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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 esker is a stratified fluvio-glacial deposit in the form of a winding ridge [16].?

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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 stygofauna (Keyword) returned 8 results for the whole karstbase:
Subterranean Fauna of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean, 2001, Humphreys W. F. , Eberhard Stefan

The subterranean environment of Christmas Island is diverse and includes freshwater, marine, anchialine, and terrestrial habitats. The cave fauna comprises swiftlets, and a diverse assemblage of invertebrates, both terrestrial and aquatic, which includes a number of rare and endemic species of high conservation signicance. At least twelve species are probably restricted to subterranean habitats and are endemic to Christmas Island. Previously poorly known, the cave fauna of Christmas Island is a signicant component of the island's biodiversity, and a signicant cave fauna province in an international context. The cave fauna and habitats are sensitive to disturbance from a number of threatening processes, including pollution, deforestation, mining, feral species and human visitors.


Palaeokarst in the Noondine Chert in Southwestern Australia: Implications for Water Supply and the Protection of Biodiversity, 2002, Appleyard, Steve
In southwestern Australia, karst features occur in geological formations other than the coastal calcarenites of the Tamala Limestone. The Noondine Chert was formed by the silicification of carbonate rocks and contains relict carbonate textures and palaeokarst features such as intense brecciation and the presence of subsurface voids. This geological formation is an important aquifer to the east of the Perth Basin where groundwater resources are otherwise limited, and the aquifer is highly vulnerable to contamination from agricultural land use. The Noondine Chert may also contain a rich stygofauna. This has not been taken into account in groundwater protection policies, and needs to be assessed as a matter of urgency

Palaeokarst in the Noondine Chert in Southwestern Australia: Implications for Water Supply and the Protection of Biodiversity, 2002, Appleyard, Steve

In southwestern Australia, karst features occur in geological formations other than the coastal calcarenites of the Tamala Limestone. The Noondine Chert was formed by the silicification of carbonate rocks and contains relict carbonate textures and palaeokarst features such as intense brecciation and the presence of subsurface voids. This geological formation is an important aquifer to the east of the Perth Basin where groundwater resources are otherwise limited, and the aquifer is highly vulnerable to contamination from agricultural land use. The Noondine Chert may also contain a rich stygofauna. This has not been taken into account in groundwater protection policies, and needs to be assessed as a matter of urgency.


Ecology and hydrology of a threatened groundwater-dependent ecosystem: the Jewel Cave karst system in Western Australia, PhD Thesis, 2005, Eberhard, S. M.

Groundwater is a significant component of the world’s water balance and accounts for >90 % of usable freshwater. Around the world groundwater is an important source of water for major cities, towns, industries, agriculture and forestry. Groundwater plays a role in the ecological processes and ‘health’ of many surface ecosystems, and is the critical habitat for subterranean aquatic animals (stygofauna). Over-abstraction or contamination of groundwater resources may imperil the survival of stygofauna and other groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDEs). In two karst areas in Western Australia (Yanchep and Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge), rich stygofauna communities occur in cave waters containing submerged tree roots. These aquatic root mat communities were listed as critically endangered because of declining groundwater levels, presumably caused by lower rainfall, groundwater abstraction, and/or forest plantations. Investigation of the hydrology and ecology of the cave systems was considered essential for the conservation and recovery of these threatened ecological communities (TECs). This thesis investigated the hydrology and ecology of one of the TECs, located in the Jewel Cave karst system in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge. A multi-disciplinary approach was used to explore aspects pertinent to the hydrology and ecology of the groundwater system.
Thermoluminescence dating of the limestone suggested that development of the karst system dates from the Early Pleistocene and that caves have been available for colonisation by groundwater fauna since that time. Speleogenesis of the watertable maze caves occurred in a flank margin setting during earlier periods of wetter climate and/or elevated base levels. Field mapping and leveling were used to determine hydrologic relationships between caves and the boundaries of the karst aquifer. Monitoring of groundwater levels was undertaken to characterise the conditions of recharge, storage, flow and discharge. A hydrogeologic model of the karst system was developed.
The groundwater hydrograph for the last 50 years was reconstructed from old photographs and records whilst radiometric dating and leveling of stratigraphic horizons enabled reconstruction of a history of watertable fluctuations spanning the Holocene to Late Pleistocene. The watertable fluctuations over the previous 50 years did not exceed the range of fluctuations experienced in the Quaternary history, including a period 11,000 to 13,000 years ago when the watertable was lower than the present level.
The recent groundwater decline in Jewel Cave was not reflected in the annual rainfall trend, which was above average during the period (1976 to 1988) when the major drop in water levels occurred. Groundwater abstraction and tree plantations in nearby catchments have not contributed to the groundwater decline as previously suggested. The period of major watertable decline coincided with a substantial reduction in fire frequency within the karst catchment. The resultant increase in understorey vegetation and ground litter may have contributed to a reduction in groundwater recharge, through increased evapotranspiration and interception of rainfall. To better understand the relationships between rainfall, vegetation and fire and their effects on groundwater recharge, an experiment is proposed that involves a prescribed burn of the cave catchment with before-after monitoring of rainfall, leaf-area, ground litter, soil moisture, vadose infiltration and groundwater levels.
Molecular genetic techniques (allozyme electrophoresis and mitochondrial DNA) were used to assess the species and population boundaries of two genera and species of cave dwelling Amphipoda. Populations of both species were largely panmictic which was consistent with the hydrogeologic model. The molecular data supported the conclusion that both species of amphipod have survived lower watertable levels experienced in the caves during the Late Pleistocene. A mechanism for the colonization and isolation of populations in caves is proposed.
Multi Dimensional Scaling was used to investigate patterns in groundwater biodiversity including species diversity, species assemblages, habitat associations and biogeography. Faunal patterns were related to abiotic environmental parameters. Investigation of hydrochemistry and water quality characterized the ecological water requirements (EWR) of the TEC and established a baseline against which to evaluate potential impacts such as groundwater pollution.
The conservation status of the listed TEC was significantly improved by increasing the number of known occurrences and distribution range of the community (from 10 m2 to > 2 x 106 m2), and by showing that earlier perceived threatening processes (rainfall decline, groundwater pumping, tree plantations) were either ameliorated or inoperative within this catchment. The GDE in the Jewel Cave karst system may not have been endangered by the major phase of watertable decline experienced 1975-1987, or by the relatively stable level experienced up until 2000. However, if the present trend of declining rainfall in southwest Western Australia continues, and the cave watertable declines > 0.5 m below the present level, then the GDE may become more vulnerable to extinction.
The occurrence and distribution of aquatic root mat communities and related groundwater fauna in other karst catchments in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge is substantially greater than previously thought, however some of these are predicted to be threatened by groundwater pumping and pollution associated with increasing urban and rural developments. The taxonomy of most stygofauna taxa and the distribution of root mat communities is too poorly known to enable proper assessment of their conservation requirements. A regional-scale survey of stygofauna in southwest Western Australia is required to address this problem. In the interim, conservation actions for the listed TECs need to be focused at the most appropriate spatial scale, which is the karst drainage system and catchment area. Conservation of GDEs in Western Australia will benefit from understanding and integration with abiotic groundwater system processes, especially hydrogeologic and geomorphic processes.


Aquifers: the ultimate groundwater-dependent ecosystems, 2006, Humphreys W. F. ,
Australian aquifers support diverse metazoan faunas comprising obligate groundwater inhabitants, largely crustaceans but also including insects, worms, gastropods, mites and fish. They typically comprise short-range endemics, often of relictual lineages and sometimes widely vicariant from their closest relatives. They have been confined to subterranean environments from a range of geological eras and may contain information on the deep history of aquifers. Obligate groundwater fauna ( stygobites) occurs in the void spaces in karst, alluvial and fractured rock aquifers. They have convergent morphologies ( reduction or loss of eyes, pigment, enhanced nonoptic senses, vermiform body form) and depend on energy imported from the surface except in special cases of in situ chemoautotrophic energy fixation. In Australia, many stygofaunas in arid areas occur in brackish to saline waters, although they contain taxa from lineages generally restricted to freshwater systems. They may occur alongside species belonging to taxa considered typical of the marine littoral although far removed in space and time from marine influence. The ecological attributes of stygofauna makes them vulnerable to changes in habitat, which, combined with their taxonomic affinities, makes them a significant issue to biodiversity conservation. The interaction of vegetation and groundwater ecosystems is discussed and, in places, there are conservation issues common to both

Eogenetic karst, glacioeustatic cave-pools and anchihaline environments on Mallorca Island: a discussion of coastal speleogenesis., 2007, Gins Angel, Gins Joaqun
Coastal karst is characterized by special geomorphologic and hydrodynamic conditions as well as by peculiar sedimentary, geochemical, and biospeleological environments. Generally, the more distinctive karstic features produced near the coastline are strongly influenced by sea-level changes, which generate a broad set of interactions between littoral processes and karst development. The glacioeustatic rises and falls of sea level affected the littoral karst in different ways, namely: vertical and horizontal shifts in the shoreline position, changes in elevation of the local water table, and vertical displacements of the halocline. Most eogenetic karsts have been subjected over long time spans to repeated changes of a variety of vertically-zoned geochemical environments: vadose, phreatic meteoric-water, brackish mixing-waters and even marine water. Many coastal caves appear to be passively drowned by Holocene sea-level rise, and to contain glacioeustatic pools of varied size where the current water table intersects formerly air-filled chambers or passages. These coastal phreatic waters are controlled by sea level and fluctuate with tides. Significantly, features such as phreatic speleothems that are able to record ancient sea levels occur closely associated to the surface of the pools. The cave pools are brackish or even marine anchialine environments that contain remarkable communities of troglobitic stygofauna. All of these aspects can be studied in detail along the southern and eastern coast of Mallorca Island owing to the widespread outcrop of Upper Miocene calcarenites, in which the development of eogenetic karst features started approximately 6 Ma ago, at the end of Messinian times. Some outstanding coastal caves result and include the celebrated Coves del Drac (explored by E.A. Martel in 1896), the labyrinthine Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (more than 30 km in length) and the recently explored Cova de sa Gleda (whose submerged passages exceed 10 km, as shown by scuba-diving surveys). Careful observations and detailed mapping of caves in the Upper Miocene reef rocks of Mallorca permit a better understanding of the coastal speleogenetic processes involved in a typical eogenetic karst over time ranges greater than 1 Ma. The role played by recurrent glacioeustatic oscillations of sea level and the subsequent rises and falls of the water table are emphasized in our model. There are two associated mechanisms: the triggering of breakdown by the loss of buoyant support that follows each lowering of sea level (i.e., during glaciations or smaller cold events) and the later underwater solution of boulders and collapse debris (during high sea levels that correspond to interglacial events). Additionally, tidal fluctuations affecting groundwaters would enhance solutional enlargement of caves and vug-porosity connected to the sea, rather than conventional karstic flow through conduits that probably is not as important an agent in eogenetic speleogenesis.

Eogenetic karst, glacioeustatic cave pools and anchialine environments on Mallorca Island: a discussion of coastal speleogenesis, 2007, Gins Angel And Gins Joaquin
Coastal karst is characterized by special geomorphologic and hydrodynamic conditions as well as by peculiar sedimentary, geochemical, and biospeleological environments. Generally, the more distinctive karstic features produced near the coastline are strongly influenced by sea-level changes, which generate a broad set of interactions between littoral processes and karst development. The glacioeustatic rises and falls of sea level affected the littoral karst in different ways, namely: vertical and horizontal shifts in the shoreline position, changes in elevation of the local water table, and vertical displacements of the halocline. Most eogenetic karsts have been subjected over long time spans to repeated changes of a variety of vertically-zoned geochemical environments: vadose, phreatic meteoric-water, brackish mixing-waters and even marine water. Many coastal caves appear to be passively drowned by Holocene sea-level rise, and to contain glacioeustatic pools of varied size where the current water table intersects formerly air-filled chambers or passages. These coastal phreatic waters are controlled by sea level and fluctuate with tides. Significantly, features such as phreatic speleothems that are able to record ancient sea levels occur closely associated to the surface of the pools. The cave pools are brackish or even marine anchialine environments that contain remarkable communities of troglobitic stygofauna. All of these aspects can be studied in detail along the southern and eastern coast of Mallorca Island owing to the widespread outcrop of Upper Miocene calcarenites, in which the development of eogenetic karst features started approximately 6 Ma ago, at the end of Messinian times. Some outstanding coastal caves result and include the celebrated Coves del Drac (explored by E.A. Martel in 1896), the labyrinthine Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (more than 30 km in length) and the recently explored Cova de sa Gleda (whose submerged passages exceed 10 km, as shown by scuba-diving surveys). Careful observations and detailed mapping of caves in the Upper Miocene reef rocks of Mallorca permit a better understanding of the coastal speleogenetic processes involved in a typical eogenetic karst over time ranges greater than 1 Ma. The role played by recurrent glacioeustatic oscillations of sea level and the subsequent rises and falls of the water table are emphasized in our model. There are two associated mechanisms: the triggering of breakdown by the loss of buoyant support that follows each lowering of sea level (i.e., during glaciations or smaller cold events) and the later underwater solution of boulders and collapse debris (during high sea levels that correspond to interglacial events). Additionally, tidal fluctuations affecting groundwaters would enhance solutional enlargement of caves and vug-porosity connected to the sea, rather than conventional karstic flow through conduits that probably is not as important an agent in eogenetic speleogenesis.

Eogenetic karst, glacioeustatic cave pools and anchialine environments on Mallorca Island: a discussion of coastal speleogenesis, 2007, Gins A. , Gins J.

Coastal karst is characterized by special geomorphologic and hydrodynamic conditions as well as by peculiar sedimentary, geochemical, and biospeleological environments. Generally, the more distinctive karstic features produced near the coastline are strongly influenced by sea-level changes, which generate a broad set of interactions between littoral processes and karst development. The glacioeustatic rises and falls of sea level affected the littoral karst in different ways, namely: vertical and horizontal shifts in the shoreline position, changes in elevation of the local water table, and vertical displacements of the halocline. Most eogenetic karsts have been subjected over long time spans to repeated changes of a variety of vertically-zoned geochemical environments: vadose, phreatic meteoric-water, brackish mixing-waters and even marine water. Many coastal caves appear to be passively drowned by Holocene sea-level rise, and to contain glacioeustatic pools of varied size where the current water table intersects formerly air-filled chambers or passages. These coastal phreatic waters are controlled by sea level and fluctuate with tides. Significantly, features such as phreatic speleothems that are able to record ancient sea levels occur closely associated to the surface of the pools. The cave pools are brackish or even marine anchialine environments that contain remarkable communities of troglobitic stygofauna. All of these aspects can be studied in detail along the southern and eastern coast of Mallorca Island owing to the widespread outcrop of Upper Miocene calcarenites, in which the development of eogenetic karst features started approximately 6 Ma ago, at the end of Messinian times. Some outstanding coastal caves result and include the celebrated Coves del Drac (explored by E.A. Martel in 1896), the labyrinthine Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (more than 30 km in length) and the recently explored Cova de sa Gleda (whose submerged passages exceed 10 km, as shown by scuba-diving surveys). Careful observations and detailed mapping of caves in the Upper Miocene reef rocks of Mallorca permit a better understanding of the coastal speleogenetic processes involved in a typical eogenetic karst over time ranges greater than 1 Ma. The role played by recurrent glacioeustatic oscillations of sea level and the subsequent rises and falls of the water table are emphasized in our model. There are two associated mechanisms: the triggering of breakdown by the loss of buoyant support that follows each lowering of sea level (i.e., during glaciations or smaller cold events) and the later underwater solution of boulders and collapse debris (during high sea levels that correspond to interglacial events). Additionally, tidal fluctuations affecting groundwaters would enhance solutional enlargement of caves and vug-porosity connected to the sea, rather than conventional karstic flow through conduits that probably is not as important an agent in eogenetic speleogenesis.


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