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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 unsaturated zone is see vadose zone and zone of aeration.?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for subsidence hazard (Keyword) returned 19 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 19
Subsidence hazard prediction for limestone terrains, as applied to the English Cretaceous Chalk, 1987, Edmonds Cn, Green Cp, Higginbottom Ie,
Soluble carbonate rocks often pose a subsidence hazard to engineering and building works, due to the presence of either metastable natural solution features or artificial cavities. There is also an inherent danger to the public and lives have been lost because of unexpected ground collapses. Although site investigation techniques are becoming increasingly elaborate, the detection of hazardous ground conditions associated with limestones is frequently difficult and unreliable. Remedial measures to solve subsidence problems following foundation failure are expensive. It would be advantageous if areas liable to subsidence could be identified in a cost-effective manner in advance of planning and ground investigation. Hazard mapping could then be used by planners when checking the geotechnical suitability of a proposed development or by engineering geologists/geotechnical engineers to design the type of ground investigation best suited to the nature and scale of the potential hazard. Recent research focussed on the English Chalk outcrop has led to the development of two new models to predict the subsidence hazard for both natural solution features and artificial cavities. The predictive models can be used to map the hazard at any given chalkland locality, as a cost-effective precursor to ground investigation. The models, although created for the Chalk outcrop, have important implications for all types of limestone terrain. The basis of the predictive modelling procedure is an analysis of the spatial distribution of nearly 1600 natural solution features, and more than 850 artificial cavity locations, identified from a wide varietyy of sources, including a special appeal organized by CIRIA. A range of geological, hydrogeological and geomorphological factors are evaluated to identify significant relationships with subsidence. These factors are ranked, numerically weighted and incorporated into two quantitative subsidence hazard model formulae. The models can be applied to perform hazard mapping

Environmental problems in gypsum karst terrains., 1996, Andrejchuk Vjacheslav, Klimchouk Alexander
Description of environmental problems in gypsum karst areas, especially of the effects related to human impacts that are unique to gypsum karst systems or most commonly occur herein. The paper deals with pollution (oil, radioactive substances and fertilizers), mining activity, underground water abstraction, construction of dams and reservoirs, collapse and subsidence hazards giving examples of former Soviet Union.

Subsidence hazards caused by the dissolution of Permian gypsum in England: geology, investigation and remediation, 1998, Cooper Ah,
About every three years natural catastrophic subsidence, caused by gypsum dissolution, occurs in the vicinity of Ripon, North Yorkshire, England. Holes up to 35 m across and 20 m deep have appeared without warning. In the past 150 years, 30 major collapses have occurred, and in the last ten years the resulting damage to property is estimated at about {pound}1000000. Subsidence, associated with the collapse of caves resulting from gypsum dissolution in the Permian rocks of eastern England, occurs in a belt about 3 km wide and over 100 km long. Gypsum (CaS04.2H20) dissolves rapidly in flowing water and the cave systems responsible for the subsidence are constantly enlarging, causing a continuing subsidence problem. Difficult ground conditions are associated with caves, subsidence breccia pipes (collapsed areas of brecciated and foundered material), crown holes and post-subsidence fill deposits. Site investigation methods that have been used to define and examine the subsidence features include microgravity and resistivity geophysical techniques, plus more conventional investigation by drilling and probing. Remedial measures are difficult, and both grouting and deep piling are not generally practical. In more recent times careful attention has been paid to the location for development and the construction of low-weight structures with spread foundations designed to span any subsidence features that may potentially develop

Subsidence hazard in Berkshire in areas underlain by chalk karst, 2001, Edmonds Cn,
Purpose of survey During the last ten years a number of ground subsidence events have occurred in the northwest part of Reading. Many of the subsidence events resulted in structural damage to existing properties (see Plates 1 and 2). On the basis of the properties inspected to date it appears that the local housing has been constructed mostly upon conventional strip footings bearing onto naturally occurring soils. The increasing number of recorded subsidence events is of concern to planners, developers and insurers. Consequently the aim of the survey was to identify the nature and extent of subsidence hazard in the local area. The site The northwest part of Reading, generally referred to as Caversham, is shown in Figure 1. It largely comprises a south to southeasterly dipping land surface, overlooking the River Thames. North of the Thames the land surface is dissected by a NNW-SSE trending valley feature known as Hemdean Bottom. This divides the westerly Caversham Heights area from the easterly Caversham Park and Emmer Green areas. The Thames lies at just below 40 m AOD and northwards the land rises to above 80 m AOD. The floor of Hemdean Bottom generally lies between 40 m and 50 m AOD. Geology The published geological map at 1:10 560 scale (British Geological Survey County Series Berkshire Sheet 29 SE) for this area shows the entire district to be underlain by Cretaceous Upper Chalk, overlain by a Tertiary Reading Beds outlier to the northeast side of Hemdean Bottom. ... This 250-word extract was created in the absence of an abstract

Karst breakdown mechanisms from observations in the gypsum caves of the Western Ukraine: implications for subsidence hazard assessment, 2002, Andrejchuk Vjacheslav, Klimchouk Alexander
The term karst breakdown is employed in this paper to denote the totality of processes and phenomena of gravitational and/or hydrodynamic destruction of the ceiling of a karst cavity and of the overlying sediments. It refers not only to the existence of a surface subsidence (collapse) feature but, first of all, to the "internal" (hidden in the subsurface) structures that precede development of a surface form. This study reports and discusses the results of direct mapping and examination of breakdown structures in the gypsum karst of the Western Ukraine, at the level of their origin, i.e. in caves. The accessibility of numerous laterally extensive maze cave systems in the region provided an excellent opportunity for such an approach, which made it possible to examine the relationship between breakdown structures and particular morphogenetic or geological features in caves, and to reveal stages of breakdown development. It is found that breakdown is initiated mainly at specific speleogenetically or geologically "weakened" localities, which classify into a few distinct types. The most of breakdowns, which are potent to propagate through the overburden, relate with the outlet cupolas/domepits that represent places where water had discharged out of a cave to the upper aquifer during the period of transverse artesian speleogenesis. Distribution of breakdown structures does not correlate particularly well with the size of the master passages. Several distinct mechanisms of breakdown development are revealed, and most of them proceed in several stages. They are guided by speleogenetic, geological and hydrogeological factors. The study confirms that a speleogenetic approach is indispensable to the understanding of breakdown pre-requisites and mechanisms, as well as for eventual subsidence hazard assessment. Direct observations in caves, aimed both at speleogenetic investigation and breakdown characterization on regional or site-specific levels, should be employed wherever possible.

Mechanisms of karst breakdown formation in the gypsum karst of the fore-Ural region, Russia (from observations in the Kungurskaja cave), 2002, Andrejchuk Vjacheslav, Klimchouk Alexander
The fore-Ural is a classical region of intrastratal gypsum karst. The intensive development of karst in the Permian gypsums and anhydrites causes numerous practical problems, the subsidence hazard being the most severe. Mechanisms of karst breakdown formation were studied in detail in the Kunguskaya Cave area. The cave and its setting are characteristic to the region and, being a site of detalied stationary studies for many years, the cave represents a convenient location for various karst and speleological investigations. Breakdown structures related to cavities of the Kungurskaya Cave type develop by two mechanisms: gravitational (sagging and fall-in of the ceilings of cavities) and filtrational/gravitational (crumbling and fall-in of the ceilings of vertical solution pipes, facilitated by percolation). The former implies upward stoping of the breakout roof and cessation of the process at some height above the floor of the cave due to complete infilling by fallen clasts. This mechanism cannot generate surface deformation where the overburden thickness exceeds a certain value. The latter mechanism implies that breakdown will almost inevitably express itself at the surface, most commonly as a sudden collapse, even where the thickness of the overburden is large. These mechanisms resuit in different appearance, distribution and further evolution of the respective surface forms, so that subsidence hazard assessment should be performed differently for these types of breakdown. The conclusions reached by this study are representative for the region, although some of them bear more general validity for intrastratal karst conditions. This study underlines the ultimate importance of speleological investigations to the understanding of karst breakdown mechanisms.

Subsidence hazards in different types of karst: evolutionary and speleogenetic approach, 2002, Klimchouk Alexander
The typology of karst, based on distinguishing the successive stages of general hydrogeologicali evolution, between which major boundary conditions and the overall circulation pattem change considerabliy, gives a natural clue, properly to classify and tie together karst breakdown settings, speleogenetic styles and breakdown development mechanisms. Subsidence hazards vary substantially between the different karst types, so that classifying individual karst according to typology can provide an integrated general assessment. This provides a useful basis for selection and realization of region- and site-specific assessment schemes and management strategies. Intrastratal karst types, subjacent karst in particular, are most potent in generating subsidence problems. Exposed karst types, especially open karst, are the least likely to pose subsidence hazard problems, despite them being recognized more obviously as karstic areas.

Subsidence hazards as a consequence of dam, reservoir and tunnel construction, 2002, Milanovic Petar
Considering all man-made structures in karst areas, dams, reservoirs and tunnels are the most vulnerable in relation to induced subsidence and caverns. Reservoirs that are located entirely or partially on karstified rocks covered with unconsolidated sediments are especially subsidence-prone. As a consequence of induced subsidence a number of reservoirs in karst areas failed and were never fully filled. Such subsidence formation is very damaging because the development is unpredictable and practically instantaneous. Reservoirs in karst areas may fail to fill despite an extensive site investigation programs and sealing treatment. Every problem is unique and past experiences are never repeated. This review focuses on the meaning and consequences of selected prominent examples, but the conclusions reached are valid for subsidence problems related to man-made structures in general.

Karst breakdown mechanisms from observations in the gypsum caves of the Western Ukraine: Implications for subsidence hazard assessment, 2003, Klimchouk A. B, Andrejchuk V. N.

The term karst breakdown is employed in this paper to denote the totality of processes and phenomena of gravitational and/or hydrodynamic destruction of the ceiling of a karst cavity and of the overlying sediments. It refers not only to the existence of a surface subsidence (collapse) feature but, first of all, to "internal" (hidden in the subsurface) structures which precede a surface form.
This study reports and discusses the results of direct mapping and examination of breakdown structures in the gypsum karst of the Western Ukraine at the level of their origin, i.e. in caves. Accessibility of numerous laterally extensive maze cave systems in the region provided an excellent opportunity for such an approach and made it possible to examine the relationship of breakdown structures with particular morphogenetic and geologic features in caves and to reveal stages of breakdown development.
It is found that breakdowns initiate mainly at specific speleogenetically or geologically "weakened" localities that classify into few distinct types. The most of breakdowns potent to propagate through the overburden relate with the outlet cupolas/domepits that represent places where water had discharged out of a cave to the upper aquifer during the period of transverse artesian speleogenesis. Distribution of breakdown structures does not appreciably correlate with the size of master passages. Several distinct mechanisms of the breakdown development are revealed, most of them proceed in several stages. They are controlled by speleogenetic, geological and hydrogeological factors.
We show that speleogenetic approach is indispensable for understanding of breakdown pre-requisites and mechanisms and for eventual subsidence hazard assessment. The direct cave observations aimed to both, speleogenetic investigation and breakdown characterization on regional or site-specific levels should be employed wherever possible.


Mechanisms of karst breakdown formation in the gypsum karst of the fore-Ural region, Russia (from observations in the Kungurskaja Cave), 2004, Andrejchuk V. N. , Klimchouk A. B.

The fore-Ural is a classical region of intrastratal gypsum karst. The intensive development of karst in the Permian gypsums and anhydrites causes numerous practical problems, the subsidence hazard being the most severe.
Mechanisms of karst breakdown formation were studied in detail in the Kunguskaya Cave area. The cave and its setting are characteristic to the region and, being a site of detailed stationary studies for many years, the cave represents a convenient location for various karst and speleological investigations.
Breakdown structures related to cavities of the Kungurskaya Cave type develop by two mechanisms: gravitational (sagging and fall-in of the ceilings of cavities) and filtrational/gravitational (crumbling and fall-in of the ceilings of vertical solution pipes, facilitated by percolation). The former implies upward stoping of the breakout roof and cessation of the process at some height above the floor of the cave due to complete infilling by fallen clasts. This mechanism cannot generate surface deformation where the overburden thickness exceeds a certain value. The latter mechanism implies that breakdown will almost inevitably express itself at the surface, most commonly as a sudden collapse, even where the thickness of the overburden is large. These mechanisms result in different appearance, distribution and further evolution of the respective surface forms, so that subsidence hazard assessment should be performed differently for these types of breakdown.
The conclusions reached by this study are representative for the region, although some of them bear more general validity for intrastratal karst conditions. This study underlines the ultimate importance of speleological investigations to the understanding of karst breakdown mechanisms.


Subsidence hazards due to evaporite dissolution in the United States, 2005, Johnson Kenneth S. ,

Utilising seasonal variations in hydrogeochemistry and excitation-emission fluorescence to develop a conceptual groundwater flow model with implications for subsidence hazards: an example from Co. Dur, 2005, Lamontblack J. , Baker A. , Younger P. L. , Cooper A. H. ,

Important directions of karst and speleological researches and tasks of their development in Ukraine, 2008, Klimchouk A. B.

The end of the XX Century has seen a remarkable growth of significance of speleology among modern Earth sciences. The paper provides a brief overview of recent advances and trends in geospeleology and karstology. It is shown that knowledge on cave origin has attained a status of a full-fledged theory, and that the speleogenetic theory took a central place in karst hydrogeology and dramatically improved understanding of karst aquifers evolution and functioning. Other areas of considerable advances and great significance for adjacent disciplines are paleo-reconstructions from karst/cave records and speleogenetic implications for assessment of karst subsidence hazard. The modern speleology has an obvious interdisciplinary character. The establishment in 2006 of the Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology is grounded on considerable achievements of Ukrainian scientists in this field and opens new perspectives for further development of speleology and karstology in Ukraine.


Karst features in the vicinity of the Ordynskaya Cave (Perm Region, Russia), 2009, Kadebskaya O. I. , Maximovich N. G. , Zhakova U. V

The paper presents describes underground and surface karst features in the area of the Ordynsky Cave, the longest underwater cave in gypsum.  Geomorphology and tectonics of the area are also described, and subsidence hazard is assessed.


Hypogenic caves in France. Speleogenesis and morphology of the cave systems, 2010, Audra Ph. , D'antoninebecourt J. C. , Bigot J. Y.

Hypogenic caves develop by recharge from below, not directly influenced by seepage from the overlying land surface. Several processes of speleogenesis are combined, involving CO2 or H2S produced at depth. If the recharge from depth remains uniform, the growth of selected fissures is prevented, giving rise to maze cave systems with an upward development trend, which is defined as “transverse speleogenesis” [Klimchouk, 2003]. Hypogenic caves are much fewer than epigenic caves (i.e. developed downwards by meteoric water with aggressivity derived from soil). In France, as in the rest of the world, hypogenic caves were poorly recognized until recently because of their lower frequency, subsequent epigenic imprint often hiding the true origin, and the absence of a global conceptual model. However, about a hundred of hypogenic caves have been identified recently in France. The extreme diversity of hypogenic cave patterns and features is due to the variety of geological and topographic settings and types of flow. Thermal caves are a sub-set of hypogenic caves. Active thermal caves are few and small (Mas d’En Caraman, Vallon du Salut). Often, thermal in fluences only occur as point thermal in feeders into epigenic caves (Mescla, Estramar). In addition to the higher temperature, they may be characterized by CO2 (Madeleine) or H2S degassing, by warm water flowing in ceiling channels, or by manganese deposits. The Giant Phreatic Shafts locate along regional active fault lines. They combine all characteristics (thermal, CO2, H2S), due to the fast rising of deep water. The Salins Spring has been explored by scuba diving down to –70 m. Such a hyperkarstification is responsible for the development of the deepest phreatic shafts of the world: pozzo del Merro, Italy (-392 m). Inactive hypogenic caves may be recognized by their specific mineralization or by the presence of large calcite spar. Metallic deposits are due to the rising of deep waters that are warm, aggressive, and low in oxidation potential. Mixing with meteoric water generates Mississippi Valley Type (MVT) sulfidic ores. Iron deposits as massive bodies (Lagnes) or onto microbial media (Iboussires, Malacoste) making specific facies, such as “black tubes”, iron flakes, and iron pool fingers. Other frequent minerals are Mn oxides and Pb sulfur. In such low thermal conditions, calcite deposits occur as large spar in geodes or as passage linings. Other inactive hypogenic caves may also be recognized by characteristic patterns, such as mazes. The relatively constant recharge into confined karst aquifers suppresses fissure competition, so they enlarge at similar rates, producing a maze pattern. In horizontal beds, mazes extend centrifugally around the upwelling feeder. The juxtaposition of multiple discrete vertical feeders produces extended horizontal mazes. In gently tilted structures, 2D mazes extend below aquitards, or along bedding or more porous beds (Saint-Sbastien). In thick folded limestone the rising hypogenic flow alternatively follows joints and bedding planes, producing a 3D maze cave in a stair case pattern (Pigette). Isolated chambers are large cupola-like chambers fed by thermal slots. Thermal convection of air in a CO2-rich atmosphere causes condensation-corrosion that quickly produces voids above the water table (Champignons Cave). Sulfuric acid caves with replacement gypsum are produced by H2S degassing in the cave atmosphere. H2S oxidizes to H2SO4, which corrodes the carbonate rock and replaces it with gypsum. The strongest corrosion occurs above the water table, where sulfide degassing and thermal convection produce strong condensation-corrosion. Caves develop head ward from springs and from thermo-sulfuric slots upward (Chevalley-Serpents System). The low-gradient main drains record base level positions and even the slightest stages of water-table lowering (Chat Cave). Hypogenic speleogenesis provides better understanding of the distribution of karst voids responsible for subsidence hazards and the emplacement of minerals and hydrocarbons.


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