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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. ...

Did you know?

That tertiary porosity is see porosity, tertiary.?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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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 base level (Keyword) returned 120 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 120
Significance and origin of very large regulating power of some karst aquifers in the Middle East. Implication on karst aquifer classification, , Elhakim M, Bakalowicz M,
SummaryKarst aquifers are the main groundwater resource in Lebanon as well as in most Mediterranean countries. Most of them are not exploited in a sustainable way, partly because their characteristics remain unknown. Karst aquifers are so complex that the assessment of their resource and their exploitable storage requires an analysis of their whole functioning, particularly by analysing the spring hydrograph. Among all various methods, the method proposed by Mangin aims to characterize at the same time the recharge conditions and the storage and recession of the saturated zone by analyzing the spring hydrograph. This method defines two parameters, the infiltration delay i, and the regulating power k which are the roots of a classification of karst systems. This classification makes the distinction between karst and porous aquifers considering the value of the regulating power. k is assumed to be lower than 0.5 in karst, and between 0.5 and 1 for all other aquifers, 1 being the upper limit.The study of karst aquifers in Lebanon shows values of k > 0.5, and even 1; former data from the literature show that other karst springs in Middle East have comparable characteristics. In fact, what is not considered by Mangin and others, k is equivalent to a mean residence time in years of water in the saturated zone. So long residence times are normally observed in poorly karstified aquifers, or containing abandoned, not functioning karstification. The geological framework in which the studied springs are located in fact shows that these aquifers have been subject to a long, complex evolution, as a consequence of the base level rising. This rising produced the flooding of the successive karst drainage network, which does not really function anymore and provides a large storage capacity to the aquifer. The very interesting properties of these aquifers make them prime targets for fulfilling the increasing needs of water

Hydrology of carbonate rock terranes -- A review , : With special reference to the United States, 1969, Stringfield V. T. , Legrand H. E. ,
Limestone and other carbonate rocks are characterized by many unusual features and extreme conditions, either involving the hydrologic system within them or wrought by hydrologic conditions on them or through them. Perhaps there could be little agreement as to what is typical or average for the many features of carbonate rocks, as indicated by the following conditions: bare rock and thin soils are common, but so are thick soils; very highly permeable limestones are common, but so are poorly permeable ones; and rugged karst topographic features with underlying solution caverns are common, but so are flat, nearly featureless topographic conditions. Some conditions of carbonate terranes are suitable to man's needs and interests, such as the use of some permeable aquifers for water supply and the exploitation of caves for tourist attractions. On the other hand, many problems may exist, including: permeability too low for adequate water supply or so high that the aquifer retains too little water for use during periods of fair weather, soils too thin for growing of crops and for adequate filtration of wastes near the ground surface, instability of the ground for buildings and foundations in sinkhole areas, and unusually rugged topography. Some of the many variable conditions are readily observable, but others can be determined only by careful geologic and hydrologic studies.The need for knowing the specific geologic and hydrologic conditions at various places in limestone terranes, as well as the variations in hydrologic conditions with changing conditions and time, has resulted in many published reports on local areas and on special topical problems of limestone hydrology. Many of these reports have been used to advantage by the present writers in preparing this paper.The concept that secondary permeability is developed by circulation of water through openings with the accompanying enlargement of these openings by solution is now universally accepted in limestone terranes. Emphasis is placed on the hydrogeologic framework, or structural setting, in relation to the ease or difficulty of water to move from a source of recharge, through a part of the limestone, to a discharge area. Parts of the limestone favored by circulating ground water tend to develop solution openings, commonly in the upper part of the zone of saturation; as base level is lowered (sea level or perennial stream level), the related water table lowers in the limestone leaving air-filled caverns above the present zone of saturation in sinkhole areas. Reconstruction of the geologic and hydrologic history of a limestone area aids in determining the extent of development and the positions of fossil and present permeability. References are made to the hydrology of many limestone regions, especially those of the United States

Present Karstic base level in the main canyons of oriental Languedoc and Plans of Provence., 1978, Fabre G. , Nicod Jean
In a karstic country cut by a canyon in which runs an allogenic river, there are several base levels (karstic, fluvial...); chiefly if the limestones develop greatly under the bottom of the gorge. The difficulty of characterizing them appears in all the definitions given. From the example of the three most important canyons of the Eastern Bas Languedoc (South-East of France) and with the different geological controls (s.l.) one ascertains that at present: a) When an allogenic and surface river is perennial without important loss there is a total connection between fluvial level and karstic base level. b) When an allogenic and temporary surface river doesn't flow and has losses, there is no connection between the major fluvial and base level and the karstic base level.

Karst development and the distribution of karst drainage systems in Dejiang, Guizhou Province, China, 1983, Song Linhua, Zhang Yaoguang, Fang Jinfu, Gu Zhongxong,
The nature of karstification of two contrasting areas on the north Guizhou Plateau (south China) is shown to be controlled by structure, lithology, geomorphic history and tectonics, and causes significant differences to arise in the subsurface drainage systems of the areas.The Shaqi area lies in a syncline of Permo-Triassic limestones underlain by an insoluble sandy shale which forms the local base level. Karst landforms are strongly influenced by the presence of four erosion levels corresponding to four periods of rejuvenation of the drainage systems. Drainage is concentrated along the syncline axis, and one system (Naoshuiyan) has been pirating another (Lengshuiyan) by headward retreat. Cave passages are typically phreatic.The Dejiang Town area lies in an anticline of Cambrian dolomite and Ordovician limestone. Three large subsurface drainage systems have developed along parallel faults, and have typically vadose cross-sections

Karst and Caves of the Nam Lang - Nam Khong Region, North Thailand, 1985, Dunkley, John

The Nam Lang - Nam Khong Karst Region, located in a thinly populated, remote part of Mae Hong Son Province, north-west Thailand, comprises about 1,000km2 of massive Permian limestone. Over much of the area is developed a characteristic polygonal karst dominated by over 3,000 depressions, with an assemblage of forms including dolines, uvalas, poljes, streamsinks, through caves, springs and blind valleys. Speleological exploration commenced only in 1983 and the major discovery is the Tham Nam Lang, the longest cave reported on the mainland of south-east Asia with nearly 7km of passages. Cave development is strongly influenced by regional strike and fault orientation and by base level incision into impermeable sediments underlying the limestone. The largest caves are formed where aggressive water collects on impervious rocks before entering the limestone. Elsewhere cave development is limited. Several caves are important archaeological sites, and a number have tourist potential.


La notion d'tages de grottes dans le karst belge, 1989, Quinif, Y.
The notion of karst levels in the Belgium karst - The notion of levels in a cave is used in many morphological contexts, with different signification. The purpose of this paper is to define this notion with geometrical, morphological and sedimentological considerations. In many examples, this notion is improperly used, with false genetic implications. The studies of galleries fillings show that they have had together hydrological activities during the evolution of a same cave.

Morphologie et hydrologie d'un karst couvert : le rseau de Ziaka (Bas-Zare), 1989, Quinif Y. , Dupuis C.
Morphology and hydrology of a covered karst: the Ziaka cave-system (Lower Zare) - In the middle of the Lower Zare karst, Ziaka cave constitutes the emergence of a great flooded karst. Divers have explored several flooded galleries. The cave shows very characteristic morphology of flooded karst: coupolas, bedding-plane anastomosis. The river deposits of the Kwilu cover the limestone. The karst is capped and artesian, its water table is higher than the base level of the Kwilu.

La karstification profonde dans le Jura partir des observations faites lors du percement du tunnel du LFP (Ain et canton de Genve), 1990, Fourneaux J. Cl. , Landru B. , Sommeria L.
THE DEEP KARSTIFICATION IN THE JURA from observations collected during the digging of the LEP gallery, Ain (France) and district of Geneva (Switzerland) - The LEP tunnel drilling, in part under the first Jura range (north of Geneva), in lower Cretaceous limestone formations, gave the opportunity of many observations about the deep karstification, the connection between these deep forms and the active karst, and also about the karstic fillings. It is possible to find 3 kind of deposits: the first is green and dating from Cretaceous, the second is red and dating from Oligocene, the third is brown and dating from Quaternary. The karstification is developed under the base level and an explanation of this development is given here. But the hydrogeologic behaviour of these formations is in connection with jointing, like a tracing experiment shown it. If in surface, a big karstic spring have a flow varying from 10L/s to 10m3/s, in the tunnel the flow did never overpass 180L/s.

Bathymetry and origin of Lake Timk, South West Tasmania, 1990, Kiernan, Kevin

The bathymetry of Lake Timk suggests that it is a glacially over-deepened rock basin but one which owes much of its form to preglacial karst processes. Underground drainage from the lake forms part of an integrated karst conduit system. The lake bed does not provide the base level of vadose circulation in the karst at the present time as at least one negotiable cave extends under the lake.


Alpine karsts. Genesis of large subterranean networks. Examples : the Tennengebirge (Austria) - the Ile de Crémieu, the Chartreuse and the Vercors (France), PhD Thesis, 1993, Audra, Philippe

This work, based on the study of several underground alpine networks, aims to propose some milestone in the history of these karstic regions.

The first part of the work is made up of three regional studies.

The Tennengebirge mountains are a massif of the limestone High Alps in the region of Salzburg in Austria. A cone karst close to the base level developed in the Neogene. Streams from the Alps fed the karst, resulting in the huge horizontal networks of which the Eisriesenwelt provides evidence. During the successive phases of upthrust, the levels of karstification, whether on the surface or deeper down, settled into a tier pattern, thus descending in stages from the base level. From the Pliocene era onwards, thanks to an increase in potential, alpine shafts replace the horizontal networks. The formation of these shafts is more pronounced during glaciation. The study of the Cosa Nostra - Bergerhöhle system developing 30 km of conduits on a gradient reaching almost 1 500 m provides a fairly full view of the karstification of this massif. It includes the horizontal levels developed in the Miocene and the Plio-Pleistocene, joined together by vertical sections. The most noteworthy features of the Tennengebirge, as in the neighboring massifs, lie first and foremost in the extreme thickness of the limestone which has recorded and immunized the differents steps of karstification. Secondly, the size of the networks can be, for the most part, accounted for by the contribution of allogenous waters from the streams of the Neogene and the glaciers of the Pleistocene. Generally sudden and unexpected, these flows of water engendered heavy loads (up to 600 m), simultaneously flooding several levels. To a lesser extent, the situation is similar today.

The Ile de Cremieu is a low limestone plateau on the western edge of the Jura. Due to its location in the foothills, the lobes of the Rhône glacier have covered it up, obliterating the surface karst. However, widespread evidence of anteglacial morphologies remains : paleokarst, cone karst, polygenic surface. Because of glacial plugging, access to the underground karst is limited. The main cavity is the cave of La Balme. Its initial development dates back to an early period. The morphological study has permitted the identification of several phases which go back to the Pleistocene and which are related to the Rhône glacier. The latter brought about modifications in the base level by supplying its merging waters as well as moraine material. These variations in the base level shaped the drainage structure. The underground glacial polishes are one of the noteworthy aspects recorded.

The massives of the Moucherotte and dent de Crolles belong to the northern French Prealps. They conceal large networks, respectively the Vallier cave and the Dent de Crolles. They were formed in the early Pliocene after the final orogenic phase and are in the form of horizontal conduits. The upthrust, which brought about the embanking of the Isère valley, left them in a perched position by taking away the basin which fed them. They were later, however, able to take advantage of waters from the Isère glacier during a part of the Pleistocene. The Vallier cave contains particularly glacio-karstic sediments of the lower Pleistocene, representing unique evidence of glaciation during this period. The vertical networks were put in place at the end of the Pliocene with the increase in karstification potential ; they underwent changes in the Pleistocene due to the effect of autochton and allogenous glaciers.

The second part of the work deals in general with the various forms and processes of karstification, sometimes going beyond the Alps. The study of cave deposits is a privileged tool in the understanding and reconstruction not only of the history of the networks but also the regional environment. The dating of speleothems by the U / Th method has very ofen given an age of over 350 000 years. The age of the networks is confirmed by the use of paleomagnetism which has yielded evidence of speleothems and glacio-karstic sediments anterior to 780 000 years. Anisotropic measurements of magnetic susceptibility have been used to distinguish the putting into place of glacio-karstic deposits by decantation.

Measurements of calcite rates lead to a typology of sediments based on their nature and carbonate content (rehandled weathered rocks, fluvial sands, carbonated varves, decantation clays). Granulometry confirms this differenciation by supplying precise details of transport and sedimentation modes : suspension and abrupt precipitation of clay, suspension and slow decantation of carbonated varves, suspension and rolling together with a variable sorting of sand and gravel. Mineralogical analyses oppose two types of detrital deposits. On the one hand, the rehandling of antequaternary weathered rocks extracted by the karst as a result of scouring during environmental destabilization and on the other hand, sediments characteristic of the ice age of the Pleistocene. The latter are not highly developed and their arrival in the karst is always later. Examination of heavy minerals, the morphoscopy of quartz grains and study of micromorphologies on thin blades provide precise details of conditions of evolution. The use of these methods of investigation allows for an accurate definition of the features of the evolution of the differents types of fillings, particularly speleothems, rehandled weathered rocks as well as carbonated varves. This wealth and complexity are emphasized by a detailed study of the sedimentary sequences of the Vallier cave and of the Bergerhöhle.
Speleogenesis is approached last of all in the light of above study. Emphasis is placed on the major part played by corrosion in the temporarily phreatic zone and on its many consequences (multi-level concept, simultaneous evolution of levels, origin of deep waterlogged karsts…).
Varia tions in the base level have induced karstification in contexts in which the potential was weak. These were followed by periods of increased potential to which were added the effects of glaciation. Perched horizontal levels belong to the first stages which ended in the early Pliocene, whereas alpine shafts developed in the second context. The role of structure and the parameters governing the shape of conduits (pits, meanders, canyons) are also dealt with. The different parts of the karst are borne in mind when dealing with the strength of karstic erosion during the ice age. It notably appears that it is weak on the crests and more or less non-existent in the deep parts of the karst which are liable to flooding. Finally, a preliminary analysis of an observation of neotectonic traces is presented.


Rapports entre la karstification _primditerranenne et la crise de salinit messinienne, lexemple du karst lombard (Italie), 1994, Bini, A.
The Mediterraean dessiccation theory suggests that during the Messinian the Mediterranean sea lad almost completely dried up did a thick succession of evaporites was laid down Due to dessiccation the erosional base level through the whole Mediterranean area was lowered, with the consequent development of long and deep fluviatile canyons (e.g. Nile, Rhne, Var, etc). This lowering strongly affected karst evolution This paper concerns the karst in Lombardy, around the southalpine lakes. The old evolutionary models, predating dessiccation theory, assume that the lacustine valleys were scoured by the quaternary glaciers. ln this case the karst should have been characterized by some features, like for example the altitudinal cave distribution as a consequence of the valley lowering after each glaciation. Seismic experiments through the lakes and their tributaries have shown that these valleys are deep fluviatile canyons. The study of caves has demonstrated that the caves themselves predate the entrenchment of the valleys and the glaciations. During the latter the caves were filled up and emptied several times, without any modifications of their inner morphology, including stalactites. Moreover the U/Th age determinations indicate that a great number of concretions are older than 350 ky, and that a few are older than 1.5 Ma. As a conse-quence, a general model of karst evolution can be proposed. The former karstic drainage system developed after the Oligo-Miocene emersion. Paleogeography obviously diffe-red from the present day landscape but the main valley had already been scoured. During the Messinian the dramatic lowering of base level determined major changes in karstic evolution and a reorganisation of the karst drainage system that was consequently lowered considerably. The Pliocene transgression determined a new karst evolution, after which a great number of caves were located well below the sea level base. This evolution occurred during hot and wet climate period, with seasonal high flows and relevant discharges of the karstic rivers The great caves of the Lombardian karst developed within the climatic stage.

Analyse des conditions de dveloppement de la karstification profonde, 1994, Fourneaux, J. C.
Karstification is a dissolving process which enlarges some channels clefts and fractures and eventually creates caves. The phenomenon Is only possible in deep areas located under the base level, if water flows easily. The analysis of the physical and chemical data accumulated at the beginning of the flood shows hotter and more mineralised waters once the flow starts accelerating. The hydrodynamic study of the phenomenon allows to build a model that explains the deep karstification process. The deep karstification process occurs when a very heterogenous distribution of pressures briefly takes place in the aquiferous system at the beginning of the recharge. This is due to the fact that the waters reach the karstic conduits at different times and therefore the refill and the eviction of waters do not occur uniformly in the saturated zone. Actually, the very mineralised waters located under the base level in the caves, conduits and other holes are evicted first. Then, these waters are replaced by aggressive waters, which are often with a high C02 concentration. As a result, the limestones dissolution process starts again in the area under the outlet point and the splits and bed ding joints keep on enlarging. The heterogeneous distribution of pressures also opens new splits through a corner effect and leads to the development in depth of the karstification process.

MESSINIAN (LATE MIOCENE) KARST ON GRAND-CAYMAN, BRITISH-WEST-INDIES - AN EXAMPLE OF AN EROSIONAL SEQUENCE BOUNDARY, 1994, Jones B. , Hunter I. G. ,
The Cayman Unconformity, which separates the Pedro Castle Formation (Pliocene) from the underlying Cayman Formation (Miocene), is a sequence boundary that developed during the Messinian, when sea level was at a lowstand due to glaciation in the Southern Hemisphere. By the end of the Messinian, Grand Cayman was an atoll-like island that had an elevated peripheral rim that was up to 41 m above the central depression. The Cayman Formation contains paleocaves and paleosinkholes that were linked to the Cayman Unconformity. The topography on the Cayman Unconformity is attributed to erosional processes, because (1) there is no evidence of carbonates that formed by constructional processes (i.e., reefs, dunes) in the elevated peripheral rim, and (2) there is ample evidence of dissolutional features in the Cayman Formation. The topography developed on the interior of Grand Cayman during the Messinian was uneven. A deep, basin-like depression, with its base as much as 50 m below the peripheral rim, formed on the western part of the island. By comparison, the floor of the depression on the eastern part of the island was 20-30 m higher. The difference in the topography, which is a reflection of the amount of bedrock dissolution, suggests that the effective rainfall was highest over the western part of the island. The relief on the Cayman Unconformity and associated structures shows that base level during the Messinian karst development was at least 41 m below present-day sea level. This is also provides an estimate of the Messinian lowstand position because the base level in oceanic karst settings is usually controlled by sea level

Middle Holocene environmental change determined from the salt caves of Mount Sedom, Israel, 1994, Frumkin, A. , Carmi, I. , Zak, I. And Magaritz, M. , 1994
Paleoclimatic sequence for the Middle Holocene was constructed, based on Mount Sedom salt caves, and other evidence. Mount Sedom is a salt diapir, on the southwestern shore of the Dead Sea, which has been rising above the local base level throughout the Holocene. Allogenic karst development has kept pace with the rising, forming vadose caves. Wood fragments found embedded in flood sediments that were deposited in sub-horizontal cave passages yielded 14C ages from 7090 to 200 YBP. The paleoclimatic sequence is based on parameters that include: relative abundance of plant types or floral communities, the elevations of the corresponding relict cave passages and the ratio of their width to present passage width. Moister climatic stages are indicated by relatively abundant wood remains, by wide cave passages and by higher-level outlets, indicating high Dead Sea levels. Arid periods are marked by a scarcity of wood remains, by narrow cave passages and by low-level outlets. The results were correlated to other middle-Holocene evidence and temporal settlement changes. The Early Bronze period in Israel was the moistest period during the last 6000 years and as such it encouraged cultural development. It was followed by a considerable desiccation that caused a cultural deterioration.

Conditions structurales des karsts artsiens, 1995, Choppy, J.
In an artesian karst the water flow, on its way to the outlet must follow a U-shaped course below the base level (figure 1a). This paper analyses the geological structure responsible for this particular course in the main registered examples. They include some world's biggest karstic springs.

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