimentary layer between ice and rock. Pronounced layering of the ice body itself is clearly seen at some locations, which may results from alternating air content. The maximum thickness is 7.5 m in Eisriesenwelt (location Eispalast), 6 m in the Dachstein-Mammuthhle (location Saarhalle) and 15 m in the Dachstein-Rieseneishhle (location Tristandom).

Englacement, eustatisme et rajustements karstiques de la bordure sud de larchipel de Madre de Dios (Patagonie, Province ltima Esperanza, Chili, 2008, Jaillet S. , Maire R. , Brehier F. , Despain J. , Lans B. , Morel L. , Pernette Jf. , Ployon E. , Tourte B. , Patagonia U.
Glaciation, eustatics and karst readjustment at the southern edge of the Madre de Dios archipelago (Patagonia, Ultima Esperanza Province, Chile). In the channels of Patagonia (Chile), at a latitude of 50 S, lies the Madre de Dios archipelago, a group of islands with limestone zones with the southernmost caves on the planet. Over the course of three expeditions in 2000, 2006 and 2008, alpine caves, marine caves and spectacular karren fields were explored and found to contain karst features in a mountain and fiord environment. Precipitation of 8000 mm/yr and strong winds form exaggerated superficial karst forms. Above all, the legacy of the Quaternary glaciers (dynamics of glacier retreat, eustatic variations in sea level, isostatic rebound), is the subject of this article. At the convergence of the influences of the Andes mountains to the East and the Pacific ocean to the West, the karst with its surface and its subterranean and submarine forms, constitutes a key to the understanding of the landscape. We show that in each stage in this evolution (glacial retreat, sea level rise, isostatic rebound), the karst has developed forms that register 21,000 years of morphogenesis in this unique region.

Im Hhlenruinenniveau der Reiteralm (Berchtesgadener Alpen)? Beibelkareishhle (1337/42) und Prnzlkopfhhle (1337/57), 2010, Wisshak M. , Jantschke H.
Significant maxima in the relative and ab - solute elevation of horizontal passages in alpine caves allow to make inferences about their speleogenetic age based on the theory of a multi-phase incision of the base level and corresponding leveling of the karst aquifer. Methodological aspects of the assess ment of horizontal levels are illustrated for the karstic plateau Reiteralm (Berchtesgaden Alps), and possible pitfalls are exemplified for the Beibelkareishhle (1337/42) and the Prnzlkopfhhle (1337/57), two of the uppermost and potentially oldest caves in the plateau. In these two horizontal caves, which are only separated by a zone of breakdown, vadose canyons dominate that are oriented along the distinct bedding planes and their dip. They thus represent a relict of a southsoutheasterly oriented drainage whose speleogenesis mostly took place by vadose means and later than implied by the respective horizontal level of the Cave Ruin Level.

Castleguard Cave, Canada, 2012, Ford, Derek

Castleguard Cave is the longest cave system currently known in Canada (21 km) and the foremost example anywhere of a cavern extending underneath a modern glacier. It displays many striking features of interactions between glaciers and karst aquifers, a complex modern climate, rich mineralization, and a troglobitic fauna that has possibly survived one or more ice ages beneath deep ice cover in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.


HORACE-BÉNÉDICT DE SAUSSURE (1740-1799), THE SUMMITTER OF MONT-BLANC WHO EXPLORED ALPINE CAVES, 2012, Gauchon, Christophe

Horace-Bénédict de Saussure devoted his whole life to the study of the Western Alps and their geology. In his works, and especially in his “Travels in the Alps” (4 volumes, 1779-1796), he gave the description of a dozen of caves and karst phenomena located in the Alps of Savoy, in Jura, in Provence and in England. He was not alone taking an interested in caves, and he had an important letter-writing correspondence with various scientists who explored caves too in France. His explorations took part in a general thought about alpine geology: in the caves, Saussure measured temperatures, he observed speleothems (maybe the first mention of a flowstonefloor), he demonstrated the presence of former floods he couldn’t explain. In his scientific legacy, “agenda for observation and research”, he pointed out the necessity of an accurate investigation in caves for the improvement of geology.


A multi-method approach for speleogenetic research on alpine karst caves. Torca La Texa shaft, Picos de Europa (Spain), 2014,

Speleogenetic research on alpine caves has advanced significantly during the last decades. These investigations require techniques from different geoscience disciplines that must be adapted to the methodological constraints of working in deep caves. The Picos de Europa mountains are one of the most important alpine karsts, including 14% of the World’s Deepest Caves (caves with more than 1 km depth). A speleogenetic research is currently being developed in selected caves in these mountains; one of them, named Torca La Texa shaft, is the main goal of this article. For this purpose, we have proposed both an optimized multi-method approach for speleogenetic research in alpine caves, and a speleogenetic model of the Torca La Texa shaft. The methodology includes: cave surveying, dye-tracing, cave geometry analyses, cave geomorphological mapping, Uranium series dating (234U/230Th) and geomorphological, structural and stratigraphical studies of the cave surroundings. The SpeleoDisc method was employed to establish the structural control of the cavity. Torca La Texa (2,653 m length, 215 m depth) is an alpine cave formed by two cave levels, vadose canyons and shafts, soutirage conduits, and gravity-modified passages. The cave was formed prior to the Middle Pleistocene and its development was controlled by the drop of the base level, producing the development of the two cave levels. Coevally to the cave levels formation, soutirage conduits originated connecting phreatic and epiphreatic conduits and vadose canyons and shafts were formed. Most of the shafts were created before the local glacial maximum, (43-45 ka) and only two cave passages are related to dolines developed in recent times. The cave development is strongly related to the structure, locating the cave in the core of a gentle fold with the conduits’ geometry and orientation controlled by the bedding and five families of joints.


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