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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 pediment is an inclined erosion surface covered with thin fluvial deposits [16].?

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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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Your search for messinian (Keyword) returned 73 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 73
Messinian event in the black sea, 1979, Hsu Kenneth J. , Giovanoli Federico,
Three holes were drilled during the 1975 DSDP Leg 42B drilling the Black Sea. A section from Hole 380, at 2107 m water depth on the western edge of the abyssal plain, is 1074 m thick, and provides the most complete stratigraphic section. Dating of the sediments is based upon (1) fossil evidence from pollen, crustaceans, benthic foraminifera, and diatoms, (2) correlation with climatic changes and with unusual isochronous events that have been dated elsewhere, (3) paleomagnetic data, and (4) estimates of sedimentation rate.The history of Black Sea sedimentation recorded by the DSDP cores includes black shale sedimentation during the Late Miocene, followed by periodic chemical sedimentation from Late Miocene to Early Quaternary, and a change to dominantly terrigenous sedimentation from the Middle Quaternary. These hemipelagic and turbiditic sediments were deposited in lacustrine and brackish marine environments. The Messinian sediments, however, consist of stromatolitic dolomite, oolitic sands, and coarse gravels, deposited in supratidal and intertidal environments. The intercalation of the shallow-water sediments in a deep-water sequence suggests a drastic lowering of the water-level within the Black Sea basin during the Messinian so that the edge of the present abyssal plain was then the edge of a shallow lake.The Messinian draw-down phase of the Black Sea was in existence for about 100,000 years during the Lago-Mare stage of the salinity crisis. The evaporated waters formed an alkaline lake before it was drowned by a brackish marine transgression correlative to the Trubi transgression of the Mediterranean

Carbonate rocks in the Black Sea basin: indicators for shallow water and subaerial exposure during Miocene--Pliocene time, 1979, Stoffers P. , Muller G. ,
Drilling in the Black Sea in general revealed three types of sediments: terrigenous, chemical, and biogenic. Terrigenous muds predominate in the Pleistocene whereas chemical sediments are abundant in the lower Pleistocene--Pliocene to Late Miocene sedimentary section. Biogenic constituents play a minor role only. The chemical sediments include calcite (lake chalk), Mg-calcite, aragonite, siderite and dolomite. Among these, the dolomites of Pliocene to Late Miocene age are most interesting. They were encountered in the two drill sites close to the Bosporus drilled in 2115 to 1750 m water depth, respectively. The dolomites show a great variety of criteria (e.g. intraclasts, algae mats, crusts, pellets, oolites), indicating a shallow water environment with occasional subaerial exposure and supratidal evaporitic conditions. The formation of these shallow water carbonates in the Black Sea is supposed to correlate with the Messinian salinity crisis in the Mediterranean

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 karsts de gypse italiens ( propos du Symposium inter-national sur les karsts des vaporites), 1986, Choppy, J.
ITALIAN GYPSUM KARSTS - Synthesis of field observations and bibliographic data on shallow and deep gypsum karsts in Italy; these karsts are located in Trias (Emily) and in Messinian (continental Italy, especially near Bologna, and Sicily). The author describes clints of Sicily, the features of erosion and filling in underground caves.

Signification godynamique des rseaux karstiques tags du canyon de Baudinard (moyennes gorges du Verdon, 1992, Blanc, J. J.
GEODYNAMIC SIGNIFICATION OF LEVELLED KARSTIC NETWORKS IN THE BAUDINARD CANYON (VERDON CANYON, FRANCE) - An intense speleogenic activity can be observed in the Baudinard canyon: some levelled systems in relation to the lowering karstic water-table linked to the formation of the canyon, during Messinian, Pliocene and Quaternary periods. An active tectonic framework shows many deformations of the ante-vindobonian surface during the plio-quaternary burrowing canyon phases. Azimuth gallery direction analysis reveals several sorts of drainage network: linear, smoothed with loops, labyrinths and drainage-confluences. Networks are induced by local and successive tectonic actions. The gallery wall deformations are strongly marked by the shrinking stresses and interstrata shearing.

Rapports entre la karstification _primditerranenne et la crise de salinit messinienne, lexemple du karst lombard (Italie), 1994, Bini, A.
The Mediterraean dessiccation theory suggests that during the Messinian the Mediterranean sea lad almost completely dried up did a thick succession of evaporites was laid down Due to dessiccation the erosional base level through the whole Mediterranean area was lowered, with the consequent development of long and deep fluviatile canyons (e.g. Nile, Rhne, Var, etc). This lowering strongly affected karst evolution This paper concerns the karst in Lombardy, around the southalpine lakes. The old evolutionary models, predating dessiccation theory, assume that the lacustine valleys were scoured by the quaternary glaciers. ln this case the karst should have been characterized by some features, like for example the altitudinal cave distribution as a consequence of the valley lowering after each glaciation. Seismic experiments through the lakes and their tributaries have shown that these valleys are deep fluviatile canyons. The study of caves has demonstrated that the caves themselves predate the entrenchment of the valleys and the glaciations. During the latter the caves were filled up and emptied several times, without any modifications of their inner morphology, including stalactites. Moreover the U/Th age determinations indicate that a great number of concretions are older than 350 ky, and that a few are older than 1.5 Ma. As a conse-quence, a general model of karst evolution can be proposed. The former karstic drainage system developed after the Oligo-Miocene emersion. Paleogeography obviously diffe-red from the present day landscape but the main valley had already been scoured. During the Messinian the dramatic lowering of base level determined major changes in karstic evolution and a reorganisation of the karst drainage system that was consequently lowered considerably. The Pliocene transgression determined a new karst evolution, after which a great number of caves were located well below the sea level base. This evolution occurred during hot and wet climate period, with seasonal high flows and relevant discharges of the karstic rivers The great caves of the Lombardian karst developed within the climatic stage.

MESSINIAN (LATE MIOCENE) KARST ON GRAND-CAYMAN, BRITISH-WEST-INDIES - AN EXAMPLE OF AN EROSIONAL SEQUENCE BOUNDARY, 1994, Jones B. , Hunter I. G. ,
The Cayman Unconformity, which separates the Pedro Castle Formation (Pliocene) from the underlying Cayman Formation (Miocene), is a sequence boundary that developed during the Messinian, when sea level was at a lowstand due to glaciation in the Southern Hemisphere. By the end of the Messinian, Grand Cayman was an atoll-like island that had an elevated peripheral rim that was up to 41 m above the central depression. The Cayman Formation contains paleocaves and paleosinkholes that were linked to the Cayman Unconformity. The topography on the Cayman Unconformity is attributed to erosional processes, because (1) there is no evidence of carbonates that formed by constructional processes (i.e., reefs, dunes) in the elevated peripheral rim, and (2) there is ample evidence of dissolutional features in the Cayman Formation. The topography developed on the interior of Grand Cayman during the Messinian was uneven. A deep, basin-like depression, with its base as much as 50 m below the peripheral rim, formed on the western part of the island. By comparison, the floor of the depression on the eastern part of the island was 20-30 m higher. The difference in the topography, which is a reflection of the amount of bedrock dissolution, suggests that the effective rainfall was highest over the western part of the island. The relief on the Cayman Unconformity and associated structures shows that base level during the Messinian karst development was at least 41 m below present-day sea level. This is also provides an estimate of the Messinian lowstand position because the base level in oceanic karst settings is usually controlled by sea level

Messinian (late Miocene) karst on Grand Cayman, British West Indies; an example of an erosional sequence boundary, 1994, Jones Brian, Hunter Ian G. ,

Etapes et facteurs de la splogense dans le sud-est de la France, 1995, Blanc, J. J.
The examination of karstic erosion surfaces and of some caves presents three stages of unequal duration in the speleogenesis processes : 1) Oldest paleokarsts linked to a tropical and oxydizing climate (Cretaceous, Eocene, Oligocene and Miocene) are affected by the tectonic effects in relation with the western European and liguro-provencal riftings, the mediterranean opening phases and the main karstic levelling. 2) The Messinian crisis, characterized by a significant lowering of the water-table level, is responsible for a major vertical network development and the first canyon sinking phase; hence the erosion of the high surfaces and the drying up of networks. The formation of new over-sized karst is the result of this evolution. 3) From Pliocene (5.3 My) to Quaternary and present time (passive mediterranean margins), the karstic evolution tends towards new drainages and volumes adjusted to the next climatic and eustatic control, with several oscillations and discontinuities. After a compression period, there is a slowing down of the tectogenesis. We can observe orientation flow changes and speleogenesis induced by cold and wet climatic phases. From Tardiglacial times, speleogenesis mechanisms have slowed down.

Interprtation morphomtrique et splo_gense : exemple de rseaux karstiques de Basse-Provence (directions de galeries, modle et maillage structural), 1997, Blanc Jeanjoseph, Monteau Raymond
Successive tectonic phases on limestone massifs are at the origin of a fracturation grid with several pattern dimensions, and linear or organized drain directions. Mechanical reactivations are observed from Oligocene until Plio-Quaternary on a former "pyreneo-provenale" structure (Eocene). Statistical analysis of gallery and fracture directions, cave levels and descent stages (overdeepening) show several erosional stages occurring after the formation of the Antevindobonian erosional surface. The active speleogenesis during Oligocene and Miocene was controlled by tectonics in connection with European rifting and mediterranean opening. In Messinian a short and significant lowering of mediterranean base level (and water table) made drastic erosion and created vertical pits. The horizontal cave level dug during the stabilization phase of Pliocene, now perched over underground rivers, shows a new overdeepening because of glacio-eustatic Quaternary oscillations. Compressive or distensive mechanical reactivations (Upper Miocene, Pliocene, Quaternary) modified the drainage and consequently the cave organization: self-piracy, confluence and diffluence. In the endokarst, the drainage inversion can be detected in late Upper continental Miocene and early Messinian (6,5 Ma), in correlation with the tilting and extension of the continental margin. Five caves in Provence are studied: Sabre, Petit Saint-Cassien, Rampins, Planesselve river, and Tete du Cade networks.

Rapport entre karst et glaciers durant les glaciations dans les valles pralpines du sud des Alpes, 1998, Bini Alfredo, Tognini Paola, Zuccoli Luisa
At least 13 glaciations occurred during the last 2.6Ma in the Southern pre_alpine valleys. The glaciers scouring alpine and pre-alpine valleys had all the same feature, being valley temperated glaciers. Their tracks and feeding areas were always the same, just like the petrological contents of their deposits. Contrary to previous assumptions until a few years ago, the origin of these valleys and of the lakes occupying the floor of some of them (Orta, Maggiore, Como, Iseo, Garda Lakes) is due to fluvial erosion related to Messinian marine regression. The valley slopes modelling is Messinian in age, too, while most caves are older. As a general rule, glaciers worked on valley slopes just as a re_modelling agent, while their effects were greater on valley floors. The karstic evolution began as soon as the area was lifted above sea level (upper Oligocene - lower Miocene), in a palaeogeographical environment quite different from the present one, although the main valley floors were already working as a base level. During Messinian age, the excavation of deep canyons along pre-existing valleys caused a dramatic lowering of the base level, followed by a complete re-arrangement of the karstic networks, which got deeper and deeper. The Pliocene marine transgression caused a new re-arrangement, the karst network getting mostly drowned under sea level. During these periods, the climate was hot-wet tropical, characterised by a great amount of water circulating during the wet season. At the same time tectonic upliftings were at work, causing breaking up of the karst networks and a continuous rearrangement of the underground drainage system. In any case, karstic networks were already well developed long before the beginning of Plio-Quaternary glaciations. During glaciations, karst systems in pre-alpine valleys could have been submitted to different drainage conditions, being: a) isolated, without any glacial water flowing; b) flooded, connected to the glacier water-filled zone; c) active, scoured by a stream sinking at glacier sides or in a sub glacial position. The stream could flow to the flooded zone (b), or scour all the unflooded system long down to the resurgence zone, the latter being generally located in a sub glacier position. The glacier/karst system is a very dynamic one: it could get active, flooded or isolated depending on endo- and sub-glacial drainage variations. Furthermore, glaciers show different influences on karstic networks, thus working with a different effect during their advance, fluctuations, covering and recession phases. Many authors believe, or believed, the development of most surface and underground karst in the Alps is due to glaciations, with the last one held to be mostly responsible for this. Whatever the role of glaciers on karstic systems, in pre-alpine valleys caves, we do not have evidence either of development of new caves or of remarkable changes in their features during glaciations. It is of course possible some pits or galleries could have developed during Plio-Quaternary glaciations, but as a general rule glaciers do not seem to have affected karstic systems in the Southern pre-alpine valleys with any remarkable speleogenetic effects: the glaciers effects on them is generally restricted to the transport of great amounts of debris and sediments into caves. The spotting of boulders and pebbles trapped between roof stalactites shows that several phases of in- and out-filling of galleries occurred with no remarkable changing in pre-dating features, including cave decorations. The presence of suspended karst systems does not prove a glacial origin of the valleys, since most of them pre-date any Plio-Quaternary glaciation, as shown by calcite cave deposits older than 1,5Ma. The sediments driven into caves might have caused a partial or total occlusion of most galleries, with a remarkable re-arrangement of the underground drainage system. In caves submitted to periglacial conditions all glaciations long, we can find deposits coming from weathered surface sediments, sharp-edged gelifraction debris and, more rarely, alluvial deposits whose origin is not related to the circulation of the glacial meltwater. In caves lower than or close to the glaciers limit we generally find large amounts of glacier-related deposits, often partly or totally occluding cave galleries. These sediments may be directly related to glaciers, i.e. carried into caves by glacial meltwaters, resulting from surface glacial deposit erosion. They generally show 3 dominant facies: A) lacustrine deposits; B) alluvial deposits and C) debris flow deposits facies. The only way of testing the soundness of the forementioned hypothesis is to study the main characters and spreading of cave sediments, since they are the only real data on connection of glaciers to endokarst networks.

Contribution to knowledge of gypsum karstology, PhD thesis, 1998, Calaforra Chordi, J. M.

The objective of this study was not to establish a definitive judgement regarding a topic for which very little previous information was available, but rather to open new routes for research into karst by means of a particularized analysis of some of the factors involved in the speleogenesis of gypsiferous materials. The main obstacle to the attainment of this goal has been the scientific community's lack of interest in karst in gypsum, particularly in our country, until the nineteen eighties. To overcome this neglect it was decided, in my opinion quite correctly, to extend the bounds of the study as far as possible, so that the information obtained from the contrast found between the most important worldwide zones of karst in gypsum could be applied to the gypsiferous karst in our country, and in particular, to the most significant, the karst in gypsum of Sorbas.
This is the justification for the numerous references in the text to the gypsiferous karst and cavities in gypsum that are most relevant in Spain (Sorbas, Gobantes, Vallada, Archidona, Estremera, Baena, the Ebro Basin, Estella, Beuda, Borreda, etc.) and also to the best-known gypsiferous karsts worldwide (Podolia, Secchia, Venna del Gesso Romagnolo, Sicily and New Mexico). By means of these comparisons, the initial lack of information has been overcome.
The study is based on three central tenets, which are interrelated and make up the first three chapters of this report. The first consideration was to attempt to characterize the particular typology of gypsiferous karst from the geological (both stratigraphic and structural) point of view. This chapter also provides an introduction to each of the gypsiferous karsts examined. The second chapter is dedicated to the geomorphology of gypsiferous karst, under both superficial and subterranean aspects. It is important to note that the study of a gypsiferous karst from the speleological point of view is something that may seem somewhat unusual; however, this is one of the points of principle of this paper, the attempt to recover the true meaning of a word that has historically been unfairly condemned by a large part of the Spanish scientific community. Thirdly, a detailed study has been made of the hydrochemistry of the most important gypsiferous karsts in our region, together with the presentation of a specific analytical methodology for the treatment of the hydrochemical data applicable to the gypsiferous karst.
Geological characterization of gypsum karst
In the characterization of karst in gypsum, the intention was to cover virtually all the possibilities from the stratigraphic and structural standpoints. Thus, there is a description of widely varying gypsiferous karsts, made up of Triassic to Miocene materials, some with a complex tectonic configuration and others hardly affected by folding. The gypsiferous karsts described, and their most significant geological characteristics, are as follows:
Karst in gypsum at Sorbas (Almeria): composed of Miocene gypsiferous levels with the essential characteristic of very continuous marly interstrata between the layers of gypsum, which decisively affect the speleogenesis of the area. The gypsum layers have an average thickness of about 10 m and, together with the fracturing in the zone, determine the development of the gypsiferous cavities. These are mainly selenitic gypsum - occasionally with a crystal size of over 2 m - and their texture also has a geomorphologic and hydrogeologic influence. This area is little affected by folding and so the tectonic influence of speleogenesis is reduced to the configuration of the fracturing.
The Triassic of Antequera (Malaga): this is, fundamentally, the gypsiferous outcrop at Gobantes-Meliones, originating in the Triassic and located within the well-known "Trias" of Antequera. It is made up of very chaotic gypsiferous materials containing a large quantity of heterometric blocks of varied composition; the formation may be defined as a Miocene olitostromic gypsiferous breccia that is affected by important diapiric phenomena. The presence of hypersoluble salts at depth is significant in the modification of the hydrochemical characteristics of the water and in the speleogenetic development of the karst.
The Triassic of Vallada (Valencia): Triassic materials outcrop in the Vallada area; these mainly correspond to the K5 and K4 formations of the Valencia Group, massive gypsum and gypsiferous clays. The influence of dolomitic intercalations in the sequence is crucial to the speleogenesis of the area and this, together with intense tectonic activity, has led to the development in this sector of the deepest gypsiferous cavity in the world: the "Tunel dels Sumidors". As in the above case, the presence of hypersoluble salts at depth and the varied lithology influence the variations in the hydrodynamics and hydrochemistry of the gypsiferous aquifer.
Other Spanish gypsum karsts: this heading covers a group of gypsiferous areas and cavities of significant interest from the speleogenetic standpoint. They include the area of Estremera (Madrid), with Miocene gypsiferous clays and massive gypsum arranged along a large horizontal layer; this has produced the development of the only gypsiferous cavity in Spain with maze configuration, the Pedro Fernandez cave. The study of this cave has important hydrogeological implications with respect to speleogenesis in gypsum in phreatic conditions. The Baena (Cordoba) sector, in terms of its lithology, is comparable to the "Trias de Antequera". Here, the cavities developed in gypsiferous conglomerates, following structural discontinuities have enabled contact between carbonate and gypsiferous levels, and so we may speak of a mixed karstification: a karst in calcareous rocks and gypsum. The karst of Archidona (Malaga) is similar to that of the Gobantes-Meliones group and is significant because of the geomorphologic evolution of the karst, which is related to the diapiric ascent of the area and the formation of karstic ravines. The karst in the Miocene and Oligocene gypsum of the Ebro Basin (Zaragoza), has been taken as a characteristic example of a gypsiferous karst developed under an alluvial cover, with the corresponding geomorphological implications in the evolution of the surface landforms. In the gypsiferous area of Borreda (Barcelona), the presence of anhydritic levels in the sequence might have influenced the speleogenesis of its cavities. The cavity of La Mosquera, in Beuda (Girona), developed in massive Paleogene gypsum. This is the only Spanish example of a phreatic gypsiferous cavity developed in saccaroid gypsum, which is related to the particular subterranean morphology discovered. Finally, this group includes other Spanish gypsiferous outcrops visited during the preparation of this report, the references to which may be found in the relevant chapters.
Karst in gypsum in Europe and America: In order to complete the study of karst in gypsum, and with the idea of using all the available data on the karstology of gypsiferous materials for comparative studies of data for our country, a complementary activity was to define the most significant geological characteristics of the most important gypsiferous karsts in the world. An outstanding example is the gypsiferous karst at Podolia (Ukraine), developed in microcrystalline Miocene gypsum which has undergone block tectonics related to the collapse of the Precarpatic foredeep. This gypsum provides interesting data on speleogenesis in gypsiferous materials, as its evolution is related to the confining of the only gypsiferous stratum (of 10 to 20 m depth) producing interconnected labyrinthine galleries of over 100 km in length. Another well-known karst in gypsum is the one located at "Venna del Gesso Romagnolo" (Italy), in the Bologna region, with a lithology that is very similar to that which developed at Sorbas, but with the difference that it underwent more intense tectonics with folding and fracturing of the Tertiary sediments of the Po basin. In the same Italian province, in "L'alta Val di Sec-chia", there are outcrops of karstified Triassic materials which correspond to the formation of Burano, composed of gypsum and anhydrite with hypersoluble salts at depth and very notable diapiric phenomena. The study of this area has been used for a comparative analysis - geomorphology and hydrogeochemistry - with the Spanish gypsiferous karsts developed in Triassic levels. The third Italian gypsiferous karst to be considered is the one developed in Sicily, which has extensive Messinian outcrops of microcrystalline and selenitic gypsum as well as a great variety of lithologic types within the gypsiferous sequence, which we term the "gessoso solfifera" sequence. This gypsiferous karst is especially interesting from the geomorphologic standpoint due to the great quantity and variety of present superficial karstic forms. This has also served as a guide for the study of Spanish gypsiferous karsts. Finally, considering the relation between climatology and the development of karstic forms, we have also studied the karst in gypsum in New Mexico, where there is an extensive outcrop of Permian gypsum, both micro and macrocrystalline, situated on a large platform almost unaffected by deformation, and where the conditions of aridity are very similar to those found in the gypsiferous karst of Sorbas.
Geomorphological characterization of gypsum karst
From the geomorphological standpoint, the intention is to give an overview of the great variety of karstic forms developed in gypsum, traditionally considered less important than those developed in carbonate areas. This report shows this is not the case.
The theory of Convergence of Forms has been shown to be an efficient tool for the study of the morphology of karst in gypsum. Here, its principles have been used to provide genetic explanations for various gypsiferous forms derived from carbonate studies, and for the reverse case. In fact, studying a karst in gypsum is like having available a geomorphological laboratory where not only are the processes faster but they are also applicable to the karstology of carbonate rocks.
A large number of minor karstic forms (Karren) have been identified. The most important factors conditioning their formation are the texture of the rock, climatology and the presence of overlying deposits. The first, particularly, is largely responsible for determining the abundance of certain forms with respect to others. Thus, Rillenkarren, Trittkarren and small "kamenitzas" are more frequently found in microcrystalline and sandstone gypsum (for example, karst in gypsum in Sicily (Italy) and Va-llada (Valencia, Spain). Others seem to be more exclusive to selenitic gypsum, such as exfoliation microkarren, or are closely related to the climatology of the area (Spitzkarren develops from the alteration of gypsum in semiarid conditions). Others are related either to the presence of developed soil cover (Rundkarren, using Convergence of Forms), or to their specific situation (candelas and Wallkarren around dolines and sinkholes) or to the microtexture of the gypsum and the orientation of the 010 and 111 crystalline planes and twinning planes for the development of nanokarren.
The tumuli are the most peculiar forms of the Sorbas karst in gypsum, though they have also been identified in other gypsiferous karsts (Bolonia, New Mexico, Vallada, etc.). These are subcircular domes of the most superficial layer of the gypsum. Their formation has been related to processes of precipitation-solution and of capillary movement through the gypsiferous matrix. Their extensive development is largely determined by the climatology of the area and by the structural organization. It is therefore clear that the best examples are found in the karst of Sorbas due to the abrupt changes in temperature and humidity that occur in a semiarid climate, and because of the horizontality of the gypsiferous sequence.
Karst in gypsum and its larger exokarstic forms, apart from being climatically determined, also depend on the structural state and lithological determinants of the area. Thus, it is possible to differentiate between gypsiferous karsts where the lithology, together with erosive breakup, is more important (Sorbas and New Mexico) and others where confining hydraulic conditions persist (Estremera and Podolia). In other cases, tectonics has played a significant modelling role, and there is a clear possibility of an inversion of the relief (Bolonia or Sicily) or of the effect of diapiric processes (Secchia, Vallada, Antequera). The typological diversity of the dolines is obviously also related to these premisses. Another example is the relation existing between carbonate precipitation and gypsum solution, as evidenced in contrasting examples (Bolonia versus Sorbas).
Subterranean karstic forms have been examined from a double perspective: the morphology of the passages and the mineralization within the cavities. With respect to the former, a noteworthy example is the interstratification karst of Sorbas, where subterranean channels have developed during two well-differentiated phases, the phreatic and the vadose. The first was responsible for the formation of the small proto-galleries, currently relicts that are observable as false dome channels in the bottom of the gypsiferous strata. The second, with an erosive character, enabled the breakup of the marly interstrata and the formation of the large galleries found today. Other aspects considered include the speleogenetic influence of the presence of calcareous intercalations in the gypsiferous sequence (Vallada karst), gypsiferous agglomerates (Baena karst), anhydrite (Rotgers karst), suffusion processes (Sorbas karst) and the importance of condensation.
Spelothemes in gypsiferous cavities have been approached with special concern for gypsiferous speleothemes, in particular those which, due to their genetic peculiarity or to the lack of previous knowledge about them, are most significant. Among these are gypsum balls, with phenomena of solution, detritic filling, capillarity and evaporation; gypsum hole stalagmites, where the precipitation-solution of the gypsum controlling the formation of the central orifice is related to the previous deposit of carbonate speleothemes; gypsum trays that mark the levels of maximum evaporation; gypsum dust, determined by abrupt changes in temperature and humidity in areas near the exterior of gypsiferous cavities. All of these are characteristic of, and practically exclusive to, gypsiferous karsts in semiarid ztenes such as Sorbas and New Mexico.
Karst in gypsum has been morphologically classified with reference to the previously-mentioned criteria: the presence and typology of epigean karstic forms, both macro and microform; the typology of hypogean karstic forms (passages) and the type of speleothemes within the cavities (gypsiferous or carbonate). All these variables are clearly influenced by climatology, and so a study of the geomorphology of gypsiferous karst is seen to be an efficient tool for the analysis of the paleoclimatology of an area.
Hydrogeochemical characterization of gypsum karst
The hydrogeochemical characterization of karst in gypsum was approached in two stages. The first one was intended to establish themodels to be applied to the hydrochemistry approach, while the second provided various examples of hydrochemical studies carried out in gypsiferous karsts.
The theoretical framework which has been shown to be most accurate with respect to the formulation of chemical equilibria in water related to gypsiferous karst is the Virial Theory and the Pitzer equations.
For this study, we used a simplification of these equations as far as the second virial coefficient by means of a simple, polynomial variation to obtain the equilibrium state of the water with respect to the gypsum, for an ionic strength value greater than 0.1 m and temperatures of between 0.5 and 40 "C. This was the case of the gypsiferous karsts found to be related to hypersaline water at depth (Vallada, Gobantes-Meliones, Poiano). In the remaining situations, where the ionic strength was below 0.1 m, only the theory of ionic matching was used.
The hydrochemical study of the gypsiferous karst of Gobantes-Meliones (Malaga) led to the hypothesis of the possible influence of hypersaline water on karstification in gypsum. Using theoretical examples of the mixing of water derived both from hypersaline water and from water related only to the gypsiferous karst, it was shown that above a percentage content of 0.1:0.9 of saline and sulphated water, the mixture is subsaturated with respect to gypsum and other minerals. On reaching percentages greater than 0.5:0.5, values of oversaturation are again found. This could mean that the contact between sulphated and hypersaline water is a karstification zone in gypsum at depth.
In the gypsiferous karst at Salinas-Fuente Camacho (Granada), a study has been made of the hydrochemical influence of dolomitic levels in the sequence by means of the analysis of the hydrochemical routes between hydraulically-connected points. The generic case of mass transfer in this gypsiferous aquifer implies a precipitation of calcite which is in-congruent with dolomitic solution, proving that the process of dedolomitization in gypsiferous aquifers with an abundance of dolomitic rocks can be an effective process. In situations of high salinity, with contributions of hypersaline water, the process may be inverted, such as occurs in coastal carbonate aquifers influenced by the fresh-saltwater interface.
The gypsiferous aquifer of Sorbas-Tabernas (Almeria) provides the best case of karstification in gypsum in Spain; the hydrochemical study carried out has been used as an example of karstification in gypsum completely uninfluenced by sodium-chloride facies. It is shown, from the hydrochemical similarities between the different sectors, that the uniformity of the flow from the system main spring (Los Molinos) responds to the delayed hydraulic input through the overlying post-evaporitic materials and to the pelitic intercalations of the gypsiferous sequence. The aquifer is partially semiconfined, a situation which is comparable to the onset of the karstification stage, while the area of the Sorbas karst, strictly speaking, bears no hydriaulic relation to the rest of the system, behaving like a free aquifer intrinsically related to the epikarstic zone. This fact is demonstrated by the hydrochemical differences between the main spring and those related to gypsiferous cavities.
Apart from the general study of the Sorbas-Tabemas aquifer, a study was also made of the hydrochemical-time variations within cavities, and in particular within the Cueva del Agua, where it is possible to observe particular processes affecting karstification in gypsum, such as the precipitation of carbonates on the floor of the cavity which produce, in that area, a greater solution of gypsum (the phenomenon of hyperkarstification). Furthermore, the temporal evolution of the chemistry of the cavity, along 800 m of subterranean flow through its interior, shows the existence of inertial sectors where the variations were less abrupt. Only in the case of particular sectors, related to sporadic hydriaulic contributions or to the proximity to points of access., was a notable seasonal influence detected.
A similar hydrochemical study was carried out in the karst of Vallada (Valencia), along the cavity of the Tunel dels Sumidors. The chemistry here was compared with that of the springs of Brolladors (whose water rapidly infiltrates into the cavity) and Saraella (a saline resurgence of the whole system). Unexpected increases in the ionic content of certain salts (sulphates and chlorides) were detected during periods of increased flow; these were interpreted as the effect of the recharging of the Saraella spring arising from the immediate contribution of rapidly circulating sulfated water coming from the cavity and the subsequent mobilization of interstitial water with an ionic content higher than the characteristic level of the spring.
We present as a hypothesis the idea that, in addition to the hydrogeochemical processes described that can affect the evolution of a gypsiferous karst, the processes of sulphate reduction also influence karstification in gypsum, at least during the earliest stages. Some examples such as the presence of gypsum with abundant organic matter reprecipitated into phreatic channels (Sorbas) or veins of sulphur related to gypsiferous karsts (Podolia, Sicily) lend support to this idea.
Studies of the solution-erosion of gypsum have been performed by physical methods (tablets and M.E.M.) showing that the solution-erosion of gypsum within cavities is minimal (0.03 mm/ year) compared to that existing in the exterior (0.3 mm/year). The speleogenetic effect of condensation within the cavities has also been shown, with solution-erosion rates of 0.005 mm/year to be like the equivalent surface lowering. These data correspond to the karst in gypsum at Sorbas, where, additionally, a study about the time variation of the solution-erosion was carried out. It was found that the process is not continuous but clearly sporadic. During periods of torrential rain, the solution-erosion ranges from a weight loss of 400 mg/cm2/year on the surface of the karst to 75 mg/cm2/year inside the caves, while during the rest of the year the weight loss was barely 1 mg/cm2/year. The physical methods were compared with the results obtained from chemical methods, and it was found that, in general, higher values were obtained with the former (10-20% higher when weighted for the rainfall during the measuring periods). Thus it is reasonable to consider that the erosive process is more marked than was at first assumed.
In total, three cavity tracing experiments were carried out, all with fluoresceine, two of them in Cueva del Agua in Sorbas (during periods of high and low water levels) and the other in Tunel dels Sumidors in Vallada. At the first site, the comparison of the two tracing tests reveals a differential hydrodynamic behaviour of the cavity for the two contrasting situations; periods of high water input and periods of low rainfall. This behaviour is characteristic of well developed karstic aquifers, where the hydrodynamic effect of the circulation of water through small channels or, in this case, through the gypsiferous matrix and interbedded marly layers, seems to be more important under conditions of low hydraulic input than when rainfall is abundant. The two situations tested seem to confirm that the Cueva del Agua system, an epikarstic aquifer, which is representative of karstification in gypsum, has scarce retentive power and so large volumes of precipitation are totally discharged via the spring within a few days. However, the explanation of the small but continuous flow from the base of the cavity requires the inclusion of other factors in the interpretation. In this case, the flow seems to be fairly independent of rainfall and attributable to other processes, in addition to the previously described ones, such as the retentive power of the gypsiferous matrix and the marly interstrata. These might include the high degree of condensation measured over long periods, both on the surface of the karst in gypsum and within the cavities. In the case of the Tunel dels Sumidors, a highly irregular response was found, despite the fact that the coefficient of dispersivity was found to be 0.4. This value is similar to that obtained for the karst in gypsum at Sorbas in response to low water conditions, and so, here too, one might assume the influence of greater than expected flow-retaining processes, between the entry and exit points. Doubtless the karstic system of the Tunel dels Sumidors is more complex than was initially expected and in fact, the irregularity reflected by the fluoresceine concentration curve over time implies the existence of other factors to explain the diversity of the relative maxima obtained. Firstly, the presence of numerous Triassic clay intercalations might delay the flow, in addition to retaining a certain quantity of fluoresceine by ionic exchange. There is also a possibility that the flow is dispersed through a network of small conduits and pores, due to the permeability of the gypsiferous matrix. Finally, we cannot discount the possible existence of a deep-level input which, in this case, would be responsible for the variation in the flow and the chemical composition. This set of suppositions, as a whole, would explain the fact that the response of the spring to tracing is so irregular, even though we cannot achieve a definition of the qualitative influence of each one on the hydrodynamics of the system.
In order to verify some of the above hypotheses, particularly those referring to the process of condensation within cavities, an experiment was designed, consisting of a microtracing test at some points where condensation had been detected within the Cueva del Agua at Sorbas. The test produced a range of condensation flow speed values of 0.2 to 30 cm/hour and shows that, in those sections where the presence of condensation flow is visually apparent, there is a rapid dispersion of the colourant. However, it also shows that at points where there is no apparent condensation the process also occurs, but at a lower rate of efficiency. The importance of condensation within cavities has two aspects; firstly, speleogenetic, with the development of solution forms (cupolas) and deposit forms (capillarity boxwork); and secondly, hydrogeological, as this is the reason why certain processes (strong changes in temperature and humidity, multiple routes of airflow exchange with the exterior) may in themselves constitute a hydraulic contribution, of slight importance, but sufficient to explain a large part of the base flow (0.2 - 0.8 L/s) of a whole cavity system such as the Cueva del Agua in semiarid conditions.
With the intention of completing the analyses carried out in various karsts in gypsum, instruments were installed in the Cueva del Agua at Sorbas to measure, by continuous registration, some important physico-chemical parameters that might provide additional data on the hydro-geologic behaviour of this gypsiferous karst, especially at the level of the epikarstic zone. The parameters of temperature and water conductivity were considered most important, due to their singular behaviour patterns. During the experiment there were two periods of rainfall that modified the chemistry of the cavity, one of 30 mm in two days and another of 200 mm (almost the annual total) in four days. In the second case, which was much more extreme, a very significant increase in water temperature (up to 7 °C during the initial period of high water flow) was detected, while conductivity fell. But suddenly, when the minimum conductivity was reached, the temperature dropped sharply by 6-7 °C to return to the base temperature of the cavity. Subsequently, the temperature again stabilized at about 7 °C above the data recorded during the dry period. This behaviour pattern was not detected when the rainfall was slight. The explanation for this dual behaviour observed is fundamentally based on the quantity of rainfall and on the differences between the exterior air temperature, the temperature of interstitial water and the temperature recorded in the spring during high water flow. When water temperature in the cavity during high water flow is higher than the base temperature recorded in the period immediately before, it means that the interstitial water does not mobilize. However, when at any time the two temperatures coincide, one might suppose that there might have existed a process of mobilization of the water previously resident in the rock, by a piston effect, but in the unsaturated zone. On the other hand, the temporal variations of these parameters during the months following periods of high rainfall have enabled us to detect the existence of distinct periods during the return to normal cavity conditions. By carefully examining the decrease curve of water temperature inside the cavity while conductivity regained its maximum stable value, two periods may be differentiated. The first may be termed the "inertial influence period", when the rainfall occurring removes all signs of natural variation in the cavity. Thus, the daily external influences are not clearly detectable and the curve is downward-sloping and asymptotic with no significant oscillations. In the second period, which ends with the total stabilization of the parameter at the level of the initial conditions, the asymptotic descent is seen to be affected by daily temperature variations. This is termed the "inertial recovery period", during which external variations start to have an effect on the interior of the cavity such that there is a progressive increase in the amplitude of the daily variation in water temperature, air temperature and relative humidity. This behaviour pattern of variation of these parameters during periods of high rainfall, might be extended to all karstic systems, varying only in magnitude and temporal extent.


Palaeomagnetic research of cave sediments in SW Slovenia, 1998, Bosá, K Pavel, Pruner Petr, Zupan Hajna Nadja

Three profiles of caves sediments (Divača fossil cave, Divaška Jama and Trhlovca Cave) were studied in the Kras near Divača village. Mineralogical study proved relatively uniform mineral composition of the light fraction indicating the main source from weathered sediments of Eocene flysch. Some minerals are derived from weathering profiles and crusts (e.g. gibbsite). Detailed magnetostratigraphic investigations of three profiles defined normal and reverse polarity magnetozones and shows the correlation between the profiles in the Divaška Jama and Trhlovca Cave. The narrow normal magnetozones probably correlate with the Jaramillo polarity event (0.90 to 0.97 Ma) of the Matuyama epoch. Those data indicate the substantial age of cave in which the last phase of filling started before 0.97 Ma and finished before the Brunhes/Matuyama boundary, i.e. around 0.73 Ma. Magnetostratigraphic data of the Divača profile detected two narrow normal magnetozones in the long reverse polarity zone which probably correlate with Olduvai and Reunion polarity events (about 1.67 to 1.87 Ma) of reverse Matuyama epoch or with some of normal magnetozones (about 3.8 to 5.0 Ma) within reverse Gilbert epoch. Data indicate the possibility that the cave was originated during the Messinian period characteristic by sea-level fall and evolution of deep karst in the Mediterranean Basin.


Chronology, causes and progression of the Messinian salinity crisis, 1999, Krijgsman W. , Hilgen F. J. , Raffi I. , Sierro F. J. , Wilson D. S. ,

Upper Miocene karst collapse structures of the east coast, Mallorca, Spain, 2000, Ardila Pedro Robledo, Pomar Luis

In the sea cliffs on the Mallorca Island, Western Mediterranean there are extensive outcrops of Upper Miocene carbonate rocks. On the Eastern coast of Mallorca, the reefal complex is overlain by a Messinian shallow-water carbonate complex. There are abundant Paleokarst collapse structures. The Santanyí Limestone beds are affected by V-incasion structures produced by roof collapse of caverns developed in the underlying reefal complex. According to the model, the origin of some of these karst-collapse structures may be related to early diagenetic processes controlled by high-frequency sea-level fluctuations. During lowstands of sea level, fresh-water flow might have create a cave system near the water table by dissolution of aragonite in the reef front facies and coral patches existing in the lagoonal beds. This cave system developed near the subaerial erosion surface. During subsequent rise of sea level inner-shelf beds overlaid the previously karstified reef-core and outer-lagoonal beds. Increase of loading by subsequent accretion of the shallow-water carbonates might have produced V-incasion structures by gravitational collapse of cave roofs when these beds were still not completely consolidated.


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