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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 flower is a cave flower is a group of crystals, commonly of gypsum or mirabilite, that grow by accretion at their bases on a cave wall. as the crystals grow, curve and splay, their form mimics that of a flower [9].?

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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 hercynian (Keyword) returned 11 results for the whole karstbase:
Summaries of papers read at The Engineering Group Regional Meeting-Cardiff 1977: Engineering Geology of Soluble Rocks, 1978,
Engineering Geology of the South Wales Coalfield and its margins--with particular reference to the Carboniferous Limestone. By J. G. C. Anderson. The stratigraphical succession of the Cardiff district ranges from Silurian to Lower Jurassic, while structurally the rocks have been affected by Caledonian, Hercynian and Alpine movements. Caledonian folding is relatively weak but powerful Hercynian (Asturian) folding and faulting took place about the end of the Westphalian; the elongate South Wales Coalfield Basin being formed at this time. Mesozoic strata, up to the Liassic, are also folded and faulted by movements which may have been as late as the Miocene. Silurian rocks which occur in the Usk and Rumney Inliers consist of sandstones, siltstones and shales (often calcareous) as well as some limestones. The argillaceous rocks often weather deeply and degenerate to clay with rock lithorelicts, consequently they pose problems in foundations and cuttings, e.g. on the east side of Cardiff. The Old Red Sandstone, both Lower and Upper divisions are present, is made up of marls, sandstones and conglomerates. Some of the sandstones are aquifers and provide water in commercial quantities. The marls, especially where steeply inclined are liable to slipping, as happened for example, in the Brynglas (M4) Tunnel at Newport. The Carboniferous Limestone surrounds the coalfield and consists mainly of limestone and dolomite (see also below). The Millstone Grit does not contain the gritty sandstones of the Pennines and is made up mainly of strong siliceous sandstones and shales. The Coal Measures show the usual lithology; a ... This 250-word extract was created in the absence of an abstract

Palokarst palozoque en Antarctique, 1986, Maire R. , Laurent R.
PALEOZOIC KARST IN ANTARCTICA - Karst features in Antarctica have been rarely observed. In their study on the geology of the Beardmore Glacier area in the Transantarctic Mountains (south of Ross Ice Shelf), BARRET and al. (1968) describe a pre-glacial karst topography (Mt. Counts) and especially a former cave (diameter 10 m) 10 m below the erosion surface and filled with coarse green sandstone. Shaped in the "Shackleton limestone" (Low to Middle Cambrian) probably during the Permo-Carboniferous (hercynian cycle), this karst is fossilised by the Pagoda formation, a permian tillite of the Beacon sequence (Devonian-Permian- Triassic).

Late to post-Hercynian hydrothermal activity and mineralization in Southwest Sardinia (Italy), 1992, Boni M, Iannace A, Koeppel V, Fruehgreen Gl, Hansmann W,

LATE TO POSTHERCYNIAN HYDROTHERMAL ACTIVITY AND MINERALIZATION IN SOUTHWEST SARDINIA (ITALY), 1992, Boni M, Iannace A, Koppel V, Fruhgreen G, Hansmann W,
Several kinds of base metal deposits occur in the lower Paleozoic of southwest Sardinia (Iglesiente-Sulcis mineral district). This paper deals with those deposits which are generally referred to as Permo-Triassic, because they accompany and postdate the Hercynian orogeny and are related to magmatic activity. A large number of previously published geochemical data, integrated with additional new data (Sr, Pb, O, C, and S isotopes), are reviewed and discussed in the frame of the late to post-Hercynian geologic evolution of southwest Sardinia. According to geological and mineralogical characteristics, three types of deposits can be distinguished: (1) skarn ores related to late Hercynian leucogranitic intrusions, (2) high-temperature veins, and (3) low-temperature veins and karst filling. Pervasive epigenetic dolomitization phenomena are geochemically related to the low-temperature deposits. Sr and Pb isotopes of the first and second types (0.7097-0.7140 Sr-87/Sr-86; 17.97-18.29 Pb-206/Pb-204; 38.11-38.45 Pb-208/Pb-204) are distinctly more radiogenic than those of the third type (0.7094-0.7115 Sr-87/Sr-86; 17.86-18.05 Pb-206/Pb-204; 37.95-38.19 Pb-208/Pb-204) which, in turn, are closer to Paleozoic ores and carbonates. Fluid inclusion data indicate that the fluids responsible for mineralization of the first and second types of deposits were hot and dilute (T(h)= 370-degrees-140-degrees-C; <5 wt % NaCl equiv). In contrast, relatively colder and very saline fluids (T(h)= 140-degrees-70-degrees-C; >20 wt % NaCl equiv) were responsible for the third type of mineralization, as well for epigenetic dolomitization of the Cambrian host rocks. O isotopes measured in minerals from the first two types (deltaO-18SMOW = 12.8-18.9 parts per thousand) are O-18 depleted with respect to the third type (deltaO-18SMOW = 15.9-22.1 parts per thousand). These data, coupled with fluid inclusion formation temperatures, indicate that the fluids responsible for the first two types of mineralization were O-18 enriched with respect to those of the third type and related hydrothermal phenomena. The deltaS-34CDT in sulfides of the first two types vary between 3.7 and 10.73 per mil, whereas the values of the third type range from 12.0 to 17.9 per mil. Late to post-Hercynian mineralization is thus explained as the result of three distinct, though partly superimposed, hydrothermal systems. System 1 developed closer to the late Hercynian leucogranitic intrusions and led to the formation of the first and subsequently the second type of mineralization. The relatively hot and diluted fluids had a heated meteoric, or even partly magmatic, origin. Metals were leached from an external, radiogenic source, represented either by Hercynian leucogranites or by Paleozoic metasediments. Sulfur had a partly magmatic signature. System 2 was characterized by very saline, colder fluids which promoted dolomitization, silicification, and vein and karst mineralization. These fluids share the typical characteristics of formation waters, even though their origins remain highly speculative. The hydrothermal system was mainly rock dominated, with only a minor participation of the external radiogenic source of metals. Sulfur was derived by recirculation of pre-Hercynian strata-bound ores. System 3 records the invasion of fresh and cold meteoric waters which precipitated only minor ore and calcite gangue. It may represent the further evolution of system 2, possibly spanning a time well after the Permo-Triassic. The timing of all these phenomena is still questionable, due to the poor geologic record of the Permo-Triassic in southwest Sardinia. Nevertheless, the hypothesized scenario bears many similarities with hydrothermal processes documented throughout the Hercynian in Europe and spanning the same time interval. A comparison with the latter mineralization and hydrothermal activities leads to the hypothesis that the first two types of mineralization are linked to late Hercynian magmatic activity, whereas the third type may be related to either strike-slip or tensional tectonics which, throughout Europe mark the transition from the Hercynian orogeny to the Alpine cycle

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

The Eastern boundary of the giant karst of Vaucluse in relation to the lineament-fault of Aix-en-Provence (Provence, Alps, Cote d'Azur Region, France), 1997, Rousset C. ,
In the Saint-Donat area, along the Mardaric stream, a tributary of the mid Durance, water losses associated with temporary springs can be observed. These springs run off overflows of the Vaucluse karstic system. Their impluvium extends over the limestones of the eastern part of the Montagne de Lure; this karstic area contributes, with the runoff entering into the losses, to the underground flows of the Fontaine de Vaucluse. As it rose eastwards, the drainage network of this giant karst was halted by the faults of the Aix-en-Provence lineament, in which very strongly deepening marls form a barrier around the aquifer. This is new evidence of the part played by the Hercynian-inherited lineament framework in limiting giant karsts of the Vaucluse-type, as is the case for the Alpine carbonate platforms in which they have developed

Vein and Karst Barite Deposits in the Western Jebilet of Morocco: Fluid Inclusion and Isotope (S, O, Sr) Evidence for Regional Fluid Mixing Related to Central Atlantic Rifting, 2000, Valenza Katia, Moritz Robert, Mouttaqi Abdellah, Fontignie Denis, Sharp Zachary,
Numerous vein and karst barite deposits are hosted by Hercynian basement and Triassic rocks of the western Jebilet in Morocco. Sulfur, oxygen, and strontium isotope analyses of barite, combined with fluid inclusion microthermometry on barite, quartz, and calcite were used to reveal the nature and source of the ore-forming fluids and constrain the age of mineralization. The{delta} 34S values of barite between 8.9 and 14.7 per mil are intermediate between the sulfur isotope signatures of Triassic evaporites and Triassic-Jurassic seawater and lighter [IMG]f1.gif' BORDER='0'>, probably derived from the oxidation of dissolved H2S and leaching of sulfides in the Hercynian basement. The 87Sr/86Sr ratios of barite between 0.7093 and 0.7130 range between the radiogenic strontium isotope compositions of micaceous shale and sandstone and the nonradiogenic isotopic signature of Triassic to Jurassic seawater and Cambrian limestone. The{delta} 18O values of barite between 11 and 15 per mil (SMOW) support mixing between two or more fluids, including Late Triassic to Jurassic seawater or a water dissolving Triassic evaporites along its flow path, hot basinal, or metamorphic fluids with{delta} 18O values higher than 0 per mil and/or meteoric fluids with{delta} 18O values lower than 0 per mil. The general trend of decreasing homogenization temperatures and initial ice melting temperatures with increasing salinities of H2O-NaCl {} CaCl2 fluid inclusions trapped in barite, quartz, and calcite indicates that a deep and hot basinal fluid with salinities lower than 6 wt percent NaCl equiv might have mixed with a cooler surficial solution with a mean salinity of 20 wt percent NaCl equiv. Calcium was leached from the Cambrian limestone and the clastic and mafic volcanic rocks of the Hercynian basement. Alkali feldspars and micas contained in the Cambrain sandstones provided most of the Ba to the hydrothermal system. Vein and karst deposits are modeled as a two-component mixing process in which the temperature and the S and Sr isotope composition of the end members changed during the 220 to 155 Ma interval. The hot basinal fluid remained volumetrically dominant during the entire mineralization process. Differences in mean S, O, and Sr isotope compositions among the barite families are interpreted as reflecting differences in mineralization age. Most barite deposits formed before the Kimmeridgian, except for north-south-oriented vein barite, karst barite, and barite cement in the conglomeratic Upper Jurassic, which were deposited later, possibly around 155 Ma. Similar genetic processes have been described for late Paleozoic to Mesozoic F-Ba vein deposits in western Europe. The vein and karst barite in the western Jebilet of Morocco reveals a wide-scale regional mineralization event related to Central Atlantic rifting

Organic geochemistry of paleokarst-hosted uranium deposits, South China, 2000, Min M. Z. , Meng Z. W. , Sheng G. Y. , Min Y. S. , Liu X. ,
The paleokarst-hosted uranium deposits in organic-matter, clay-rich Devonian-Carboniferous carbonates are an economically important, new type of uranium deposit in China. The organic matter intimately associated with the uranium mineralization in this type of deposit has been characterized by petrographic, isotopic, gas chromatographic, pyrolysis-gas chromatographic, infrared spectroscopic and elemental geochemical methods. Comparing genetic types of the organic matter in unmineralized and mineralized samples indicates that no fundamental differences are found. The organic matter is chiefly of marine origin and contains a minor terrestrial component. The immature nature of the indigenous organic matter in the unmineralized samples shows generally a low-temperature history (less than or equal to max. 65 degrees C), and geologic data show a shallow maximal burial depth. By combining the organic geochemistry with the geological data, U-Pb dating and temperature determinations, an overall formation process for this type of uranium deposit is deduced. The formation of the paleokarst-hosted uranium deposits in South China is the result of: (1) repeated paleokarstifications of the Devonian and Carboniferous organic, clay-rich carbonate along the faults and unconformities between different strata because of the Hercynian and Yanshanian regional tectonism, and extensive formation of solution-collapse, solution-fault breccias; (2) accumulation of organic matter and clays in the paleocaverns and matrix of the breccias, fixation and adsorption of uranium by the organic matter and clays from the paleokarst waterflows that leached metals from the uranium-bearing host carbonates during their passage towards the karst zones, (3) reduction of uranium by the organic matter and formation of protore and low-grade ore; (4) circulation of heated formational waters and deep circulating, uraniferous meteoric waters by tectonic pumping, reworking the uranium-rich, paleocave-fillings, protore and low-grade ore, reduction and formation of primary uranium minerals (uraninite and coffinite) because of the reducing environment resulting from organic matter and sulfide. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. Ail rights reserved

Fens in karst sinkholes - Archives for long lasting 'immission' chronologies, 2003, Hettwer K. , Deicke M. , Ruppert H. ,
Fens in karst sinkholes are excellent archives for the reconstruction of vegetation, land use and emission rates over millennia. The reasons are the usually good preservation of pollen, the high portion of low density organic material with very low background concentrations of heavy metals, and the circum-neutral pH-values in most of these mires preventing migration of heavy metals. Immissions of dust and of harmful elements can easily be correlated with changes in vegetation ('immission' is a synonym for the deposition or impact of pollutants from the atmosphere on a receptor surface). One 13 m core from a similar to5000 yr old karst sinkhole fen (Silberhohl, western margin of the Harz Mountains, central Germany) was investigated by geochemical analysis, pollen analysis and dated by C-14 and palynological data. The core consists of organic material with a few percent of CaCO3 precipitated from groundwater and a small amount of atmospheric detritus. As early as the Iron Age (first pre-Christian millennium), slight but significant enrichments of Pb, Zn, Cu and Cd are observed. After 400 AD stronger enrichments occurred culminating in the High Middle Ages (similar to1200-1300 AD). Maximum values are 1250 mug g(-1) Pb, 214 mug g(-1) Cu, 740 mug g(-1) Zn, and 3.8 mug g(-1) Cd. The enrichments are caused by emissions during smelting of sulfidic lead-zinc ores from the adjacent Hercynian deposits to extract Ag and Cu. Except for cadmium, these values were never exceeded in modern times. Since the Iron Age 23 g technogenic Pb, 5.3 g Cu, 27 g Zn and 0.2 g Cd have been deposited per square meter. Palynological investigations show a strong correlation between decreasing red beech pollens (Fagus sylvatica) and increasing demand on wood for smelting in the Middle Ages. Simultaneously, the pollen share of pioneer trees such as birch (Betula pubescens) and of cereal grains (e.g. Secale) increases. Since the beginning of the 14th century, the decline of agriculture and population is reflected in the decreasing contents of Secale and heavy metals in the fen deposits

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

Assessment of cover-collapse sinkholes in SW Sardinia (Italy), 2007, Ardau F, Balia R, Bianco M, De Waele J,
The SW part of Sardinia has been afflicted, in recent years, by several cover-collapse sinkholes mostly occurring in low-density population areas. The study area, that lies in the Iglesiente-Sulcis region, is characterized by the cropping out of the Palaeozoic basement related to the South European Hercynian chain, covered with Tertiary-Quaternary sediments. The main rock types that crop out are Palaeozoic metasandstones, metadolostones, metalimestones, shales and metaconglomerates, and Tertiary-Quaternary fluvial-lacustrine continental sediments. The combined application of several geophysical techniques, integrated with boreholes and geotechnical as well as hydrogeological measurements, proved to be very useful and promising in defining in detail the geological context in which each sinkhole has formed. Moreover, the gravity method, even when used alone, proved to be very effective in detecting the regional geological structures to which sinkholes are related. Eventually, the historical analysis of phenomena, the geological knowledge of the Iglesiente-Sulcis area and the results of properly designed geophysical surveys allows the most probable areas for cover-collapse sinkholes to occur in the future to be determined. In fact, this research pointed out that the depth of the sediment-covered Palaeozoic bedrock is one of the major constraints in delimiting hazardous areas, leading to the construction of a preliminary hazard map. This map shows a belt of high risk, and also suggests the areas in which further geophysical and geotechnical investigations should be carried out to estimate the depth of the bedrock

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