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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 capillary fringe is the lower subdivision of the unsaturated zone immediately above the water table in which the interstices are filled with water under pressure less than that of the atmosphere, being continuous with the water below the water table but held above it by capillary forces [22].?

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

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Karst environment, Culver D.C.
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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 maturation (Keyword) returned 13 results for the whole karstbase:
Organic maturation and ore precipitation in southeast Missouri, 1991, Anderson G. M.

L'halloysite karstique; comparaison des gisements types de Wallonie (Belgique) et du Perigord (France), 1997, Perruchot A. , Dupuis C. , Brouard E. , Nicaise D. , Ertus R. ,
Two cryptokarstic (covered karsts) halloysitic deposits were compared: the Entre Sambre et Meuse in Belgium and the Perigord in France. Both belong to a continental margin subject to marine transgression and regression cycles which enhance the karstic activity. This geodynamic context appears to be very favourable to the formation of halloysite. The similarity of the geodynamic context of both sites leads to a genetic convergence linked to specific properties of the cryptokarstic system, especially, the ability to collect the percolating waters and to juxtapose the conditions of precipitation, accumulation and maturation of the halloysite silico-aluminous gel precursors. However, each site also displays pronounced specificities relevant to: the nature of the host rock of the halloysite (a partly silicified limestone in the first, a smectite-kaolinite argilite in the second); the aluminium source (allochthonous in the first, relatively autochthonous in the second); and the halloysite content of the deposits (of approximately 100% in the first, and 40% maximum in the second)

A Preliminary U-Pb Date on Cave Spar, Big Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico, USA, 2000, Lundberg, J. , Ford, D. C. , Hill, C. A.
U-Pb dating of a football-sized, dogtooth spar, calcite crystal collected from a cave in Big Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico, USA, gave an age estimate of 87 - 98 Ma for calcite deposition. This Upper Cretaceous (Laramide) date is important because: (1) it implies that there may have been a major karsting episode in the Guadalupe Mountains in the Laramide; (2) it implies that the Laramide was a time of heating and deeply circulating hydrothermal water; (3) it relates to the possible time of regional uplift above sea level of the Guadalupe Mountains along with the rest of the western United States; and (4) it relates to a time of possible hydrocarbon maturation and migration in the Delaware Basin

Toward a better understanding of fissure growth in karst formations: Investigations from genesis to maturation and the influence of fracture-matrix interactions., 2002, Cheung, Wendy Wai Wan

There has been interest in quantitative modeling of early karstification with the objectives of estimating time-scales of conduit growth and understanding the nature of cave patterns. In particular, the initiation phase has been studied in great detail because it is the slowest phase in the development of caverns. In this study aperture variability in a two-dimensional framework and fracture matrix interaction are studied to better understand their role in time estimations of aperture growth. The initial phase of karst development is studied from its nascent stage as a fissure into the early stages of turbulence. In uniform fissures in rapidly dissolving minerals, the concentration reaches the solubility limit within a short distance along the flow path. However, the variability in the aperture field inherently provides instabilities to the system and growth is propagated along these perturbations. Flow is focused into preferential channels which are enlarged at a faster rate than surrounding regions of slow flow. As a result, a positive feedback mechanism takes place and creates growth in a highly selective manner. Only in large domains (>25 correlation lengths), can the instabilities create competition for flow at the solution front as well and lead to significant branching. It is this branching which creates the non-monotonic behavior in breakthrough times (defined as the point in which turbulent flow is first encountered). It has been observed that the non-monotonic behavior is scale dependent. Smaller domains do not exhibit this behavior because there are only a few correlation lengths between
the fingertip and the lateral domain boundaries. Aperture variability significantly impacts dissolution patterns in a two-dimensional framework. While aperture variability speeds up growth, the inclusion of the porous bedrock can inhibit growth. The porous matrix serving as a large low - conductive reservoir can significantly influence the development of the fracture by slowing down dissolution growth through matrix diffusion. In a one dimensional model, this issue is further explored. Although the focus of the study is on modeling of early karstification, there are many common themes between this problem and other reactive transport problems that this model can be made suitable for exploring.


Review of Turkish karst with emphasis on tectonic and paleogeographic controls, 2003, Ekmekci, Mehmet

This paper re-evaluates the karst phenomenon in Turkey basing on the controlling factors such as, the source of energy gradient, lithostratigraphy, type of erosion base and climate. Two major karst types described are a) evolutionary karst which implies continuous karstification but at different stage of maturation and b)rejuvenated karst which is formed by reactivating a formerly developed and subsequently ceased karst structure either by an uplift and/or a drastic decline of erosion base. Description of karst types considering both morphology and hydrogeology revealed that distribution of specific karst types is compatible with the neotectonic evolution of Turkey. Karst in all provinces except the Black Sea and Western Anatolian regions, is developed under the effect of the energy gradient provided by uplift. Different rates of uplift created different sub-types of karst. The climate effect was evaluated as a secondary factor for it has a role of shaping/re-shaping the karst forms rather than controlling the physical and chemical processes.


The early Ordovician Majiagou reservoir of the Jingbian Field, northwest China: Karstic peritidal dolomite, 2004, Zhang W. H. ,
The Jingbian Field is located in the central part of the Ordos Basin in the west part of the North China Platform. It is the largest gas field discovery in China in the 1980's. The field is an example of production from a paleogeomorphic trap formed by karstification of Lower Ordovician peritidal dolomites. In terms of gas potential, the Majiagou Formation is the more important stratigraphic unit. It is composed of six members, the uppermost member (O(1)m(6)) has been largely removed by prolonged Caledonian karst erosion, leaving the underlying (O(1)m(5)) member to provide the main pay for the field. In spite of the 163 wells drilled the field presents many problems and uncertainties because of the poor seismic definition of the pay zones and the great reservoir heterogeneity of the karst system. Statistical data from more than 30 wells show a poor correlation between individual well-flow rates and thickness of the karstic zone or distance of wells, relative to a paleochannel. This suggests karstification is not the most important factor controlling productivity. The release of organic acids (during maturation of the source rock) and fracturing in response to Cretaceous tectonic event appear to be key factors responsible for the productivity of the Majiagou-5 (O(1)m(5)) reservoir in terms of modifying and enlarging the pore network. Carboniferous clays provide an effective updip seal through the infill of karst-breccia zones. High productivity is prominent along structural axes where karstic fractures, solution vugs and caverns are interconnected by vertical to sub-vertical fractures. On the basis of pore-type the Majiagou-5 Member reservoirs can be divided into four reservoir types, each allowing differentiation of reservoir quality through characteristic porosity-permeability ranges and capillary-pressure curves. Key aspects which affect the commerciality of the field are still uncertain but with recent test wells producing gas with water, considerations should focus on the mechanism of weak edge-water drive and the need to predict fracture zones

Dissolution of limestone fractures by cooling waters: Early development of hypogene karst systems, 2005, Andre Bj, Rajaram H,

[1] Fracture dissolution in the early stages of karstification under hypogene conditions is investigated using a coupled numerical model of fluid flow, heat transfer, and reactive transport. Dissolution of calcite in the H2O-CO2-CaCO3 system along a cooling flow path is investigated using both equilibrium and kinetic models. During the very early stages of fracture growth, there is a positive feedback between flow, heat transfer, and dissolution. In this stage the dissolution rate is largely controlled by the retrograde solubility of calcite, and aperture growth is relatively uniform along the fracture length. There is a period of slow continuous increase in the mass flow rate through the fracture, which is followed by an abrupt rapid increase. We refer to the time when this rapid increase occurs as the maturation time. As the flow rate continues to increase after maturation, forced convective effects lead to higher fluid temperatures in the fracture, resulting in a negative feedback that slows the rate of fracture growth. The behavior of aperture growth before the maturation time can be described by a simple ordinary differential equation. The solution of this differential equation provides an estimate of the maturation time, in terms of the initial aperture, hydraulic and thermal gradients, and the change in solubility with temperature. The behavior before maturation in two-dimensional variable aperture fractures is investigated using a simplified model. The maturation time is shown to decrease with the degree of aperture variability due to highly selective growth along preferential flow paths


Cave un-roofing as a large-scale geomorphic process, 2006, Klimchouk Alexander
A morphogenetic approach appears to be the most sensible in defining the tiankeng as a typological category. Tiankengs are giant collapse dolines formed over large river caves, with continuous precipitous perimeter and a diameter-to-depth ratio between 0.5 and 2. The term bears an evolutionary meaning, referring to the youthful stage of open collapse doline development, and the relationship of tiankengs to large underground rivers. The latter criterion separates tiankengs from other types of giant collapse features, such as caprock collapses over evaporates or large collapses over hydrothermal cavities. The South China karst offers evidence that un-roofing of caves is a large-scale geomorphic process playing an important role in the formation of cone and tower karst. It is probably the major process in the origin of large depressions, gorges and valleys in tropical karst, although other geomorphic processes contribute to shaping and maturation of a landscape and eventually obscure the origin in unroofed caves. Many saddles between hills and towers in fengcong and fenglin karst may owe their origin to cave un-roofing.

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

Cave un-roofing as a large-scale geomorphic process, 2006, Klimchouk, Alexander

A morphogenetic approach appears to be the most sensible in defining the tiankeng as a typological category. Tiankengs are giant collapse dolines formed over large river caves, with continuous precipitous perimeter and a diameter-to-depth ratio between 0.5 and 2. The term bears an evolutionary meaning, referring to the youthful stage of open collapse doline development, and the relationship of tiankengs to large underground rivers. The latter criterion separates tiankengs from other types of giant collapse features, such as caprock collapses over evaporates or large collapses over hydrothermal cavities. The South China karst offers evidence that un-roofing of caves is a large-scale geomorphic process playing an important role in the formation of cone and tower karst. It is probably the major process in the origin of large depressions, gorges and valleys in tropical karst, although other geomorphic processes contribute to shaping and maturation of a landscape and eventually obscure the origin in unroofed caves. Many saddles between hills and towers in fengcong and fenglin karst may owe their origin to cave un-roofing.


Cave un-roofing as a large-scale geomorphic process, 2006, Klimchouk Alexander
A morphogenetic approach appears to be the most sensible in defining the tiankeng as a typological category. Tiankengs are giant collapse dolines formed over large river caves, with continuous precipitous perimeter and a diameter-to-depth ratio between 0.5 and 2. The term bears an evolutionary meaning, referring to the youthful stage of open collapse doline development, and the relationship of tiankengs to large underground rivers. The latter criterion separates tiankengs from other types of giant collapse features, such as caprock collapses over evaporates or large collapses over hydrothermal cavities. The South China karst offers evidence that un-roofing of caves is a large-scale geomorphic process playing an important role in the formation of cone and tower karst. It is probably the major process in the origin of large depressions, gorges and valleys in tropical karst, although other geomorphic processes contribute to shaping and maturation of a landscape and eventually obscure the origin in unroofed caves. Many saddles between hills and towers in fengcong and fenglin karst may owe their origin to cave un-roofing.

Structurally controlled hydrothermal dolomite reservoir facies: An overview, 2006, Davies G. R. , Smith Jr. L. B.

Structurally controlled hydrothermal dolomite (HTD) reservoir facies and associated productive leached limestones are major hydrocarbon producers in North America and are receiving increased exploration attention globally. They include multiple trends in the Ordovician (locally, Silurian and Devonian) of the Michigan, Appalachian, and other basins of eastern Canada and the United States, and in the Devonian and Mississippian of the Western Canada sedimentary basin. They also occur in Jurassic hosts along rifted Atlantic margins, in the Jurassic–Cretaceous of the Arabian Gulf region and elsewhere. Hydrothermal dolomitization is defined as dolomitization occurring under burial conditions, commonly at shallow depths, by fluids (typically very saline) with temperature and pressure (T and P) higher than the ambient T and P of the host formation. The latter commonly is limestone. Proof of a hydrothermal origin for HTD reservoir facies requires integration of burial-thermal history plots, fluidinclusion temperature data, and constraints on timing of emplacement. Hydrothermal dolomite reservoir facies are part of a spectrum of hydrothermal mineral deposits that include sedimentary-exhalative lead-zinc ore bodies and HTD-hostedMississippi Valley–type sulfide deposits. All three hydrothermal deposits show a strong structural control by extensional and/or strike-slip (wrench) faults, with fluid flowtypically focused at transtensional and dilational structural sites and in the hanging wall. Transtensional sags above negative flower structures on wrench faults are favored drilling sites for HTD reservoir facies. Saddle dolomite in both replacive and void-fillingmodes is characteristic of HTD facies. For many reservoirs, matrix-replacive dolomite and saddle dolomite appear to have formed near-contemporaneously and from the same fluid and temperature conditions. The original host facies exerts a major influence on the lateral extent of dolomitization, resultant textures, pore type, and pore volume. Breccias zebra fabrics, shear microfractures, and other rock characteristics record short-term shear stress and pore-fluid-pressure transients, particularly proximal to active faults. High-temperature hydrothermal pulses may alter kerogen in host limestones, a process designated ‘‘forced maturation.’’ basement highs, underlying sandstone (and/ or carbonate?) aquifers (probably overpressured), and overlying and internal shale seals and aquitards also may constrain or influence HTD emplacement. Although many questions and uncertainties remain, particularly in terms of Mg and brine source and mass balance, recognition and active exploration of the HTD play continues to expand. Increasing use of three-dimensional seismic imagery and seismic anomaly mapping, combined with horizontal drilling oblique to linear trends defined by structural sags, helps to reduce risk 


Computational Investigation of Fundamental Mechanisms Contributing to Fracture Dissolution and the Evolution of Hypogene Karst Systems, 2011, Chaudhuri A. , Rajaram H. , Viswanathan H. S. , Zyvoloski G. , Stauffer P. H.

Hypogene karst systems evolve by dissolution resulting from the cooling of water flowing upward against the geothermal gradient in limestone formations. We present a comprehensive coupled-process model of fluid flow, heat transfer, reactive transport and buoyancy effects to investigate the origin of hypogene karst systems by fracture dissolution. Our model incorporates the temperature and pressure dependence of the solubility and dissolution kinetics of calcite. Our formulation inherently incorporates mechanisms such as “mixing corrosion” that have been implicated in the formation of hypogene cave systems. It also allows for rigorous representation of temperature-dependent fluid density and its consequences at various stages of karstification. The model is applied to investigate karstification over geological time scales in a network of faults/fractures that serves as a vertical conduit for upward flow. We considered two different conceptual hydrogeologic models. In the first model, the upward flow is controlled by a constant pressure gradient. In the second model, the flow is induced by topographic effects in a mountainous hydrologic system. During the very early stages of fracture growth, there is a positive feedback between fluid flow rate, heat transfer and dissolution. In this stage the dissolution rate is largely controlled by the retrograde solubility of calcite and aperture growth occurs throughout the fracture. For the first model, there is a period of slow continuous increase in the mass flow rate through the fracture, which is followed by an abrupt rapid increase. We refer to the time when this rapid increase occurs as the maturation time. For the second model of a mountainous hydrologic system, the fluid flux through the fracture remains nearly constant even though the fracture permeability and aperture increase. This is largely because the permeability of the country rock does not increase significantly. While this limits the fluid flux through the system, it does not impede karstification. At later stages, forced convection and buoyant convection effects arise in both models due to the increased permeability of the evolving fracture system. Our results suggest that there is s strong tendency for buoyant convection cells to form under a wide range of conditions. A modified Rayleigh number provides a unified quantitative criterion for the onset of buoyant convection across all cases considered. Once buoyant convection cells are set up, dissolution is sustained in the upward flow portions of the cells, while precipitation occurs in the regions of downward flow. We discuss the implications of this type of flow pattern for the formation of hot springs and mazework caves, both of which are characteristic of hypogene karst environments. We also investigate the sensitivity of karst evolution to various physical and geochemical factors.


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