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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 flank is a limb of a fold [16].?

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Your search for epikarst (Keyword) returned 166 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 166
Conduit enlargement in an eogenetic karst aquifer, , Moore Paul J. , Martin Jonathan B. , Screaton Elizabeth J. , Neuhoff Philip S.

Most concepts of conduit development have focused on telogenetic karst aquifers, where low matrix permeability focuses flow and dissolution along joints, fractures, and bedding planes. However, conduits also exist in eogenetic karst aquifers, despite high matrix permeability which accounts for a significant component of flow. This study investigates dissolution within a 6-km long conduit system in the eogenetic Upper Floridan aquifer of north-central Florida that begins with a continuous source of allogenic recharge at the Santa Fe River Sink and discharges from a first-magnitude spring at the Santa Fe River Rise. Three sources of water to the conduit include the allogenic recharge, diffuse recharge through epikarst, and mineralized water upwelling from depth. Results of sampling and inverse modeling using PHREEQC suggest that dissolution within the conduit is episodic, occurring only during 30% of 16 sampling times between March 2003 and April 2007. During low flow conditions, carbonate saturated water flows from the matrix to the conduit, restricting contact between undersaturated allogenic water with the conduit wall. When gradients reverse during high flow conditions, undersaturated allogenic recharge enters the matrix. During these limited periods, estimates of dissolution within the conduit suggest wall retreat averages about 4 × 10−6 m/day, in agreement with upper estimates of maximum wall retreat for telogenetic karst. Because dissolution is episodic, time-averaged dissolution rates in the sink-rise system results in a wall retreat rate of about 7 × 10−7 m/day, which is at the lower end of wall retreat for telogenetic karst. Because of the high permeability matrix, conduits in eogenetic karst thus enlarge not just at the walls of fractures or pre-existing conduits such as those in telogenetic karst, but also may produce a friable halo surrounding the conduits that may be removed by additional mechanical processes. These observations stress the importance of matrix permeability in eogenetic karst and suggest new concepts may be necessary to describe how conduits develop within these porous rocks.


Copepod distribution as an indicator of epikarst system connectivity, , Tanja Pipan, David C. Culver,

Carte hydrogomorphologique, hydrogologie et hydrochimie du karst de Dorvan (Ain), 1983, Gibert J. , Laurent R. , Maire R.
PRESENTATION OF THE HYDROGEOMORPHOLOGICAL MAP AT 1/100,000 ON KARST OF DORVAN (SOUTHERN JURA, AIN, FRANCE. Main researches about hydrology and hydrochemistry on this karst - The Dorvan massif is a low mountain Jurassian karst with a wet temperate climate and a little nival influence. The surface relief is covered with important decalcification clay. The drainage of the karst is assumed by superimposed systems, according to the excavation of the Torcieu watergap. The flow of the main outlet (Pissoir) is a pluvial type, which presents an annual cycle with a maximum in winter and a minimum in summer. The specific discharge is 31.4 l/s/km2. The dissolution rate is high: 81 mm/ky. 50% of the corrosion interests the epikarst, 50% interests the endokarst. During the Pleistocene, the glaciations played a direct or indirect role on the evolution of the Dorvan karst: nivo-karst during the Wrm; fluvio-glacial up-building of the Torcieu watergap and correlated water logging of the lower karst during Wrm and Tardiglacial periods; probable direct action of glaciers during the Riss.

WATER-BUDGET, FUNCTIONING AND PROTECTION OF THE FONTAINE-DE-VAUCLUSE KARST SYSTEM (SOUTHEASTERN FRANCE), 1992, Blavoux B, Mudry J, Puig Jm,
The karst aquifer of the well-known Fontaine de Vaucluse has been recently studied, results have been got about delimitation of the system and its working. Geological data (lithology and structure) have allowed to delimit an 1115 Km2 intake area including Ventoux-Lure north facing range (1,909-1,826 m) and the Plateau which is prolonging it southwards (Fig. 1 and 2). The average altitude of the whole area, obtained by balancing elevation belt surfaces, is about 870 m. This elevation squares with results of tracing tests (Fig. 3), environmental physical, chemical and isotopic tracings, that allow to value a 850 m average altitude for the intake area (Fig. 4). The moisture balance has been computed from an altitude belts climatic model, using local rain an temperature gradients (Fig. 5 and Table II), because the weather network is not representative. So, rainfalls rise of about 55 mm per 100 m elevation and temperature decreases of about 0.5-degrees-C per 100 m. The consequence of these two antagonist phenomena is the quasi constant value of actual evapotranspiration on each altitude belt. With the Fig. 7 organigram, curves of effective rainfalls and infiltration coefficient versus elevation can be plotted (Fig. 6). This computation shows that 3/4 of the total and the whole of dry season effective rainfalls are provided by the part of the intake area situated above the average altitude: on the lowest belt, effective rainfalls are only 120 mm per year and increase to 1380 mm on the upper section (Fig. 8 and Table 1). The weighted effective rainfalls are about 570 mm per year for the whole intake area. Hydrodynamical and physico-chemical studies show, despite its large size, the weak inertia of the system, so proves its good karstification, that confirms for the whole system the pin-point speleological observations. The discharge of the spring, which average value is 21 m3.s-1 (only 18 for the last ten years), can exceed 100 m3.s-1 and the minimum has never been lower than 3.7 m3.s-1 (Fig. 9). When it rains on the intake area, the increase of the discharge is very sudden in a rainy period : one to four days. This short delay is due to seepage through epikarst and unsaturated zone. During dry periods, the spring reaction is deadened, due to storage in the unsaturated zone. The silica content distribution was plotted during several hydrokinematical phases (Fig. 10). It shows: an almost unimodal distribution for the 8 km2 fissured limestone aquifer of Groseau; a multimodal one for the 1115 km2 karst aquifer of Fontaine de Vaucluse. This proves that karstification is more important than size in the response of the system. Weak summer rainfalls do not influence the discharge, nevertheless they influence chemistry of the spring water, and so interrupts the water depletion phasis. Then, the decrease of discharge can continue after the end of the chemical depletion phasis, water which is overflowing after summer rainfalls (in a dry period) is influenced hy the chemistry of seepage water : on the graph of a principal components analysis, done on chemical variables. an hysteresis phenomenon can be seen (Fig. 11). A discriminant analysis (Fig. 12) confirms that these autumn waters, with high ratio seepage tracers, are not reserve waters from the saturated zone. The ratio of reserve water in the total discharge, is preponderant: 3/4 and 2/3 respectively of the yearly runoff volumes for 1981 and 1982 (Fig. 13), but an important part of these reserves can be stored in the unsaturated zone. This storage capacity can be valued by different means: transposing to Vaucluse (1115 km2) the volume measured on another karst system in the Pyrenees (13 km2); it gives about 100 million m2; using setting parameters of Bezes model (1976) on the same aquifer: it gives 113 million m3; using depletion curves, that show, for instance during the 1989 summer and autumn dry period, a 80 million m3 volume. In all cases, we get a value of about one hundred million m3 for the storage capacity of the unsaturated zone. With a 20 m range of fluctuation for the water table and with a 10(-2) specific yield, on a 500 to 1,000 km2 saturated zone, the zone of fluctuation can release about 10 to 20 million m3. Then, the volume of water stored in the whole saturated zone, with a 300 m minimum thickness (depth of the waterlogged pit of the Fontaine), a 500 km2 minimum surface and a 10(-3) specific yield, is about 150 million m3, including 27 million m3 stored in the channels. So, the unsaturated zone represents a significant part of the whole storage capacity and most of the yearly renewable reserves. Paradoxically, the biggest french spring is not tapped at all; as its intake area is neither a regional nor a national park, no general protection covers it : because of its good karstification, the vulnerability of the system is important. Good quality of water is attributable to the low population and human activities density on the intake area (4 inh.km-2). A great part of the intake area is uncultivated (large forest and ''garrigues'' areas). Due to the lack of surface water and scantness of soils, agriculture is not intensive (lavender, thyme, sage and bulk wheat fields. meadowlands). On the mountainous zone, roads are salted in winter and snowmelt water can reach a significantly high chloride ratio than in a natural climatic functioning (for instance 25 mg.l-1 in Font d'Angiou where the ratio would have been 3 mg.l-1). As tourism is developing both on the mountain and on the plateau, the management of the highest intake area must be carefully held: its part is preponderant in the feeding of the system

EXPLORATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF GROUND-WATER FROM THE STONE FOREST KARST AQUIFERS OF SOUTH CHINA, 1992, Huntoon P. W. ,
Stone forest aquifers are the most widely exploited sources for ground water in the vast south China karst belt. These aquifers occupy a thin epikarst zone that has been infilled with clastic sediments. The aquifers are characterized by large lateral permeabilities and small reservoir capacities owing to their thinness. The carbonate rocks which comprise the framework for the aquifers are usually buried under the karst plains and large karst depressions where development is desired. The stone forest aquifer exploration procedure must first locate saturated zones. Second, those parts of the saturated zone having the greatest dissolution porosity must be identified because the infilled dissolution voids contain the water. The best indicators of saturation include the combination of low topography and the presence of active karst features such as springs, karst windows (natural openings exposing the water table), and live surface streams. These elements are readily observed on intermediate scale (1:20,000) aerial photography. The depth and degree of carbonate dissolution porosity is a function of several geologic and hydrologic factors including carbonate rock type, carbonate purity, fracture density, specific discharge, age of the circulation system, etc. These variables cannot be measured directly because the carbonate rocks are usually buried under a thin mantle of clastic sediments. However, if it is recognized that the ground-water system has already exploited the most favorable geology and that dissolution is an ongoing process, a simple indirect method can be used to identify the areas having the greatest porosity. The presence of karst depressions and recent sinkholes are indicative of the most intensely karstified and hydraulically active parts of the epikarst zone. Mapping of these surface features from stereo aerial photography is a simple geomorphology exercise that can be used to directly identify the most favorable well sites. Current well construction practices in the south China karst belt involve both dug and drilled wells. Dug wells are preferred in many locations owing to both cost-effectiveness associated with cheap labor and lack of available drilling equipment. The dug wells look and function identically to karst windows and thus conform to timeless water use traditions in the region

HYDROGEOLOGIC CHARACTERISTICS AND DEFORESTATION OF THE STONE FOREST KARST AQUIFERS OF SOUTH CHINA, 1992, Huntoon P. W. ,
Stone forest aquifers comprise an important class of shallow, unconfined karstic aquifers in the south China karst belt. They occur under flat areas such as floors of karst depressions, stream valleys, and karst plains. The frameworks for the aquifers are the undissolved carbonate spires and ribs in epikarst zones developed on carbonate strata. The ground water occurs within clastic sediments which infill the dissolution voids. The aquifers are thin, generally less than 100 meters thick, and are characterized by large lateral permeabilities and small storage. The result is that the aquifers are difficult to manage because recharge during the rainy season moves rapidly out of the aquifers. Water levels fall sharply as the dry season progresses and the ground-water supply falls off accordingly. The magnitude and duration of the seasonal recharge pulse that replenishes the stone forest aquifers have been severely impacted by massive post-1958 deforestation in the south China karst region. Water that was formerly retained beyond the wet season in the forested uplands, later to be released to the stone forest aquifers under the lowland plains, now passes quickly through the system during the wet season. The loss of this seasonal upland storage has resulted in both a reduction in the volume of recharge to the lowland stone forest aquifers and a shortening of the seasonal recharge event. The result is accelerated water-level declines in the stone forest aquifers as the dry season progresses which, in turn, causes premature dewatering of wells and decreased spring discharges. This response is compounded by increased ground-water withdrawals as the people attempt to offset the declining supply. Management of the total water-supply system requires not only tinkering with the aquifer, but massive reforestation efforts to restore dry season water retention in the upland parts of the watersheds

VARIOUS APPROACHES FOR FLOW SIMULATIONS IN A KARST - APPLICATION TO ROSPO MARE FIELD (ITALY), 1994, Corre B,
Rospo Mare field is located in the Adriatic Sea, 20 km of the Abruzzes coast, at an average depth of 80 m. The reservoir is a karst which is essentially conductive; yet unlike a conventional porous medium, it cannot be simulated by the usual tools and techniques of reservoir simulation. Therefore, several approaches were used to describe the flow mechanism during the production period in greater detail. The first approach consisted of generating three-dimensional images which were constrained by both petrophysical and geological factors and then, using up-scaling techniques, obtaining the equivalent permeabilities (scalar or tensorial) of grid blocks located in different zones within the karst. This approach shows that within the infiltration zone it is possible, whatever the scale, to find an equivalent homogeneous porous medium; on the other hand, within the epikarst this equivalent medium does not exist below pluridecametric dimensions. Thus it is impossible to study the sweeping mechanism on a small scale, so we must use a deterministic model which describes the network of pipes in the compact matrix, in which a waterflood is simulated by means of a conform finite-element model. This constituted the second approach. The third and final approach consisted of inventing a system of equations to analytically solve the pressure field in a network of vertical pipes which are intersected by a production drain and submitted to a strong bottom water-drive. This model allows us to simulate the water-oil contact rise within the reservoir and study the flows depending on the constraints applied to the production well. It appears that cross flows occur in the pipes even during the production period

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FRACTURES AND KARSTIFICATION - THE OIL-BEARING PALEOKARST OF ROSPO MARE (ITALY), 1994, Soudet H. J. , Sorriaux P. , Rolando J. P. ,
The Rospo Mare oil field is located in the Adriatic Sea, 20 km off the Italian coast. The reservoir lies at a depth of 1300 m and consists of a paleokarst oi Oligocene to Miocene age which developed within Cretaceous limestones, now covered by 1200 m of Mio-Pliocene sequences. The oil column is about 140 m 8 high. The karstic nature of the reservoir was identified through vertical, cored drill holes which allowed us to analyse the various solution features and the sedimentary infilling (speleothems, terra rossa, marine clays), as well as their vertical distribution. Erosion morphology at the top of the karst is highly irregular, including in particular paleovalleys as well as many pit-shaped sink holes. Detailed geophysical knowledge of that morphology helped to optimize the development of the field through horizontal drilling. Observations concerning the upper part of the reservoir were compared to a palaeokarst of the same age, outcropping widely onshore, in quarries located nearby. The Rospo Mare paleokarst is an integral part of the ante Miocene paleokarst assemblages of the periphery of the Mediterranean which were formed in tropical conditions. Only the fractures enhanced by meteoric water during the formation of the karat are important for reservoir connectivity. During the formation of the karst there were several phases of dissolution and infilling which modified the geometry of the open fissures and only these fractures play an important role in the reservoir drainage. Vertically we can distinguish three very different zones from top to bottom: at the top the epikarst (0-35 m) in a zone of extension. All the fractures have been enlarged by dissolution but the amount of infilling by clay is substantial. The clays are derived either from alteration of the karat fabric or by deposition during the Miocene transgression; the percolation zone (15-45 m) is characterized by its network of large fractures vertically enlarged by dissolution which corresponds to the relict absorption zones in the paleokarst. These fractures, which usually have a pluridecametric spacing, connect the epi-karst with the former sub-horizontal river system. This zone has been intersected by the horizontal wells during the field development. In this zone there are local, horizontal barriers oi impermeable clay which can block vertical transmissibility. In these low permeability zones the vertical fractures have not been enlarged due to dissolution hence the horizontal barrier; the zone of underground rivers (35-70 m) is characterized by numerous horizontal galleries which housed the subterranean ground water circulation. When these fissures are plurimetric in extent this can lead to gallery collapse with the associated fill by rock fall breccia. This can partly block the river system but always leaves a higher zone of free circulation with high permeabilities of several hundreds of Darcys. These galleries form along the natural fracture system relative to the paleohydraulic gradient which in some cases has been preserved. The zone below permanent ground water level with no circulation of fluids is characterized by dissolution limited to non-connected vugs. Very locally these fissures can be enlarged by tectonic fractures which are non-connected and unimportant for reservoir drainage. Laterally, only the uppermost zone can be resolved by seismic imaging linked with horizontal well data (the wells are located at the top of the percolation zone). The Rospo Mare reservoir shows three distinct horizontal zones: a relict paleokarst plateau with a high index of open connected fractures, (area around the A and B platforms); a zone bordering the plateau (to the north-east of the plateau zone) very karstified but intensely infilled by cap rock shales (Miocene - Oligocene age); a zone of intensely disturbed and irregular karst paleotopography which has been totally infilled by shales. The performance of the production wells is dependent on their position with respect to the three zones noted above and their distance from local irregularities in the karst paleotopography (dolines, paleovalleys)

Karst Morphogenesis in the epikarstic zone, 1995, Klimchouk A. B.

GEOLOGY AND KARST GEOMORPHOLOGY OF SAN-SALVADOR ISLAND, BAHAMAS, 1995, Mylroie J. E. , Carew J. L. ,
The exposed carbonates of the Bahamas consist of late Quaternary limestones that were deposited during glacio-eustatic highstands of sea level. Each highstand event produced transgressive-phase, stillstand-phase, and regressive-phase units. Because of slow platform subsidence, Pleistocene carbonates deposited on highstands prior to the last interglacial (oxygen isotope substage 5e, circa 125,000 years ago) are represented solely by eolianites. The Owl's Hole Formation comprises these eolianites, which are generally fossiliferous pelsparites. The deposits of the last interglacial form the Grotto Beach Formation, and contain a complete sequence of subtidal intertidal and eolian carbonates. These deposits are predominantly oolitic. Holocene deposits are represented by the Rice Bay Formation, which consists of intertidal and eolian pelsparites deposited during the transgressive-phase and stillstand-phase of the current sea-level highstand. The three formations are separated from one another by well-developed terra-rossa paleosols or other erosion surfaces that formed predominantly during intervening sea-level lowstands. The karst landforms of San Salvador consist of karren, depressions, caves, and blue holes. Karren are small-scale dissolutional etchings on exposed and soil-covered bedrock that grade downward into the epikarst, the system of tubes and holes that drain the bedrock surface. Depressions are constructional features, such as swales between eolian ridges, but they have been dissolutionally maintained. Pit caves are vertical voids in the vadose zone that link the epikarst to the water table. Flank margin caves are horizontal voids that formed in the distal margin of a past fresh-water lens; whereas banana holes are horizontal voids that developed at the top of a past fresh-water lens, landward of the lens margin. Lake drains are conduits that connect some flooded depressions to the sea. Blue holes are flooded vertical shafts, of polygenetic origin, that may lead into caves systems at depth. The paleokarst of San Salvador is represented by flank margin caves and banana holes formed in a past fresh-water lens elevated by the last interglacial sea-level highstand, and by epikarst buried under paleosols formed during sea-level lowstands. Both carbonate deposition and its subsequent karstification is controlled by glacio-eustatic sea-level position. On San Salvador, the geographic isolation of the island, its small size, and the rapidity of past sea level changes have placed major constraints on the production of the paleokarst

Hidden shafts at the base of the epikarstic zone: A case study from the Sette Communi plateau, Venetian Pre-alps, Italy, 1996, Klimchouk A. B, Sauro U. , Lazzarotto M.

Stable isotopic variation of storm discharge from a perennial karst spring, Indiana, 1996, Lakey B. , Krothe N. C. ,
Oxygen and deuterium isotopes and major-ion chemistry of water from a large karst spring were used in an attempt to decipher water recharge, transmission, and storage characteristics of a karst aquifer system. Ionic concentrations and isotopic data indicated that the bulk of discharge during peak flow was derived from groundwater storage. Isotopic hydrograph separation of storm flow revealed that maximum rainwater contribution to discharge was 18 to 24 hours after peak flow and rainwater contributed 20 to 25% of spring discharge over the monitoring periods. Water released from phreatic and vadose conduit storage may have contributed to discharge with the onset of storm flow, while water from soil moisture and epikarst storage may have arrived during initial discharge recession

Structure et comportement hydraulique des aquifers karstiques, DSc thesis, 1996, Jeannin, P. Y.

This thesis aims to provide a better knowledge of karst flow systems, from a functional point of view (behaviour with time), as well as from a structural one (behaviour in space). The first part of the thesis deals with the hydrodynamic behaviour of karst systems, and the second part with the geometry of karstic networks, which is a strong conditioning factor for the hydrodynamic behaviour.
Many models have been developed in the past for describing the hydrodynamic behaviour of karst hydrogeological systems. They usually aim to provide a tool to extrapolate, in time and/or space, some characteristics of the flow fields, which can only be measured at a few points. Such models often provide a new understanding of the systems, beyond what can be observed directly in the field. Only special field measurements can verify such hypotheses based on numerical models. This is an significant part of this work. For this purpose, two experimental sites have been equipped and measured: Bure site or Milandrine, Ajoie, Switzerland, and Holloch site, Muotathal, Schwyz, Switzerland. These sites gave us this opportunity of simultaneously observe hydrodynamic parameters within the conduit network and, in drillholes, the "low permeability volumes" (LPV) surrounding the conduits.
These observations clearly show the existence of a flow circulation across the low permeability volumes. This flow may represent about 50% of the infiltrated water in the Bure test-field. The epikarst appears to play an important role into the allotment of the infiltrated waters: Part of the infiltrated water is stored at the bottom of the epikarst and slowly flows through the low permeability volumes (LPV) contributing to base flow. When infiltration is significant enough the other part of the water exceeds the storage capacity and flows quickly into the conduit network (quick flow).
For the phreatic zone, observations and models show that the following scheme is adequate to describe the flow behaviour: a network of high permeability conduits, of tow volume, leading to the spring, is surrounded by a large volume of low permeability fissured rock (LPV), which is hydraulically connected to the conduits. Due to the strong difference in hydraulic conductivity between conduits and LPV, hydraulic heads and their variations in time and space are strongly heterogeneous. This makes the use of piezometric maps in karst very questionable.
Flow in LPV can be considered as similar to flow in fractured rocks (laminar flow within joints and joints intersections). At a catchment scale, they can be effectively considered as an equivalent porous media with a hydraulic conductivity of about 10-6 to 10-7 m/s.
Flow in conduits is turbulent and loss of head has to be calculated with appropriate formulas, if wanting any quantitative results. Our observations permitted us to determine the turbulent hydraulic conductivity of some simple karst conduits (k', turbulent flow), which ranges from 0.2 to 11 m/s. Examples also show that the structure of the conduit network plays a significant role on the spatial distribution of hydraulic heads. Particularity hydraulic transmissivity of the aquifer varies with respect to hydrological conditions, because of the presence of overflow conduits located within the epiphreatic zone. This makes the relation between head and discharge not quadratic as would be expected from a (too) simple model (with only one single conduit). The model applied to the downstream part of Holloch is a good illustration of this phenomena.
The flow velocity strongly varies along the length of karst conduits, as shown by tracer experiments. Also, changes in the conduit cross-section produce changes in the (tow velocity profile. Such heterogeneous flow-field plays a significant role in the shape of the breakthrough curves of tracer experiments. It is empirically demonstrated that conduit enlargements induce retardation of the breakthrough curve. If there are several enlargements one after the other, an increase of the apparent dispersivity will result, although no diffusion with the rock matrix or immobile water is present. This produces a scale effect (increase of the apparent dispersivity with observation scale). Such observations can easily be simulated by deterministic and/or black box models.
The structure of karst conduit networks, especially within the phreatic zone, plays an important role not only on the spatial distribution of the hydraulic heads in the conduits themselves, but in the LPV as well. Study of the network geometry is therefore useful for assessing the shape of the flow systems. We further suggest that any hydrogeological study aiming to assess the major characteristics of a flow system should start with a preliminary estimation of the conduit network geometry. Theories and examples presented show that the geometry of karst conduits mainly depends on boundary conditions and the permeability field at the initial stage of the karst genesis. The most significant boundary conditions are: the geometry of the impervious boundaries, infiltration and exfiltration conditions (spring). The initial permeability field is mainly determined by discontinuities (fractures and bedding planes). Today's knowledge allows us to approximate the geometry of a karst network by studying these parameters (impervious boundaries, infiltration, exfiltration, discontinuity field). Analogs and recently developed numerical models help to qualitatively evaluate the sensitivity of the geometry to these parameters. Within the near future, new numerical tools will be developed and will help more closely to address this difficult problem. This development will only be possible if speleological networks can be sufficiently explored and used to calibrate models. Images provided by speleologists to date are and will for a long time be the only data which can adequately portray the conduit networks in karst systems. This is helpful to hydrogeologists. The reason that we present the example of the Lake Thun karst system is that it illustrates the geometry of such conduits networks. Unfortunately, these networks are three-dimensional and their visualisation on paper (2 dimensions) is very restrictive, when compared to more effective 3-D views we can create with computers. As an alternative to deterministic models of speleogenesis, fractal and/or random walk models could be employed.


Groundwater tracing in the epikarst, 1997, Aley T.

EPIK, methode de cartographic de la vulnerabilite des aquiferes karstiques pour la delimitation des zones de protection., 1997, Doerfliger Nn. , Zwhalen F.
The EPIK method is a general multiattribute method used for the karst aquifer vulnerability mapping and to provide a base to assesss the groundwater protection zones in the karst environment. The goal of this method developed with the support of the Federal Officle for Environment, Forest and Landscape is to produce some vulnerability maps for karst spring watercatchments. According to the selected attributes, the obtained vulnerability zones can be a base to outline the groundwater protection zones. After having determined the spring watercatchment borderlines, we proceed in four steps: 1) mapping of the epikarst (geomorphological approach), 2) protective cover mapping, 3) infiltration conditions mapping and 4) characterization of the karst network development. Each of this attribute is subdivided in classes that are weightd by a theoretical coefficient. The four attributes maps are overlayed using a GIS and for each zone vulnerability degree is calculated; the resulting map is the vulnerability map. This method was tested in Switzerland on several sites .whose some results are here introduced.

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