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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. ...

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. ...

Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 11 Jul, 2012
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 base width is the width of the hydrograph as determined by a line parallel to the time axis cutting through the points where the rising limb starts and where the recession curve ends [16].?

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Your search for desiccation (Keyword) returned 21 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 21
The `human revolution' in lowland tropical Southeast Asia: the antiquity and behavior of anatomically modern humans at Niah Cave (Sarawak, Borneo), , Barker G, Barton H, Bird M, Daly P, Datan I, Dykes A, Farr L, Gilbertson D, Harrisson B, Hunt C,
Recent research in Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia suggests that we can no longer assume a direct and exclusive link between anatomically modern humans and behavioral modernity (the `human revolution'), and assume that the presence of either one implies the presence of the other: discussions of the emergence of cultural complexity have to proceed with greater scrutiny of the evidence on a site-by-site basis to establish secure associations between the archaeology present there and the hominins who created it. This paper presents one such case study: Niah Cave in Sarawak on the island of Borneo, famous for the discovery in 1958 in the West Mouth of the Great Cave of a modern human skull, the `Deep Skull,' controversially associated with radiocarbon dates of ca. 40,000 years before the present. A new chronostratigraphy has been developed through a re-investigation of the lithostratigraphy left by the earlier excavations, AMS-dating using three different comparative pre-treatments including ABOX of charcoal, and U-series using the Diffusion-Absorption model applied to fragments of bones from the Deep Skull itself. Stratigraphic reasons for earlier uncertainties about the antiquity of the skull are examined, and it is shown not to be an `intrusive' artifact. It was probably excavated from fluvial-pond-desiccation deposits that accumulated episodically in a shallow basin immediately behind the cave entrance lip, in a climate that ranged from times of comparative aridity with complete desiccation, to episodes of greater surface wetness, changes attributed to regional climatic fluctuations. Vegetation outside the cave varied significantly over time, including wet lowland forest, montane forest, savannah, and grassland. The new dates and the lithostratigraphy relate the Deep Skull to evidence of episodes of human activity that range in date from ca. 46,000 to ca. 34,000 years ago. Initial investigations of sediment scorching, pollen, palynomorphs, phytoliths, plant macrofossils, and starch grains recovered from existing exposures, and of vertebrates from the current and the earlier excavations, suggest that human foraging during these times was marked by habitat-tailored hunting technologies, the collection and processing of toxic plants for consumption, and, perhaps, the use of fire at some forest-edges. The Niah evidence demonstrates the sophisticated nature of the subsistence behavior developed by modern humans to exploit the tropical environments that they encountered in Southeast Asia, including rainforest

Late Miocene desiccation of the Mediterranean., 1973, Hsu K. J. , Ryan W. B. F. , Cita M. B.

Late Miocene Desiccation of the Mediterranean, 1973, Hsu K. J. , Ryan W. B. F. , Cita M. B. ,

Palaeogeographic environment during the desiccation of the Black Sea, 1983, Kojumdgieva Emilia,
During the latest Chersonian (about 10.3 m.y. ago) tectonic movements took place leading to an elevation of the Crimean-Caucasian chain and to an isolation of the Fore-Caucasian part of the Black Sea Basin. This part of the basin had been draining the rivers of the Russian Platform and after the isolation it became desalinized, while the main part of the Black Sea Basin was almost desiccated and evaporites, mainly dolomites, formed in it due to the predominant calcium---magnesium---carbonate composition of the Chersonian Sea waters. These dolomites are found in the drillings of DSDP Leg 42B and are confirmed geophysically.The tectonic movements during the latest Chersonian led to the formation of a series of grabens along which the Mediterranean Sea invaded the north Aegean area and a little later (during the Early Maeotian) the Black Sea

CAYMANITE, A CAVITY-FILLING DEPOSIT IN THE OLIGOCENE MIOCENE BLUFF FORMATION OF THE CAYMAN ISLANDS, 1992, Jones B. ,
Caymanite is a laminated, multicoloured (white, red, black) dolostone that fills or partly fills cavities in the Bluff Formation of the Cayman Islands. The first phase of caymanite formation occurred after deposition, lithification, and karsting of the Oligocene Cayman Member. The second phase of caymanite formation occurred after joints had developed in the Middle Miocene Pedro Castle Member. Caymanite deposition predated dolomitization of the Bluff Formation 2-5 Ma ago. Caymanite is formed of mudstones, wackestone, packstones, and grainstones. Allochems include foraminifera, red algae, gastropods, bivalves, and grains of microcrystalline dolostone. Sedimentary structures include planar laminations, graded bedding, mound-shaped laminations, desiccation cracks, and geopetal fabrics. Original depositional dips ranged from 0 to 60-degrees. Although caymanite originated as a limestone, dolomitization did not destroy the original sedimentary fabrics or structures. The sediments that formed caymanite were derived from shallow offshore lagoons, swamps, and possibly brackish-water ponds. Pigmentation of the red and black laminae can be related to precipitates formed of Mn, Fe, Al, Ni, Ti, P, K, Si, and Ca, which occur in the intercrystalline pores. These elements may have been derived from terra rossa, which occurs on the weathered surface of the Bluff Formation. Caymanite colours were inherited from the original limestone. Stratigraphic and sedimentologic evidence shows that sedimentation was episodic and that the sediment source changed with time. Available evidence suggests that caymanite originated from sediments transported by storms onto a highly permeable karst terrain. The water with its sediment load then drained into the subsurface through joints and fissures. The depth to which these waters penetrated was controlled by the length of the interconnected cavity system. Upon entering cavities, sedimentation was controlled by a complex set of variables

PALUSTRINE CARBONATES AND THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES - TOWARDS AN EXPOSURE INDEX FOR THE FRESH-WATER ENVIRONMENT, 1992, Platt N. H. , Wright V. P. ,
Palustrine carbonates are shallow fresh-water deposits showing evidence of subaqueous deposition and subaerial exposure. These facies are common in the geological record. The intensity of modification is highly variable depending on the climate and the length of emergence. Palustrine limestones have previously been interpreted as marginal lacustrine deposits from fluctuating, low-salinity carbonate lakes, but several problems remain with existing facies models: 1) palustrine carbonates possess a lacustrine biota but commonly display fabrics similar to those of calcretes and peritidal carbonates; 2) the co-occurrence of calcrete horizons and karst-like cavities is somewhat unusual and appears to indicate contemporaneous carbonate precipitation and dissolution in the vadose zone; 3) the dominance of gray colors indicates water-saturation, apparently inconsistent with the evidence for strong desiccation overprint; 4) profundal lake deposits are generally absent from palustrine sequences, and sublittoral facies commonly make up only a small proportion of total thicknesses; 5) no good modem analogue has been identified for the palustrine environment. Analogy with the Florida Everglades suggests a re-interpretation of palustrine limestones, not as pedogenically modified lake margin facies but as the deposits of extensive, very shallow carbonate marshes. The distribution of environments in the Everglades is determined by the local hydrology, reflecting the control of seasonal water-level fluctuations and topography. Climate and topography were the main controls on deposition of ancient palustrine carbonates. As in peritidal sequences, aggradational cycles are capped by a range of lithologies (evaporites, desiccation and microkarst breccias, calcretes, lignite or coal horizons etc.), permitting interpretation of the climate. Careful analysis of lateral facies variations may permit reconstruction of subtle topography. Consideration of the Florida Everglades as a modem analogue for the palustrine environment has suggested the development of an exposure index for fresh-water carbonates

HALITE SALTERN IN THE CANNING BASIN, WESTERN-AUSTRALIA - A SEDIMENTOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF DRILL CORE FROM THE ORDOVICIAN-SILURIAN MALLOWA SALT, 1992, Cathro Dl, Warren Jk, Williams Ge,
The Late Ordovician-Early Silurian Mallowa Salt of the Carribuddy Group, Canning Basin, north-west Australia, is the largest halite deposit known in Australia, attaining thicknesses of 800 m or more within an area of approximately 200 000 km2. Study of 675 m of drill core from BHP-Utah Minerals' Brooke No. 1 well in the Willara Sub-basin indicates that the Mallowa Salt accumulated within a saltern (dominantly subaqueous evaporite water body) that was subject to recurrent freshening, desiccation and exposure. Textures and bromine signatures imply a shallow water to ephemeral hypersaline environment typified by increasing salinity and shallowing into evaporitic mudflat conditions toward the top of halite-mudstone cycles (Type 2) and the less common dolomite/anhydrite-halite-mudstone cycles (Type 1). The borate mineral priceite occurs in the capping mudstones of some cycles, reinforcing the idea of an increasing continental influence toward the top of mudstone-capped halite cycles. The rock salt in both Type 1 and Type 2 cycles typically comprises a mosaic of large, randomly orientated, interlocking halite crystals that formed during early diagenesis. It only partially preserves a primary sedimentary fabric of vertically elongate crystals, some with remnant aligned chevrons. Intraformational hiati, halite karst tubes and solution pits attest to episodic dissolution. Stacked Type 2 cycles dominate; occasional major recharges of less saline, perhaps marine, waters in the same area produced Type 1 cycles. The envisaged saltern conditions were comparable in many ways to those prevailing during the deposition of halite cycles of the Permian Salado Formation in New Mexico and the Permian San Andres Formation of the Palo Duro Basin area in Texas. However, in the Canning Basin the cycles are characterized by a much lower proportion of anhydrite, implying perhaps a greater degree of continental restriction to the basin. The moderately high level of bromine in the Mallowa Salt (156.5 43.5 ppm Br for primary halite, 146.1 54.7 ppm Br for secondary halite) accords with evolved continental brines, although highly evaporative minerals such as polyhalite and magnesite are absent. The bromine levels suggest little or no dissolution/reprecipitation of primary halite and yet, paradoxically, there is little preservation of the primary depositional fabric. The preservation of early halite cements and replacement textures supports the idea of an early shutdown of brine flow paths, probably at burial depths of no more than a few metres, and the resultant preservation of primary bromine values in the secondary halite

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.

Synsedimentary collapse of portions of the lower Blomidon Formation (Late Triassic), Fundy rift basin, Nova Scotia, 1995, Ackermann Rv, Schlische Pw, Olsen Pe,
A chaotic mudstone unit within the lower Blomidon Formation (Late Triassic) has been traced for 35 km in the Mesozoic Fundy rift basin of Nova Scotia. This unit is characterized by highly disrupted bedding that is commonly cut by small (<0.5 m) domino-style synsedimentary normal faults, downward movement of material, geopetal structures, variable thickness, and an irregular, partially faulted contact with the overlying unit. The chaotic unit is locally overlain by a fluvial sandstone, which is overlain conformably by mudstone. Although the thickness of the sandstone is highly variable, the overlying mudstone unit exhibits only gentle regional dip. The sandstone unit exhibits numerous soft-sediment deformation features, including dewatering structures, convoluted bedding, kink bands, and convergent fault fans. The frequency and intensity of these features increase dramatically above low points at the base of the sandstone unit. These stratigraphic relations suggest buried interstratal karst, the subsurface dissolution of evaporites bounded by insoluble sediments. We infer that the chaotic unit was formed by subsidence and collapse resulting from the dissolution of an evaporite bed or evaporite-rich unit by groundwater, producing dewatering and synsedimentary deformation structures in the overlying sandstone unit, which infilled surface depressions resulting from collapse. In coeval Moroccan rift basins, facies similar to the Blomidon Formation are associated with halite and gypsum beds. The regional extent of the chaotic unit indicates a marked period of desiccation of a playa lake of the appropriate water chemistry. The sedimentary features described here may be useful for inferring the former existence of evaporites or evaporite-rich units in predominantly elastic terrestrial environments

CYCLOSTRATIGRAPHY OF MIDDLE DEVONIAN CARBONATES OF THE EASTERN GREAT-BASIN, 1995, Elrick M,
Middle Devonian carbonates (250-430 m thick) of the eastern Great Basin were deposited along a low energy, westward-thickening, distally steepened ramp. Four third-order sequences can be correlated across the ramp-to-basin transition and are composed of meter-scale, upward-shallowing carbonate cycles (or parasequences). Peritidal cycles (shallow subtidal facies capped by tidal-flat laminites) constitute 90% of all measured cycles and are present across the entire ramp. The peritidal cycles are regressive- and transgressive-prone (upward-deepening followed by upward-shallowing facies trends). Approximately 80% of the peritidal cycle caps show evidence of prolonged subaerial exposure including sediment-filled dissolution cavities, horizontal to vertical desiccation cracks, rubble and karst breccias, and pedogenic alteration; locally these features are present down to 2 m below the cycle caps. Subtidal cycles (capped by shallow subtidal facies) are present along the middle-outer ramp and ramp margin and indicate incomplete shallowing. submerged subtidal cycles (64% of all subtidal cycles) are composed of deeper subtidal facies overlain by shallow subtidal facies. Exposed subtidal cycles are composed of deeper subtidal facies overlain by shallow subtidal facies that are capped by features indicative of prolonged subaerial exposure (dissolution cavities and brecciation). Average peritidal and subtidal cycle durations are between approximately 50 and 130 k.y. (fourth- to fifth-order). The combined evidence of abundant exposure-capped peritidal and subtidal cycles, transgressive-prone cycles, and subtidal cycles correlative with updip peritidal cycles indicates that the cycles formed in response to fourth- to fifth-order, glacio-eustatic sea-level oscillations. Sea-level oscillations of relatively low magnitude (< 10 m) are suggested by the abundance of peritidal cycles, the lack of widely varying, water-depth-dependent facies within individual cycles, and the presence of noncyclic stratigraphic intervals within intrashelf-basin, slope, and basin facies. Noncyclic intervals represent missed subtidal beats when the seafloor lay too deep to record the effects of the short-term sea-level oscillations. Exposure surfaces at the tops of peritidal and subtidal cycles represent one, or more likely several, missed sea-level oscillations when the platform lay above fluctuating sea level, but the amplitude of fourth- to fifth-order sea-level oscillation(s) were not high enough to flood the ramp. The large number of missed beats (exposure-capped cycles), specifically in Sequences 2 and 4, results in Fischer plots that show poorly developed rising and falling limbs (subdued wave-like patterns); consequently the Fischer plots: are of limited use as a correlation tool for these particular depositional sequences. The abundance of missed beats also explains why Milankovitch-type cycle ratios (similar to 5:1 or similar to 4:1) are not observed and why such ratios would not be expected along many peritidal-cycle-dominated carbonate platforms

Phototrophic Microorganisms of the Pamukkale, 1997, Pentecost Allan, Bayari Serdar , Yesertener Cahit
The travertines at Pamukkale contain a diverse assemblage of phototrophs: 17 species of cyanobacteria, 16 diatoms, and 5 Chlorophyceae. Two communities were recognized on the active travertines: (1) surficial mats dominated by filamentous cyanobacteria, particularly Lyngbya (Phormidium) laminosum forming soft weakly mineralized layers to 10 mm thick, and (2) a predominantly endolithic assemblage, also dominated by cyanobacteria developing 2-5 mm below the travertine surface. The distribution of these communities is determined largely by water flow and the degree of desiccation. Two further communities are briefly described from nondepositing areas. Most of the active travertine consists of alternating layers of micrite and sparite 0.25-0.75 mm in thickness, which probably result from short-term fluctuations in water flow rather than diel events (photosynthesis, temperature). The presence of needle-fiber calcite in surface samples suggests that evaporation of water may play some part in travertine formation. The phototrophs appear to influence the travertine fabric only locally, where the surficial growths contain strings of calcite crystals ad-hering to the filaments, forming irregularly laminated layers. The hot-spring water is believed to be contaminated with sewage and agricultural effluent, but there was no evidence to suggest that this is currently affecting the travertine deposits. The water is supersaturated with respect to calcite when it contacts the travertine, and precipitation is primarily the result of carbon dioxide evasion. Water chemistry and discharge measurements indicate a total travertine deposition rate of 35 tonnes per day.

Dedolomitization and other early diagenetic processes in Miocene lacustrine deposits, Ebro Basin (Spain), 1999, Arenas C, Zarza Ama, Pardo G,
A variety of meteoric diagenetic features reveal the development of a syngenetic karst on lacustrine deposits of the Ebro Basin. Diagenetic processes that operated on lacustrine laminated and stromatolitic carbonates include the following. (1) A first syndepositional stage with processes such as dolomitization, desiccation and related breccia formation and sulphate precipitation, either as lenticular gypsum crystals or nodules. This stage took place under progressive evaporation due to lake level fall, when the previous carbonate deposits became exposed as a supra-littoral fringe surrounding saline mud flats of adjacent sulphate depositional environments. (2) A second early diagenetic stage in which processes such as sulphate dissolution and collapse brecciation, dedolomitization, calcite spar cementation and silicification occurred as a result of meteoric water input that caused a progressive rise in lake level. Light isotopic compositions (delta(13)C and delta(18)O) of diagenetic calcites, versus heavier compositions in primary laminated and stromatolitic limestones, confirm a meteoric influence. The syngenetic karst is best developed at the boundary between two allostratigraphic units and coincided with one of the extensive stages of sulphate deposition at the end of the Early Miocene. The karst facies occurred in an area that was a low-relief barrier that separated two sites of sulphate deposition during low lake levels, This indicates that the karat development was controlled by topographic changes within the basin and record a shift from arid to wetter climatic conditions, as suggested by the overlying freshwater carbonate deposits. The presence of diagenetic features such as those described in the central Ebro Basin affecting saline lacustrine carbonates is relevant because they can be used as indicators of subaerial exposure periods in terrestrial environments and they also reveal important palaeogeographic and palaeoclimatic events of basinal extent.

Evolution of river network at the 'Cevennes-Grands Causses' transition: Consequences for the evaluation of uplift, 2001, Camus H,
The Mediterranean catchment of the Cevennes (S. France) presents deep incision of the river network (fig. 1 and 2). Combined geomorphology and analyses of the residual sedimentary formations allows to reconstruct a complex history of river network evolution, including capture of tributaries of the Herault River (fig. 1, 2 and 3). The history of uplift of the upstream drainage area could be estimated from the provenance studies of the fluvial and karstic deposits, however river incision is also controlled sea-level changes and differential erosion, which makes reconstruction more complex. Allochthonous clasts types Analyses of allochtonous deposits on the Grands Causses surface reveals different origin for sediments from the hill top and the Airoles valley (fig. 4b), which was previously unrecognised. Facies 1 is found on the highest points of the Grands Causses surface (well sorted rounded quartz pebbles in red shale matrix) it corresponds to a weathered residual sediments (dismantling of an ancient cover). Facies 2 is found on the slope of the Airoles Valley (fig. 7). It consists of alluvial crystalline poorly sorted clasts with outsized clasts (up to 50cm) of quartz-vein, schists in a matrix of shales and sand (weathered granite). Between the hill tops and the Airoles Valley, karstic network presents a sediment fill with clasts reworked from facies I and facies 2 (fig. 6). Airoles valley model : an example of diachronic formation of drainage network The Airoles dry valley stretches on the Grands Causses from the north (700 m) to the south into the present thalweg line of the Vis canyon (500 m) (fig. 1b & 3). Crystalline deposits witness an ancient catchment in the Cevennes. Presently, the catchment in the crystalline basement is disconnected and captured by the Arre River flowing eastwards (fig. 3 & 4a). The profile of the Airoles abandoned valley connects with the present Vis Canyon, therefore, at the time of capture, incision of the Vis canyon had reached its present altitude (fig. 4a). The geomorphologic evolution of this area took place in three stages (fig. 8). 1) The Grands Causses acted as piedmont for the crystalline highlands of the Massif Central (fig. 8A). A latter karstic evolution (tropical climate) allowed the weathered residual sediments (facies 1) (fig. 8A). 2) Incision of the Vis karstic canyon implies that the Herault incision and terraces (facies 2) (fig, 8B) of the Airoles valley occurred during this stage. 3) The Arre valley head propagates westward by regressive erosion and finaly captured the Airoles river crystalline catchment (fig. 8C). Consequence for the Cevennes uplift and hydrographic network development Although the values of present vertical incision in the Vis canyon and in the Arre valley are similar, but they achieved at different time. In addition, the narrow and deep canyon of the Vis is due to vertical incision from the karstic surface of the Grands Causses, whereas the Arre wide valley results from (a younger) lateral slops retreat from a low Herault base-level. The Vis karstic canyon developed in a similar way to the major karstic canyons of both Mediterranean and Atlantic catchment (i.e. Tarn). This rules out a Messinian Mediterranean desiccation as incision driving mechanism and suggests tectonic uplift of the Cevennes and surrounding areas. The Tam being already incised by 13 My [Ambert, 1990], it implies a Miocene age for the incision. Conclusion The amplitude of the vertical incision cannot therefore be used in a simple way to interpret the uplift history of the basement. Consequently, geomorphologic analysis appears to be a prerequisite to distinguish the part played by each factor, and to select the site of uplift measurement

Collapse and subsidence associated with salt karstification along the dead sea, 2001, Frumkin A, Raz E,
Two types of sinkholes are observed along the Dead Seashore, Israel. The first is associated with vadose dissolution in Mount Sedom salt diapir. The second is associated with dissolution under the watertable along the retreating Dead Sea shore. The Dead Sea level is falling dramatically, mainly because of human activity. Simultaneously, the take shores suffer tremendous impact since the late 1980s: The ground is collapsing and subsiding in hundreds of points along the take, with people, roads and property being swallowed in the more catastrophic events. The collapse is believed to result from dissolution of salt by aggressive groundwater, following the retreat of Dead Sea level and the groundwater halocline. Geological evidence suggests that a previous major lake level fall occurred naturallysimilar to2000 BCE. This may provide a new explanation for a curious historical-geological phrase in the book of Genesis, suggested to record formation of collapse sinkholes which occurred in response to the historic falling take level, associated with climatic desiccation

The effect of the Messinian Deep Stage on karst development around the Mediterranean Sea. Examples from Southern France, 2004, Audra P, Mocochain L, Camus H, Gilli E, Clauzon G, Bigot Jy,
It is difficult to explain the position and behaviour of the main karst springs of southern France without calling on a drop in the water table below those encountered at the lowest levels of Pleistocene glacio-eustatic fluctuations. The principal karst features around the Mediterranean are probably inherited from the Messinian period ('Salinity crisis') when sea level dropped dramatically due to the closing of the Straight of Gibraltar and desiccation of the Mediterranean Sea. Important deep karst systems were formed because the regional ground water dropped and the main valleys were entrenched as canyons. Sea level rise during the Pliocene caused sedimentation in the Messinian canyons and water, under a low hydraulic head, entered the upper cave levels. The powerful submarine spring of Port-Miou is located south of Marseille in a drowned canyon of the Calanques massif. The main water flow comes from a vertical shaft that extends to a depth of more than 147 in bsl. The close shelf margin comprises a submarine karst plateau cut by a deep canyon whose bottom reaches 1,000 in bsl. The canyon ends upstream in a pocket valley without relation to any important continental valley. This canyon was probably excavated by the underground paleoriver of Port-Miou during the Messinian Salinity Crisis. Currently, seawater mixes with karst water at depth. The crisis also affected inland karst aquifers. The famous spring of Fontaine de Vaucluse was explored by a ROV (remote observation vehicle) to a depth of 308 in, 224 m below current sea level. Flutes observed on the wall of the shaft indicate the spring was formerly an air-filled shaft connected to a deep underground river flowing towards a deep valley. Outcroppings and seismic data confirm the presence of deep paleo-valleys filled with Pliocene sediments in the current Rhone and Durance valleys. In the Ardeche, several vauclusian springs may also be related to the Messinian Rhone canyon, located at about 200 in below present sea level. A Pliocene base level rise resulted in horizontal dry cave levels. In the hinterland of Gulf of Lion, the Cevennes karst margin was drained toward the hydrologic window opened by the Messinian erosional surface on the continental shelf

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