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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 blowing cave is a cave out of which or into which a current of air flows intermittently [10].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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Geochemical and mineralogical fingerprints to distinguish the exploited ferruginous mineralisations of Grotta della Monaca (Calabria, Italy), Dimuccio, L.A.; Rodrigues, N.; Larocca, F.; Pratas, J.; Amado, A.M.; Batista de Carvalho, L.A.
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
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Your search for emersion (Keyword) returned 13 results for the whole karstbase:
Surface Lowering and Landform Evolution on Aldabra, 1979, Trudgill S. T. ,
Aldabra landforms are the result of the karstification of carbonate rocks distributed on surfaces which have been exposed to erosion for varying lengths of time. Morphometric analysis (which is of interest in both geomorphological and botanical contexts) suggests that the most well developed karst features (closed depressions) occur on what appear to be the oldest surfaces. Morphology also varies with lithology. Measurements of present-day erosion rates suggests that weakly cemented rocks and the most soluble mineral components are eroding most rapidly. The evolution of a dissected morphology is related to lithological heterogeneity in coralline rocks or, in the case of the more homogeneous rocks, to the short residence time of waters on the rock surface (the more rapidly dissolving mineral grains eroding faster). Dissolution also proceeds in fresh water pools, but this may be offset by precipitation in some cases. The surface is mostly case hardened, except under deep organic soils where erosion rates are much higher than in other areas. A mean erosion rate measured at 0.26 mm/a appears to make it feasible that large erosional features, such as the lagoon, could have been formed during periods of emersion as suggested by research workers who have hypothesized that an atoll shape may be substantially derived by subaerial weathering

Les palokarsts des Alpes occidentales du Trias l'Eocne, 1984, Guendon, J. L.
WESTERN ALPS PALEOKARSTS FROM TRIASSIC TO EOCENE - In western Alps, before complete emersion during the Oligocene and Miocene, the marine sedimentation has been locally interrupted by three important continental phases: 1/ during Early Jurassic, in "brianonnais" domain; 2/during middle Cretaceous, in Provence area; 3/ during early Tertiary, in subalpine range and Jura. These locally and temporary regression are the consequence of tectonic activities in relation to the movements of eurasiatic and italo-african plates, which are at the edge of the alpine oceanic basin (Tethys). After an abstract on the tectonic and sedimentological history of western Alps, a description is given of continental formations (bauxites, fire-clay, clay with flints, siderolitic formations, white and ochrous sands, siliceous and ferruginous crusts) and karst phenomena elaborated during these regressions.

KIMMERIDGIAN TITHONIAN EUSTACY AND ITS IMPRINTS ON CARBONATE ROCKS FROM THE DINARIC AND THE JURA CARBONATE PLATFORMS, 1991, Strohmenger C. , Deville Q. , Fookes E. ,
The Upper Jurassic stratigraphy and the facies development of the Dinaric carbonate platform of Slovenia (northwest Yugoslavia) are compared with the Jura carbonate platform of southern Jura (southeast France). The similar facies development between the two platforms during the Kimmeridgian and the Tithonian, as well as a pronounced discontinuity in the same stratigraphical position (controlled by dasycladacean algae and/or ammonites), made it reasonable to correlate the two regions. This discontinuity is marked by a bauxite horizon and a karst breccia in south Slovenia (inner platform), and by a black-pebble conglomerate (inner platform) and a reef breccia (outer platform) in the southern Jura. These features are interpreted as type 1 sequence boundaries related to a global fall of sea level. In southern Jura, biostratigraphical elements situate the sequence boundary between the Eudoxus and the <> ( = Elegans) zones, most probably at the end of the Beckeri ( = Autissiodorensis) zone. Integrating this discontinuity into the eustatic sea level curve proposed by the Exxon group (version 3.1) is difficult because the only suitable sequence boundaries, SB 139 and SB 142, are respectively too young (younger than the <> zone) or too old (older than the Eudoxus zone). We therefore suggest to introduce a new sequence boundary within the upper part of the Beckeri zone which would correspond to a <> sequence boundary SB 140. The investigations further show that Clypeina jurassica FAVRE and Campbelliella striata (CAROZZI) BERNIER most likely appear in the Beckeri zone in the realm of the Jura carbonate platform. The same dasycladacean algae assemblage defines a cenozone identified as <> in Slovenia. It therefore seems possible to correlate the stratigraphic limit between <> and <> of the Dinaric carbonate platform with the beginning of the Beckeri zone

Evolution des karsts Ocaniens (Karsts, bauxite et phosphates), 1992, Bourrouilhlejan, Fr.
EVOLUTION OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN KARSTS - Karst phenomena constitute one of the main characteristics of the "high carbonate islands" of the Pacific Ocean. They are the key to the under-standing of the geological evolution, the stratigraphy, from Lower Miocene to Pleistocene and mid-Holocene, the diagenesis, mainly dolomitization and the current economic interest based on bauxite and phosphate. The eustatic variations have been numerous over the past 25 million years and can be added or substracted from the emersion and submersion movements of the plate supporting these carbonate platforms. Each island therefore has its own complex geological background with dolomitization, calcrete, bauxitic soils, fossil marine notches and karst surface either submerged or filled with phosphate, which can be mined for profit. Thanks to a thorough study of these platforms, it has been possible to establish an evolution of karst genesis in accordance with the evolution of the Pacific lithosphere and also to draw up a new model of phosphate genesis linked to phosphato-bauxitic soils and meromictic anoxic lakes.

DISLOCATION OF THE EVAPORITIC FORMATIONS UNDER TECTONIC AND DISSOLUTION CONTROLS - THE MODEL OF THE DINANTIAN EVAPORITES FROM VARISCAN AREA (NORTHERN FRANCE AND BELGIUM), 1993, Rouchy J. M. , Groessens E. , Laumondais A. ,
Within the Franco-Belgian segment of the Hercynian orogen, two thick Dinantian anhydritic formations are known, respectively in the Saint-Ghislain (765 m) and Epinoy 1 (904 m) wells. Nevertheless, occurrences of widespread extended breccias and of numerous pseudomorphs of gypsum/anhydrite in stratigraphically equivalent carbonate deposits (boreholes and outcrops), suggest a larger extent of the evaporitic conditions (fig. 1, 2). The present distribution of evaporites is controlled by palaeogeographical differentiation and post-depositional parameters such as tectonics and dissolution. These latter have dissected the deposits formerly present in all the structural units. By using depositional, diagenetic and deformational characters of these formations, the article provides a model for the reconstruction of a dislocated evaporitic basin. This segment of the Hercynian chain is schematically composed of two main units (fig. 1, 3) : (1) the autochthonous or parautochthonous deposits of the Namur synclinorium, (2) the Dinant nappe thrusted northward over the synclinorium of Namur. The major thrust surface is underlined by a complex fault bundle (faille du Midi) seismically recognized over more than 100 km. A complex system of thrust slices occurs at the Hercynian front. Except for local Cretaceous deposits, most of the studied area has been submitted to a long period of denudation since the Permian. Sedimentary, faunistic and geochemical data argue for a marine origin of the brines which have generated the evaporites interbedded with marine limestones. Sedimentary structures. - The thick evaporitic formations are composed of calcium-sulfates without any clear evidence of the former presence of more soluble salts (with the exception of a possible carbonate-sulfate breccia in the upper part of the Saint-Ghislain formation). As in all the deeply buried evaporitic formations, the anhydrite is the main sulfate component which displays all the usual facies : pseudomorphs after gypsum (fig. 4A, B), nodular and mosaic (fig. 4C), laminated. The gypsum was probably an important component during the depositional phase despite the predominant nodular pattern of the anhydrite. Early diagenetic nodular anhydrite may have grown during temporary emersion of the carbonates (sabkha environments), but this mechanism cannot explain the formation of the whole anhydrite. So, most of the anhydrite structures result from burial-controlled gypsum --> anhydrite conversion and from mechanical deformations. Moreover, a complex set of diagenetic processes leads to various authigenic minerals (celestite, fluorite, albite, native sulfur, quartz and fibrous silica) and to multistaged carbonate <> sulfate replacements (calcite and dolomite after sulfate, replacive anhydrite as idiomorphic poeciloblasts, veinlets, domino-like or stairstep monocrystals...). These mineral transformations observed ill boreholes and in outcrops have diversely been controlled during the complex evolution of the series as : depositional and diagenetic pore-fluid composition, pressure and temperature changes with burial, bacterial and thermochemical sulfate reduction, deep circulations favored by mechanical brecciation, mechanical stresses, role of groundwater during exhumation of the series. Deformational structures. - A great variety of deformational structures as rotational elongation, stretching, lamination, isoclinal microfolding, augen-like and mylonitic structures are generated by compressive tectonic stresses (fig. 4D to J). The similarities between tectonic-generated structures and sedimentary (lamination) or diagenetic (pseudo-nodules) features could lead lo misinterpretations. The calcareous interbeds have undergone brittle deformation the style and the importance of which depend of their relative thickness. Stretching, boudins, microfolds and augen structures F, H. I) affect the thin layers while thicker beds may be broken as large fractured blocks dragged within flown anhydrite leading to a mylonitic-like structure (fig, 4G). In such an inhomogeneous formation made of interlayered ductile (anhydrite) and brittle (carbonate) beds, the style and the intensity of the deformation vary with respect to the relative thickness of each of these components. Such deformational features of anhydrite may have an ubiquitous significance and can result either from compressive constraints or geostatic movements (halokinesis). Nevertheless, some data evidence a relation with regional tangential stresses: (1) increase of the deformation toward the bottom of the Saint-Ghislain Formation which is marked by a deep karst suggesting the presence of a mechanical discontinuity used as a drain for dissolving solutions (fig. 3, 4); (2) structural setting (reversed series, internal slidings) of the Epinoy 1 formation under the Midi thrust. However, tectonic stresses also induce flowing deformations which have contributed to cause their present discontinuity. It can be assumed that the evaporites played an active role for the buckling of the regional structure as detachment or gliding layers and more specifically for the genesis of duplex structures. Breccia genesis. - Great breccia horizons are widely distributed in outcrops as well as in the subsurface throughout the greater part of the Dinant and Namur units (fig. 2). The wide distribution of pseudomorphosed sulfates in outcrops and the stratigraphical correlation between breccia and Saint-Ghislain evaporitic masses (fig. 2) suggest that some breccia (although not all) have been originated from collapse after evaporites solution. Although some breccia may result from synsedimentary dissolution, studied occurrences show that most of dissolution processes started after the Hercynian deformation and, in some cases, were active until recently : elements made of lithified and fractured limestones (Llandelies quarries) (fig. 5A), preservation of pseudomorphs of late replacive anhydrite (Yves-Gomezee) (fig. 5B, C), deep karst associated with breccia (Douvrain, Saint Ghislain, Ghlin boreholes) (fig. 3, 4, 5D)). Locally, the final brecciation may have been favored by a mechanical fragmentation which controlled water circulations (fig. 5E). As postulated by De Magnee et al. [19861, the dissolution started mostly after the Permian denudation and continued until now in relation with deep circulations and surface weathering (fig. 6). So, the above-mentioned occurrences of the breccia are logically explained by collapse after dissolution of calcium-sulfates interbeds of significant thickness (the presence of salt is not yet demonstrated), but other Visean breccia may have a different origin (fig. 5F). So, these data prove the extension of thick evaporitic beds in all the structural units including the Dinant nappe, before dissolution and deformation. Implications. - Distribution of Visean evaporites in northern France and Belgium is inherited from a complicated paleogeographic, tectonic and post-tectonic history which has strongly modified their former facies, thicknesses and limits (fig. IA, 6). Diversified environments of deposition controlled by both a palaeogeographical differentiation and water level fluctuations led to the deposition of subaqueous (gypsum) or interstitial (gypsum, anhydrite) crystallization. Nevertheless, most of the anhydrite structures can be interpreted as resulting from burial conversion of gypsum to anhydrite rather than a generalized early diagenesis in sabkha-like conditions. Deformation of anhydrite caused by Hercynian tangential stresses and subsequent flow mechanisms, have completed the destruction of depositional and diagenetic features. The tectonic deformations allow us to consider the role of the evaporites in the Hercynian deformations. The evaporites supplied detachment and gliding planes as suggested for the base of the Saint-Ghislain Formation and demonstrated by the structural setting of Epinoy 1 evaporites in reverse position and in a multi-system of thrust-slices below the Midi overthrust (fig. 7). So, although the area in which evaporation and precipitation took place cannot be exactly delineated in geographic extent, all the data evidence that the isolated thick anhydritic deposits represent relics of more widespread evaporites extending more or less throughout the different structural units of this Hercynian segment (fig. 1B). Their present discontinuity results from the combination of a depositional differentiation, mechanical deformations and/or dissolution

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.

Geomorphologic evolution of a coastal karst: the Gulf of Orosei (central-east Sardinia, Italy), 2004, De Waele, Jo

In the past ten years cave surveying has allowed better understanding of speleogenesis in the Orosei Gulf (Central-East Sardinia, Italy), one of the most important coastal karst areas of Italy. Surface geomorphologic research has been accompanied by subterranean and submarine landform analysis in order to try and understand the evolution of this coastal karst since its emersion in Upper Eocene. The main factors influencing the geomorphic processes are lithology, tectonics, palaeo-climate and sea level changes. The study of several important cave systems demonstrates a complex geological history with karst processes that started in Early Tertiary and accelerated during Plio-Quaternary.


Continental France and Belgium during the early Cretaceous: paleoweatherings and paleolandforms, 2006, Thiry Medard, Quesnel Florence, Yans Johan, Wyns Robert, Vergari Anne, Theveniaut Herve, Simoncoincon Regine, Ricordel Caroline, Moreau Marie Gabrielle, Giot Denis, Dupuis Christian, Bruxelles Laurent, Barbarand
During the early Cretaceous, successive tectonic phases and several sea level falls resulted in the emersion of the main part of western Europe and the development of thick 'lateritic' weathering. This long period of continental evolution ended with the Upper Cretaceous transgressions. During this period, the exposed lands displayed a mosaic of diverse morphologies and weathered landscapes. Bauxites are the most spectacular paleoweathering features, known for long in southern France. Recently, new residual outcrops have been identified, trapped in the karstic depressions of the Grands Causses. Other bauxitic formations, containing gibbsite, have also been recognised, occurring with the Clay-with-Jurassic-cherts in the southeastern border of the Paris Basin. These bauxitic formations overlay Jurassic limestone and are buried beneath Upper Cretaceous marine deposits. The recognition of bauxites up north into the southern Paris Basin significantly widens the extension of the Lower Cretaceous bauxitic paleolandscapes. On the Hercynian basements thick kaolinitic weathering mantles occur. They have been classically ascribed to the Tertiary. The first datings of these in situ paleosoils, by means of paleomagnetism and/or radiogenic isotopes, record especially early Cretaceous ages. This is the case for the 'Siderolithic' formations on the edges of the French Massif Central, but also for the kaolinitic profiles in the Belgian Ardennes. In the Flanders, the Brabant basement is deeply kaolinised beneath the Upper Cretaceous cover. These paleosoils show polygenetic evolutions. The relief of these basement paleolandscapes may have been significant. There where probably high scarps (often of tectonic origin) reaching 200 m in elevation or beyond, as well as wide surfaces with inselbergs, as in the present day landscapes of tropical Africa and South America. On the Jurassic limestone platforms occur diverse kaolinitic and ferruginous weathering products. Around the Paris Basin they show various facies, ranging from kaolinitic saprolites to ferricretes. Due to the lack of sedimentary cover, the age of these ferruginous and kaolinitic weathering products has been debated for long, most often allocated to the Siderolithic sensu lato (Eocene-Oligocene). Recent datings by paleomagnetism have enabled to date them (Borne de Fer in eastern Paris Basin) back also to the early Cretaceous (130 {} 10 Ma). These wide limestone plateaus show karstified paleolandforms, such as vast closed and flat depressions broken by conical buttes, but also deep sinkholes in the higher areas of the plateaus and piedmonts. The depth of the karst hollows may be indicative of the range of relative paleoelevations. Dissolution holes display seldom contemporaneous karst fillings, thus implying that the karstland had not a thick weathering cover or that this cover had been stripped off before or by the late Cretaceous transgression. Nevertheless, some areas, especially above chert-bearing Jurassic limestone or marl, show weathering products trapped in the karst features or as a thick weathering mantle. In the Paris Basin, the Wealden gutter looked like a wide floodplain in which fluvio-deltaic sands and clays were deposited and on which paleosoils developed during times of non-deposition. The edges of the gutter were shaped as piedmonts linked up with the upstream basement areas. The rivers flowing down to the plain deposited lobes of coarse fluvial sands and conglomerates. The intensity of the weathering, the thickness of the profiles and their maturation are directly dependent on the duration of the emersion and the topographic location relative to the gutter. Near the axis of the gutter, where emersion was of limited duration, the paleoweathering features are restricted to rubefaction and argillization of the Lower Cretaceous marine formations. On the other hand, on the borders of the basin and on the Hercynian basement, where emersion was of longer duration, the weathering profiles are thicker and more intensively developed. The inventory of the Lower Cretaceous paleoweathering features shows the complexity of the continental history of this period. Moreover, the preserved weathering products are only a part of this long lasting period, all the aspects relative to erosion phases are still more difficult to prove and to quantify. In this domain, apatite fission tracks thermochronology (AFTT) can be helpful to estimate the order of magnitude of denudation. Residual testimonies and subsequent transgressions may enable to estimate relative elevations, but in return, we presently have no reliable tool to estimate absolute paleoelevations. In the work presented here, the inventory enabled to draw a continental paleogeographic map showing the nature of the weathering mantles and the paleolandscape features, just as paleoenvironments and paleobathymetry presently appear on marine paleogeographic maps. For the future, the challenge is to make progress in dating the paleoweathering profiles and especially in the resolution of these datings, in order to correlate precisely the continental records with the different events which trigger them (eustatism, climate, regional and global geodynamics). The final goal will be to build up a stratigraphic scale of the 'continental geodynamic and climatic events' in parallel with 'sequential stratigraphy' in the marine realm

Relative Sea-Level Changes Recorded on an Isolated Carbonate Platform: Tithonian to Cenomanian Succession, Southern Croatia, 2006, Husinec Antun, Jelaska Vladimir,
Superb sections of Tithonian to Cenomanian carbonates of the Adriatic (Dinaric) platform are exposed on the islands of southern Croatia. A succession approximately 1,800 m thick consists exclusively of shallow-water marine carbonates (limestone, dolomitized limestone, dolomite, and intraformational breccia), formed in a protected and tectonically stable part of the platform interior. Several phases of exposure and incipient drowning are recorded in the platform interior. Four are crucial for understanding the Late Jurassic to mid-Cretaceous evolution of the wider peri-Adriatic area: (1) latest Jurassic-earliest Cretaceous sea-level fall, (2) Aptian drowning, followed by (3) Late Aptian platform exposure, and (4) Late Albian-Early Cenomanian sea-level fall. Deciphering these complex events from the vertical and lateral facies distribution has led to an evaluation of facies dynamics and construction of a relative sea-level curve for the study area. This curve shows that long-term transgression during the Early Tithonian, Hauterivian, Early Aptian, and Early Albian, resulted in generally thicker beds deposited in subtidal environments of lagoons or shoals. Regression was characterized by shallowing-upward peritidal parasequences, with well-developed tidal-flat laminites commonly capped by emersion breccia and/or residual clay sheets (Early Berriasian, Barremian, Late Aptian, Late Albian). The southern part of the Dinarides was tectonically quiet during the Tithonian through Aptian; sea-level oscillations appear to have been the primary control on facies stacking. Some correlation exists between local sea-level fluctuations and the published global eustasy charts for the Tithonian through Aptian. A significant departure is recognized at the Albian-Cenomanian transition, suggesting that it was influenced by tectonics associated with the disintegration of the Adriatic (Dinaric) platform

Successive Paleocene and Eocene infillings of polyphase paleokarsts within the Cretaceous limestones of the Emporda thrust sheets (Catalan Pyrenees, Spain) : relationships between tectonics and karsti, 2007, Peybernes Bernard, Fondecavewallez Marie Jose, Combes Pierre Jean, Seranne Michel,
The Mesozoic series of the southern units of the Pyrenean Emporda thrust sheets (Montgri and Figueres nappes, Catalonia, Spain) were finally emplaced over the autochthonous basement and its Cenozoic cover during Eocene times. However, they have originally been folded by the 'Laramian' compressional event (Late Cretaceous/Early Paleocene), while they were still in their root zone more than 50 km to the N-NE. Postdating the Santonian, the emersion of the Cretaceous tectorogen induced karst formation at the expense of Berriasian to Santonian limestone sequences. Karst cavities of this paleokarst 1 (lapiaz and canyons) were subsequently coated with a fine, red or black, Microcodium-bearing, continental silt, and infilled with marine chaotic breccias. Following a new episode of emersion then erosion, the original paleokarst 1 was cross-cut by newly formed cavities of the paleokarst 2, filled with Lutetian-Bartonian marine breccias. Both types of marine breccias (Paleocene then Eocene in age) are now relatively well dated by means of planktonic foraminifera (Globigerinacea) occurring within the argillaceous-sandy matrix, and for the older ones, within the argillaceous-sandy or carbonate, finely laminated, interbedded hemipelagites, that mark the top of marine sequences tens of centimetres thick. The relationships of the 'Laramian' and 'Pyrenean' compressional tectonic events, occurring from latest Cretaceous to Bartonian, with the development of paleokarsts 1 and 2 are analysed in the perspective of the progressive southwards emplacement of the Montgri thrust sheet, during Eocene time

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

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


Evolution of karst in Messinian gypsum (Monferrato, Northern Italy), 2010, Vigna Bartolomeo, Fioraso Gianfranco, Banzato Cinzia, De Waele Jo

In the Tertiary Basin of Piedmont (Northern Italy) a 100-150 m thick Messinian sedimentary succession crops out, composed of pre-evaporitic clays, gypsum beds and post-evaporitic lacustrine-marine fine-grained sediments. In the Monferrato area the thickness of the evaporite sequence is highly variable (0-140 m) due to an important erosion surface formed at the end of the evaporite cycle and carved in the gypsum beds. Epigenic caves probably formed during this short intra-Messinian phase of emersion. Cave sediments contain benthonic and planctonic foraminiferal associations ranging in age from Burdigalian to Upper Pliocene. These sediments have probably been deposited in recent times, although it cannot be completely ruled out that they accumulated in caves developed in Upper Messinian times. The formation of the most important caves of this area probably started at the end of the Messinian under epigenic conditions. Possibly, those inherited caves enlarged slowly during the Quaternary in an intrastratal and confined hypogene karst system. 


Geochemistry and isotope geochemistry of the Monfalcone thermal waters (northern Italy): inference on the deep geothermal reservoir, 2013, Petrini R. , Italiano F. , Ponton M. , Slejko F. F. , Aviani U. , Zini L.

Geochemical investigations were carried out to define the origin of the low- to moderate-temperature thermal waters feeding the Monfalcone springs in northern Italy. Chemical data indicate that waters approach the composition of seawater. Mixing processes with cold low-salinity waters are highlighted. The δ18O and δD values are in the range −5.0 to −6.4 ‰, and −33 to −40 ‰, respectively, suggesting the dilution of the saline reservoir by karst-type freshwaters. A surplus of Ca2+ and Sr2+ ions with respect to a conservative mixing is ascribed to diagenetic reactions of the thermal waters with Cretaceous carbonates at depth. The measured Sr isotopic composition (87Sr/86Sr ratio) ranges between 0.70803 and 0.70814; after correction for the surplus Sr, a 87Sr/86Sr ratio indicating Miocene paleo-seawater is obtained. The dissolved gases indicate long-lasting gas–water interactions with a deep-originated gas phase of crustal origin, dominated by CO2 and marked by a water TDIC isotopic composition in the range −5.9 to−8.8 and helium signature with 0.08 < R/Ra < 0.27, which is a typical range for the crust. A possible scenario for the Monfalcone thermal reservoir consists of Miocene marine paleowaters which infiltrated through the karstic voids formed within the prevalently Cretaceous carbonates during the upper Eocene emersion of the platform, and which were entrapped by the progressive burial by terrigenous sediments.


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