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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 basin, intermontane is a basin lying between two mountain ranges [16].?

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Your search for south america (Keyword) returned 18 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 18
The Discovery, Exploration and Scientific Investigation of the Wellington Caves, New South Wales, 1963, Lane Edward A. , Richards Aola M.

Although research has been unable to establish a definite date of discovery for the limestone caves at Wellington, New South Wales, documentary evidence has placed it as 1828. The actual discovery could have been made earlier by soldiers or convicts from the Wellington Settlement, which dated from 1823. Whether the aborigines knew of the cave's existence before 1828 is uncertain, but likely, as in 1830 they referred to them as "Mulwang". A number of very small limestone caves were also discovered about the same time in the nearby Molong area. The Bungonia Caves, in the Marulan district near Goulburn, were first written about a short time later. On all the evidence available at present, the Wellington Caves can be considered to be the first of any size discovered on the mainland of Australia. The Wellington Caves are situated in a low, limestone outcrop about six miles south by road from the present town of Wellington, and approximately 190 miles west-north-west of Sydney. They are at an altitude of 1000 feet, about half a mile from the present bed of the Bell River, a tributary of the Macquarie River. One large cave and several small caves exist in the outcrop, and range in size from simple shafts to passages 200 to 300 feet long. Mining for phosphate has been carried out, resulting in extensive galleries, often unstable, at several levels. Two caves have been lit by electricity for the tourist trades; the Cathedral Cave, 400 feet long, maximum width 100 feet, and up to 50 feet high; and the smaller Gaden Cave. The Cathedral Cave contains what is believed to be the largest stalagmite in the world, "The Altar", which stands on a flat floor, is 100 feet round the base and almost touches the roof about 40 feet above. It appears that the name Cathedral was not applied to the cave until this century. The original names were "The Great Cave", "The Large Cave" or "The Main Cave". The Altar was named by Thomas Mitchell in 1830. See map of cave and Plate. Extensive Pleistocene bone deposits - a veritable mine of bone fragments - were found in 1830, and have been studied by palaeontologists almost continually ever since. These bone deposits introduced to the world the extinct marsupials of Australia, and have a special importance in view of the peculiar features of the living fauna of the continent. The names of many famous explorers and scientists are associated with this history, among the most prominent being Sir Thomas Mitchell and Sir Richard Owen. Anderson (1933) gives a brief outline of why the Wellington Caves fossil bone beds so rapidly attracted world-wide interest. During the 18th and early 19th Century, the great palaeontologist, Baron Georges Cuvier, and others, supposed that the earth had suffered a series of catastrophic changes in prehistoric times. As a result of each of these, the animals living in a certain area were destroyed, the area being repopulated from isolated portions of the earth that had escaped the catastrophe. The Bilical Deluge was believed to have been the most recent. Darwin, during the voyage of the Beagle around the world (1832-37), was struck by the abundance of Pleistocene mammalian fossils in South America, and also by the fact that, while these differed from living forms, and were in part of gigantic dimensions, they were closely related to present-day forms in that continent. Darwin's theory of descent with modification did not reconcile with the ideas of Cuvier and others. As the living mammalian fauna of Australia was even more distinctive than that of South America, it was a matter of importance and excitement to discover the nature of the mammals which had lived in Australia in the late Tertiary and Pleistocene.


An Unusual Sandstone Cave From Northern Australia, 1979, Jennings, J. N.

The finding in recent years of much longer and more elaborate caves in quartz sandstone in South America than were known previously prompted a search for caves other than weathering caves in Arnhem Land in 1978. Though in the main unveiling for social reasons, it did lead to recognition that Yulirienji Cave, St Vidgeon Station, Northern Territory, well known for its Aboriginal rock art, is an abandoned, short river cave in quartz sandstone modified by weathering.


Abstract: Darwin and Diprotodon: The Wellington Cave Fossils and the Law of Succession IN: Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 104, 1980 for 1979:265-272, 1981, Dugan, Kathleen G.

The fossils from Wellington Caves, some of them 'giant', are well known to Australian speleologists, finds of importance for the study of Australian fauna from early discovered caves. What I think we did not appreciate was that the Wellington 'bones' have a place in the world history of science of significance also, the theme of this paper. Many of you will have watched the BBC-TV series on 'The Voyage of the Beagle'; much was made of the importance to Darwin in developing his theory of evolution of the fossils he found in southern South America. There fossils of giant relatives of sloths, llamas and armadillos helped to make clear to him the notion of the geological succession of life, a basic part of his theory along with the idea of natural selection to which the finches and the tortoises of the Galapagos Islands proved crucial. However it seems that Darwin was previously aware of the similar significance of the Wellington Caves bones for the law of succession from Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology which quotes William Clift's identifications of dasyures, wombats and kangaroos amongst them. The fact that these recently extinct animals were closely related to the distinctive modern marsupial fauna of Australia counted much against earlier conceptions such as Cuvier's catastrophic theory or Buckland's ideas of successive divine creations within a short time span. Watchers of the TV series will remember the devious role played by the palaeontologist, Sir Richard Owen, in organising public opposition to Darwin at the famous Oxford meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. This article relates the series of rearguard actions of Owen to maintain that there was a fossil elephant component in the ancient Australian fauna, damaging to Darwinism. But the growing evidence from Australia, not all of it from caves, of course, finally extinguished this red herring, started by that doctrinaire N.S.W. colonial, the Reverend John Dunmore Lang.


Palaeoenvironment of lateritic bauxites with vertical and lateral differentiation, 1983, Valeton Ida,
Formation of lateritic bauxites of the type described in this paper occurs world-wide in Cretaceous and Tertiary coastal plains. The bauxites form elongate belts, sometimes hundreds of kilometres long, parallel to Lower Tertiary shorelines in India and South America and their distribution is not related to a particular mineralogical composition of the parent rock. The lateral movement of the major elements Al, Si, Fe, Ti is dependent on a high level and flow of groundwater. Varying efficiency of subsurface drainage produces lateral facies variations. Interfingering of marine and continental facies indicate a sea-land transition zone where the type of sediments also varies with minor tectonic movements or sea-level changes. A typical sediment association is found in India, Africa, South and North America. It consists of (i) red beds rich in detrital and dissolved material of reworked laterites, (ii) lacustrine sediments and hypersaline precipitates, (iii) lignites intercalated with marine clays, layers of siderite, pyrite, marcasite and jarosite, and (iv) marine chemical sediments rich in oolitic iron ores or glauconite. A model is developed to account for element distributions in lateritic bauxites in terms of groundwater levels and flow. Finally it is shown that many high-level bauxites are formed in coastal plains and that they are subsequently uplifted to their present altitude

Chronology of Guitarrero Cave, Peru, 1985, Lynch Thomas F. , Gillespie R. , Gowlett John A. J. , Hedges R. E. M. ,
Dating by accelerator mass spectrometry of wooden artifacts, cord, and charcoal samples from Guitarrero Cave, Peru, supports the antiquity of South America's earliest textiles and other perishable remains. The new dates are consistent with those obtained from disintegration counters and leave little doubt about the integrity of the lower Preceramic layers and their early cultivars. Reevaluation of the mode of deposition suggests that most of the remains resulted from short-term use of the cave in the eighth millennium B.C., with a possible brief human visit as early as 12,560 years ago

Land use in the tropical karst; the case of Peruau, Januria and Jaiba; SE Brazil, 1999, De Abreu Joao Francisco, Ferreira Pinto Sergio Dos Anjos, Kohler Heinz Charles
The karstic regions of the municipalities of Peruau, Januria and Jaiba present a variety of soil uses which are a function of the organization of the karstic relief. This relief system forms a rift, which received fluvial sediments deposition from the So Francisco River. The horst of the Peruau plateau is developed on limestone rocks of Late Proterozoic age with a high concentration of calcium carbonate. The South American Surface was formed on this and is today occupied by cattle ranching. In the graben, due to easy irrigation from underground karst waters and because of the nearby drainage system of the So Francisco River, a mechanized and specialized farming system has developed. The change in the management of cattle breeding and in traditional farming methods has had a substantial impact on the economic structure of the community and also on the karst itself.

Palaeoenvironments in semi-arid northeastern Brazil inferred from high precision mass spectrometric speleothem and travertine ages and the dynamics of South American rainforests, 2004, Auler A. S. , Wang X. , Edwards R. L. , Cheng H. , Cristalli P. S. , Smart P. L. , Richards D. A.

Understanding past environmental changes in tropical rainforests is extremely important in order to assess the response of such environments to present and future climatic changes and understand causes and the present patterns of biodiversity.
Earlier hypothesis on the origin of biodiversity have stressed the role of past climatic changes in promoting speciation. According to the “refuge hypothesis” (Haffer, 1982), dry periods could have led to forest fragmentation, isolating more humid forested zones (called refuges) within an environment largely dominated by savannas. The refuge hypothesis does not assign timescales for rainforest fragmentation, although recent studies have suggested that speciation could have occurred over timescales of millions of years (Knapp and Mallet, 2003). Although the focus of heavy criticism (Colinvaux, et a., 2000), the refuge hypothesis has generated a large amount of research. In general, pollen studies (Colinvaux, et a., 1996, Haberle and Maslin, 1999) tend to support a continuous forest cover throughout late Quaternary climatic shifts, although large variations in rainfall have also been demonstrated by other pollen and isotopic studies (van der Hammen and Absy, 1994; Maslin and Burns, 2000).
Amazon and Atlantic rainforests are the two major forested zones in South America. Amazon rainforest, the largest rainforest in the world, comprise a total original area of 4.1 million km2 and is renowned for hosting the large biodiversity in the world (30% of all the world’s known plant and animal species). Atlantic rainforest, also a biodiversity hotspot, occurs along the coast and has been subjected to heavy deforestation since European arrival. Nowadays only c. 7% of its original forested area of 1.3 million km2 remains. These two rainforests are separated by drought-prone semi-arid northeastern (NE) Brazil. Our study does not address the refuge hypothesis directly although it sheds new light on the dynamics of forest expansion in the past as well as indicates alternative ways of promoting speciation. It has long been hypothesized, due to botanical (Mori, 1989; Andrade-Lima, 1982) and faunistic (Costa, 2003) similarities, that the Amazon and Atlantic rainforests were once linked in the past. Although numerous connecting routes have been postulated (Bigarella, et al, 1975; Por, 1992; De Oliveira, et al, 1999), the timing of forest expansion and their possible recurrence have remained elusive.
The study area lies in the driest portion of NE Brazil “dry corridor”, close to the village of Laje dos Negros, northern state of Bahia. Mean annual precipitation is around 480 mm and potential evapotranspiration is in excess of 1,400 mm/year (Fig.1). Present vegetation comprises a low arbustive scrubland known locally as caatinga. The area contains a well-developed underground karst (Auler and Smart, 2003) with abundant secondary calcite precipitates, both underground (speleothems) and on the surface (travertines).


Quartzite Caves of South America, 2004, Auler A.

Stable isotope study of cave percolation waters in subtropical Brazil: Implications for paleoclimate inferences from speleothems, 2005, Cruz Fw, Karmann I, Viana O, Burns Sj, Ferrari Ja, Vuille M, Sial An, Moreira Mz,
We analyze the interannual monthly variability of oxygen isotope ratios in data from IAEA stations along the Atlantic coast of South America between 23 degrees and 34 degrees S to evaluate the influence of parameters such as temperature, rainfall amount and moisture source contribution on meteoric water recharging two karst systems in subtropical Brazil. In addition, a 2 year monitoring program performed on soil and cave drip and rimstone pool waters from sampling sites with contrasting discharge values and located at 100 and 300 m below the surface in the Santana Cave System (24 degrees 31' S; 48 degrees 43' W), is used to test the influence of hydrologic and geologic features on the temporal variations of seepage water delta(18)O. Interannual monthly variations in delta(18)O of rainfall reflect primarily regional changes in moisture source contribution related to seasonal shifts in atmospheric circulation from a more monsoonal regime in summer (negative values of delta(18)O) to a more extratropical regime in winter (positive values of delta(18)O). Variations in groundwater delta(18)O indicate that the climatic signal of recent rainfall events is rapidly transmitted through the relatively deep karst aquifer to the cave drip waters, regardless of location of collection in the cave. In addition, the data also suggest that water replenishment in the system is triggered by the increase in hydraulic head during periods when recharge exceeds the storage capacity of the soil and epikarst reservoirs. Significant perturbations in the groundwater composition, characterized by more positive values of delta(18)O, are probably connected to an increased Atlantic moisture contribution associated with extratropical precipitation. This implies that the delta(18)O of speleothems from caves in this region may be a suitable proxy for studying tropical-extratropical interactions over South America, a feature that is intrinsically related to the global atmospheric circulation. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

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

Sedimentary manganese metallogenesis in response to the evolution of the Earth system, 2006, Roy Supriya,
The concentration of manganese in solution and its precipitation in inorganic systems are primarily redox-controlled, guided by several Earth processes most of which were tectonically induced. The Early Archean atmosphere-hydrosphere system was extremely O2-deficient. Thus, the very high mantle heat flux producing superplumes, severe outgassing and high-temperature hydrothermal activity introduced substantial Mn2 in anoxic oceans but prevented its precipitation. During the Late Archean, centered at ca. 2.75[no-break space]Ga, the introduction of Photosystem II and decrease of the oxygen sinks led to a limited buildup of surface O2-content locally, initiating modest deposition of manganese in shallow basin-margin oxygenated niches (e.g., deposits in India and Brazil). Rapid burial of organic matter, decline of reduced gases from a progressively oxygenated mantle and a net increase in photosynthetic oxygen marked the Archean-Proterozoic transition. Concurrently, a massive drawdown of atmospheric CO2 owing to increased weathering rates on the tectonically expanded freeboard of the assembled supercontinents caused Paleoproterozoic glaciations (2.45-2.22[no-break space]Ga). The spectacular sedimentary manganese deposits (at ca. 2.4[no-break space]Ga) of Transvaal Supergroup, South Africa, were formed by oxidation of hydrothermally derived Mn2 transferred from a stratified ocean to the continental shelf by transgression. Episodes of increased burial rate of organic matter during ca. 2.4 and 2.06[no-break space]Ga are correlatable to ocean stratification and further rise of oxygen in the atmosphere. Black shale-hosted Mn carbonate deposits in the Birimian sequence (ca. 2.3-2.0[no-break space]Ga), West Africa, its equivalents in South America and those in the Francevillian sequence (ca. 2.2-2.1[no-break space]Ga), Gabon are correlatable to this period. Tectonically forced doming-up, attenuation and substantial increase in freeboard areas prompted increased silicate weathering and atmospheric CO2 drawdown causing glaciation on the Neoproterozoic Rodinia supercontinent. Tectonic rifting and mantle outgassing led to deglaciation. Dissolved Mn2 and Fe2 concentrated earlier in highly saline stagnant seawater below the ice cover were exported to shallow shelves by transgression during deglaciation. During the Sturtian glacial-interglacial event (ca. 750-700[no-break space]Ma), interstratified Mn oxide and BIF deposits of Damara sequence, Namibia, was formed. The Varangian ([identical to] Marinoan; ca. 600[no-break space]Ma) cryogenic event produced Mn oxide and BIF deposits at Urucum, Jacadigo Group, Brazil. The Datangpo interglacial sequence, South China (Liantuo-Nantuo [identical to] Varangian event) contains black shale-hosted Mn carbonate deposits. The Early Paleozoic witnessed several glacioeustatic sea level changes producing small Mn carbonate deposits of Tiantaishan (Early Cambrian) and Taojiang (Mid-Ordovician) in black shale sequences, China, and the major Mn oxide-carbonate deposits of Karadzhal-type, Central Kazakhstan (Late Devonian). The Mesozoic period of intense plate movements and volcanism produced greenhouse climate and stratified oceans. During the Early Jurassic OAE, organic-rich sediments host many Mn carbonate deposits in Europe (e.g., Urkut, Hungary) in black shale sequences. The Late Jurassic giant Mn Carbonate deposit at Molango, Mexico, was also genetically related to sea level change. Mn carbonates were always derived from Mn oxyhydroxides during early diagenesis. Large Mn oxide deposits of Cretaceous age at Groote Eylandt, Australia and Imini-Tasdremt, Morocco, were also formed during transgression-regression in greenhouse climate. The Early Oligocene giant Mn oxide-carbonate deposit of Chiatura (Georgia) and Nikopol (Ukraine) were developed in a similar situation. Thereafter, manganese sedimentation was entirely shifted to the deep seafloor and since ca. 15[no-break space]Ma B.P. was climatically controlled (glaciation-deglaciation) assisted by oxygenated polar bottom currents (AABW, NADW). The changes in climate and the sea level were mainly tectonically forced

The challenge of estimating the age of subterranean lineages: examples from Brazil, 2007, Trajano, E.

The applicability and effectiveness of different kinds of evidence used to estimate the age of lineages – morphological, molecu­lar, phylogenetic, biogeographical, geological – are discussed. Examples from the Brazilian subterranean fauna are presented, using mainly fishes, one of the best studied groups, as a model. Only three taxa including troglobites are object of molecular studies, all in progress. Therefore, molecular clocks cannot be applied yet, and indirect evidence is used. Few phylogenies are available, e.g. for the catfish families Heptapteridae and Tricho­mycteridae. Theoretically, basal troglobitic clades are older than apical ones, but the possible existence of extinct epigean taxa belonging to such clades hampers the comparison. As well, the limitations of the use degrees of troglomorphism to estimate phylogenetic ages are analyzed with focus on the complexity of the mechanisms underlying morphological differentiation. Paleoclimatic reconstructions based on dating of speleothems from caves in northeastern and southeastern Brazil are avail­able, but limited up to the last 200,000 years, thus useful for relatively recent lineages. Topographic isolation, probable for some fish groups from Central Brazil, is also within the time range of 105 years. Older dated events (in the order of 106 years or more) that may represent vicariant events affecting aquatic lineages with subterranean derivatives are related to the estab­lishment of the modern South American main river basins. In view of the paucity of data useful for estimating the age of Bra­zilian troglobitic lineages, combined evidence, including mor­phology, systematics and biogeography, seems to be the best approach at the moment.


Geomorphology and genesis of the remarkable Araras Ridge tufa deposit, Western Brazil, 2011, Corrê, A Daniel, Auler Augusto S. , Wang Xianfeng, Edwards R. Lawrence, Cheng Hai

The Araras Ridge tufa extends for over 30 km along a c. 100 m high fault scarp, probably representing one of the most extensive tufa deposits in South America. The deposit comprises massive crystalline calcite occurring both as in situ tufa deposited along the vertical face of the scarp or as extensive debris deposits resulting from erosional disaggregation of the scarp. Although minor active tufa precipitation can be observed in streams, the deposit is not active at present, except for volumetrically limited reprecipitation of calcite as subaerial stalactites or surface flowstone. 230Th dating confirms that the bulk of the deposit is considerably old, basal ages being beyond the dating limit of the method (> 600 ka B.P.) and most ages being older than 250 ka B.P. Field and remote sensing observations demonstrate that the upper limit of the deposit parallels the fault scarp, being associated with the contact between the upper dolomitic and the lower limestone members of the Araras Formation. Carbonate beds are arranged in a regional scale synclinal structure that allows water infiltration and storage at the top of the more impure limestone, favouring discharge at the ascending limb of the syncline, close to the scarp. Genesis of the deposit thus probably involved a series of palaeo perched springs aligned along the top of the scarp. Current climatic and geomorphic conditions are not conductive to major tufa development, suggesting a distinct palaeoenvironment during former depositional phases.


The Mammalian Fauna of Abismo Iguatemi, Southeastern Brazil, 2011, Castro Mariela C. , Langer Max C.

The Quaternary vertebrate fauna record of South America is characterized by the predominance of mammals, and the study of cave deposits can provide important information on their diversity and distribution. In Brazil, cave deposits have preserved remarkable fossil remains, including both large and small vertebrates, although the former have been the focus of most paleontological works. The fossils studied here came from Abismo Iguatemi, a karstic fissure located in the municipality of Apiaı´, upper Ribeira River valley, Sa˜o Paulo, Brazil. Blocks of sediment collected from its floor yielded a large sample of micro-remains, mainly composed of fragmentary small vertebrate specimens. Taphonomic parameters suggest that the fossil elements entered the cave either by entrapment or transported by rain runoff, as partially decayed carcasses or isolated elements. A total of 35 taxa were recorded in Abismo Iguatemi, four of which are extinct. The number of identified specimens per taxon (NISP index) is the best estimator of number of individuals at the burial site. The comparison of this fauna to that of other Quaternary deposits and to the present biodiversity of different areas reveals low similarity. The identification of fossil organisms with different ecological requirements (extinct savannah organisms and extant dense-forest organisms) suggests the existence of time averaging and may reflect environmental changes in the vicinity of the cave during the late Pleistocene and Holocene


Dokumentation von zwei Quarzithhlen am Roraima Tepui (Brasilien, Guyana) , 2011, Plan L. , Hlzel M. , Auler A.
The Gran Sabana extends over the area between the Amazonas and Orinoco River in the northern part of South America. There about hundred table mountains (locally named Tepuis) are rising above the wet savannah plain. One of these, the Roraima Tepui, is situated at the triple border junction of the states of Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela. The plateau is built up of sandstones and quartzites of palaeoproterozoic age (c. 1.9 Billion years). Several caves which have mainly developed due to mechanical erosion of not or just partly lithified sandstone layers have been explored. The aim of a Brazilian Austrian expedition in November 2010 was to visit caves in the southern part of the Roraima Tepui and search for new caves in the less accessible northern part. The Cueva Ojos de Cristal (or Sistema Roraima Sur) was visited. With a mapped length of 16.1 km it is the biggest quartzite cave known in the world. Two caves were mapped, the Hotel Coati and the Lake Gladys Cave, which are the highest lying documented caves of Guyana and Brazil respectively. The Hotel Coati is situated in the north of the Tepui and is a cave often used as a bivouac. It is a shaft, acting as ponor, which is accessible through galleries aligned at rectangularly arranged fissures. North of that cave, in the Guyanese part, the single lake on the plateau, the Lake Gladys is situated at 2665 m a.s.l. There, the Lake Gladys Cave with a total length of 68 m is draining the lake. The entrance lies behind a boulder fall and water disappears into a sump. At the Roraima Tepui there are other not docu - mented objects so far, as the shaft ponor El Fosso (The Pit). Even though no major systems were found during this short expe - dition, the potential of finding further caves in the northern part seems still good.

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