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Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology

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Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

Klimchouk on 26 Mar, 2012
Dear Colleagues, This is to draw your attention to several recent publications added to KarstBase, relevant to hypogenic karst/speleogenesis: Corrosion of limestone tablets in sulfidic ground-water: measurements and speleogenetic implications Galdenzi,

The deepest terrestrial animal

Klimchouk on 23 Feb, 2012
A recent publication of Spanish researchers describes the biology of Krubera Cave, including the deepest terrestrial animal ever found: Jordana, Rafael; Baquero, Enrique; Reboleira, Sofía and Sendra, Alberto. ...

Caves - landscapes without light

akop on 05 Feb, 2012
Exhibition dedicated to caves is taking place in the Vienna Natural History Museum   The exhibition at the Natural History Museum presents the surprising variety of caves and cave formations such as stalactites and various crystals. ...

Did you know?

That desorption is the reverse process of sorption [22]. see also sorption.?

Checkout all 2699 terms in the KarstBase Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms

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KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for fluxes (Keyword) returned 56 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 56
Origin of the sedimentary deposits of the Naracoorte Caves, South Australia, ,
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Forbes Ms, Bestland Ea,
The origin of the sediments located in the Naracoorte Caves (South Australia) was investigated via the analysis of strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr), elemental geochemistry, and mineralogy. Sedimentary deposits located in Robertson, Wet, Blanche and several other chambers in Victoria Cave are all variable mixes of fine sand and coarse silts, which display similar and consistent strontium isotope ratios (0.717-0.725). This suggests that over the 400[no-break space]ka time frame that these deposits span there has been minimal variation in the source of the clastic sediments. Increased strontium concentrations for these cave sediments correspond with increasing silt content, yet there is no correlation between 87Sr/86Sr ratios and silt content. This implies that the silt-sized component of the sediments is the main contributor of strontium to the cave sediments. Comparisons of 87Sr/86Sr with regional surficial deposits show a significant correlation between the cave sediments (avg: 0.7228; n = 27), the fine silt lunettes of the Bool Lagoon area (avg: 0.7224; n = 4), the sandy A horizons of the Coonawarra Red Brown Earths (RBEs; avg: 0.726; n = 5), and Holocene age podsolic sand deposits (0.723). These data suggest that there has been substantial flux from this group of deposits to the caves, as would be expected considering prevailing winds. This relationship is further supported by a strong correlation between many trace elements, including Ti, Zr, Ce, and Y; however, variations in clay mineralogy suggest that the fine silt-dominated lunettes and Padthaway RBEs were not significant contributors to the cave deposits. Hence, the detritus entering the caves was more than likely from areas proximal to the cave entrance and was dominated by medium grain-sized materials. Major regional deposits, including the coarser-grained, calcite-rich Bridgewater Formation sands, basalts from the lower SE, Padthaway Horst granites, Gambier limestone, and metamorphics from the Adelaide geosyncline show minimal correlation in 87Sr/86Sr ratios, elemental geochemistry, and mineralogy with the cave sediments, and are discounted as significant sources. In comparison, 87Sr/86Sr ratios for the Coorong silty sands (0.717-0.724), Lower Murray sands (0.727-0.730), and the medium size silt component of the Murray-Darling River system (0.71-0.72), compare favourably with the cave sediments. This relationship is further supported by similarities in elemental chemistry and mineralogy. Thus, much of the strontium-rich silt that is now located in the Naracoorte Cave sediments likely originated from the Murray-Darling basin. Over time, this material has been transported to the SE of South Australia, where it mixed with the medium sand component of the regressive dune ridge sequence, locally derived organic matter, limestone fragments, and fossil material to produce the unique deposits that we see evident in many of the chambers of the Naracoorte Cave system today

Mayan Urbanism: Impact on a Tropical Karst Environment, 1979,
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Deevey Es, Rice Ds, Rice Pm, Vaughan Hh, Brenner M, Flannery Ms,
From the first millennium B.C. through the 9th-century A.D. Classic Maya collapse, nonurban populations grew exponentially, doubling every 408 years, in the twin-lake (Yaxha-Sacnab) basin that contained the Classic urban center of Yaxha. Pollen data show that forests were essentially cleared by Early Classic time. Sharply accelerated slopewash and colluviation, amplified in the Yaxha subbasin by urban construction, transferred nutrients plus calcareous, silty clay to both lakes. Except for the urban silt, colluvium appearing as lake sediments has a mean total phosphorus concentration close to that of basin soils. From this fact, from abundance and distribution of soil phosphorus, and from continuing post-Maya influxes (80 to 86 milligrams of phosphorus per square meter each year), which have no other apparent source, we conclude that riparian soils are anthrosols and that the mechanism of long-term phosphorus loading in lakes is mass transport of soil. Per capita deliveries of phosphorus match physiological outputs, approximately 0.5 kilogram of phosphorus per capita per year. Smaller apparent deliveries reflect the nonphosphatic composition of urban silt; larger societal outputs, expressing excess phosphorus from deforestation and from food waste and mortuary disposal, are probable but cannot be evaluated from our data. Eutrophication is not demonstrable and was probably impeded, even in less-impacted lakes, by suspended Maya silt. Environmental strain, the product of accelerating agroengineering demand and sequestering of nutrients in colluvium, developed too slowly to act as a servomechanism, damping population growth, at least until Late Classic time

Quaternary Paleoclimatology of the Black Sea basin, 1979,
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Schrader Hans Joachim,
The occurrence of polyhaline, mesohaline and oligohaline diatom, silicoflagellate, ebridian and chrysomonad populations in late Quaternary Black Sea sediments (DSDP Leg 42B) forms the basis for reconstruction of surface water paleosalinities in the Black Sea basin over the last 3 million years. Four major periods with increased salinites are separated by extended freshwater periods. Based on paleosalinites, indicators of trophic freshwater conditions and changes in diatom species diversity, a correlation is made to the northern Europian glacial--interglacial stratigraphy and this correlation is used to place paleoenvironmental events into a chronostratigraphy. The `synchronous' late Quaternary occurrence of sediments rich in organic carbon in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea supports this interpretation.Three different stages in the interaction between the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean Sea are defined: Stage A (exchange of freshwater and marine water similar to the present day flux) during the Holocene, Eemian, Holsteinian and Pliocene; Stage B (freshwater conditions with only occasional marine spills) during the Saalian, the Waalian, the Tiglian and the Praetiglian; and Stage C (freshwater conditions with no inflow of marine waters) during the Weichselian, the Elsterian and Eburonian

Groundwater chemistry and cation budgets of tropical karst outcrops, Peninsular Malaysia, I. Calcium and magnesium, 1989,
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Crowther J,
The discharge and chemical properties of 217 autogenic groundwaters were monitored over a 1-yr period in the tower karsts of central Selangor and the Kinta Valley, and in the Setul Boundary Range. Because of differences in soil PCO2, calcium concentrations are significantly higher in the Boundary Range (mean, 82.5 mg l-1) than in the tower karst terrain (44.6 mg l-1). Local differences in both source area PCO2 and amounts of secondary deposition underground cause marked intersite variability, particularly in the tower karst. Dilution occurs during flood peaks in certain conduit and cave stream waters. Generally, however, calcium correlates positively with discharge, since the amount of secondary deposition per unit volume of water decreases at higher flows. Magnesium concentrations and Mg:Ca Mg ratios of groundwaters are strongly influenced by bedrock composition, though bedrock heterogeneity and the kinetics and equilibria of carbonate dissolution reactions preclude extremely low or high Mg:Ca Mg values. Net chemical denudation rates range from 56.6 to 70.9 m3km2yr-1.The results are considered in relation to cation fluxes in surface runoff, soil throughflow and nutrient cycling. Preliminary calcium and magnesium budgets show that (1) dissolutional activity is largely confined to the near-surface zone; and (2) the annual uptake of calcium and magnesium by tropical limestone forests is similar in magnitude to the net solute output in groundwaters

High-resolution temporal record of Holocene ground-water chemistry; tracing links between climate and hydrology, 1996,
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Banner Jl, Musgrove M, Asmerom Y, Edwards Rl, Hoff Ja,
Strontium isotope analysis of precisely dated calcite growth layers in Holocene speleothems from Barbados, West Indies, reveals high-resolution temporal variations in ground-water composition and may provide a new approach to documenting the links between climate variability and fluctuations in the hydrologic cycle such as recharge rates and flow paths. The speleothems grew in a cave that developed in a fresh-water aquifer in uplifted Pleistocene reef limestones. Three periods of ground-water Sr isotope evolution are observed: 87 Sr/ 86 Sr values decreased from 6 to 4 ka, increased from 4 to 1 ka, and decreased again after 1 ka. The Sr isotope oscillations appear to record periodic variations in the relative Sr fluxes to ground water from exchangeable soil sites vs. carbonate mineral reactions, as reflected in 87 Sr/ 86 Sr values of modern Barbados ground waters. A hydrologic model that explains changes in ground-water flow routes in karst aquifers as a function of amount of rainfall recharge can account for the speleothem Sr isotope record. Independent Holocene climate records that indicate a major period of aridity at around 1.3-1.1 ka in the American tropics correspond with periodic variations in rainfall on Barbados that are predicted by this hydrologic model

An examination of short-term variations in water quality at a karst spring in Kentucky, 1996,
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Ryan M. , Meiman J. ,
Water quality at many karst springs undergoes very high amplitude but relatively brief degradation following influxes of runoff. Accurately recording transient variations requires more rigorous sampling strategies than traditional methods, A pilot study to determine the usefulness of high-frequency, flow-dependent sampling strategies, combined with coincidental quantitative dye tracer tests, was implemented in the Big Spring Ground-Water Basin in Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky. Data recorded following two separate runoff events showed that the concentrations of two nonpoint source pollutants, fecal coliform bacteria and suspended sediment, greatly exceeded prerunoff event values for very short periods of time, A phreatic conduit segment, calculated at 17 million liters in volume, instantaneously propagated head changes, caused by direct runoff entering the aquifer, from the ground-water inputs to Big Spring, A significant delay between the initial increases in discharge and the arrival of direct runoff, as indicated by a steady decrease in specific conductance, represented the time required to displace this volume of phreatic water, The delay showed that sampling a karst spring only during peak discharge would be an unreliable sampling method. Runoff from two different subcatchments was tagged with tracer dye and the timing of the passage of the resultant dye clouds through Big Spring were compared to water quality variations, Distinct lag times between the arrival of direct runoff at Big Spring and the bacteria and suspended sediment waveforms were shown through the concurrent quantitative tracer tests to be related to the areal distribution of land-cover type within the basin

Hydrogeologic controls on the groundwater interactions with an acidic lake in karst terrain, Lake Barco, Florida, 1996,
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Lee T. M. ,
Transient groundwater interactions and lake stage were simulated for Lake Barco, an acidic seepage lake in the mantled karst of north central Florida. Karst subsidence features affected groundwater flow patterns in the basin and groundwater fluxes to and from the lake. Subsidence features peripheral to the lake intercepted potential groundwater inflow and increased leakage from the shallow perimeter of the lake bed. Simulated groundwater fluxes were checked against net groundwater flow derived from a detailed lake hydrologic budget with short-term lake evaporation computed by the energy budget method. Discrepancies between modeled and budget-derived net groundwater flows indicated that the model underestimated groundwater inflow, possibly contributed to by transient water table mounding near the lake. Recharge from rainfall reduced lake leakage by 10 to 15 times more than it increased groundwater inflow. As a result of the karst setting, the contributing groundwater basin to the lake was 2.4 ha for simulated average rainfall conditions, compared to the topographically derived drainage basin area of 81 ha. Short groundwater inflow path lines and rapid travel times limit the contribution of acid-neutralizing solutes from the basin, making Lake Barco susceptible to increased acidification by acid rain

Geochemistry and water dynamics: Application to short time-scale flood phenomena in a small Mediterranean catchment .1. Alkalis, alkali-earths and Sr isotopes, 1997,
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Benothman D, Luck Jm, Tournoud Mg,
We report major, trace elements and Sr isotope data for water samples taken regularly during a four-day-long September flood of a Mediterranean river, the Vene (Herault, S. France). The objective is to combine all these data into a dynamic model that describes the origin(s) and movements of waters and their loads. This river drains the runoff from a small, mainly carbonate, partly karstified watershed with Miocene and Jurassic lithologies. The watershed is also impacted by both agricultural and urban activities. Both the dissolved and the particulate loads were analyzed. Concentrations of the dissolved components show major remobilization of almost all elements during the first few hours of the flood (water treatment plants and aerosol scavenging), followed by a sharp concentration decrease. Some major species return to their previous summer values (Ca, HCO3) while others reach low 'background' levels (Na, K, Cl, SO4). Some trace elements (Rb, Sr, Cs) show similar behaviour but (Ba) appears somewhat unaffected. Trace element concentrations and ratios define two main periods (three in the suspended particulate matter). Ratios do not allow distinguishing between the three main sources for the dissolved load in the first period (Miocene, Jurassic, water treatment plants), but clearly show the Jurassic karst influence later on. The Sr-87/Sr-86 Of the suspended particulate matter is more variable and more radiogenic than in the dissolved phase. Variations in concentration ratios and Sr isotope composition in particulates indicate the large and variable contribution of Miocene silicates with some carbonate. However, there is a need for another component with [Rb]/[Sr] higher than bedrocks, internal or external to the watershed, possibly due to differential erosion. Dissolved Ca and Mg fluxes during the flood were calculated at 0.26 ton and 0.029 ton/km(2), respectively. Even though the carbonate nature of the watershed restricts variability in Sr isotope composition in the dissolved load, we distinguish several endmembers: seawater(approximate to marine rain), Miocene marls, Jurassic limestones, water treatment plants (and possibly another attributable to fertilizers). Combined with major and trace element variational Sr isotope fluctuations indicate time-varying proportions of different water endmembers at the outflow and suggest a general dynamic model. Based on PCA (principal component analysis), a 3D representation allows to visualize the geochemical evolution of the Vene waters. In particular, Sr isotopes clearly indicate that the inflow of karstic waters during the flood was not continuous but occurred as a series of marked oscillations between flowing waters with chemical signature of Miocene lithologies and increasing flushes of deeper waters that interacted with Jurassic lithologies. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science B.V

Particle size distributions in waters from a karstic aquifer: from particles to colloids, 1997,
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Atteia O, Kozel R,
Waters from the surface hydrologic network and the spring of a karstic aquifer in Switzerland were sampled to analyse their colloidal content. The measurements were done weekly with a single particle counter and were verified by other techniques. The particle size distribution (PSD) was modelled in two portions, below and above 5 mu m, using two types of equation: a power law (Pareto distribution) and an exponential law. The model results matched well with the entire PSD data set by varying the parameter values. The parameters obtained from fitting the measured PSD curves were then interpreted in relation to environmental factors. It appears that the two parts of the curves vary independently. The first part of the PSD curve, relating to the smallest particles, is dependent on the pH value of the spring or the temperature of the surface brook. In contrast, the second part of the curve depends mostly on the spring discharge volume. During high flow events, the major effect of the discharge on particle size occurs during the rising limb of the hydrograph, interpreted as clays deposited in the aquifer and resuspended due to high water velocity. The contrasted behaviour of the two parts of the PSD curves suggested that the break point in the curves represents the limit between colloidal and particulate behaviour. Knowing these dependencies, and the characteristics of the particulate matter, allowed the estimation of the role of the colloids in contaminant transport. Large fluxes of suspended matter, specific to karstic aquifers, demonstrate the critical role of colloids in contaminant transport, which is markedly different from what typically occurs in porous media.

Geochemical evolution of a karst stream in Devils Icebox Cave, Missouri, USA, 1997,
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Wicks Carol M. , Engeln Joseph F. ,
A 3.7 km flowpath along the main stream channel in Devils Icebox Cave, Boone County, Missouri, was sampled on 23 January, 23 March and 18 September 1994. In January 1994, the water was oversaturated with respect to both calcite and dolomite, and only minor compositional changes were observed along the flowpath. In March 1994, the water was oversaturated with respect to calcite but undersaturated with respect to dolomite. Using a mass-balance approach, the composition of the stream water at downstream locations was predicted by dissolution of dolomite (a maximum of 0.16 mmol s-1) and by a minor amount of calcite precipitation (a maximum of 0.03 mmol s-1). In September 1994, there were increases in the Mg, Ca, and total inorganic carbon (TIC) mass fluxes that were due to the dissolution of dolomite (SIdolomiteSI is saturation index) and calcite (SIcalcite2 of the water should decrease downstream; however, we found an increase in the partial pressure of CO2 along the stream. The source of this additional CO2 is thought to be microbial degradation of bat guano. The decomposition of bat guano appeared to change the composition of the stream water during the period the bats are in the cave, and this change was reflected in the composition of the stream water collected in September 1994. Based on the length of the flowpath and on the average velocity of the water along the flowpath, the travel time of water in this karst stream is less than 4 days. The reactions that control the chemistry of the karst water must be those with equally short characteristic times: the dissolution of dolomite and calcite, CO2 exchange, and microbial degradation of organic matter

Hydrogeology of Kartchner Caverns State Park, Arizona, 1999,
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Graf, C. G.
Three distinct hydrogeologic systems occur within Kartchner Caverns State Park, Arizona, each in fault contact with the other two. The southeastern corner and eastern edge of the park is part of the large graben that formed the San Pedro Valley during Miocene Basin and Range faulting. A thick alluvial sequence fills this graben and contains a regional aquifer covering 1000 km. One well in the park penetrates this aquifer. The groundwater level measured in this well was 226 m below land surface (1167 m msl), which is 233 m lower than the lowest measured point inside of Kartchner Caverns (1400 m msl). A pediment occupies a small part of the southwestern corner of the park. Structurally, this feature is part of the Whetstone Mountains horst rising above the park to the west. The pediment consists of a bedrock surface of Precambrian Pinal Schist overlain by a few tens of meters of granite wash sediments. Groundwater occurs at depths of 4-18 m below land surface in wells tapping the granite wash sediments. Data from these wells indicate that the zones of saturation within the granite wash sediments are probably of limited lateral extent and yield little water to wells. At the boundary between the pediment and the carbonate ridge containing Kartchner Caverns, the water table in the granite wash aquifer is 20 m higher than the bottom of the nearest known cave passage, located about 200 m to the east.The arid carbonate hills occupying the northwestern part of the park are the erosional remnants of a fault block (the Kartchner Block) that was displaced downward with respect to the Whetstone Mountains horst to the west. Kartchner Caverns is wholly contained in a ridge of highly faulted Mississippian Escabrosa Limestone and cuts conspicuously across Escabrosa beds dipping 10-40 to the southwest and west. Meteoric water enters the Kartchner Block and Kartchner Caverns from infiltration of runoff in washes that border the block and from overhead infiltration of precipitation. A small amount of groundwater also may flow into the Kartchner Block from the schist pediment to the south. Response in the cave to these fluxes is slow. As calculated from past records, the probability of flooding in the cave in any one year is about 57%.

CO2 source-sink in karst processes in karst areas of China, 1999,
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Jiang Z. C. , Yuan D. X. ,
The CO2 source-sink of atmospheric greenhouse has a close relationship with karst processes. The corrosion of carbonate rocks lends to the sink of atmospheric CO2, whereas the deposition of carbonate rocks gives off CO2 into atmosphere, which is one of the sources of atmospheric CO2. According to the exposed areas of carbonate rocks in China, the flux of atmospheric CO2 consumed in karst processes is estimated at about 1.77 x 10(13) g CO2/a, Considering the global karst area the flux Of atmospheric CO2 consumed in corrosion may be an important parr of the missing sink. And the sink has a tendency of continuous increase. The release of CO2 from karst water is usually less than the sink of atmospheric CO2 consumed in karst processes. But in active tectonic zone the release of high CO2 concentration of mantle source in the geothermal karst water should not be neglected

Tectonic network as the initial factor of karstification of the chalk limestones in the Perche hills (Orne, Normandy, France), 1999,
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Rodet J. ,
Tectonics has been known to be the initial factor of karstification for a long time, but this has never been demonstrated because of the progressive nature of karstification, which destroys evidence of the preliminary phases. Because of its dual hydrological quality, chalk limestone has conserved a great variety of specific forms illustrating various steps in evolution, from the initial primokarst to the classic well-developed drain. In the Perche hills, very recent research has shown specific endokarstic galleries, filled up by sands and clays. Physical, chemical and X-ray analyses have shown that such infillings result not from a classical fluviatile deposit process, but on the contrary, from an alteration process, underlining the progress of a weathering front into the limestone mass down to the watertable. The infillings are not sedimentary deposits, but represent a kind of 'shadow rock', a chemical in situ transformation of limestone, without any transport of the solid fraction, The genesis results from the progression of weathering fronts located on the tectonic pattern into the input karst. When the weathering front crosses the watertable, the resulting water mixing produces a chemical reaction capable of opening the original joint. This results in infilled galleries, similar to classical karst drains, which have never known fluviatile drainage. This illustrates the first step in normal karstic evolution, just before a water flux drains the gallery, resulting in a new karstification step: the drained passage. The specificity of the region of the Perche hills is this karat evolution stopped in the first step, illustrating the 'primorkarst' modelling by the researcher, which has never been described before. The conditions for this genesis are a well-developed tectonic pattern, an absence of thick superficial layers, a high soil permeability, and an absence of superficial drainage (lack of sinkholes). (C) Elsevier, Paris

Is it always dark in caves?, 2000,
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Badino Giovanni
Underground natural sources of visible light are considered. The main light producer is Cerenkov radiation emitted in air, water and rock by cosmic ray muons, that depends, in a complex way, on shape of mountain and of caves. In general the illumination increases linearly with the cavity dimensions. Other light sources are from secondary processes generated by radioactive decays in rock from minerals luminescence. The natural light fluxes in caves are in general easy to detect but are not used from underground life.

Carbonate platform systems: components and interactions -- an introduction, 2000,
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Insalaco Enzo, Skelton Peter, Palmer Tim J. ,
Carbonate platforms are open systems with natural boundaries in space and time. Across their spatial boundaries there are fluxes of energy (e.g. light, chemical energy in compounds, and kinetic energy in currents and mass flows) and matter (e.g. nutrients, dissolved gases such as CO2, and sediment -- especially, of course, carbonates). Internally, these fluxes are regulated by myriads of interactions and feedbacks (Masse 1995), and the residue is consigned to the geological record. The most distinctive aspect of carbonate platforms is the predominant role of organisms in producing, processing and/or trapping carbonate sediment, even in Precambrian examples. Because of evolutionary changes in this strong biotic input, it is harder to generalize about carbonate platforms than about most other sedimentary systems. Evolution has altered both the constructive and destructive effects of platform-dwelling organisms on carbonate fabrics, with profound consequences for facies development. Moreover, changing patterns in the provision of accommodation space (e.g. between greenhouse and icehouse climatic regimes) have also left their stamp on facies geometries, in turn feeding back to the evolution of the platform biotas. Hence simplistic analogies between modern and ancient platforms may give rise to misleading interpretations of what the latter were like and how they formed. Although a number of carbonate platform and reef specialists have warned of the dangers of such misplaced uniformitarianism (e.g. Braithwaite 1973; Gili et al. 1995; Wood 1999), it remains depressingly commonplace in the literature on ancient carbonate platforms. The endless quest in the literature for an allpurpose definition of reefs' ... This 250-word extract was created in the absence of an abstract

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