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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 spring, vauclusian; rising, vauclusian is 1. a type of rising or spring where direct drainage from the phreas flows up a flooded cave passage under pressure to emerge in daylight. the term is best applied where water rises from a vertical or very steep bedrock passage. such risings are named after the fontaine de vaucluse in southern france. the river sorgue rises from the fontaine with a mean flow of 26 cubic meters per second. its upper part is steeply inclined, but a depth it is vertical. a diver has reached a depth of -200m, and a robot reached -243m, below which the flooded shaft continues [9]. 2. large karst spring (name by fournet, after la sorgue en vaucluse, france) characterized by a stream surging up as from a siphon. also applied to karst springs with artesian characteristics [20]. 3. a large spring or exsurgence of an underground river, generally from limestone, that varies greatly in output and is impenetrable except with diving apparatus [10]. synonym: (american.) gushing spring; (french.) source vauclusienne, bouillidou (south of france); (german.) vauclusequelle, (riesenquelle); (greek.) kephalari/vauclusiana pighi; (italian.) sorgente valchiusana; (russian.) vokljuz; (spanish.) fuente vauclusiana, ojo, heryidero; (turkish.) basinccli kaynak; (yugoslavian.) voklisko vrelo, obrh. see also gushing spring.?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
See all featured articles
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 speleotheme (Keyword) returned 16 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 16
Les speleothemes; un outil performant pour les etudes paleoclimatiques, 1994, Quinif Yves, Genty Dominique, Maire Richard,

Enregistrement des mouvements dun versant par les splothmes de la grotte du chemin du Castelleras (Le Tignet, Alpes-Maritimes, France), 1995, Gilli E. , Mangan C. , Delange P. , Larre P. , Evin J.
The study of speleothems in a subcutaneous cave developed between a scree and its bedrock, shows the slope movements. All the speleothem couples (stalactite facing a stalagmite) are displaced. Among the speleothems, a 50cm long thin stalac-tite (soda-straw type) has recorded the movements that have affected the slope. Every slope movement is shown in a speleothem axis variation. Radiocarbon datings help define growth speed and make clear the movement history over a 30,000 years period. This analysis confirms the possibility of using speleothem as verticality gauges to define an area stability.

DISCOVERY OF CONSIDERABLE UPPER PLEISTOCENE AND HOLOCENE FOSSIL FILLINGS IN THE KARST OF OLETTA REGION (CORSICA), 1995, Ferrandini J, Salotti M,
The Oletta cave seems to be one of the largest underground caves in Corsica. The relationship between the organisation of the deforming strata and the karstic network shows that it is a karst of structural origin which has developed above the basic level. The karstification seems old and the speleothemes have to be connected with the phenomena of the climatic break of the Quaternary. Four types of fossiliferous infillings are known. The largest one is the oldest. They express the alternation of phases of sedimentation with different sedimentary dynamics. The most often found fauna is composed of mammals and gasteropoda. At least three faunal groups emerge: an old fauna with Cynotherium sardous, Nesoleipoceros cazioti and Enhydrictis sp. that can be attributed to the Early Wurm or to the limit of the Middle and Upper Pleistocene; a middle fauna to the terminal Wurm and which is characterised here by the absence of the three above mentioned mammals and lastly, a third group where the present fauna appears with, first, it seems, Rattus and Apodemus whereas Prolagus sardus persists for a long time

Decouverte d'importants remplissages fossiliferes d'age pleistocene superieur et holocene dans le karst de la region d'oletta (Haute corse), 1995, Ferrandini J, Salotti M, Bailon Ds, Bonifay Mf, Mourerchauvire C, Realtestud Am,
The Oletta cave seems to be one of the largest underground caves in Corsica. The relationship between the organisation of the deforming strata and the karstic network shows that it is a karst of structural origin which has developed above the basic level. The karstification seems old and the speleothemes have to be connected with the phenomena of the climatic break of the Quaternary. Four types of fossiliferous infillings are known. The largest one is the oldest. They express the alternation of phases of sedimentation with different sedimentary dynamics. The most often found fauna is composed of mammals and gasteropoda. At least three faunal groups emerge: an old fauna with Cynotherium sardous, Nesoleipoceros cazioti and Enhydrictis sp. that can be attributed to the Early Wurm or to the limit of the Middle and Upper Pleistocene; a middle fauna to the terminal Wurm and which is characterised here by the absence of the three above mentioned mammals and lastly, a third group where the present fauna appears with, first, it seems, Rattus and Apodemus whereas Prolagus sardus persists for a long time

Comparaison entre les lamines luminescentes et les lamines visibles annuelles de stalagmites, 1997, Genty D, Baker A, Barnes W,
ResumeLes sections polies de plusieurs stalagmites provenant de France et de Belgique ont ete observees apres une excitation en lumiere ultraviolette (LTV) et en lumiere naturelle pour etudier les lamines annuelles luminescentes et visibles. La luminescence la plus forte se trouve dans les lamines sombres et compactes, ce qui signifierait que ces deux types de lamines se formeraient a la fin de l'automne et au debut de l'hiver, lorsqu'il y a une brusque augmentation du debit et un apport important de matiere organique. Sous excitation laser UV, la calcite blanche et poreuse est beaucoup plus luminescente que la calcite sombre et compacte. Cette luminescence est soit, liee a la porosite, soit a la presence de lamines sombres et compactes plus luminescentes.AbstractPolished sections of stalagmites from France and Belgium were examined using UV excitation and natural light in order to examine their annual growth laminae. The most prominent luminescence occurs in the dark compact laminae, this would signify that both types form at the end of Autumn or the beginning of Winter when soil organic matter is flushed into the cave. Under UV excitation, and at a weaker magnification, white porous calcite fabric is found to be much more luminescent than the dark compact one. These results could be due either to optical effects associated with porosity or to the higher luminescence of dark compact laminae

La cristallogense des splothmes de la grotte Lithophagus (Monts Padurea Craiului, Roumanie), 1998, Ghergari Lucrecia, Onac Bogdan Petroniu, Vremir Matei, Strusievicz Robert
The Lithophagus cave system hosts interesting mono- and polycrystalline calcite speleothems (stalactites, stalagmites, crystals, helictites, fongites). Our studies allowed us to identify the crystallographic forms that build up these speleothems, the presence of twins and several generations of crystals. The main growth directions were identified for the helictites. The interpretation of the statistic data enables us to highlight the relationships between crystallographic forms that appear on some speleothems, their frequency, and the different cave environments.

Signification chrono-climatique de splothmes lamins de Chine du nord, 1998, Ming Tan, Tungsheng Liu, Xiaoguang Qin, Xianfeng Wang
Speleothems from North China show that many of them have very fine microlayer growth. Most of these layers have bi-optical characters that can be observed under fluorescent and transmitted light. Hydrological analysis and radio-isotopic dating demonstrate that those layers are annually laminated. A Holocene stalagmite from Shihua Cave in Southwest Beijing presents thousands of micro-layers which are very similar to tree rings. Based on the measurements of the thickness of annual layers, short-term climatic changes over the last 1,130 years in the Beijing area are discussed.

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

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


Les stalagmites : archives environnementales et climatiques haute rsolution, prsentation des protocoles dtudes et premiers rsultats sur des splothmes du Vercors, 1999, Perrette, Yves
Since the late 80's, the detailed study of speleothem has deve_loped from the crossing of two main approachs; one comes from the ques_tions of speleologists confronted with magnificent cave scenery, the other comes from citizen questions about climatic and environmental changes. The aim of this paper is to show the diversity and the relevance of the data collected by such studies on stalagmitic samples from the Vercors -France. The knowledge of the chemical processes of the H20 - CaCO3 - C02 system in the perspective of the karst infiltration leads to ques_tions about the role of the "supstrat". This word has been used to describe the "roofrock" rather than the bedrock. So, to better unders_tand the different modes of drainage in karst, a global hydrologic study of the Choranche cave vadose zone has been realised, e.g. seepage water rates have been monitoring. These recent studies allow us to model the structural and functional hydrologic network of such a well developed karst system. Actually we demonstrated the hierar_chisation of the drainage and the relation between a transmissive system and a capacitive one. They have been used to propose a graphical typology leading to a better appreciation of the various environmental interests of speleothems. Understanding the processes of speleothem environmental and climatic archiving, needs to know the processes of calcite crystal growth. They are briefly presented through some usual fabrics like columnar, palissadic or dendritic ones and through the optical relation between macroscopic colours and crys_talline porosity. It is the evolution of these crystalline features, which creates the laminae. To explain what are laminae, the diffe_rent type of emission by a solid after a laser irradiation are shown. It justifies the choice of two kinds of laminae measurement i.e. reflectance and fluorescence. Then, results of spectroscopic studies which show a covariation between Mn2+ concentration, the maximum intensity wave length of fluorescence spectra and the reflec_tance trend, allow us to consider reflectance measurement as a water excess proxy. This experimental approach is confirmed by the infra annual laminae. The hydrological interest of "visible" laminae (i.e. reflectance one) is increased by the fluorescence "invisible" lami_nae. In fact, the presence of a wide diversity of organic molecule in the calcite lead us to consider the fluorescence lamina as a temporal proxy controlled by the annual leaf fall and biopedological degradation. To measure these two proxies, an original experimental set has been developed in collaboration with the PhLAM laboratory (Lille, France). Particularly, this experimental set up permits to realise simultaneously a reflectance and a fluorescence image. The data collected are processed and are analysed in the frequency domain. All these data allow us to extract different proxies from speleothems. These proxies have been studied for some Vercors samples. We present the global environmental and climatic data archiving of the post_wurmian (isotopic stage 1) warming. At a higher resolution, the Vercors climate forcing is shown through the spectral analysis of the reflectance of a well laminated sample. The solar (T=22y) and atmospheric (NAO, T=17y) forcings are clearly distinguished. The climate analysis of this sample is limited by an anthropic mask. We show the similarity of the crystal facies evolution of two samples located around the Alps but far from more than 100 km. We would like to interpret this changes as an archiving of the post Little Ice Age warming but here too, Man interfere with climate to induce environmental changes. We show an example of the possibility for distinguishing climate from anthropic changes in environmental evolutions. The wealth of data of the speleothem allows us to appreciate the environ_ment stability of the Vercors which is confirmed in the spectral analysis of the growth rates of a Gouffre Berger sample. The diversity of the data collected in speleothems is directly linked to the diversity of the way of archiving in a karst system. It is why only a global approach seems to be relevant for answering environmental hydrological or morphological karst questions.

Rupture de speleothemes par fluage d'un remplissage endokarstique. L'exemple de la grotte de Ribiere (Bouches-du-Rhone), 1999, Gilli{ Eric,
Natural caves could be good recorders for paleoearthquakes if it was possible to know precisely the underground damage caused by a seismic event. The researched effects are breakings of speleothems. Therefore, several non-coseismic mechanisms may be involved. A recent study of the Ribiere cave shows that the creeping of a karstic filling explains most of the cave breakings that are attributed to earthquakes.ResumeLes cavites karstiques pourraient etre des enregistreurs de paleoseismes, sous reserve de connaitre de facon precise l'impact d'une secousse sismique sur les grottes. Les effets recherches sont essentiellement des cassures de stalactites et stalagmites, plusieurs mecanismes autres que cosismiques pouvant cependant etre invoques pour expliquer ces ruptures. Or, de recentes observations sur la grotte de Ribiere montrent qu'un fluage de sediment endokarstique peut expliquer la plupart des ruptures de concretions attribuees a des seismes

Co-seismic ruptures and deformations recorded by speleothems in the epicentral zone of the Basel earthquake, 1999, Lemeille Francis, Cushing Marc, Carbon David, Grellet Bertrand, Bitterli Thomas, Flehoc Christine, Innocent Christophe,
The study of growth anomalies of speleothems in a karstic environment can provide potential evidence for palaeoearthquakes. These data are used to study the recurrence times of major earthquakes in areas where evidence for historic seismicity is lacking. A study has been carried out in the epicentral area of the 1356 Basel earthquake (epicentral intensity = VII-VIII, macroseismic magnitude = 6.2). The Battlerloch and Dieboldslochli caves, situated in the area of greatest damage, show growth anomalies of speleothems possibly related to a seismic event (several breaks of speleothems and offsets of the axis of the regrowths). The first U/Th disequilibrum measurements by alpha spectrometry show recent ages (less than several tens of thousands of years and probably historic). 14C dating by AMS of carbonate laminations taken on both sides of the anomalies confirm the evidence of a seismic event around 1300 AD. More accurate darings by U/Th TIMS are carried out in order to compare the information provided by the two different dating methods.ResumeL'etude des anomalies de developpement des speleothemes en milieu endokarstique peut permettre de retrouver la trace de paleoseismes. Ces donnees sont utilisees pour etudier les periodes de retour des seismes majeurs dans les regions ou la sismicite historique n'est pas suffisante. Une etude a ete menee dans la zone epicentrale du seisme de Bale de 1356 (intensite epicentrale = VII-VIII, magnitude macrosismique = 6,2). Dans l'aire de degats majeurs, les grottes du Battierloch et du Dieboldslochli ont montre l'existence d'anomalies de croissance des speleothemes pour lesquelles une origine sismique est possible (nombreuses ruptures de speleothemes et decalage de l'axe de croissance des repousses). Les premieres mesures de desequilibres U/Th par spectrometrie alpha indiquent des ages recents (inferieurs a quelques dizaines de milliers d'annees et probablement historiques). Les datations 14C par AMS de carbonates des lamines preleves de part et d'autre de ces anomalies confirment l'empreinte d'un evenement destructif brutal vers 1300 AD. Des datations plus precises par U/Th TIMS sont en cours de realisation afin de confronter les informations apportees par ces deux chronometres

Karst et evolution des rivieres: le cas de l'Ardenne, 1999, Quinif Yves,
In karstic areas, tectonic phenomena have two major influences. (i) By uplift, they give potential energy to karst and valley hollowing. (ii) An active tectonic regime is necessary for the development of karstification. The opposition between the development of valleys or karstic networks depends on the type of dissipated energy. Karstic systems in the Ardennes Massif are essentially between 5 and 15 m above the water table for the dry networks, and in the phreatic zone for the active parts. The structuration of the karstic systems is dependent on the uplift of Ardennes and an active tectonic regime is necessary for the genesis of large caves. It is during the Upper and Middle Pleistocene that the Ardennes area underwent tectonic activity; these karstic levels are more than 400 000 years old.ResumeDans les regions karstiques comprenant des vallees epigenetiques, les phenomenes tectoniques ont deux influences majeures: a) la surrection donne de l'energie potentielle en creant des differences d'altitude, generant a la fois le creusement des vallees et celui du karst; b) une tectonique active est necessaire pour que le processus de karstification debute. L'opposition entre le developpement privilegie soit des vallees, soit des reseaux karstiques depend ainsi du type d'energie dissipee. Les reseaux karstiques de l'Ardenne se situent surtout entre 5 et 15 m au-dessus de la surface piezometrique pour les reseaux secs, et dans la zone saturee pour les parties actives. La structuration de ces reseaux karstiques est favorisee par un ralentissement de la surrection et une activite tectonique. Cette periode se situe dans le Pleistocene moyen et recent, d'apres les datations U/Th de speleothemes

La capture de la Moselle : nouvelles donnes chronologiques par datations U/Th sur splothmes, 2001, Losson Benot, Quinif Yves
The Moselle piracy is one of the most important changes of the hydrographic network in Lorraine (France). For a long time, this phenomenon has been presumed to be relatively recent (at the end of the Middle Pleistocene) because of the well preserved fluvial morphologies and deposits. With new relations between the above ground and subterranean parameters in the piracy area, the capture has been dated from 300 ka by the U/Th method on speleothem. This evaluation reveals an earlier time for the phenomenon, and is more precise than those proposed up to now. The latter were derived from the North-european glacial chronology and one thermoluminescence date obtained in the downstream valley of Meuse. In fact, the improvements in absolute datings, through different methods and U/Th in particular, lead geomorphologists to abandon the simple relation between the glacial-interglacial periods and the accumulation-erosion processes in rivers.

Screening for culturable microorganisms from cave environments (Slovenia), 2002, Mulec Janez, Zalar Polona, Zupan Hajna Nadja , Rupnik Maja

Various microenvironments in three different caves were screened for the presence of indigenous culturable microorganisms: extremely weathered limestone in Pečina v Borštu and Martinska jama, cave silver and calcite rafts on the surface of subterranean ponds in Pečina v Borštu and calcite moonmilk speleotheme in Snežna jama of Raduha mountain. The counts of viable cells collected are supplemented with laboratory data necessary to establish genus or wider taxonomic group level identity of isolates. Besides other bacterial and fungal groups flourescent pseudomonads are prevailing among isolates.


Intrt de lanalyse ptrographique des splothmes pour les reconstitutions paloenvironnementales, 2007, Couchoud I.
The significance of speleothem petrography in paleoenvironmental reconstruction - Speleothem petrography, like oxygen and carbon isotopic ratios, is influenced by various hydrological, chemical, biological and physical factors at the time of growth. While speleothem-based paleoenvironmental studies using stable isotope records are increasingly numerous, interpretations remain problematic. This paper aims to highlight the significance of a petrographical approach to the study of speleothems as a complement to isotopic studies. First, a synthesis of the main calcite crystalline fabrics encountered in speleothems is presented and a terminology suggested. A summary of the current state of knowledge about the relationships between fabrics and (i) the conditions of speleothem precipitation and (ii) speleothem carbon and oxygen isotopic ratios is then provided. It appears that some fabrics are essentially controlled by two main parameters: i) the chemical efficiency of the solution; and 2) the drip rate and variability. As a function of the respective importance of these two parameters, fabrics evolve within a continuum from elongated columnar fabric (typically, high intensity and low variability - low chemical efficiency) to dendritic fabric (low intensity and high variability - high chemical efficiency) via two intermediate forms, compact and open columnar fabrics.Other fabrics are associated with specific conditions of precipitation. For example, a high concentration of impurities in the source water can produce a microcrystalline fabric; precipitation in a tunnel environment can give rise to squat columnar fabric; and recrystallisation can produce a mosaic fabric. Combined with known conditions of precipitation, fabrics can be used to evaluate the quality of the stable isotope signals recorded by speleothems and can help in the interpretation of paleoenvironmental records.

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