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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 underfit stream is a small stream that flows along a cave passage that was enlarged to its current size by an earlier, larger stream. commonly underfit streams are found flowing under vadose conditions along the floors of drained phreatic tubes, long abandoned by the phreatic flow that enlarged them. underfit streams may also occur if the major flow in a vadose streamway is captured to lower levels by the opening of a new shaft. the main flow no longer uses the downstream passages, leaving any tributaries to amalgamate as an underfit stream [9].?

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Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
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Your search for mixing zone (Keyword) returned 50 results for the whole karstbase:
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Shallow-marine carbonate facies and facies models, 1985, Tucker M. E. ,
Shallow-marine carbonate sediments occur in three settings: platforms, shelves and ramps. The facies patterns and sequences in these settings are distinctive. However, one type of setting can develop into another through sedimentational or tectonic processes and, in the geologic record, intermediate cases are common. Five major depositional mechanisms affect carbonate sediments, giving predictable facies sequences: (1) tidal flat progradation, (2) shelf-marginal reef progradation, (3) vertical accretion of subtidal carbonates, (4) migration of carbonate sand bodies and (5) resedimentation processes, especially shoreface sands to deeper subtidal environments by storms and off-shelf transport by slumps, debris flows and turbidity currents. Carbonate platforms are regionally extensive environments of shallow subtidal and intertidal sedimentation. Storms are the most important source of energy, moving sediment on to shoreline tidal flats, reworking shoreface sands and transporting them into areas of deeper water. Progradation of tidal flats, producing shallowing upward sequences is the dominant depositional process on platforms. Two basic types of tidal flat are distinguished: an active type, typical of shorelines of low sediment production rates and high meteorologic tidal range, characterized by tidal channels which rework the flats producing grainstone lenses and beds and shell lags, and prominent storm layers; and a passive type in areas of lower meteorologic tidal range and higher sediment production rates, characterized by an absence of channel deposits, much fenestral and cryptalgal peloidal micrite, few storm layers and possibly extensive mixing-zone dolomite. Fluctuations in sea-level strongly affect platform sedimentation. Shelves are relatively narrow depositional environments, characterized by a distinct break of slope at the shelf margin. Reefs and carbonate sand bodies typify the turbulent shelf margin and give way to a shelf lagoon, bordered by tidal flats and/or a beach-barrier system along the shoreline. Marginal reef complexes show a fore-reef--reef core--back reef facies arrangement, where there were organisms capable of producing a solid framework. There have been seven such phases through the Phanerozoic. Reef mounds, equivalent to modern patch reefs, are very variable in faunal composition, size and shape. They occur at shelf margins, but also within shelf lagoons and on platforms and ramps. Four stages of development can be distinguished, from little-solid reef with much skeletal debris through to an evolved reef-lagoon-debris halo system. Shelf-marginal carbonate sand bodies consist of skeletal and oolite grainstones. Windward, leeward and tide-dominated shelf margins have different types of carbonate sand body, giving distinctive facies models. Ramps slope gently from intertidal to basinal depths, with no major change in gradient. Nearshore, inner ramp carbonate sands of beach-barrier-tidal delta complexes and subtidal shoals give way to muddy sands and sandy muds of the outer ramp. The major depositional processes are seaward progradation of the inner sand belt and storm transport of shoreface sand out to the deep ramp. Most shallow-marine carbonate facies are represented throughout the geologic record. However, variations do occur and these are most clearly seen in shelf-margin facies, through the evolutionary pattern of frame-building organisms causing the erratic development of barrier reef complexes. There have been significant variations in the mineralogy of carbonate skeletons, ooids and syn-sedimentary cements through time, reflecting fluctuations in seawater chemistry, but the effect of these is largely in terms of diagenesis rather than facies

Regional dolomitization of subtidal shelf carbonates: Burlington and Keokuk Formations (Mississippian), Iowa and Illinois, 1987, Harris David C. , Meyers William J. ,
Cathodoluminescent petrography of crinoidal limestones and dolomites from the Mississippian (Osagean) Burlington and Keokuk Formations in Iowa and Illinois has revealed a complex diagenetic history of calcite cementation, dolomitization, chertification and compaction. Dolomite occurs abundantly in subtidal, open-marine facies throughout the study area. Three luminescently and chemically distinct generations of dolomite can be recognized regionally. Dolomite I, the oldest generation, is luminescent, thinly zoned, and occurs mainly as a replacement of lime mud. Dolomite II has dull red unzoned luminescence, and occurs mainly as a replacement of dolomite I rhombs. Dolomite III is non-luminescent, and occurs as a syntaxial cement on, and replacement of, older dolomite I and II rhombs. Petrography of these dolomite generations, integrating calcite cement stratigraphy, chertification and compaction histories has established the diagenetic sequence. Dolomites I and II pre-date all calcite cements, most chert, intergranular compaction and styloites. Dolomite III precipitation occurred within the calcite cement sequence, after all chert, and after at least some stylolitization. The stratigraphic limit of these dolomites to rocks older than the St Louis Limestone (Meramecian) suggests that dolomitization took place before or during a regional mid-Meramecian subaerial unconformity. A single dolomitization model cannot reasonably explain all three generations of dolomite in the Burlington and Keokuk limestones. Petrographic and geochemical characteristics coupled with timing constraints suggest that dolomite I formed in a sea water-fresh water mixing zone associated with a meteoric groundwater system established beneath the pre-St Louis unconformity. Dolomite II and III may have formed from externally sourced warm brines that replaced precursor dolomite at shallow burial depths. These models therefore suggest that the required Mg for dolomite I was derived mainly from sea water, whereas that for dolomites II and III was derived mainly from precursor Burlington--Keokuk dolomites through replacement or pressure solution

Carbonate dissolution in a modern mixing zone, 1988, Smart P. L. , Dawans J. M. , Whitaker F. ,

Chemical hydrogeology in natural and contaminated environments, 1989, Back W, Baedecker Mj,
Chemical hydrogeology, including organic and inorganic aspects, has contributed to an increased understanding of groundwater flow systems, geologic processes, and stressed environments. Most of the basic principles of inorganic-chemical hydrogeology were first established by investigations of organic-free, regional-scale systems for which simplifying assumptions could be made. The problems of groundwater contamination are causing a shift of emphasis to microscale systems that are dominated by organic-chemical reactions and that are providing an impetus for the study of naturally occurring and manmade organic material. Along with the decrease in scale, physical and chemical heterogeneity become major controls.Current investigations and those selected from the literature demonstrate that heterogeneity increases in importance as the study site decreases from regional-scale to macroscale to microscale. Increased understanding of regional-scale flow systems is demonstrated by selection of investigations of carbonate and volcanic aquifers to show how application of present-day concepts and techniques can identify controlling chemical reactions and determine their rates; identify groundwater flow paths and determine flow velocity; and determine aquifer characteristics. The role of chemical hydrogeology in understanding geologic processes of macroscale systems is exemplified by selection of investigations in coastal aquifers. Phenomena associated with the mixing zone generated by encroaching sea water include an increase in heterogeneity of permeability, diagenesis of minerals, and formation of geomorphic features, such as caves, lagoons, and bays. Ore deposits of manganese and uranium, along with a simulation model of ore-forming fluids, demonstrate the influence of heterogeneity and of organic compounds on geochemical reactions associated with genesis of mineral deposits. In microscale environments, importance of heterogeneity and consequences of organic reactions in determining the distributions and concentrations cf. constituents are provided by several studies, including infiltration of sewage effluent and migration of creosote in coastal plain aquifers. These studies show that heterogeneity and the dominance of organically controlled reactions greatly increase the complexity of investigations

THE OCCURRENCE AND EFFECT OF SULFATE REDUCTION AND SULFIDE OXIDATION ON COASTAL LIMESTONE DISSOLUTION IN YUCATAN CENOTES, 1993, Stoessell R. K. , Moore Y. H. , Coke J. G. ,
Dissolution of carbonate minerals in the coastal halocline is taking place in the karst terrain along the northeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The dissolution is being accelerated in cenotes (sinkholes) where sulfate reduction and oxidation of the produced sulfide is occurring. Hydrogen-sulfide concentrations ranged from 0.06 to 4 mmolal within the halocline in two sinkholes. Relative to concentrations expected by conservative mixing, fluids with high hydrogen-sulfide concentrations were correlated with low sulfate concentrations, high alkalinities, low pH values, and heavy sulfur isotope values for sulfate. Hydrogen-sulfide concentrations were less than those predicted from sulfate reduction, calculated from deficiencies in measured sulfate concentrations, indicating mobility and loss of aqueous sulfide. Fluids with low hydrogen-sulfide concentrations were correlated with very high calcium concentrations, high strontium and sulfate concentrations, slightly elevated alkalinities, low pH values, and sea-water sulfur isotope values for sulfate. Gypsum dissolution is supported by the sulfur isotopes as the major process producing high sulfate concentrations. However, oxidation of aqueous sulfide to sulfuric acid, resulting in carbonate-mineral dissolution is needed to explain the calcium concentrations, low pH values, and only slightly elevated alkalinities. The halocline may trap hydrogen sulfide that has been stripped from the underlying anoxic salt water. The halocline can act as a stable, physical boundary, holding some of the hydrogen sulfide until it is oxidized back to sulfuric acid through interaction with the overlying, oxygenated fresh water or through the activity of sulfide-oxidizing bacteria

THE EFFECT OF ZONES OF HIGH-POROSITY AND PERMEABILITY ON THE CONFIGURATION OF THE SALINE FRESH-WATER MIXING ZONE, 1995, Wicks C. M. , Herman J. S. ,
Coastal karst aquifers have highly variable distributions of porosity and permeability. The ability to assess the volume of aquifer occupied by freshwater in coastal karst aquifers is limited by both the lack of understanding of the effect that regions of cavernous porosity and permeability have on the configuration of the saline-freshwater mixing zone and by the limited knowledge of the location of the cavernous regions. A dual-density ground-water flow and solute transport model was used to explore the effect that the depth, lateral extent, and proximity to the coast of zones of high porosity and permeability has on the configuration of the saline-freshwater mixing zone. These aquifer heterogeneities tend to shift the mixing zone upward relative to the position it would have in aquifers with homogeneous porosity and permeability, Zones of high porosity and permeability located at positions shallow in the aquifer or nearer to the coast had the greatest effect. In fact, for the conditions modeled, position was more important in modifying the configuration of the mixing zone than was changing the ratio of the intrinsic permeability of the cavernous zone to the aquifer matrix from 100 to 1000. Modeling results show that ground-water flow is concentrated into the zones of high porosity and permeability and that flow configuration results in steep salinity gradients with depth, Field observations of the location of the halocline and of step changes in ground-water composition coincident with regions of cavernous porosity in coastal karst aquifers corroborate the model results, In a coastal setting with saline water intruding into an aquifer, the effect of cavernous porosity and associated high permeability is to decrease the volume of aquifer in which freshwater occurs by a greater degree than would occur in an aquifer with homogeneous porosity and permeability

HYDROGEOCHEMISTRY OF GRAND-CAYMAN, BRITISH-WEST-INDIES - IMPLICATIONS FOR CARBONATE DIAGENETIC STUDIES, 1995, Ng K. C. , Jones B. ,
Groundwater in the dolostone aquifers of the Bluff Group (Oligocene-Miocene) on Grand Cayman is divided into fresh, lightly and highly brackish, and saline (Type I and II) zones according to chemical characteristics that were determined during a 3 year (1985-1988) monitoring program. Brackish and Type I saline waters display the greatest variation in chemical properties whereas the Type II saline water has the most stable chemical characteristics. Most groundwaters from these dolostone aquifers are thermodynamically capable of precipitating calcite and/or dolomite. The saturation indices for these minerals, however, vary through time and space even in the context of small water lens. Simple mixing of fresh and sea water cannot explain the chemistry of the water found in the joint and karst controlled dolostone aquifers of Grand Cayman. Deviation from a simple mixing model is due to variations caused by tidal fluctuation, the rate of rain water recharge, influx of Ca-rich groundwater from the surrounding limestone aquifers, influx of CO2-rich surface water from sinkholes and swamps, and water-rock interactions (dissolution and precipitation of calcite and dolomite). Sustained groundwater abstraction from a lens can significantly alter the hydrochemistry of the water lens. This suggests that hydrochemical characterization of small fresh water lenses, like those on Grand Cayman, cannot be based on spot or short-term sampling. Interpretation of such fluids in terms of calcite-dolomite precipitation and/or dissolution must be treated with caution if the data base has not been derived from long-term monitoring

Geochemistry of submarine warm springs in the limestone cavern of Grotta Azzurra, Capo Palinuro, Italy: evidence for mixing-zone dolomitisation, 1996, Stuben Doris, Sedwick Peter, Colantoni Paolo,
Subtidal springs in and around the submarine limestone cavern of Grotta Azzurra, at Capo Palinuro, Italy, discharge fluids which are warm (-, Na and Mg2, and enriched in Si, alkalinity, Ca2, Sr2, Mn, NH4, PO43- and H2S, relative to surrounding seawater. The compositions of the warm fluid samples collected in and around the cave define mixing lines which suggest dilution of a single thermal fluid (T >= 23[deg]C) by cool overlying seawater (T= 17-17.6[deg]C). The chemical data suggest that the proposed thermal fluid contains two components, one derived from seawater ( 10%). Excess Si, alkalinity, Ca2, Sr2 and Mn relative to seawater are likely derived from the groundwater component or dissolution/hydrothermal alteration of the host rocks. Magnesium has been removed from the seawater component in exchange for Ca2, due to dolomitisation of the limestone and/or hydrothermal alteration reactions. Saturation-state calculations suggest that the vented fluids are near saturation with respect to calcite and supersaturated with respect to dolomite. This and the presence of dolomite in the host rocks and cave-floor sediments suggest that 'mixing-zone' dolomitisation of the limestones is occurring, perhaps kinetically assisted by elevated temperature and/or bacterial mediation in the reducing subseafloor zone. One possible 'end-member' condition is considered for the thermal fluid -- zero-Mg -- which suggests an end-member temperature of 50.5[deg]C and a fluid composition derived from ~ 38% seawater and ~ 62% groundwater. The heat source for the circulating fluids is uncertain, but may involve warm underlying igneous rocks or heating via the geothermal gradient. A continuous in-situ record of vent-fluid temperature, salinity, pH and O2 concentration collected within the cavern is consistent with our interpretation of the fluid origin, and suggests that tidal forcing affects circulation and venting of the warm fluids

Groundwater circulation and geochemistry of a karstified bank-marginal fracture system, South Andros Island, Bahamas, 1997, Whitaker Fiona F. , Smart Peter L. ,
On the east coast of South Andros Island, Bahamas, a major bank-marginal fracture system characterised by vertically extensive cavern systems (blue holes) is developed sub-parallel to the steep-sided deep-water re-entrant of the Tongue of the Ocean. In addition to providing a discharge route for meteoric, mixed and geochemically evolved saline groundwaters, a strong local circulation occurs along the fracture system. This generates enhanced vertical mixing within voids of the fracture system, evidenced by the increasing mixing zone thickness, and the thinning and increasing salinity of brackish lens waters from north to south along the fracture system. Furthermore, tidally driven pumping of groundwaters occurs between the fracture and adjacent carbonate aquifer affecting a zone up to 200 m either side of the fracture.The resultant mixing of groundwaters of contrasting salinity and within and along the fracture system and with the surrounding aquifer waters, together with bacterial oxidation of organic matter, generates significant potential for locally enhanced diagenesis. Undersaturation with respect to calcite within the fresh (or brackish)-salt water mixing zone is observed in the fracture system and predicted in the adjacent aquifer, while mixing between the brackish fracture lens and surrounding high fresh waters causes dissolution of aragonite but not calcite. The latter gives rise to considerable secondary porosity development, because active tidal pumping ensures continued renewal of dissolutional potential. This is evidenced by calcium and strontium enrichment in the brackish lens which indicates porosity generation by aragonite dissolution at a maximum rate of 0.35% ka-1, up to twice the average estimated for the fresh water lens. In contrast saline groundwaters are depleted in calcium relative to open ocean waters suggesting the formation of calcite cements.The development of a major laterally continuous cavernous fracture zone along the margin of the carbonate platform permits enhanced groundwater flow and mixing which may result in generation of a diagenetic `halo' at a scale larger than that generally recognised around syn-sedimentary fractures in fossil carbonates. This may be characterised by increased secondary porosity where a relative fall in sea-level results in exposure and formation of a meteoric groundwater system, or cementation by `marine' calcite both below this meteoric system, and where the bank surface is flooded by seawater

Spheroidal dolomites in a Visean karst system - Bacterial induced origin?, 1997, Nielsen P. , Swennen R. , Dickson J. A. D. , Fallick A. E. , Keppens E. ,
Spheroidal dolomite crystals occur in the karstified top of a Dinantian dolomite sequence in eastern Belgium. The spheroidal dolomite crystals are best developed at the base of the karst system. The dolomite crystals are characterized by a spherulitic or dumb-bell inclusion pattern, and are overgrown by dolomite cements with a rhombohedral outline. They are considered to be bacterially related precipitates based on, (1) textural similarities with documented bacteriogenic precipitates, (2) the presence of 'bacterial' microspheres and framboidal pyrite embedded within the dolomite, and (3) their general geological setting. The geochemical characteristics of the dolomites and associated minerals support a bacterial origin. The ubiquity of framboidal pyrite, depleted in S-34 (delta(34)S = - 22.4 to - 25.5 parts per thousand CDT), testifies to a period of bacterial sulphate reduction. The isotopic composition of the spheroidal dolomites (delta(13)C = - 2.4 to - 3.2 parts per thousand PDB and delta(18)O = - 3.8 to - 3.4 parts per thousand PDB) suggest a contribution from oxidized organic carbon produced during bacterial sulphate reduction. Sulphate reduction may also result in a concomitant O-18 depletion if the system is nearly closed. It is however, evident from the sulphur isotopic composition of associated framboidal pyrite that the system was fairly open. The O-18 depletion of the spheroidal dolomite crystals (delta(18)O = - 3.8 to - 3.4 parts per thousand PDB) and their occurrence adjacent to, and within karst cavities suggests a mixing zone origin, with a significant proportion of freshwater in it. The rhombohedral cement-overgrowths have calculated delta(18)O values in the range of 0 to 5.3 parts per thousand PDB, which reflect precipitation from normal to slightly evaporated contemporaneous seawater

Groundwater Geochemistry of Isla de Mona, Puerto Rico, 1998, Wicks C. M. , Troester Jo. W.
In this study, we explore the differences between the hydrogeochemical processes observed in a setting that is open to input from the land surface and in a setting that is closed with respect to input from the land surface. The closed setting was a water-filled passage in a cave. Samples of groundwater and of a solid that appeared to be suspended in the relatively fresh region of saline-freshwater mixing zone were collected. The solid was determined to be aragonite. Based on the analyses of the composition and saturation state of the groundwater, the mixing of fresh and saline water and precipitation of aragonite are the controlling geochemical processes in this mixing zone. We found no evidence of sulfate reduction. Thus, this mixing zone is similar to that observed in Caleta Xel Ha, Quintana Roo, also a system that is closed with respect to input from the land surface.The open setting was an unconfined aquifer underlying the coastal plain along which four hand-dug wells are located. Two wells are at the downgradient ends of inferred flowpaths and one is along a flowpath. The composition of the groundwater in the downgradient wells is sulfide-rich and brackish. In contrast, at the well located along a flow line, the groundwater is oxygenated and brackish. All groundwater is oversaturated with respect to calcite, aragonite, and dolomite. The composition is attributed to mixing of fresh and saline groundwater, CO2 outgassing, and sulfate reduction. This mixing zone is geochemically similar to that observed in blue holes and cenotes.

Paleokarst features and other climatic relics in Hungarian caves, 1999, Bolnertaká, Cs Katalin

Relics of climatic changes during the modern phase of karstic development have been preserved in the morphology, sediments and speleothems of several caves in Hungary; and there are examples of real paleokarst features exposed by modern caves as well. The unique sandstone morphology of Cserszegtomaj Well Cave (Keszthely Mts., Transdanubian Mountain Range), developed along the contact of Triassic dolomite and Pannonian sandstone, displays the relief of a karst surface formed probably under the subtropical conditions of the Early Miocene. The uppermost parts of Beremend Crystal Cave (Villány Mts., South Transdanubia) exposes also from below the clastic fill of an ancient karst shaft that, according to its rich vertebrate remains, dates back at least to the Lower Pleistocene. With their Late Eocene marine sediment fill, the small paleokarst cavities exposed in the Eocene bedrock of Mátyás-hegy and Pál-völgy Caves (Buda Hills) are interpreted as salt-fresh water mixing zone cavities formed during a short immersion of a tropical reef.


Hydrochemical Interpretation of Cave Patterns in the Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico, 2000, Palmer, A. N. , Palmer, M. V.
Most caves in the Guadalupe Mountains have ramifying patterns consisting of large rooms with narrow rifts extending downward, and with successive outlet passages arranged in crude levels. They were formed by sulfuric acid from the oxidation of hydrogen sulfide, a process that is now dormant. Episodic escape of H2S-rich water from the adjacent Delaware Basin, and perhaps also from strata beneath the Guadalupes, followed different routes at different times. For this reason, major rooms and passages correlate poorly between caves, and within large individual caves. The largest cave volumes formed where H2S emerged at the contemporary water table, where oxidation was most rapid. Steeply ascending passages formed where oxygenated meteoric water converged with deep-seated H2S-rich water at depths as much as 200 m below the water table. Spongework and network mazes were formed by highly aggressive water in mixing zones, and they commonly rim, underlie, or connect rooms. Transport of H2S in aqueous solution was the main mode of H2S influx. Neither upwelling of gas bubbles nor molecular diffusion appears to have played a major role in cave development, although some H2S could have been carried by less-soluble methane bubbles. Most cave origin was phreatic, although subaerial dissolution and gypsum-replacement of carbonate rock in acidic water films and drips account for considerable cave enlargement above the water table. Estimates of enlargement rates are complicated by gypsum replacement of carbonate rock because the gypsum continues to be dissolved by fresh vadose water long after the major carbonate dissolution has ceased. Volume-for-volume replacement of calcite by gypsum can take place at the moderate pH values typical of phreatic water in carbonates, preserving the original bedrock textures. At pHs less than about 6.4, this replacement usually takes place on a molar basis, with an approximately two-fold volume increase, forming blistered crusts.

Karst Features of Christmas Island (Indian Ocean), 2001, Grimes, Ken G.

Christmas Island (in the Indian Ocean) is an uplifted, composite, reef-carbonate island with a volcanic core. The coast is mostly cliffed and rises steeply via a series of terraces to a central phosphate-blanketed plateau. In spite of the high rainfall, there is little surface water as drainage is underground and karstic - it is initially stored in an epikarst aquifer, then follows the limestone/volcanic contact out to the island edge to emerge at major conduit springs. These springs are mostly at or below sea level, but some perched springs occur where the volcanic rocks appear at the surface. Caves occur at the present coast, as uplifted coastal caves, on the plateau, and there are a few pseudokarst caves. Cave development involves mixing zones between fresh and sea water in the coastal zone, and between vadose and phreatic waters perched on the volcanic rocks beneath the plateau. Cave locations and form are controlled by the rock structure (especially jointing) the location of the volcanic contact, and the combination of uplift with present and past sea levels - which controls the location of the mixing zone.


Palaeo-mixing zone karst features from Palaeocene carbonates of north Spain: criteria for recognizing a potentially widespread but rarely documented diagenetic system, 2001, Bacetaa J. I. , Wrightb V. P. , Pujalte V.

Marine-meteoric mixing zone dissolution effects are a major feature of present day karst systems in carbonate platforms,yet are rarely reported in the geological record. An example is described from the upper Danian platform limestones of the Alava province,in  the western Pyrenees,north Spain. This consists of several narrow zones with sponge-like porosity analogous to the "Swiss-cheese" features found in present day mixing  zones. These zones are stained by Fe-oxides and overlie limestones which are irregularly  dolomitized  and contain disseminated pyrite. These high-porosity  zones are interpreted as having developed in marine mixing zones where mixing corrosion and microbially  mediated processes increased dissolution. If collapsed,ancient mixing zones could be misinterpreted as "terra-rossa" palaeosols. The main criteria to identify them as mixing zone products are their occurrence below a palaeo-meteoric phreatic zone,their association with stratified oxic and anoxic redox zones and petrographic evidence for highly variable calcite saturation states.


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