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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 nitromagnesite is a cave mineral - mg(no3)2.6h2o [11].?

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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 saprolite (Keyword) returned 6 results for the whole karstbase:
A tentative classification of paleoweathering formations based on geomorphological criteria, 1996, Battiauqueney Y,
A geomorphological classification is proposed that emphasizes the usefulness of paleoweathering records in any reconstruction of past landscapes. Four main paleoweathering records are recognized: 1. Paleoweathering formations buried beneath a sedimentary or volcanic cover. Most of them are saprolites, sometimes with preserved overlying soils. Ages range from Archean to late Cenozoic times; 2. Paleoweathering formations trapped in karst: some of them have buried pre-existent karst landforms, others have developed simultaneously with the subjacent karst; 3. Relict paleoweathering formations: although inherited, they belong to the present landscape. Some of them are indurated (duricrusts, silcretes, ferricretes,...); others are not and owe their preservation to a stable morphotectonic environment; 4. Polyphased weathering mantles: weathering has taken place in changing geochemical conditions. After examples of each type are provided, the paper considers the relations between chemical weathering and landform development. The climatic significance of paleoweathering formations is discussed. Some remote morphogenic systems have no present equivalent. It is doubtful that chemical weathering alone might lead to widespread planation surfaces. Moreover, classical theories based on sea-level and rivers as the main factors of erosion are not really adequate to explain the observed landscapes

Geochemical and mineralogical characteristics of Fe-Ni- and bauxitic-laterite deposits of Greece, 2000, Eliopoulos Dg, Economoueliopoulos M,
Contiguous vertical sample profiles from Ni-laterite deposits with in situ features (Kastoria, Profitis Ilias, and Tsouka) and allochthonous Ni- and bauxitic-laterite deposits in contact with basement limestone (Nissi) and bauxitic-laterites lying on peridorite (Parhari) were analyzed for major, trace (including Tn and U), rare earth and platinum-group elements (REE and PGE, respectively). In addition, minerals with emphasis to chromite grains found as residual components in these laterites, inherited from the ophiolitic parent rocks, were analyzed by microprobe. Low Al2O3, TiO2, REE, Th and U contents are common features of the Kastoria, Bitincka and Tsouka deposits. Tn contrast, elevated REE contents are present in the karst-type bauxitic- and Ni-laterite ores of Nissi and bauxitic-laterites of Parhari. The bauxitic-laterite deposit of Nissi attains REE contents of thousands parts per million in samples from the contact between the lowest part of the bauxitic-laterite and the footwall limestone. Highest contents of Th and U are found in the bauxitic-laterites, with Th ranging from 4 to 28 ppm and U from 4 to 66 ppm. In general, increasing Al contents are accompanied by elevated Ti, REE, Tn and U contents at the Parhari and Nissi laterite deposits. Goethite, is the dominant mineral in all Ni-laterite profiles studied, while boehmite co-existing with goethite is common in the bauxitic-laterites at Nissi and Parhari. Goethite exhibits variable Al contents, while the Al/Fe ratio increases towards the top of the profiles. The PGE concentrations are generally low, ranging from less than 100 ppb to a few hundred parts per billion. The lowest values - lower than in the bedrock - were recorded in the saprolite zone. A certain enrichment in Pt (up to 48 ppb), Pd (7 ppb), and Au (16 ppb) is recorded in the reddish altered peridotite overlying the saprolite zone at Profitis Ilias. The Fe-Ni ore overlying the reddish altered peridotite has the highest Os values (14 ppb), Ir (32 ppb), Ru (66 ppb), Rh (20 ppb), Pt (86 ppb), and Pd (186 ppb). Gold contents are below 36 ppb. An increasing Pt/Pd ratio from 3.0 in Fe-Ni-laterites to 6.0 in bauxitic-laterites is apparent. Both whole rock compositions and mineral chemistry of laterites indicate that major controlling factors of the composition of the bauxitic-laterites are the conditions during transportation/deposition of the weathered material and during diagenesis/metadiagenesis stage rather than parent mafic ophiolitic rocks. The comparison between the primary composition of chromite in the saprolite zone and the overlying Fe-Ni ore may provide evidence for the discrimination between Fe-Ni ore linked to in situ weathering and ore derived by transportation to some extent of elastic and chemical material. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Characterization of ground water flow from spring discharge in a crystalline rock environment, 2004, Gentry Wm, Burbey Tj,
Recent investigations describing the hydrogeology of the Blue Ridge Province of Virginia suggest the occurrence of multiple aquifers and flow paths that may be responsible for the variable flow behavior of springs and seeps appearing throughout the region. Deep, confined aquifers associated with ubiquitous faults and shallow, variably confined saprolite aquifers may contribute water to spring outlets resulting in significantly different quantities of discharge and water quality. Multiple analyses are required to adequately identify the flow paths to springs. In this investigation, hydrograph analyses, surface electrical resistivity surveys, aquifer tests, and nitrate concentrations are used in conjunction with previously reported analyses from borehole logs and age dating of ground water to identify two distinct flow paths. Results indicate that base flow occurs from a deep fault zone aquifer and such discharge can be maintained even during prolonged periods of drought, while increased discharge identified on hydrograph peaks suggests the occurrence of rapid flow through the saprolite aquifer within a radius of about 25 meters of the spring orifice. Springflow hydrograph analysis is suitable for rapid characterization of flow paths leading to spring outlets. Rapid characterization is important for evaluation of potential water quality problems arising from contamination of shallow and deep aquifers and for evaluation of water resource susceptibility to drought. The techniques evaluated here are suitable for use in other locations in fractured crystalline rock environments

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

The nature and origin of the ghost-rocks at Bullslaughter Bay, South Wales, 2012, Rowberry Matt D. , Battiauqueney Yvonne, Blazejowski Blazej, Walsh Peter

The ‘ghost-rocks’ of the British Isles have attracted very little research interest over the years despite being widely distributed. In South Wales, the ghost-rocks of the Pembroke Peninsula are usually associated with the mudrock formations immediately above and below the Carboniferous Limestone. This study focuses on their nature and origin through a detailed investigation of the cliff sections at Bullslaughter Bay. The investigated ghost-rocks are associated with a suite of breccias, collectively termed the Gash Breccias. These are an enigmatic suite of around twenty-five large breccia masses located exclusively in the eastern part of the peninsula. They comprise huge masses of coarse, chaotic, clast-supported, monomictic breccia and represent highly disturbed features in the otherwise unbroken sequences of Carboniferous Limestone. Their origin may be karstic, tectonic, or a combination of the two. They could, theoretically, have formed at any point between the end of the Carboniferous and the Pliocene. If their origin is karstic, it cannot yet be determined if the processes were attributable to per descensum or per ascensum groundwater systems. If tectonic, it is not known whether they formed during periods of compression or extension. From our own geological and geophysical fieldwork, we believe that the breccias originated as a result of subterranean karstic processes whilst retaining an open mind with regard to the role played by tectonics. The breccia and ghost-rocks are both displayed in fine cliff exposures around Bullslaughter Bay. These sections, although not extensive, are extremely instructive. The processes that generate ghost-rock result in isovolumetric weathering of the host rock and an associated loss of density and strength. They may or may not involve the removal of certain chemical constituents in the regolith through solution and hydrolysis followed by the formation of secondary minerals, frequently clay. In reality, the precise weathering process differs according to the type of rock. The process is controlled by the permeability of each rock type in banded rocks such as mudstones or shale with banded chert whereas it is controlled by fissures and faults in homogenous rocks. This control is clearly seen in the Carboniferous Limestone around Bullslaughter Bay, where ghost-rocks are present, more commonly in case of impure or dolomitic limestone. At present, it is not clear whether the groundwater movements were caused by hydrothermal or meteoric processes and this forms the basis of ongoing research. Finally, the study considers the relationship that exists between the ghost-rock and the Gash Breccia. We examine whether there is a logical correlation between the processes that came to generate the ghost-rock and the processes responsible for the generation of the breccia. It may then be possible to accurately state whether the ghost-rock formed before, during, or after, the breccia. The reasons that the ghost-rocks of the British Isles have attracted very little research interest may stem from the fact that they have no current commercial value, have seldom presented engineering problems, and are normally difficult to date. It is clear that numerous karst related sag-subsidences in the British Isles result from the large-scale decalcification of the Carboniferous Limestone (e.g. the Tortonian Brassington Formation of the southern Pennines). There is, however, an increasingly large body of evidence to suggest that these subsidences result from the same processes that generate ghost-rock rather than those that create endokarstic voids. The subsidences may preserve stratigraphical sequences several decametres thick and reach depths and widths of many hectometres. Unfortunately, the masses of decalcified limestone below the Tortonian sediments are of no commercial interest and have hardly ever been penetrated by boreholes. Therefore, we do not know exactly what underlies the karstic fills. The possibility that most of these structures are best explained as the result of per ascensum groundwater flow is discussed.


The weathered Carboniferous limestone at Bullslaughter Bay, South Wales: the first example of ghost-rock recorded in the British Isles, 2014, Rowberry Matt D. , Battiauqueney Yvonne, Walsh Peter, Blazejowski Blazej, Boutroumazeilles Viviane, Trentesaux Alain, Krizova Lenka, Griffiths Hywel

The Carboniferous Limestone at Bullslaughter Bay hosts some of the most notable examples of deep weathering in  the British Isles as well as two members of an enigmatic suite of breccias known as the Gash Breccias. The weathered limestone has  been investigated thoroughly in order to identify the process responsible for the weathering. In this paper it is demonstrated that the  weathering is isovolumetric but the weathering profile is not characterised by a vertical gradient and its depth suggests that meteoric  waters did not contribute significantly to the weathering process. The weathered limestone has lost significant amounts of calcium and  parts are virtually decalcified. It is seen that the dominant primary minerals of illite and quartz have been preserved while secondary  clay minerals are generally absent. The weathered limestone cannot be a saprolite sensu stricto as it has been subjected to only restricted  chemical processes. It is, therefore, interpreted as a “ghost-rock”. This type of weathering results from chemical dissolution by slow  moving waters in the saturated zone. It is suggested that the weathering may have taken place during periods of emergence in the  Carboniferous, at the same time as the cyclothem tops were exposed to subaerial modification, as evidenced by omission surfaces and  palaeokarstic solution features. This is the first time that ghost-rock weathering has been reported from the British Isles.


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