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Speleology in Kazakhstan

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

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

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

The deepest terrestrial animal

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

Caves - landscapes without light

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

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That permeability, effective is the observed permeability of a porous medium to one fluid phase under conditions of physical interaction between this phase and other fluid phases present [22].?

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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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Paleoclimate and location of the border between Mediterranean climate region and the Saharo-Arabian Desert as revealed by speleothems from the northern Negev Desert, Israel, , Vaks A. , Barmatthews M. , Ayalon A. , Matthews A. , Frumkin A. , Dayan U. , Halicz L. , Mogilabin A. , Schilman B. ,
Speleothem bearing karstic caves of the northern Negev Desert, southern Israel, provides an ideal site for reconstructing the paleoclimate and paleo-location of the border between Mediterranean climate region and the Saharo-Arabian Desert. Major periods of speleothem deposition (representing humid periods) were determined by high resolution 230Th-U dating and corresponding studies of stable isotope composition were used to identify the source of rainfall during humid periods and the vegetation type. Major humid intervals occurred during glacials at 190-150[no-break space]ka, 76-25[no-break space]ka, 23-13[no-break space]ka and interglacials at 200-190[no-break space]ka, 137-123[no-break space]ka and 84-77[no-break space]ka. The dominant rainfall source was the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, with a possible small contribution from southern tropical sources during the interglacial periods. When the interglacial interval rainfall was of Eastern Mediterranean origin, the minimum annual rainfall was ~ 300-350[no-break space]mm; approximately twice than of the present-day. Lower minimum amounts of precipitation could have occurred during glacial periods, due to the cooler temperatures and reduced evaporation. Although during most of the humid periods the vegetation remained steppe with mixed C3 C4 vegetation, Mediterranean C3 type steppe-forest vegetation invaded southward for short periods, and the climate in the northern Negev became closer to Mediterranean type than at present. The climate was similar to present, or even more arid, during intervals when speleothem deposition did not occur: 150-144[no-break space]ka, 141-140[no-break space]ka, 117-96[no-break space]ka, 92-85[no-break space]ka, 25-23[no-break space]ka, and 13[no-break space]ka-present-day.Precipitation increase occurred in the northern Negev during the interglacial monsoonal intensity maxima at 198[no-break space]ka, 127[no-break space]ka, 83[no-break space]ka and glacial monsoonal maxima at 176[no-break space]ka, 151[no-break space]ka, 61[no-break space]ka and 33[no-break space]ka. However, during interglacial monsoonal maxima at 105[no-break space]ka and 11[no-break space]ka, the northern Negev was arid whereas during glacial monsoonal minima it was usually humid. This implies that there is not always synchroneity between monsoonal activity and humidity in the region.Oxygen isotopic values of the northern Negev speleothems are systematically lower than contemporaneous speleothems of central and northern Israel. This part is attributed to the increased rainout of the heavy isotopes by Rayleigh fractionation processes, possibly due to the farther distance from the Mediterranean coast

Donnees geomorphologiques sur la region de Fresh Creek, Ile Andros (Bahama), 1974, Bourrouilh F,
A geomorphological study of the east coast of Andros (Fresh Creek area) shows the existence of a paleotopography represented by low-altitude hills (few metres). This paleotopography is protected by the presence of a calcitic Quaternary crust which covers Pleistocene calcarenite.In the western part of the area, there are long woody axes, oriented NE-SW, parallel to the channels of the creek. They end at two kilometres from the coast, along which is a second kind of lower hills, orthogonal to the first.The first axes can be interpreted as megaripples as seen at the present time on modern deposits (on the Great Bahama Bank) and fossilized by the upper crust. The second direction is made by accretion ripples along the coast.The surface of the Bahamian calcarenite has been studied. The Bahamian karst presents two topographical forms: “blue holes” like those outside the island, which are 60-80 m in diameter and both sparse and deep; and “washtub” dolines; these are numerous and shallow, and, from low altitude, exhibit a honeycombed aspect on the surface. This karstic topography with dolines and blue holes is also seen through the water of the Creek the hard bottom of which is covered only here and there with a few centimetres of sediments. Hence, there is a submerged karstic topography, made of the same elements as the aerial karst, but submerged by the Holocene transgression. The present karstic relief, in relation with the different eustatic levels of the Quaternary, has begun 120,000 years ago, according to the isotopic ages, and might be composed by different steps, difficult to show now, in the topography.The blue holes in the interior of the island of young and little evolved karst, were formed more by solution than by collapse of the karstic caves, because of the absence of a real river to drain the Andros shelf at the time of low sea levels. Blue holes of the inside of the island, as they are called, with submarine openings, have the same salinity as the water of the creek (17.5 g/l). The dolines with very low salinity (0.7 g/l to 3.8 g/l) are filled with stromatolites and charophytes, slowly forming sediments made up essentially of high-magnesian calcite.It seems that the Andros Island karst can be compared with that of the Yucatan, where there are round and deep open pits, called cenote, of which the Bahamian equivalent would be the blue holes which were drowned by the Holocene transgression.ResumeSur l'ile Andros, zone emergee du Grand Banc de Bahama, l'auteur montre l'existence d'une paleotopographie comprenant deux categories de rides d'orientation differente et semblant fossilisee par une croute calcitique recente et l'existence d'un karst aux formes jeunes, bien qu'heritage d'un karst holocene en voie de submersion. Ces formes sont des “blue holes” ou trous bleus circulaires (60 a 80 m de diametre) et peu nombreux, et des dolines, dites en baquet. Dans ces dolines se deposent actuellement des croutes stromatolithiques calcitiques dont l'etude est faite par diffractometrie de rayons X et microscopie electronique a balayage

Contribution to the study of Karstic caves of Djurdjura (Algeria). Morpho-hydrogeological description and evolutive synthesis., 1978, Quinif Yves
In North-Africa, the karst of Djurdjura Mountains is important because it shows high-alpine characters. In others papers, we have studied shallow morphology and speleological explorations. Here, we describe the caves: morphology, qualitative hydrology and fillings. These cavities are replaced in their morpho-structural context. We make distinctions between kinds of cavities. Gulfs and resurgences characterize high-alpine karst which is actual. Other caves that have their opening at the middle of slopes are dry, disconnected of actual morphological context. They belong to past karstification phases. From the synthesis of those elements, we show that it is possible to use karstic data in the reconstruction of morpho-structural evolution of a country.

Essai sur l'analyse des cavits kars-tiques du massif de Marseilleveyre et des archipels de Riou et du Frioul (Marseille), 1983, Blanc J. J. , Monteau R.
ESSAY ON THE ANALYSIS OF THE KARSTIC CAVES OF THE MASSIF DE MARSEILLEVEYRE AND OF THE RIOU-FRIOUL ARCHIPELAGOS, MARSEILLE, FRANCE - Statistical analysis and numeric treatment about the karstic caves of the Marseilleveyre Massif and Riou-Frioul archipelagos. We deal with the relationships between the lithology of consolidated speleothems, geologic framework, jointing intensity, morphology and mechanical phenomena (decompression and neotectonic actions).

Palokarsts et palo-gomorphologie nognes des Alpes occidentales et rgions adjacentes, 1984, Julian M. , Nicod J.
NEOGENE PALEOKARSTS AND PALEO-GEOMORPHOLOGY IN THE WESTERN ALPS, JURA AND PROVENCE - This text is an attempt to confront our knowledge about the karsts and the problems of landscape evolution (tectonics, paleo-climates, sea level changes). Three periods had been studied: 1/ Early and Middle Miocene, with the development of chemical erosional surfaces and a prevailing sub-superficial karstic solution; 2/ the revolution of the Upper Miocene ("Rhodanian" tectonical phase and the salinity crisis of the Messinian), that caused the deepening of the karstic systems; 3/ the Plio-Villafranchian phase, favoured the production of terra-rossa and the evolution of the karstic caves, except during some dry periods during the Villafranchian.

Les montagnes refuges calcaires de Mditerrane orientale et du Moyen-Orient (Grce, Crte, Turquie, Iran), 1990, Maire, R.
The mountain shelters in the karst regions of Greece, Crete, Turkey and Iran - The concept of mountain shelters in karst region exists from the Prehistory, especially with rock-shelters and karstic caves. In the high karsts of Greece, Crete, Taurus (Turkey) and Zagros (Iran), the highlanders have survived during the invasions and wars because of their natural bastions. At the junction of civilisations and religions (Christians and Moslems), the karst biotope, one of the natural environment the most used by human people to guard against enemy and to breed (sheep-farming). Because of grazing and destruction of forests (particularly by Byzantine people and Venitians), the mediterranean karst mountain grew poorer.

Sr isotope study of vein and cave calcites from southern Israel, 1990, Avigour A, Magaritz M, Issar A, Dodson Mh,
The strontium isotope compositions of secondary calcites from the Negev, southern Israel, were compared to those of the marine carbonate host rocks, which range in age from Triassic to Eocene, in order to understand fluid source and migration through fracture systems in dominantly carbonate strata. The Sr isotopes of these calcite clusters are divided into two groups: (1) calcites with 87Sr/86Sr values greater than those of the host carbonates; and (2) calcites with 87Sr/86Sr values close to the values of the host carbonate. 1. (1) These secondary calcites were found on the main tectonic lines of the Negev (faults and fold axes) and are enriched in 87Sr (87Sr/86Sr = 0.707709-0.709151) relative to the marine carbonate country rocks (87Sr/86Sr = 0.707251-0.70755, with one exception). These calcites are associated or crossed by thin veins filled by Fe- and Mn-oxides.2. (2) Secondary calcites with 87Sr/86Sr values close to those of the marine carbonate country rocks (0.7073-0.7077) are found in karstic caves and veins, and are located in sites which are not on the major faults and fold axes. These calcites are not crossed by Fe- and Mn-oxides.The isotopic results indicate that the solutions from which the secondary minerals of the first group precipitated were not in isotopic equilibrium with the marine host rocks. The possible source of the precipitating solutions can be either surface rain descending through the fault system or ascending groundwaters from the deep Nubian aquifer (Paleozoic to Early Cretaceous in age). In both cases there would be a limited interaction with the host sandstone rock which usually is depleted in Sr. The similarity of the 87Sr/86Sr values to those of the host rocks in the second group suggests that the main source of Sr in these calcite crystals was from the dissolution of the marine carbonate country rocks by rain- and flood waters

Mise en valeur et exploitation traditionnelle des ressources du monde souterrain : l'exemple du SE de la France, 1991, Gauchon, C.
TRADITIONAL EXPLOITATION 0F CAVES IN SOUTH-EASTERN France - In south-eastern France (Jura, Prealps and Provence), the karstic caves have long been used as dwellings and exploited for ice or as mines. The ice caves (or glacires) of the Jura and Prealps (Bauges, Chartreuse and Vercors) were used by local inhabitants from the Middle Ages onwards even though the actual trade of ice towards the big cities (Grenoble, Lyon and Paris) was only to begin in the 19 century. Phosphate deposits are used as fertilizer in local farming. Since the 17th century speleothems have been extracted for use as ornaments and some caves, of which the Aven du Plan, Alpes-Maritimes, is a typical example, have become stalactite mines. The Gouffre Maule in the Chartreuse area is a noteworthy example of a mining cave in which the exploitation of iron was begun before the 12 century by local monks. The complex tasks carried out in these caves (such as the setting up of scaffolding and the digging of galleries) provide clear evidence of the importance once given to local resources before the industrial age.

Le gographe chinois Xu Xiake, un prcurseur de la karstologie et de la splologie, 1993, Cai Z. , Yang W. , Maire R.
Xu Xiake (1587-1641), the Chinese explorer and geographer, began in 1637 an astonishing four-year long journey in southwest China. Xu Xiake travels, written as a diary, is made up of 600 000 chinese letters: it is a geographical encyclopaedia belonging to the ancient masterpieces of China. Descriptions of the karstic geomorphology amount to more than 100 000 letters, that is to say the equivalent of 250 pages. He visited 288 karstic caves and described 22 types of karstic landforms. Xu Xiakes contribution to the study of the subterranean world is extremely valuable: deposits, underground rivers and lakes, climate, source of water, exploitation of the caves by humans and exploration techniques.

An Inventory of karstic caves in the Taurus mountain range (Southern Turkey): Preliminary evaluation of geographic and hydrologic features, 1995, Bayari C. Serdar, Ozbek Onur

Structure of northern Mount Sedom salt diapir (Israel) from cave evidence and surface morphology, 1996, Frumkin, A.

Mount Sedom salt diapir, at the south-western edge of the Dead Sea, is covered by a residual caprock, concealing its internal structure. Internal structure observed within karstic caves is correlated here to surface lineaments on top of the caprock. The structural evidence suggests that the northern part of the diapir consists of two salt walls rising from the east and the west. The border between the two walls is observed in caves along the northwestern part of the mountain. The layers are highly deformed along this border, while on both limbs the beds are relatively undeformed, dipping in different directions. The eastern limb comprises most of the width of the elongated northern part of the diapir.


Phnomnes karstiques et pseudo-karstiques dans des quartzites au Burundi, 1997, Peyrot, Bernard
Central Africa, underground karstic caves are to be found in precambrian carbonated series, but also in quartzite as in the case of Burundi. The arenisation process which took place during very wet periods of intense biological activity may explain the origin of these caves and of karstic landforms such as pavements and pinnacles.

Recent active faults in Belgian Ardenne revealed in Rochefort Karstic network (Namur Province, Belgium), 2001, Vandycke S. , Quinif Y. ,
This paper presents observations of recent faulting activity in the karstic network of the Rochefort Cave (Namur Province, Belgium, Europe). The principal recent tectonic features are bedding planes reactivated as normal faults, neo-formatted normal faults in calcite flowstone, fresh scaling, extensional features, fallen blocks and displacement of karstic tube. The seismotectonic aspect is expanded by the presence of fallen blocks where normally the cavity must be very stable and in equilibrium. Three main N 070degrees fault planes and a minor one affect, at a decimetre scale, the karst features and morphology. The faults are still active because recent fresh scaling and fallen blocks are observable. The breaking of Holocene soda straw stalactites and displacements of artificial features observed since the beginning of the tourist activity, in the last century, also suggest very recent reactivation of these faults. This recent faulting can be correlated to present-day tectonic activity, already evidenced by earthquakes in the neighbouring area. Therefore, karstic caves are favourable sites for the observation and the quantification of recent tectonic activity because they constitute a 3-D framework, protected from erosion. Fault planes with this recent faulting present slickensides. Thus a quantitative analysis in term of stress inversion, with the help of striated faults, has permitted to reconstruct the stress tensor responsible for the brittle deformation. The principal NW-SE extension (sigma(3) horizontal) is nearly perpendicular to that of the present regional stress as illustrated by the analysis of the last strong regional earthquake (Roermond, The Netherlands) in 1992. During the Meso-Cenozoic, the main stress tectonics recorded in this part of the European platform is similar to the present one with a NE-SW direction of extension. The discrepancy between the regional stress field and the local stress in the Rochefort cave can be the result of the inversion of the sigma(2) and sigma(3) axes of the stress ellipsoid due to its symmetry or of a local modification at the ground surface of the crustal stress field as it has been already observed in active zones

Existence of karsts into silicated non-carbonated crystalline rocks in Sahelian and Equatorial Africa, hydrogeological implications, 2002, Willems Luc, Pouclet Andre, Vicat Jean Paul,
Various cavities studied in western Niger and South Cameroon show the existence of important karstic phenomena into metagabbros and gneisses. These large-sized caves resulted from generalized dissolution of silicate formations in spite of their low solubility. Karstification is produced by deep hydrous transfer along lithological discontinuities and fracture net works. The existence of such caves has major implications in geomorphology, under either Sahelian and Equatorial climate, and in hydrogeology and water supply, particularly in the Sahel area. Introduction. - Since a few decades, several karst-like morphologies are described in non-carbonated rocks (sandstones, quartzites, schistes, gneisses...) [Wray, 1997 ; Vicat and Willems, 1998 ; Willems, 2000]. The cave of Guessedoundou in West Niger seems to be due to a large dissolution of metagabbros. The cave of Mfoula, South Cameroon, attests for the same process in gneisses. This forms proof that big holes may exist deeper in the substratum even of non-carbonated silicate rocks. Their size and number could mainly influence the landscape and the hydrogeology, especially in the Sahelian areas. Guessedoundou, a cave into metagabbros in West Niger. - The site of Guessedoundou is located 70 km south-west of Niamey (fig. 1). The cave is opened at the top of a small hill, inside in NNE-SSW elongated pit (fig. 2 ; pl. I A). The hole, 3 to 4 m deep and 20 m large, has vertical walls and contains numerous sub-metric angular blocks. A cave, a few meters deep, comes out the south wall. Bedrocks consist of metagabbros of the Makalondi greenstone belt, a belt of the Palaeoproterozoic Birimian Formations of the West Africa craton [Pouclet et al., 1990]. The rock has a common granular texture with plagioclases, partly converted in albite and clinozoisite, and pyroxenes pseudomorphosed in actinote and chlorite. It is rather fairly altered. Chemical composition is mafic and poorly alkaline (tabl. I). A weak E-W schistosity generated with the epizonal thermometamorphism. The site depression was created along a N010o shear zone where rocks suffered important fracturation and fluid transfers, as shown by its silification and ferruginisation. The absence of human activity traces and the disposition of the angular blocks attest that the pit is natural and was due to the collapse of the roof of a vast cavity whose current cave is only the residual prolongation. To the vertical walls of the depression and at the cave entry, pluridecimetric hemispheric hollows are observed (pl. I B). Smooth morphology and position of these hollows sheltered within the depression dismiss the assumptions of formation by mechanical erosion. In return, these features are typical shape of dissolution processes observed into limestone karstic caves. That kind of process must be invoked to explain the opening of the Guessedoundou cave, in the total lack of desagregation materials. Dissolution of metagabbro occurred during hydrous transfer, which was probably guided by numerous fractures of the shear zone. Additional observations have been done in the Sirba Valley, where similar metabasite rocks constitute the substratum, with sudden sinking of doline-like depressions and evidence of deep cavities by core logging [Willems et al., 1993, 1996]. It is concluded that karstic phenomena may exist even in silica-aluminous rocks of crystalline terrains, such as the greenstones of a Precambrian craton. Mfoula a cave into gneisses in South Cameroon. - The cave of Mfoula is located 80 km north-east of Yaounde (fig. 3). It is the second largest cave of Cameroon, more than 5,000 m3, with a large opening in the lower flank of a deep valley (pl. I C). The cavity is about 60 m long, 30 m large and 5 to 12 m high (fig. 4; pl. I D). It is hollowed in orthogneisses belonging to the Pan-African Yaounde nappe. Rocks exhibit subhorizontal foliation in two superposed lithological facies: the lower part is made of amphibole- and garnet-bearing layered gneisses, and the upper part, of more massive granulitic gneisses. Average composition is silico-aluminous and moderately alkaline (tabl. I). The cave is made of different chambers separated by sub-cylindrical pillars. The ceiling of the main chamber, 6 m in diameter, is dome-shaped with a smooth surface (D, fig. 4). The walls have also a smooth aspect decorated with many hemispherical hollows. The floor is flat according to the rock foliation. They are very few rock debris and detrital fragments and no traces of mechanical erosion and transport. The general inner morphology is amazingly similar to that of a limestone cave. The only way to generate such a cavity is to dissolve the rock by water transfer. To test the effect of the dissolution process, we analysed a clayey residual sampled in an horizontal fracture of the floor (tabl. I). Alteration begins by plagioclases in producing clay minerals and in disagregating the rock. However, there is no more clay and sand material. That means all the silicate minerals must have been eliminated. Dissolution of silicates is a known process in sandstone and quartzite caves. It may work as well in gneisses. To fasten the chemical action, we may consider an additional microbial chemolitotrophe activity. The activity of bacteria colonies is known in various rocks and depths, mainly in the aquifer [Sinclair and Ghiorse, 1989 ; Stevens and McKinley, 1995]. The formation of the Mfoula cave is summarized as follow (fig. 5). Meteoric water is drained down along sub-vertical fractures and then along horizontal discontinuities of the foliation, particularly in case of lithological variations. Chemical and biological dissolution is working. Lateral transfers linked to the aquifer oscillations caused widening of the caves. Dissolved products are transported by the vertical drains. Regressive erosion of the valley, linked to the epeirogenic upwelling due to the volcano-tectonic activity of the Cameroon Line, makes the cavities come into sight at the valley flanks. Discussion and conclusion. - The two examples of the Guessedoundou and Mfoula caves evidence the reality of the karsts in non-carbonated silicated rocks. The karst term is used to design >> any features of the classical karst morphology (caves, dolines, lapies...) where dissolution plays the main genetical action >> [Willems, 2000]. Our observations indicate that (i) the karst genesis may have occurred into any kind of rocks, and (ii) the cave formation is not directly dependent of the present climate. These facts have major consequences to hydrogeological investigations, especially for water supply in Sahelian and sub-desertic countries. Some measurements of water transfer speed across either sedimentary pelitic strata of the Continental terminal or igneous rocks of the substratum in West Niger [Esteves and Lenoir, 1996 ; Ousmane et al., 1984] proved that supplying of aquifers in these silico-aluminous rocks may be as fast as in a karstic limestone. That means the West Niger substratum is highly invaded by a karstic net and may hidden a lot of discontinuous aquifers. The existence of this karst system can be easily shown by morphological observations, the same that are done in karstic limestone regions (abnormally suspended dry valleys, collapses, dolines...). Clearly, this must be the guide for any search of water, even in desertic areas where limestones are absent

Unattached fraction of radon decay products as a crucial parameter for radon dosimetry in Postojna Cave, 2004, Vaupotič, Janja, Kobal I Van

Short-term summer and winter monitoring was carried out at the lowest point in Postojna cave, on air concentrations on radon (CRn) and radon decay products (CRnDP), the equilibrium factor (F) and unattached fraction of radon decay products (fun), barometric pressure (P), relative air humidity in the cave (RH) and air temperature outside (Tout) and in the cave (Tin), with the emphasis on fun. Dose conversion factors (DCF) for mouth and nasal breathing were calculated from the fun values (ranging from 0.10 to 0.68) and effective doses for the employees in the cave were obtained. These significantly exceed the doses based on the ICRP-65 methodology now in use.


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