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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 discharge, maximum is the maximum discharge of a river or spring during high flow conditions [16].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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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 ebro basin (Keyword) returned 13 results for the whole karstbase:
An interstitial Asellid from Ebro basin (Spain): Proasellus lescherae n.sp. (Crustacea, Isopoda, Asellota)., 1978, Henry Jean Paul, Magniez Guy
Proasellus lescherae n.sp. is a little, interstitial species, living in the underflow of Rio Guadalope Basin (a tributary of Ebro River). It is related to the water-slaters of the underground waters of the Pyreneo-cantabrigian region (the phyletic line of ProaselIus spelaeus Racovitza). The mean size of the reproductive females is very small (2,9 mm) and the brood contains only 6-10 eggs. Nevertheless, the size of the eggs and intramarsupial larval stages are the same as in epigean or hypogean species of the genus, which reach a larger adult size.

Le karst du gypse du centre de la dpression de l'Ebre (Espagne), 1990, Soriano, M. A.
THE GYPSUM KARST OF THE CENTER OF THE EBRE BASSIN (SPAIN) - The central Ebro basin was filled with evaporitic deposits (gypsum and limestones) during the Miocene. During the Quaternary, several alluvial terrace and pediment levels were developed and they overlay the gypsum deposits. A large number of karstic landforms developed on gypsum have been found. The most important reason is its high solubility. We have found different types of microlandforms. The most important are Rillenkarren, solution pits and micro etching. There are also small tumuli. They are active at present. We have differentiated three macrolandforms: paleocollapses, depressions and alluvial dolines. The paleocollapses are very narrow and deep. They are filled with quaternary materials. They are not active and were generated in the Middle or Upper Pleistocene. The depressions were developed by the gypsum dissolution, together with topographical and geomorphologic factors. They do not seem to be active nowadays. The alluvial dolines are developed on the terrace and pediment deposits, which overlay gypsum materials. There is basin, well and pan-shaped dolines and they are especially frequent in the T2 terrace level. From the study of aerial photographs of different years, the variations in the number and size of dolines and their density have been determined. Natural factors (lithology and fractures), together with human activities (irrigation) are the principal causes in their development.

Contribution to knowledge of gypsum karstology, PhD thesis, 1998, Calaforra Chordi, J. M.

The objective of this study was not to establish a definitive judgement regarding a topic for which very little previous information was available, but rather to open new routes for research into karst by means of a particularized analysis of some of the factors involved in the speleogenesis of gypsiferous materials. The main obstacle to the attainment of this goal has been the scientific community's lack of interest in karst in gypsum, particularly in our country, until the nineteen eighties. To overcome this neglect it was decided, in my opinion quite correctly, to extend the bounds of the study as far as possible, so that the information obtained from the contrast found between the most important worldwide zones of karst in gypsum could be applied to the gypsiferous karst in our country, and in particular, to the most significant, the karst in gypsum of Sorbas.
This is the justification for the numerous references in the text to the gypsiferous karst and cavities in gypsum that are most relevant in Spain (Sorbas, Gobantes, Vallada, Archidona, Estremera, Baena, the Ebro Basin, Estella, Beuda, Borreda, etc.) and also to the best-known gypsiferous karsts worldwide (Podolia, Secchia, Venna del Gesso Romagnolo, Sicily and New Mexico). By means of these comparisons, the initial lack of information has been overcome.
The study is based on three central tenets, which are interrelated and make up the first three chapters of this report. The first consideration was to attempt to characterize the particular typology of gypsiferous karst from the geological (both stratigraphic and structural) point of view. This chapter also provides an introduction to each of the gypsiferous karsts examined. The second chapter is dedicated to the geomorphology of gypsiferous karst, under both superficial and subterranean aspects. It is important to note that the study of a gypsiferous karst from the speleological point of view is something that may seem somewhat unusual; however, this is one of the points of principle of this paper, the attempt to recover the true meaning of a word that has historically been unfairly condemned by a large part of the Spanish scientific community. Thirdly, a detailed study has been made of the hydrochemistry of the most important gypsiferous karsts in our region, together with the presentation of a specific analytical methodology for the treatment of the hydrochemical data applicable to the gypsiferous karst.
Geological characterization of gypsum karst
In the characterization of karst in gypsum, the intention was to cover virtually all the possibilities from the stratigraphic and structural standpoints. Thus, there is a description of widely varying gypsiferous karsts, made up of Triassic to Miocene materials, some with a complex tectonic configuration and others hardly affected by folding. The gypsiferous karsts described, and their most significant geological characteristics, are as follows:
Karst in gypsum at Sorbas (Almeria): composed of Miocene gypsiferous levels with the essential characteristic of very continuous marly interstrata between the layers of gypsum, which decisively affect the speleogenesis of the area. The gypsum layers have an average thickness of about 10 m and, together with the fracturing in the zone, determine the development of the gypsiferous cavities. These are mainly selenitic gypsum - occasionally with a crystal size of over 2 m - and their texture also has a geomorphologic and hydrogeologic influence. This area is little affected by folding and so the tectonic influence of speleogenesis is reduced to the configuration of the fracturing.
The Triassic of Antequera (Malaga): this is, fundamentally, the gypsiferous outcrop at Gobantes-Meliones, originating in the Triassic and located within the well-known "Trias" of Antequera. It is made up of very chaotic gypsiferous materials containing a large quantity of heterometric blocks of varied composition; the formation may be defined as a Miocene olitostromic gypsiferous breccia that is affected by important diapiric phenomena. The presence of hypersoluble salts at depth is significant in the modification of the hydrochemical characteristics of the water and in the speleogenetic development of the karst.
The Triassic of Vallada (Valencia): Triassic materials outcrop in the Vallada area; these mainly correspond to the K5 and K4 formations of the Valencia Group, massive gypsum and gypsiferous clays. The influence of dolomitic intercalations in the sequence is crucial to the speleogenesis of the area and this, together with intense tectonic activity, has led to the development in this sector of the deepest gypsiferous cavity in the world: the "Tunel dels Sumidors". As in the above case, the presence of hypersoluble salts at depth and the varied lithology influence the variations in the hydrodynamics and hydrochemistry of the gypsiferous aquifer.
Other Spanish gypsum karsts: this heading covers a group of gypsiferous areas and cavities of significant interest from the speleogenetic standpoint. They include the area of Estremera (Madrid), with Miocene gypsiferous clays and massive gypsum arranged along a large horizontal layer; this has produced the development of the only gypsiferous cavity in Spain with maze configuration, the Pedro Fernandez cave. The study of this cave has important hydrogeological implications with respect to speleogenesis in gypsum in phreatic conditions. The Baena (Cordoba) sector, in terms of its lithology, is comparable to the "Trias de Antequera". Here, the cavities developed in gypsiferous conglomerates, following structural discontinuities have enabled contact between carbonate and gypsiferous levels, and so we may speak of a mixed karstification: a karst in calcareous rocks and gypsum. The karst of Archidona (Malaga) is similar to that of the Gobantes-Meliones group and is significant because of the geomorphologic evolution of the karst, which is related to the diapiric ascent of the area and the formation of karstic ravines. The karst in the Miocene and Oligocene gypsum of the Ebro Basin (Zaragoza), has been taken as a characteristic example of a gypsiferous karst developed under an alluvial cover, with the corresponding geomorphological implications in the evolution of the surface landforms. In the gypsiferous area of Borreda (Barcelona), the presence of anhydritic levels in the sequence might have influenced the speleogenesis of its cavities. The cavity of La Mosquera, in Beuda (Girona), developed in massive Paleogene gypsum. This is the only Spanish example of a phreatic gypsiferous cavity developed in saccaroid gypsum, which is related to the particular subterranean morphology discovered. Finally, this group includes other Spanish gypsiferous outcrops visited during the preparation of this report, the references to which may be found in the relevant chapters.
Karst in gypsum in Europe and America: In order to complete the study of karst in gypsum, and with the idea of using all the available data on the karstology of gypsiferous materials for comparative studies of data for our country, a complementary activity was to define the most significant geological characteristics of the most important gypsiferous karsts in the world. An outstanding example is the gypsiferous karst at Podolia (Ukraine), developed in microcrystalline Miocene gypsum which has undergone block tectonics related to the collapse of the Precarpatic foredeep. This gypsum provides interesting data on speleogenesis in gypsiferous materials, as its evolution is related to the confining of the only gypsiferous stratum (of 10 to 20 m depth) producing interconnected labyrinthine galleries of over 100 km in length. Another well-known karst in gypsum is the one located at "Venna del Gesso Romagnolo" (Italy), in the Bologna region, with a lithology that is very similar to that which developed at Sorbas, but with the difference that it underwent more intense tectonics with folding and fracturing of the Tertiary sediments of the Po basin. In the same Italian province, in "L'alta Val di Sec-chia", there are outcrops of karstified Triassic materials which correspond to the formation of Burano, composed of gypsum and anhydrite with hypersoluble salts at depth and very notable diapiric phenomena. The study of this area has been used for a comparative analysis - geomorphology and hydrogeochemistry - with the Spanish gypsiferous karsts developed in Triassic levels. The third Italian gypsiferous karst to be considered is the one developed in Sicily, which has extensive Messinian outcrops of microcrystalline and selenitic gypsum as well as a great variety of lithologic types within the gypsiferous sequence, which we term the "gessoso solfifera" sequence. This gypsiferous karst is especially interesting from the geomorphologic standpoint due to the great quantity and variety of present superficial karstic forms. This has also served as a guide for the study of Spanish gypsiferous karsts. Finally, considering the relation between climatology and the development of karstic forms, we have also studied the karst in gypsum in New Mexico, where there is an extensive outcrop of Permian gypsum, both micro and macrocrystalline, situated on a large platform almost unaffected by deformation, and where the conditions of aridity are very similar to those found in the gypsiferous karst of Sorbas.
Geomorphological characterization of gypsum karst
From the geomorphological standpoint, the intention is to give an overview of the great variety of karstic forms developed in gypsum, traditionally considered less important than those developed in carbonate areas. This report shows this is not the case.
The theory of Convergence of Forms has been shown to be an efficient tool for the study of the morphology of karst in gypsum. Here, its principles have been used to provide genetic explanations for various gypsiferous forms derived from carbonate studies, and for the reverse case. In fact, studying a karst in gypsum is like having available a geomorphological laboratory where not only are the processes faster but they are also applicable to the karstology of carbonate rocks.
A large number of minor karstic forms (Karren) have been identified. The most important factors conditioning their formation are the texture of the rock, climatology and the presence of overlying deposits. The first, particularly, is largely responsible for determining the abundance of certain forms with respect to others. Thus, Rillenkarren, Trittkarren and small "kamenitzas" are more frequently found in microcrystalline and sandstone gypsum (for example, karst in gypsum in Sicily (Italy) and Va-llada (Valencia, Spain). Others seem to be more exclusive to selenitic gypsum, such as exfoliation microkarren, or are closely related to the climatology of the area (Spitzkarren develops from the alteration of gypsum in semiarid conditions). Others are related either to the presence of developed soil cover (Rundkarren, using Convergence of Forms), or to their specific situation (candelas and Wallkarren around dolines and sinkholes) or to the microtexture of the gypsum and the orientation of the 010 and 111 crystalline planes and twinning planes for the development of nanokarren.
The tumuli are the most peculiar forms of the Sorbas karst in gypsum, though they have also been identified in other gypsiferous karsts (Bolonia, New Mexico, Vallada, etc.). These are subcircular domes of the most superficial layer of the gypsum. Their formation has been related to processes of precipitation-solution and of capillary movement through the gypsiferous matrix. Their extensive development is largely determined by the climatology of the area and by the structural organization. It is therefore clear that the best examples are found in the karst of Sorbas due to the abrupt changes in temperature and humidity that occur in a semiarid climate, and because of the horizontality of the gypsiferous sequence.
Karst in gypsum and its larger exokarstic forms, apart from being climatically determined, also depend on the structural state and lithological determinants of the area. Thus, it is possible to differentiate between gypsiferous karsts where the lithology, together with erosive breakup, is more important (Sorbas and New Mexico) and others where confining hydraulic conditions persist (Estremera and Podolia). In other cases, tectonics has played a significant modelling role, and there is a clear possibility of an inversion of the relief (Bolonia or Sicily) or of the effect of diapiric processes (Secchia, Vallada, Antequera). The typological diversity of the dolines is obviously also related to these premisses. Another example is the relation existing between carbonate precipitation and gypsum solution, as evidenced in contrasting examples (Bolonia versus Sorbas).
Subterranean karstic forms have been examined from a double perspective: the morphology of the passages and the mineralization within the cavities. With respect to the former, a noteworthy example is the interstratification karst of Sorbas, where subterranean channels have developed during two well-differentiated phases, the phreatic and the vadose. The first was responsible for the formation of the small proto-galleries, currently relicts that are observable as false dome channels in the bottom of the gypsiferous strata. The second, with an erosive character, enabled the breakup of the marly interstrata and the formation of the large galleries found today. Other aspects considered include the speleogenetic influence of the presence of calcareous intercalations in the gypsiferous sequence (Vallada karst), gypsiferous agglomerates (Baena karst), anhydrite (Rotgers karst), suffusion processes (Sorbas karst) and the importance of condensation.
Spelothemes in gypsiferous cavities have been approached with special concern for gypsiferous speleothemes, in particular those which, due to their genetic peculiarity or to the lack of previous knowledge about them, are most significant. Among these are gypsum balls, with phenomena of solution, detritic filling, capillarity and evaporation; gypsum hole stalagmites, where the precipitation-solution of the gypsum controlling the formation of the central orifice is related to the previous deposit of carbonate speleothemes; gypsum trays that mark the levels of maximum evaporation; gypsum dust, determined by abrupt changes in temperature and humidity in areas near the exterior of gypsiferous cavities. All of these are characteristic of, and practically exclusive to, gypsiferous karsts in semiarid ztenes such as Sorbas and New Mexico.
Karst in gypsum has been morphologically classified with reference to the previously-mentioned criteria: the presence and typology of epigean karstic forms, both macro and microform; the typology of hypogean karstic forms (passages) and the type of speleothemes within the cavities (gypsiferous or carbonate). All these variables are clearly influenced by climatology, and so a study of the geomorphology of gypsiferous karst is seen to be an efficient tool for the analysis of the paleoclimatology of an area.
Hydrogeochemical characterization of gypsum karst
The hydrogeochemical characterization of karst in gypsum was approached in two stages. The first one was intended to establish themodels to be applied to the hydrochemistry approach, while the second provided various examples of hydrochemical studies carried out in gypsiferous karsts.
The theoretical framework which has been shown to be most accurate with respect to the formulation of chemical equilibria in water related to gypsiferous karst is the Virial Theory and the Pitzer equations.
For this study, we used a simplification of these equations as far as the second virial coefficient by means of a simple, polynomial variation to obtain the equilibrium state of the water with respect to the gypsum, for an ionic strength value greater than 0.1 m and temperatures of between 0.5 and 40 "C. This was the case of the gypsiferous karsts found to be related to hypersaline water at depth (Vallada, Gobantes-Meliones, Poiano). In the remaining situations, where the ionic strength was below 0.1 m, only the theory of ionic matching was used.
The hydrochemical study of the gypsiferous karst of Gobantes-Meliones (Malaga) led to the hypothesis of the possible influence of hypersaline water on karstification in gypsum. Using theoretical examples of the mixing of water derived both from hypersaline water and from water related only to the gypsiferous karst, it was shown that above a percentage content of 0.1:0.9 of saline and sulphated water, the mixture is subsaturated with respect to gypsum and other minerals. On reaching percentages greater than 0.5:0.5, values of oversaturation are again found. This could mean that the contact between sulphated and hypersaline water is a karstification zone in gypsum at depth.
In the gypsiferous karst at Salinas-Fuente Camacho (Granada), a study has been made of the hydrochemical influence of dolomitic levels in the sequence by means of the analysis of the hydrochemical routes between hydraulically-connected points. The generic case of mass transfer in this gypsiferous aquifer implies a precipitation of calcite which is in-congruent with dolomitic solution, proving that the process of dedolomitization in gypsiferous aquifers with an abundance of dolomitic rocks can be an effective process. In situations of high salinity, with contributions of hypersaline water, the process may be inverted, such as occurs in coastal carbonate aquifers influenced by the fresh-saltwater interface.
The gypsiferous aquifer of Sorbas-Tabernas (Almeria) provides the best case of karstification in gypsum in Spain; the hydrochemical study carried out has been used as an example of karstification in gypsum completely uninfluenced by sodium-chloride facies. It is shown, from the hydrochemical similarities between the different sectors, that the uniformity of the flow from the system main spring (Los Molinos) responds to the delayed hydraulic input through the overlying post-evaporitic materials and to the pelitic intercalations of the gypsiferous sequence. The aquifer is partially semiconfined, a situation which is comparable to the onset of the karstification stage, while the area of the Sorbas karst, strictly speaking, bears no hydriaulic relation to the rest of the system, behaving like a free aquifer intrinsically related to the epikarstic zone. This fact is demonstrated by the hydrochemical differences between the main spring and those related to gypsiferous cavities.
Apart from the general study of the Sorbas-Tabemas aquifer, a study was also made of the hydrochemical-time variations within cavities, and in particular within the Cueva del Agua, where it is possible to observe particular processes affecting karstification in gypsum, such as the precipitation of carbonates on the floor of the cavity which produce, in that area, a greater solution of gypsum (the phenomenon of hyperkarstification). Furthermore, the temporal evolution of the chemistry of the cavity, along 800 m of subterranean flow through its interior, shows the existence of inertial sectors where the variations were less abrupt. Only in the case of particular sectors, related to sporadic hydriaulic contributions or to the proximity to points of access., was a notable seasonal influence detected.
A similar hydrochemical study was carried out in the karst of Vallada (Valencia), along the cavity of the Tunel dels Sumidors. The chemistry here was compared with that of the springs of Brolladors (whose water rapidly infiltrates into the cavity) and Saraella (a saline resurgence of the whole system). Unexpected increases in the ionic content of certain salts (sulphates and chlorides) were detected during periods of increased flow; these were interpreted as the effect of the recharging of the Saraella spring arising from the immediate contribution of rapidly circulating sulfated water coming from the cavity and the subsequent mobilization of interstitial water with an ionic content higher than the characteristic level of the spring.
We present as a hypothesis the idea that, in addition to the hydrogeochemical processes described that can affect the evolution of a gypsiferous karst, the processes of sulphate reduction also influence karstification in gypsum, at least during the earliest stages. Some examples such as the presence of gypsum with abundant organic matter reprecipitated into phreatic channels (Sorbas) or veins of sulphur related to gypsiferous karsts (Podolia, Sicily) lend support to this idea.
Studies of the solution-erosion of gypsum have been performed by physical methods (tablets and M.E.M.) showing that the solution-erosion of gypsum within cavities is minimal (0.03 mm/ year) compared to that existing in the exterior (0.3 mm/year). The speleogenetic effect of condensation within the cavities has also been shown, with solution-erosion rates of 0.005 mm/year to be like the equivalent surface lowering. These data correspond to the karst in gypsum at Sorbas, where, additionally, a study about the time variation of the solution-erosion was carried out. It was found that the process is not continuous but clearly sporadic. During periods of torrential rain, the solution-erosion ranges from a weight loss of 400 mg/cm2/year on the surface of the karst to 75 mg/cm2/year inside the caves, while during the rest of the year the weight loss was barely 1 mg/cm2/year. The physical methods were compared with the results obtained from chemical methods, and it was found that, in general, higher values were obtained with the former (10-20% higher when weighted for the rainfall during the measuring periods). Thus it is reasonable to consider that the erosive process is more marked than was at first assumed.
In total, three cavity tracing experiments were carried out, all with fluoresceine, two of them in Cueva del Agua in Sorbas (during periods of high and low water levels) and the other in Tunel dels Sumidors in Vallada. At the first site, the comparison of the two tracing tests reveals a differential hydrodynamic behaviour of the cavity for the two contrasting situations; periods of high water input and periods of low rainfall. This behaviour is characteristic of well developed karstic aquifers, where the hydrodynamic effect of the circulation of water through small channels or, in this case, through the gypsiferous matrix and interbedded marly layers, seems to be more important under conditions of low hydraulic input than when rainfall is abundant. The two situations tested seem to confirm that the Cueva del Agua system, an epikarstic aquifer, which is representative of karstification in gypsum, has scarce retentive power and so large volumes of precipitation are totally discharged via the spring within a few days. However, the explanation of the small but continuous flow from the base of the cavity requires the inclusion of other factors in the interpretation. In this case, the flow seems to be fairly independent of rainfall and attributable to other processes, in addition to the previously described ones, such as the retentive power of the gypsiferous matrix and the marly interstrata. These might include the high degree of condensation measured over long periods, both on the surface of the karst in gypsum and within the cavities. In the case of the Tunel dels Sumidors, a highly irregular response was found, despite the fact that the coefficient of dispersivity was found to be 0.4. This value is similar to that obtained for the karst in gypsum at Sorbas in response to low water conditions, and so, here too, one might assume the influence of greater than expected flow-retaining processes, between the entry and exit points. Doubtless the karstic system of the Tunel dels Sumidors is more complex than was initially expected and in fact, the irregularity reflected by the fluoresceine concentration curve over time implies the existence of other factors to explain the diversity of the relative maxima obtained. Firstly, the presence of numerous Triassic clay intercalations might delay the flow, in addition to retaining a certain quantity of fluoresceine by ionic exchange. There is also a possibility that the flow is dispersed through a network of small conduits and pores, due to the permeability of the gypsiferous matrix. Finally, we cannot discount the possible existence of a deep-level input which, in this case, would be responsible for the variation in the flow and the chemical composition. This set of suppositions, as a whole, would explain the fact that the response of the spring to tracing is so irregular, even though we cannot achieve a definition of the qualitative influence of each one on the hydrodynamics of the system.
In order to verify some of the above hypotheses, particularly those referring to the process of condensation within cavities, an experiment was designed, consisting of a microtracing test at some points where condensation had been detected within the Cueva del Agua at Sorbas. The test produced a range of condensation flow speed values of 0.2 to 30 cm/hour and shows that, in those sections where the presence of condensation flow is visually apparent, there is a rapid dispersion of the colourant. However, it also shows that at points where there is no apparent condensation the process also occurs, but at a lower rate of efficiency. The importance of condensation within cavities has two aspects; firstly, speleogenetic, with the development of solution forms (cupolas) and deposit forms (capillarity boxwork); and secondly, hydrogeological, as this is the reason why certain processes (strong changes in temperature and humidity, multiple routes of airflow exchange with the exterior) may in themselves constitute a hydraulic contribution, of slight importance, but sufficient to explain a large part of the base flow (0.2 - 0.8 L/s) of a whole cavity system such as the Cueva del Agua in semiarid conditions.
With the intention of completing the analyses carried out in various karsts in gypsum, instruments were installed in the Cueva del Agua at Sorbas to measure, by continuous registration, some important physico-chemical parameters that might provide additional data on the hydro-geologic behaviour of this gypsiferous karst, especially at the level of the epikarstic zone. The parameters of temperature and water conductivity were considered most important, due to their singular behaviour patterns. During the experiment there were two periods of rainfall that modified the chemistry of the cavity, one of 30 mm in two days and another of 200 mm (almost the annual total) in four days. In the second case, which was much more extreme, a very significant increase in water temperature (up to 7 °C during the initial period of high water flow) was detected, while conductivity fell. But suddenly, when the minimum conductivity was reached, the temperature dropped sharply by 6-7 °C to return to the base temperature of the cavity. Subsequently, the temperature again stabilized at about 7 °C above the data recorded during the dry period. This behaviour pattern was not detected when the rainfall was slight. The explanation for this dual behaviour observed is fundamentally based on the quantity of rainfall and on the differences between the exterior air temperature, the temperature of interstitial water and the temperature recorded in the spring during high water flow. When water temperature in the cavity during high water flow is higher than the base temperature recorded in the period immediately before, it means that the interstitial water does not mobilize. However, when at any time the two temperatures coincide, one might suppose that there might have existed a process of mobilization of the water previously resident in the rock, by a piston effect, but in the unsaturated zone. On the other hand, the temporal variations of these parameters during the months following periods of high rainfall have enabled us to detect the existence of distinct periods during the return to normal cavity conditions. By carefully examining the decrease curve of water temperature inside the cavity while conductivity regained its maximum stable value, two periods may be differentiated. The first may be termed the "inertial influence period", when the rainfall occurring removes all signs of natural variation in the cavity. Thus, the daily external influences are not clearly detectable and the curve is downward-sloping and asymptotic with no significant oscillations. In the second period, which ends with the total stabilization of the parameter at the level of the initial conditions, the asymptotic descent is seen to be affected by daily temperature variations. This is termed the "inertial recovery period", during which external variations start to have an effect on the interior of the cavity such that there is a progressive increase in the amplitude of the daily variation in water temperature, air temperature and relative humidity. This behaviour pattern of variation of these parameters during periods of high rainfall, might be extended to all karstic systems, varying only in magnitude and temporal extent.


Gypsum karst features as evidence of diapiric processes in the Betic Cordillera, Southern Spain, 1999, Calaforra Jm, Pulidobosch A,
In the Triassic evaporite deposits of the Betic Cordillera, halokinesis has played a fundamental role in the morphodynamic evolution of gypsum karst, as evidenced by the morphology and distribution of dolines and poljes, by data obtained from caves, and from the types of water associated with evaporite domes. Distribution patterns of major exokarstic forms display a subcircular array with collapse sinkholes located in the centre of the domes and solution drawdown dolines on the outer limits of the diapiric forms. In addition, the least mineralized waters are situated in association with the caprock gypsum; hypersaline waters, which are also hotter, drain deeper flow systems that flow out at the edges of the halokinetic structures. The morphodynamic and hydrogeological information constitute a valuable tool for the correct interpretation of the tectonic structure of such complex areas. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

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.

Sedimentology and geochemistry of fluvio-lacustrine tufa deposits controlled by evaporite solution subsidence in the central Ebro Depression, NE Spain, 2000, Arenas C, Gutierrez F, Osacar C, Sancho C,
The Urrea de Jalon tufa deposits constitute the 20- to 50-m-thick caprock (0.3 km(2)) of an isolated mesa. They disconformably overlie horizontal strata of the Tertiary Ebro Basin (NE Spain), which contains a thick succession of lacustrine gypsum and marls, followed by limestones, marls and, locally, fluvial sandstones and mudstones. The tufa deposits show a complex, large-scale framework of basin-like structures with centripetal dips that decrease progressively from the base to the top of the tufa succession, and beds that thicken towards the centre of the structure (cumulative wedge-out systems). These geometries reveal that the tufa deposits were affected by differential synsedimentary subsidence. Distinct onlapping depressions reflect time migration of the subsiding areas. The studied carbonates are composed mostly of low-Mg calcite, with minor quartz. Some samples have anomalously high contents of Fe, Mn and Ba that may exceed 1% (goethite, haematite and barite are present). Carbonate facies are: (a) macrophyte encrustation deposits; (b) bryophyte build-ups; (c) oncolite and coated grain rudstones; (d) non-concentric stromatolite-like structures; (e) massive or bioturbated biomicrites; and (f) green and grey marls. Facies a and c show a great variety of microbial-related forms. These facies can be arranged in dm- to 2-m-thick vertical associations representing: (i) fluvial-paludal sequences with bryophyte growths; (ii) pond-influenced fluvial sequences; and (iii) lacustrine-palustrine sequences. The Urrea de Jalon tufa deposits formed in a fluvio-lacustrine environment that received little alluvial sediment supply. Isotope compositions (delta(13)C and delta(18)O) reveal meteoric signatures and accord with such a hydrologically open system of fresh waters. The Fe, Mn and Ba contents suggest an additional supply of mineralized waters that could be related to springs. These would have been discharge points in the Ebro Depression of a regional aquifer of the Iberian Ranges. Rising groundwater caused the solution of the underlying evaporites and the synsedimentary subsidence of the tufa deposits

The stratigraphical record and activity of evaporite dissolution subsidence in Spain, 2001, Gutierrez F. , Orti F. , Gutierrez M. , Perezgonzalez A. , Benito G. , Prieto J. G. , Valsero J. J. D. ,
The evaporite formations tin outcrop and at shallow depth) cover an extensive area of the Spanish territory. These soluble sediments are found in diverse geological domains and record a wide time span from the Triassic up to the present day. Broadly, the Mesozoic and Paleogene formations (Alpine cycle) are affected by compressional structures, whereas the Neogene (post-orogenic) sediments remain undeformed. The subsidence caused by subsurface dissolution of the evaporites (subjacent karst) takes place in three main types of stratigraphical settings: a) Subsidence affecting evaporite-bearing Mesozoic and Tertiary successions (interstratal karst); b) Subsidence in Quaternary alluvial deposits related to the exorheic evolution of the present-day fluvial systems (alluvial or mantled karst); c) Subsidence in exposed evaporites (uncovered karst). These types may be represented by paleosubsidence phenomena (synsedimentary and/or postsedimentary) recognizable in the stratigraphical record, or by equivalent currently active or modem examples with surface expression. The interstratal karstification of the Mesozoic marine evaporites and the consequent subsidence of the topstrata is revealed by stratiform collapse breccias and wedge-outs in the evaporites grading into unsoluble residues. In several Tertiary basins, the sediments overlying evaporites locally show synsedimentary and/or postsedimentary subsidence structures. The dissolution-induced subsidence coeval to sedimentation gives place to local thickenings in basin-like structures with convergent dips and cumulative wedge out systems. This sinking process controls the generation of depositional environments and lithofacies distribution. The postsedimentary subsidence produces a great variety of gravitational deformations in the Tertiary supra-evaporitic units including both ductile and brittle structures (flexures, synforms, fractures, collapse and brecciation). The Quaternary fluvial terrace deposits on evaporite sediments show anomalous thickenings (> 150 m) caused by a dissolution-induced subsidence process in the alluvial plain which is balanced by alluvial aggradation. The complex space and time evolution pattern of the paleosubsidence gives place to intricate and anarchical structures in the alluvium which may be erroneously interpreted as pure tectonic deformations. The current subsidence and generation of sinkholes due to suballuvial karstification constitutes a geohazard which affects to large densely populated areas endangering human safety and posing limitations to the development. An outstanding example corresponds to Calatayud historical city, where subsidence severely damages highly valuable monuments. The subsidence resulting from the underground karstification of evaporites has determined or influenced the generation of some important modem lacustrine basins like Gallocanta, Fuente de Piedra and Banyoles lakes. The sudden formation of sinkholes due to the collapse of cave roofs is relatively frequent in some evaporite outcrops. Very harmful and spectacular subsidence activity is currently occurring in the Cardona salt diapir where subsidence has been dramatically exacerbated by mining practices

Paleosubsidence and active subsidence due to evaporite dissolution in Spain, 2002, Gutierrez F. , Orti F. , Gutierrez M. , Perezgonzalez A. , Benito G. , Gracia F. J. , Duran J. J. ,
Evaporite formations crop out or are at shallow depth present in an extensive area of Spain. These soluble sediments occur in diverse geological domains and were deposited over a long time span, from the Triassic up to the present day. Broadly, the Mesozoic and Paleogene formations (Alpine cycle) are affected by compressional structures, whereas the Neogene (post-orogenic) sediments remain undeformed. Subsidence caused by subsurface dissolution of evaporites (subjacent karst) takes place in three main types of stratigraphic settings: a) subsidence affecting evaporite-bearing Mesozoic and Tertiary successions (interstratal karst); b) subsidence in Quaternary alluvial deposits related to the exorheic evolution of present-day fluvial systems (alluvial or mantled karst); and c) subsidence in exposed evaporites (uncovered karst). These types may be represented by paleosubsidence phenomena (synsedimentary and/or postsedimentary) recognizable in the stratigraphic record, or by equivalent, currently active or modem examples which have a surface expression. Interstratal karstification of Mesozoic marine evaporites, and the consequent subsidence of overlying strata, is revealed by stratiform collapse breccias and wedge outs of the evaporites grading into unsoluble residues. In several Tertiary basins, the sediments overlying evaporites locally show synsedimentary and/or postsedimentary subsidence structures. Dissolution-induced subsidence coeval with sedimentation is accompanied by local thickening of strata in basin-like structures with convergent dips and cumulative wedge-out systems. This sinking process controls the generation of depositional environments and lithofacies distribution. Postsedimentary subsidence produces a great variety of gravitational deformations in Tertiary supra-evaporitic units, including both ductile and brittle structures (flexures, synforms, fractures, collapse, and brecciation). Quaternary fluvial terrace deposits overlying evaporites show anomalous thickenings (>150 m) caused by a dissolution-induced subsidence process in the alluvial plain, which is balanced by alluvial aggradation. The complex evolution (in time and space) of paleosubsidence leads to intricate and chaotic structures in the alluvium, which may be erroneously interpreted as pure tectonic deformations. The current subsidence and generation of sinkholes due to suballuvial karstification constitutes a geohazard which affects large, densely populated areas, and thus endangers human safety and poses limitations on development. An outstanding example can be seen in Calatayud, an important historical city where subsidence has severely damaged highly valuable monuments. Subsidence resulting from the underground karstification of evaporites has caused or influenced the generation of some important modem lacustrine basins, such as Gallocanta, Fuente de Piedra, and Banyoles Lakes. The sudden formation of sinkholes due to collapse of cave roofs is fairly frequent in some evaporite outcrops. Very harmful and spectacular subsidence activity is currently occurring in the Cardona salt diapir, where subsidence has been dramatically exacerbated by mining practices

Subsidence rates and urban damages in alluvial dolines of the Central Ebro basin (NE Spain), 2002, Soriano M. A. , Simon J. L. ,
In the central Ebro basin, alluvial dolines develop on Quaternary materials overlying Neogene evaporites. This process is very active. Analysing aerial photographs of different years important differences can be observed. Since the 1970s, when the urbanisation of the area took place, karst processes have damaged many buildings and infrastructures. From the dates of construction and the repair of a number of buildings and pavements we calculate subsidence rates (12-120 mm/year). Moreover, we decided to monitor, for around 4 years, three dolines developed on urban areas to determine their subsidence behaviour. A water level device (with an error of 2-3 mm) was utilised for this purpose. The subsidence rates, so obtained, are 64.5, 39 and 21 mm/year, which fit with the previous data from repaired zones

Origin of the salt valleys in the Canyonlands section of the Colorado Plateau - Evaporite-dissolution collapse versus tectonic subsidence, 2004, Gutierrez F. ,
The salt valleys over the axis of the salt-cored anticlines in the Paradox fold and fault belt (Canyonlands, Utah and Colorado) are created by subsidence of the anticline crests. Traditionally, the collapse of the anticlinal crests was attributed to dissolution of the salt walls (diapirs) forming the anticline cores. Recent studies based on scaled physical models and field observations propose that the salt valleys are a result of regional extension and that salt dissolution had only a minor influence in the development of the axial depressions. This paper presents several arguments and lines of evidence that refute the tectonic model and support the salt dissolution subsidence interpretation. The development of contractional structures in salt dissolution experiments led the advocates of the tectonic interpretation to reject the dissolution-induced subsidence explanation. However, these salt dissolution models do not reproduce the karstification of salt walls in a realistic way, since their analog involves removal of salt from the base of the diapirs during the experiments. Additionally, numerous field examples and laboratory models conducted by other authors indicate that brittle subsidence in karst settings is commonly controlled by subvertical gravity faults. Field evidence against the regional extension model includes (1) a thick cap rock at the top of the salt walls, (2) the concentration of subsidence deformation structures along the crest of the anticlines (salt walls), (3) deformational structures not consistent with the proposed NNE extension, like crestal synforms and NE-SW grabens, (4) dissolution-induced subsidence structures controlled by ring faulting, revealing deep-seated dissolution, (5) large blocks foundered several hundred meters into the salt wall, (6) evidence of recent and active dissolution subsidence, and (7) the aseismic nature of the recently active collapse faults. Although underground salt dissolution seems to be the main cause for the generation of the salt valleys, this phenomenon may have been favored by regional extension tectonics that enhance the circulation of groundwater and salt dissolution. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Magnetic prospection as an efficient tool for doline detection: a case study in the central Ebro Basin (northern Spain), 2007, Mochales T. , Pueyo E. L. , Casas A. M. , Soriano M. A. ,
The presence of alluvial dolines in the Ebro Basin causes problems to both agricultural and urban areas. At present, new urbanization of former farming areas requires new tools to detect karst zones and so diminish the hazard linked to collapses. In the surroundings of Zaragoza, dolines (developed mainly on Quaternary alluvial terraces covering a Tertiary gypsum substratum) are commonly filled with alluvial deposits, agricultural soils, urban debris, etc. Measurements of magnetic susceptibility show a remarkable contrast between host rocks and cavity fillings, demonstrating the value of magnetic surveying. A field test was made in a recently collapsed (September 2003) doline filled currently with urban debris. A magnetic survey was carried out following a 130 m2 grid, with 1-10 m spacing between profiles. A proton magnetometer with gradiometer was utilized, and the total field intensity and gradient measurements were taken. The magnetic survey demonstrated a strong anomaly with a dipole defined by more than 650 nT and a gradient of about 100 nT m-1. The 2.5-dimensional (2.5D) modelling of the magnetic anomaly fits well with the known geometrical data. Two other dolines (that are not clearly defined at the surface) were also detected during the survey. These results validate the starting hypothesis and open a new research approach to the problem. The magnetic survey output allows the construction of realistic geological models

Quaternary alluvial sinkholes: Record of environmental conditions of karst development, examples from the Ebro Basin, Spain , 2012, Soriano M. A. , Luzon A. , Yuste A. , Pocovı, A. , Perez A. , Simon J. L. , Gil H.

The central Ebro Basin is an exceptional region for studying karstification through time and under different environmental conditions, as sinkholes have been developing since the Early Pleistocene. Knowledge of active sinkholes is complemented with research on paleosinkholes and contemporary deposits. Sedimentological, mineralogical, geomorphological and structural approaches permit interpretation of the natural environmental conditions that favored karst in the past and the main genetic mechanisms involved. The sedimentary features of Pleistocene terraces indicate that they were deposited by a gravel braided fluvial system characterized by higher water and sediment availability than today, probably related to meltwater flows coming from glaciated source areas, mainly in the Pyrenees. Genesis of paleosinkholes was mainly linked to this high water supply. Some of them acted as small lakes where fine sediments are exceptionally well conserved to give clues about environmental conditions. The neoformation of palygorskite and sepiolite suggests arid to semiarid climatic conditions, in agreement with the idea of cold glacial episodes. During Pleistocene times, development of sinkholes was influenced by tectonics. Currently, the genesis and evolution of numerous sinkholes are also influenced by water supplies from human activities such as irrigation or urbanization, sharply changing the nearly steady state exhibited in the past


Geoelectrical Characterization of Sulphate Rocks, 2012, Guinea Maysounave, Ander

Gypsum rocks are widely exploited in the world as industrial minerals. The purity of the gypsum rocks (percentage in gypsum mineral –CaSO4•2H2O- in the whole rock) is a critical factor to evaluate the potential exploitability of a gypsum deposit. It is considered than purities higher than 80% in gypsum are required to be economically profitable. Gypsum deposits have been studied with geoelectrical methods; a direct relationship between the electrical resistivity values of the gypsum rocks and its lithological composition has been established, with the presence of lutites being the main controlling factor in the geoelectrical response of the deposit. This phenomenon has been quantified by means of a combination of theoretical calculations, laboratory measurements and field data acquisition. A geoelectrical classification of gypsum rocks defining three types of gypsum rocks has been elaborated. Anhydrite (CaSO4) is frequently found in gypsum quarries and in no-outcropping sulphates. Because of its highest hardness than gypsum it supposes a problem for the extraction of gypsum; the fronts of the quarries in which anhydrite is found are stopped at the moment when it appears. The electrical properties of calcium sulphates have been studied by means of geoelectrical methods. The conductivity of crystals has been tested in laboratory. A direct relationship between the electrical conductivity values of the calcium sulphate rocks and its lithological composition has been established being the lutitic matrix the main controlling factor when it is percolant (connected at long range). When the rock is matrix dominant, the electrical resistivity trend is bond to the Hashin-Shtrikman lower bound for multiphase systems. On the other hand, when the rock is calcium sulphate dominant the trend shows the one of the Hashin-Shtrikman upper bound. A geoelectrical classification for calcium sulphate rocks has been elaborated. With this classification it is possible to differentiate between calcium sulphate rocks with different composition according to their electrical resistivity value. Glauberite (Na2Ca(SO4)2) is nowadays exploited as industrial mineral. Glauberite rocks usually have high lutite content in their composition, together with other evaporictic minerals as gypsum, anhydrite or halite among others. There is no reference to the conductivity of glauberite rocks in the bibliography, but due to their impurity it is expected to observe values as the observed for other sulphates in the matrix domain (less than 55% in purity). Two areas of the Ebro river basin (the Zaragoza and La Rioja sectors) have been studied by means of electrical resistivity tomography profiles, in which glauberite has been found in boreholes. As example of application for the study of sulphate deposits, an electrical resistivity tomography survey has been carried out in the Pira Gypsum member (SE of Catalan margin of the Tertiary Ebro Basin, Spain). Additionally, a continuous coring drill was performed in order to support the study. Electrical imaging has been successfully applied to identify the gypsum deposits interlayered in lutite units. Another resistivity survey has been carried out in an active gypsum quarry in the Gelsa Gypsum unit (Zaragoza, N Spain). During the extraction of the rock, the most important parameters to know are the purity changes in the deposit. Sudden changes in the purity make the processing of the raw material less profitable. The performed profiles have shown different gypsum layers from which the purest layers have been identified. Electrical resistivity tomography lines are useful in prospection of gypsum deposits. However, electrical imaging prospection should be supported by an accurate petrological study of the deposits, in order to properly interpret the resistivity profiles.


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