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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 ground-water mound is a raised area in a water table or other potentiometric surface created by ground-water recharge [22].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
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Your search for sapropel (Keyword) returned 9 results for the whole karstbase:
Chronology of the Black Sea over the last 25,000 years, 1972, Degens Et, Ross Da,
Deep-water sediments of the Black Sea deposited during Late Pleistocene and Holocene time are distinguished by three sedimentary units: (1) a microlaminated coccolith ooze mainly consisting of Emiliania huxleyi; (2) a sapropel; and (3) a banded lutite. The base of the first unit lies at 3,000 years B.P., that of the second at 7,000 years B.P., and that of the third at least at about 25,000 years B.P. Fossils and geochemical criteria are used to decipher the environmental events of this time period. Beginning with the base of the section dated at about 25,000 years B.P. we witness the final stage of metamorphosis from anoxic marine to oxic freshwater conditions. By the time this stage ended, about 22,000 years B.P., the Black Sea had become a truly freshwater habitat. The lake phase lasted about 12,000 to 13,000 years. Sedimentation rates were in the order of 1 m/103 years, but began to decrease as sea level rose during the last 5,000 years of this phase (9,000-15,000 years B.P.). Starting at about 9,000 years B.P. and continuing to 7,000 years B.P., Mediterranean waters occasionally spilled over the Bosporus as a consequence of ice retreat and sea level rise. This marked the beginning of a gradual shift from freshwater to marine, and from well aerated to stagnant conditions. At about 7,000 years B.P. when deposition of unit 2 started, the H2S zone was well established. Sedimentation rates dropped to 10 cm/103 years. Environmental conditions similar to those of today finally became established around 3,000 years B.P., almost exactly the time when Jason and the Argonauts sailed through the Bosporus in search of the Golden Fleece

An abrupt drowning of the Black Sea shelf, 1997, Ryan William B. F. , Pitman I. I. I. , Major Candace O. , Shimkus Kazimieras, Moskalenko Vladamir, Jones Glenn A. , Dimitrov Petko, Gorur Naci, Sakinc Mehmet, Yuce Huseyin,
During latest Quaternary glaciation, the Black Sea became a giant freshwater lake. The surface of this lake drew down to levels more than 100 m below its outlet. When the Mediterranean rose to the Bosporus sill at 7,150 yr BP1, saltwater poured through this spillway to refill the lake and submerge, catastrophically, more than 100,000 km2 of its exposed continental shelf. The permanent drowning of a vast terrestrial landscape may possibly have accelerated the dispersal of early neolithic foragers and farmers into the interior of Europe at that time

Climatic conditions during marine oxygen isotope stage 6 in the eastern Mediterranean region from the isotopic composition of speleothems of Soreq Cave, Israel, 2002, Ayalon A, Barmatthews M, Kaufman A,
At several times during marine oxygen isotope stage 6, the eastern Mediterranean region was influenced by two extreme climatic systems: the large ice sheet over northern Europe and the wet tropics associated with African monsoons. During this interval, two major climatic events occurred in the region; the sapropel S6 layer formed ca. 176 ka in the eastern Mediterranean basin owing to the increase in the African monsoon, and another event, although not large enough to form sapropel, occurred ca. 151 ka. The isotopic composition of Soreq Cave speleothems seems to record these events as very low {delta}18O-{delta}13C values dated as ca. 178 and 152 ka. The very low {delta}18O-{delta}13C values of -6{per thousand} and -11{per thousand} to -12{per thousand}, respectively, are typical of interglacial intervals, but here they were recorded during a glacial interval. Such low peaks indicate that in this part of the eastern Mediterranean region, i.e., Israel, the rainfall amount increased dramatically. Moreover, the isotopic record of the speleothems also shows that during the entire stage 6, although the climate was as cold as much of the last glacial, the conditions were never as dry

Last glacial-Holocene paleoceanography of the Black Sea and Marmara Sea: stable isotopic, foraminiferal and coccolith evidence, 2002, Aksu Ae, Hiscott Rn, Kaminski Ma, Mudie Pj, Gillespie H, Abrajano T, Yasar D,
Multi-proxy data and radiocarbon dates from several key cores from the Black Sea and Marmara Sea document a complex paleoceanographic history for the last ~30[punctuation space]000 yr. The Marmara Sea was isolated from both the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea during glacial periods when global sea-level lowering subaerially exposed the shallow sills at the Straits of Bosphorus and Dardanelles (i.e. lake stage), and reconnected through both straits during interglacial periods, when rise of global sea level breached the shallow sills (i.e. gateway stage). Micropaleontological data show that during the `lake stage' the surface-water masses in both the Marmara Sea and Black Sea became notably brackish; however, during the `gateway stages' there was a low-salinity surface layer and normal marine water mass beneath. Two sapropel layers are identified in the Marmara Sea cores: sapropels M2 and M1 were deposited between ~29.5 and 23.5 ka, and ~10.5 and 6.0 ka, respectively. Micropaleontological and stable isotopic data show that the surface-water salinities were reduced considerably during the deposition of both sapropel layers M2 and M1, and calculation using planktonic foraminiferal transfer functions shows that sea-surface temperatures were notably lower during these intervals. The presence of fauna and flora with Black Sea affinities and the absence of Mediterranean fauna and flora in sapropels M1 and M2 strongly suggest that communication existed with the Black Sea during these times. A benthic foraminiferal oxygen index shows that the onset of suboxic conditions in the Marmara Sea rapidly followed the establishment of fully marine conditions at ~11-10.5 ka, and are attributed to Black Sea outflow into the Marmara Sea since 10.5 ka. These suboxic conditions have persisted to the present. The data discussed in this paper are completely at odds with the `Flood Hypothesis' of Ryan et al. (1997), and Ryan and Pitman (1999)

Late Quaternary history of the Marmara Sea and Black Sea from high-resolution seismic and gravity-core studies, 2002, Hiscott R. N. , Aksu A. E. ,
Lithologic and multi-proxy paleoenvironmental data from 21 dated cores have been used to define three allostratigraphic units (allounits) within the late Quaternary successions of the Marmara Sea and Black Sea. Allounits are bounded by unconformities and their correlative conformities. In both regions, Allounit A extends from the seafloor downward to a ~12-11-ka sequence boundary, which is a major shelf-crossing unconformity in water depths less than ~100-110 m. In deep basins of the Marmara Sea, the lower part of Allounit A, designated Subunit A2, is a laminated sapropel, M1. On the shelf, Subunit A2 consists of backstepping delta lobes and early-transgressive barrier islands and sand sheets. Allounit B has only been recovered in Marmara Sea cores collected at water depths greater than ~90 m, and represents basinal or prodeltaic deposition during the 23-12-ka late Pleistocene lowstand. During the last glacial maximum, the shelves surrounding the Marmara Sea were subaerially exposed, and deltas of Allounit B accumulated along the present-day shelf edge. Following the post-glacial rise of global sea level to -75 m at ~12 ka, the Marmara Sea quickly became inundated and thereafter rose in synchroneity with the Mediterranean. By ~10 ka, the Black Sea rose to start spilling into the Marmara Sea, leading to establishment of a brackish-water lid that has persisted to the modern day. The strongest Black Sea outflow began at ~10 ka and persisted to ~6 ka, promoting the accumulation of sapropel M1 in the deep Marmara Sea, and progradation of an overflow delta just south of the exit from the Bosphorus Strait. Allounit C is a laminated sapropel (M2) in basinal cores, dated at ~30-23 ka. Like M1, it is believed that M2 accumulated during a period of increased brackish-water input into the Marmara Sea mainly from the Black Sea. In the Black Sea, wave erosion kept the shelf stripped of unconsolidated sediments during the falling sea level associated with the last glaciation and subsequent early stages of the post-glacial Holocene transgression. This erosion created a major unconformity, [alpha]. Shelf-edge deltas of Allounit B received their sediment during the last lowstand from small rivers that likely coalesced into a single system toward the shelf edge, at modern water depths of -100 to -110 m. These deltas were active until ~11-10.5 ka. Subsequently, sea level in the Black Sea rose to -40 m by ~10 ka, and a set of backstepping barrier islands developed on the shelf as part of the associated transgressive systems tract. Once water level reached -40 m, continued sea-level rise stalled until ~9 ka as the Black Sea began to spill across the Bosphorus Strait into the Marmara Sea

Constraints on Black Sea outflow to the Sea of Marmara during the last glacial-interglacial transition, 2002, Major Candace, Ryan William, Lericolais Gilles, Hajdas Irka,
New cores from the upper continental slope off Romania in the western Black Sea provide a continuous, high-resolution record of sedimentation rates, clay mineralogy, calcium carbonate content, and stable isotopes of oxygen and carbon over the last 20[punctuation space]000 yr in the western Black Sea. These records all indicate major changes occurring at 15[punctuation space]000, 12[punctuation space]800, 8400, and 7100 yr before present. These results are interpreted to reflect an evolving balance between water supplied by melting glacial ice and other river runoff and water removed by evaporation and outflow. The marked retreat of the Fennoscandian and Alpine ice between 15[punctuation space]000 and 14[punctuation space]000 yr is recorded by an increase in clays indicative of northern provenance in Black Sea sediments. A short return toward glacial values in all the measured series occurs during the Younger Dryas cold period. The timing of the first marine inflow to the Black Sea is dependent on the sill depths of the Bosporus and Dardanelles channels. The depth of the latter is known to be -805 m, which is consistent with first evidence of marine inundation in the Sea of Marmara around 12[punctuation space]000 yr. The bedrock gorge of the Bosporus reaches depths in excess of -100 m (relative to present sea level), though it is now filled with sediments to depths as shallow as -32 m. Two scenarios are developed for the connection of the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. One is based on a deep Bosporus sill depth (effectively equivalent to the Dardanelles), and the other is based on a shallow Bosporus sill (less than -35 m). In the deep sill scenario the Black Sea's surface rises in tandem with the Sea of Marmara once the latter connected with the Aegean Sea, and Black Sea outflow remains continuous with inflowing marine water gradually displacing the freshwater in the deep basin. The increase in the [delta]18O of mollusk shells at 12[punctuation space]800 yr and the simultaneous appearance of inorganic calcite with low [delta]18O is compatible with such an early marine water influx causing periodic weak stratification of the water column. In the shallow sill scenario the Black Sea level is decoupled from world sea level and experiences rise and fall depending on the regional water budget until water from the rising Sea of Marmara breaches the shallow sill. In this case the oxygen isotope trend and the inorganic calcite precipitation is caused by increased evaporation in the basin, and the other changes in sediment properties reflect climate-driven river runoff variations within the Black Sea watershed. The presence of saline ponds on the Black Sea shelf circa 9600 yr support such evaporative draw-down, but a sensitive geochemical indicator of marine water, one that is not subject to temperature, salinity, or biological fractionation, is required to resolve whether the sill was deep or shallow

The recognition of barrage and paludal tufa systems by GPR: case studies in the geometry and correlation of Quaternary freshwater carbonates, 2003, Pedley Martyn, Hill Ian,
Tufas provide virtually the only sedimentary and proxy-environmental records within karstic terrains. However, they are difficult to access. Shallow geophysical prospecting techniques, such as resistivity and shallow seismic reflection, fail to define the often complex internal bedform details in tufa deposits and many deposits appear too well lithified to auger-sample. Nevertheless, the application of ground penetrating radar (GPR) permits the recognition of up to five distinct types of radar reflectors that can be directly related to distinct lithologies commonly seen in tufa cores: (1) well-lithified phytoherms produce sharp, sinuous and often complexly truncated bright signals; (2) soft lime muds produce subhorizontal, laterally continuous lower contrast (dull) laminar bedform signals; (3) organic-rich deposits (sapropels and peats) produce poorly focused dull responses, often with internal noise'; (4) the tops of bladed and coarse-grained deposits, such as flint gravel, give a strong bright signal; and (5) the associated presence of clay-grade lime silts and muds within the top of gravel beds produces the same top-bed signal as 4, but internal details of the deposit are masked and a remarkably homogeneous dull signal response is typical throughout the lower parts of the deposit. From these GPR responses it is possible to make meaningful three-dimensional comparisons of the internal geometries of Holocene tufa deposits. Problematic tufa deposits in the valleys of the Derbyshire Wye and the Hampshire Test, UK, are presented to illustrate the universal value of GPR surveying for fresh-water carbonate recognition and for providing key information on valley-bottom resurgence locations

The co-evolution of Black Sea level and composition through the last deglaciation and its paleoclimatic significance, 2006, Major Candace O. , Goldstein Steven L. , Ryan William B. F. , Lericolais Gilles, Piotrowski Alexander M. , Hajdas Irka,
The Black Sea was an inland lake during the last ice age and its sediments are an excellent potential source of information on Eurasian climate change, showing linkages between regionally and globally recognized millennial-scale climate events of the last deglaciation. Here, we detail changes from the last glacial maximum (LGM) through the transition to an anoxic marginal sea using isotopic (strontium and oxygen) and trace element (Sr/Ca) ratios in carbonate shells, which record changing input sources and hydrologic conditions in the basin and surrounding region. Sr isotope records show two prominent peaks between ~18 and 16 ka BP cal, reflecting anomalous sedimentation associated with meltwater from disintegrating Eurasian ice sheets that brought Black Sea level to its spill point. Following a sharp drop in Sr isotope ratios back toward glacial values, two stages of inorganic calcite precipitation accompanied increasing oxygen isotope ratios and steady Sr isotope ratios. These calcite peaks are separated by an interval in which the geochemical proxies trend back toward glacial values. The observed changes reflect negative water balance and lake level decline during relatively warm periods (Bolling-Allerod and Preboreal) and increasing river input/less evaporation, resulting in higher lake levels, during the intervening cold period (the Younger Dryas). A final shift to marine values in Sr and oxygen isotope ratios at 9.4 ka BP cal corresponds to connection with the global ocean, and marks the onset of sedimentation on the Black Sea continental shelf. This date for the marine incursion is earlier than previously suggested based on the appearance of euryhaline fauna and the onset of sapropel formation in the deep basin

Middle-Late Quaternary paleoclimate of northern margins of the Saharan-Arabian Desert: reconstruction from speleothems of Negev Desert, Israel, 2010, Vaks Anton, Barmatthews Miryam, Matthews Alan, Ayalon Avner, Frumkin Amos

Speleothems in arid and hyper-arid areas of Negev Desert, Israel, are used in paleoclimate reconstruction of northern margins of Saharan-Arabian Desert, focused on the following objectives: 1) precise U–Th dating of the timing of speleothem growth as an indicator of periods of humid climate, i.e. positive effective precipitation; 2) the origin of rainfall using the speleothem δ18O and changes in spatial pattern of speleothem deposition and speleothem thickness along a north–south transect; 3) changes of vegetation cover based on speleothem δ13C variations.

During the last 350 ka major humid periods, referred to herein as Negev Humid Periods (NHP), occurred in the central and southern Negev Desert at 350–310 ka (NHP-4), 310–290 ka (NHP-3), 220–190 ka (NHP-2), and 142–109 ka (NHP-1). NHP-4, NHP-2 and NHP-1 are interglacial events, whereas NHP-3 is associated with a glacial period. During NHP-1, 2 and 3 the thickness and volume of the speleothems decrease from the north to the south, and in the most southern part of the region only a very thin flowstone layer formed during NHP-1, with no speleothem deposition occurring during NHP-2 and 3. These data imply that the Eastern Mediterranean Sea was the major source of the rainfall in northern and central Negev. More negative speleothem δ18O values, relative to central parts of Israel (Soreq Cave) are attributed to Rayleigh distillation because of the increasing distance from the Mediterranean Sea. Speleothem deposition during the NHP-4 in the southern Negev was more intensive than in most of the central Negev, suggesting the prominence of the tropical rain source.

Decrease in speleothem δ13C during NHP events indicates growth of the vegetation cover. Nevertheless, the ranges of δ13C values show that the vegetation remained semi-desert C4 type throughout the NHPs, with an additional significant carbon fraction coming from the host rock and the atmosphere. These observations, together with small thickness of the speleothem layers, favor that NHP events consisted of clusters of very short humid episodes interspersed with long droughts.

NHP events were contemporaneous with climate periods with monsoon index of ≥51 (cal/cm2 × day) and with the formation of sapropel layers in the Mediterranean Sea. Such simultaneous intensification of the monsoon and Atlantic-Mediterranean cyclones is probably related to the weakening of the high pressure cell above sub-tropical Atlantic Ocean, which enabled more rainfall to penetrate into the Saharan-Arabian Desert from the north and south. The contemporaneous occurrence of the NHP events and the increased monsoon rainfall could have opened migration corridors, creating climatic “windows of opportunity” for dispersals of hominids and animals out of the African continent.


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