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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 cutter is 1. (tennessee.) solution crevice in limestone underlying residual phosphate deposits. 2. a karren-like groove formed beneath the soil, more commonly referred to as subsoil karren [10]. see also karren.?

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Your search for sulfide ore (Keyword) returned 13 results for the whole karstbase:
The role of hydrothermal karst processes in the emplacement of sulfide ores, 1982, Sassgustkiewicz Maria, D?u?y?ski Stanis?aw

The emplacement of zinc-lead sulfide ores in the Upper Silesian District; a contribution to the understanding of mississippi valley-type deposits, 1982, Sassgustkiewicz Maria, Dzulynski Stanislaw, Ridge John D. ,

CHEMICAL-REACTION PATH MODELING OF ORE DEPOSITION IN MISSISSIPPI VALLEY-TYPE PB-ZN DEPOSITS OF THE OZARK REGION UNITED-STATES MIDCONTINENT, 1994, Plumlee G. S. , Leach D. L. , Hofstra A. H. , Landis G. P. , Rowan E. L. , Viets J. G. ,
The Ozark region of the U.S. midcontinent is host to a number of Mississippi Valley-type districts, including the world-class Viburnum Trend, Old Lead Belt, and Tri-State districts and the smaller Southeast Missouri barite, Northern Arkansas, and Central Missouri districts. There is increasing evidence that the Ozark Mississippi Valley-type districts formed locally within a large, interconnected hydrothermal system that also produced broad fringing areas of trace mineralization, extensive subtle hydrothermal alteration, broad thermal anomalies, and regional deposition of hydrothermal dolomite cement. The fluid drive was provided by gravity flow accompanying uplift of foreland thrust belts during the Late Pennsylvanian to Early Permian Ouachita orogeny. In this study, we use chemical speciation and reaction path calculations, based on quantitative chemical analyses of fluid inclusions, to constrain likely hydrothermal brine compositions and to determine which precipitation mechanisms are consistent with the hydrothermal mineral assemblages observed regionally and locally within each Mississippi Valley-type district in the Ozark region. Deposition of the regional hydrothermal dolomite cement with trace sulfides likely occurred in response to near-isothermal effervescence of CO2 from basinal brines as they migrated to shallower crustal levels and lower confining pressures. In contrast, our calculations indicate that no one depositional process can reproduce the mineral assemblages and proportions of minerals observed in each Ozark ore district; rather, individual districts require specific depositional mechanisms that reflect the local host-rock composition, structural setting, and hydrology. Both the Northern Arkansas and Tri-State districts are localized by normal faults that likely allowed brines to rise from deeper Cambrian-Ordovician dolostone aquifers into shallower carbonate sequences dominated by limestones. In the Northern Arkansas district, jasperoid preferentially replaced limestones in the mixed dolostone-limestone sedimentary packages. Modeling results indicate that the ore and alteration assemblages in the Tri-State and Northern Arkansas districts resulted from the flow of initially dolomite-saturated brines into cooler limestones. Adjacent to fluid conduits where water/rock ratios were the highest, the limestone was replaced by dolomite. As the fluids moved outward into cooler limestone, jasperoid and sulfide replaced limestone. Isothermal boiling of the ore fluids may have produced open-space filling of hydrothermal dolomite with minor sulfides in breccia and fault zones. Local mixing of the regional brine with locally derived sulfur undoubtedly played a role in the development of sulfide-rich ore runs. Sulfide ores of the Central Missouri district are largely open-space filling of sphalerite plus minor galena in dolostone karst features localized along a broad anticline. Hydrothermal solution collapse during ore deposition was a minor process, indicating dolomite was slightly undersaturated during ore deposition. No silicification and only minor hydrothermal dolomite is present in the ore deposits. The reaction path that best explains the features of the Central Missouri sulfide deposits is the near-isothermal mixing of two dolomite-saturated fluids with different H2S and metal contents. Paleokarst features may have allowed the regional brine to rise stratigraphically and mix with locally derived, H2S-rich fluids

Carbonate Speleothems in the Dry, Inneralpine Vinschgau Valley, Northernmost Italy: Witnesses of Changes in Climate and Hydrology Since the Last Glacial Maximum, 2002, Spotl C. , Unterwurzacher M. , Mangini A. , Longstaffe F. J. ,
An interesting association of slope breccia, inactive and active tufa deposits, and speleothems is present in the central Vinschgau Valley, Italy. The occurrence of abundant carbonate cements in fractures and voids of crystalline basement rocks is unexpected considering the fact that this valley is among the driest spots in the entire Alps. Low annual precipitation of 440-530 mm coupled with frequent wind give rise to a semiarid climate and steppe vegetation along the south-facing slopes of the valley. Springs in this area are mostly supersaturated with respect to calcite, and carbonate precipitation occurs locally as tufas and, less well known because of lack of accessibility, as speleothems in the shallow subsurface. The majority of the tufa deposits and speleothems, however, are fossil. Speleothems are composed of low-Mg calcite and calcite-aragonite, respectively. Delicate growth textures including presumable annual lamination caused by pronounced changes in fluorescence intensity are preserved in both calcite and aragonite. Most calcite is a primary precipitate, but small amounts of secondary calcite replacing aragonite are common in most aragonite-bearing samples. The highly radiogenic Sr isotope composition, as well as high concentrations of U, Fe, Sr, and Mg, indicate that the groundwater from which these carbonates precipitated experienced intensive interaction with the host crystalline rocks. The very low tritium concentrations and the lack of a seasonal O isotope variation in modern spring waters, as well as their rather constant hydrochemical composition, also support this suggestion. S isotope data for dissolved sulfate and Ca and Mg sulfate precipitates indicate a sulfide source, i.e., oxidation of sulfide ore minerals in the aquifer, resulting in elevated sulfate and Fe concentrations. Th/U dating of speleothem samples using thermal ionization mass spectrometry yielded ages between 13,710 and 378 yr BP, with most ages falling in the early to middle Holocene. Although no isotopic dates are available for the tufa deposits, field evidence strongly suggests that speleothems, tufa deposits, and carbonate cements in the slope breccia were closely related. We therefore interpret the existence of these terrestrial carbonates as evidence of changes in climate since the middle Holocene. Their presence suggests a higher annual rainfall during the first half of the Holocene, possibly because of enhanced moisture transport from the Mediterranean

The 'Calamine' of Southwest Sardinia: Geology, Mineralogy, and Stable Isotope Geochemistry of Supergene Zn Mineralization, 2003, Boni M, Gilg Ha, Aversa G, Balassone G,
The mining district of southwest Sardinia, Italy, is one of the classic areas where primary carbonate-hosted Zn-Pb sulfide ores are associated with a relatively thick secondary oxidation zone containing Zn (hydroxy-)carbonates and silicates, the so-called 'calamine,' exploited until the 1970s. The extent of the capping oxidized ore zones, reaching deep below the surface, is generally independent of the present-day water table. The base of the oxidation profile containing nonsulfide Zn minerals in various uplifted blocks in the Iglesiente area can be both elevated above or submerged below the recent water table. The genesis of the ores is therefore considered to be related to fossil, locally reactivated, oxidation phenomena. The mineralogy of the nonsulfide mineralization is generally complex and consists of smithsonite, hydrozincite, and hemimorphite as the main economic minerals, accompanied by iron and manganese oxy-hydroxides and residual clays. This study places the secondary ores in the context of the tectonostratigraphic and climatic evolution of Sardinia and includes a petrographic and mineralogic study of the most abundant minerals, relating the mineralogy of secondary Zn and Pb carbonates to their stable C and O isotope geochemistry and constraining the origin of the oxidizing fluids and the temperature of mineralization. The{delta} 18OVSMOW values of smithsonite are homogeneous, regardless of crystal morphology, position, and mine location (avg. 27.4 {} 0.9{per thousand}). This homogeneity points to a relatively uniform isotopic composition of the oxidation fluid and corresponding formation temperatures of 20{degrees} to 35{degrees}C. Considering the karstic environment of smithsonite formation in southwest Sardinia, this high temperature could be due to heat release during sulfide oxidation. The carbon isotope compositions of secondary Zn carbonates display considerable variations of more than 9 per mil ({delta}13CVPDB from -0.6 to -10.4{per thousand}). This large range indicates participation of variable amounts of reduced organic and marine carbonate carbon during sulfide oxidation. The isotopic variation can be related to a variation in crystal morphologies of smithsonite, reflecting different environments of formation with respect to water table oscillations in karstic environments (upper to lower vadose to epiphreatic). The same range in{delta} 13C isotope values is displayed by the calcite associated with Zn carbonates and by recent speleothems. The most reliable time span for the deposition of bulk calamine ore in southwest Sardinia ranges from middle Eocene to Plio-Pleistocene, although further multiple reactivation of the weathering profiles, peaking within the warm interglacial periods of the Quaternary, cannot be excluded

The Padaeng Supergene Nonsulfide Zinc Deposit, Mae Sod, Thailand, 2003, Reynolds Neal A. , Chisnall Tony W. , Kaewsang Kriangsak, Keesaneyabutr Chanan, Taksavasu Taksorn,
The Padaeng deposit near Mae Sod in western Thailand was the first supergene nonsulfide zinc deposit in the world to be developed as a large modern mining operation. The mine and associated zinc smelter, operated by Padaeng Industry Public Company Ltd. since 1984, went into production with reserves of 4.59 Mt at a grade of 28.9 percent zinc with a 10 percent zinc cutoff. Current resources are 5.14 Mt at a grade of 12.0 percent zinc with a 3 percent zinc cutoff. The Padaeng deposit is hosted by a mixed carbonate-clastic sequence of Middle Jurassic age. The deposit occurs in the hanging wall of the Padaeng fault, a major northwest-trending structure that was active through Cretaceous and Tertiary tectonism and uplift. Nonsulfide zinc ore comprises dominant hemimorphite with minor smithsonite and hydrozincite. Strata-bound ore zones occur within a northwest-dipping, deeply weathered, dolomitic sandstone; steeply dipping and irregular karstic zones in underlying massive, silty dolomite are controlled by north-trending fracture zones. Sulfide zinc-lead mineralization of Mississippi Valley type occured extensively in the vicinity of the Padaeng mine, most notably the small resources at Pha De and Hua Lon. Mineral deposits are typically sphalerite rich with minor galena and pyrite, forming small-scale open-space fillings, veins, and replacements within hydrothermal dolomite. Mineralization is dominantly strata bound within a horizon of intense hydrothermal dolomitization that forms the stratigraphic hanging wall to the nonsulfide ore zones at Padaeng. The only significant sulfide at the Padaeng mine is within this unit. Only trace sulfide occurs peripheral to, or down dip of, strata-bound or steeply dipping, nonsulfide orebodies. Sulfide mineralization is believed to have accompanied Cretaceous uplift and deformation, related to the onset of oblique subduction beneath the western margin of the Shan-Thai terrane. The nonsulfide deposit is believed to have formed when a substantial body of sulfide ore was uplifted on the margin of the Mae Sod Tertiary intermontane basin, commencing in the middle to late Miocene. Zinc-bearing acidic supergene fluids, generated by oxidation of the precursor sulfide body, reacted with carbonate in the underlying stratigraphic section to precipitate hemimorphite and smithsonite. Fluids were channeled by permeable dolomitic sandstones and by steep fracture and fault zones. Acidic fluids promoted deep weathering and karst formation, allowing mineralization to extend down dip in sandstone units for at least 150 m and vertically for a similar distance in steep structural zones. Transport of zinc out of the precursor sulfide body was facilitated by a falling water table, owing to uplift of the Padaeng fault block and a change from wet tropical to monsoonal or semiarid climatic conditions. There is no evidence for significant in situ replacement of sulfide deposits, and the leached remnants of the precursor sulfide body have been removed by erosion. The supergene process of dissolution and reprecipitation of zinc in the host rocks increased zinc grades and separation of zinc from lead, producing an economically attractive deposit. Successful exploration for this type of deposit requires a good understanding of the controls on primary sulfide mineralization and a good knowledge of local neotectonism, uplift history, hydrogeology, climatic evolution, and weathering history

The Geomicrobiology of Ore Deposits, 2005, Southam G. , Saunders James A. ,
Bacterial metabolism, involving redox reactions with carbon, sulfur, and metals, appears to have been important since the dawn of life on Earth. In the Archean, anaerobic bacteria thrived before the Proterozoic oxidation of the atmosphere and the oceans, and these organisms continue to prosper in niches removed from molecular oxygen. Both aerobes and anaerobes have profound effects on the geochemistry of dissolved metals and metal-bearing minerals. Aerobes can oxidize dissolved metals and reduced sulfur, as well as sulfur and metals in sulfide minerals can contribute to the supergene enrichment of sulfide ores, and can catalyze the formation of acid mine drainage. Heterotrophic anaerobes, which require organic carbon for their metabolism, catalyze a number of thermodynamically favorable reactions such as Fe-Mn oxyhydroxide reductive dissolution (and the release of sorbed metals to solution) and sulfate reduction. Bacterial sulfate reduction to H2S can be very rapid if reactive organic carbon is present and can lead to precipitation of metal sulfides and perhaps increase the solubility of elements such as silver, gold, and arsenic that form stable Me-H2S aqueous complexes. Similarly, the bacterial degradation of complex organic compounds such as cellulose and hemicellulose to simpler molecules, such as acetate, oxalate, and citrate, can enhance metal solubility by forming Me organic complexes and cause dissolution of silicate minerals. Bacterially induced mineralization is being used for the bioremediation of metal-contaminated environments. Through similar processes, bacteria may have been important contributors in some sedimentary ore-forming environments and could be important along the low-temperature edges of high-temperature systems such as those that form volcanogenic massive sulfides

Discrimination of meteoric karst breccias from tectono-thermobaric breccias, 2005, Smith Langhorne B. , Palmer Arthur
Tectono-thermobaric breccias and associated hydrothermal dolomite reservoirs, such as those in the Trenton-Black River play, represent a major remaining resource in North America. Tectono-thermobaric breccias must be differentiated from paleokarst breccias for sound exploration and development decisions. Paleokarst breccias and collapsed meteoric caves are genetically related to sequence boundaries. Many have non-carbonate detrital matrix with vestiges of calcite speleothems. Perching on low-permeability strata is common. Modern meteoric caves are far more common in limestone than dolomite, typically <10 meters wide, and limited to areas of local topographic relief and discharge into a surface drainage system. Cavernous porosity is irregularly distributed and rarely more than 5% of the total rock volume. Ancient collapsed caves should show evidence for these characteristics. Tectono-thermobaric breccias form where space is created in active fault zones. Thermobaric (high-pressure, high-temperature) fluids flow up the active faults, enlarge fractures and precipitate minerals such as saddle dolomite, calcite and sulfides between clasts. Breccias follow fault trends, can be up to hundreds of meters wide, and are commonly concentrated beneath sealing shales or argillaceous limestones. These breccias can occur in limestone or dolomite but are commonly associated with hydrothermal matrix dolomitization. High permeability and porosity can be preserved between partially cemented clasts and in linked vugs, fractures and matrix. Tectono-thermobaric breccias form mainly in previously unbrecciated strata, but they may serendipitously intersect earlier meteoric karst. Tectono-thermobaric brecciated reservoirs commonly occur around wrench faults identifiable on seismic data. These reservoirs commonly do not require structural closure, so many potential targets remain undrilled. Tectono-thermobaric carbonate breccias also host many of the world's sulfide ore deposits. Many brecciated reservoirs and ore deposits that have been previously interpreted as meteoric karst may in fact be tectono-thermobaric in origin.

Nonsulfide and sulfide-rich zinc mineralizations in the Vazante, Ambrsia and Fagundes deposits, Minas Gerais, Brazil: Mass balance and stable isotope characteristics of the hydrothermal alterati, 2007, Soares Monteiro Lena Virgí, Nia, Bettencourt Jorge Silva, Juliani Caetano, De Oliveira Tolentino Flvio
The Vazante Group hosts the Vazante nonsulfide zinc deposit, which comprises high-grade zinc silicate ore (ZnSiO4), and late-diagenetic to epigenetic carbonate-hosted sulfide-rich zinc deposits (e.g. Morro Agudo, Fagundes, and Ambrósia). In the sulfide-rich deposits, hydrothermal alteration involving silicification and dolomitization was related with ground preparation of favorable zones for fluid migration (e.g. Fagundes) or with direct interaction with the metalliferous fluid (e.g. Ambrósia). At Vazante, hydrothermal alteration resulted in silicification and dolomite, siderite, jasper, hematite, and chlorite formation. These processes were accompanied by strong relative gains of SiO2, Fe2O3(T), Rb, Sb, V, U, and La, which are typically associated with the nonsulfide zinc mineralization. All sulfide-rich zinc ores in the district display a similar geochemical signature suggesting a common metal source from the underlying sedimentary sequences. Oxygen and carbon isotope compositions of hydrothermally altered rocks reveal a remarkable alteration halo at the Vazante deposit, which is not a notable feature in the sulfide-rich deposits. This pattern could be attributed to fluid mixing processes involving the metalliferous fluid and channelized meteoric water, which may control the precipitation of the Vazante nonsulfide ore. Sulfide deposition resulted from fluid?rock interaction processes and mixing between the ascending metalliferous fluids and sulfur-rich tectonic brines derived from reduced shale units.

Isotope geochemistry of the mafic dikes from the Vazante nonsulfide zinc deposit, Brazil, 2007, Babinski M. , Monteiro L. V. S. , Fetter A. H. , Bettencourt J. S. , Oliveir T. F.
The Vazante Group, located in the northwestern part of Minas Gerais, hosts the most important zinc mine in Brazil, the Vazante Mine, which represents a major known example of a hypogene nonsulfide zinc deposit. The main zinc ore is represented by willemite and differs substantially from other deposits of the Vazante-Paracatu region, which are sulfide-dominated zinc-lead ore. The age of the Vazante Group and the hosted mineralization is disputable. Metamorphosed mafic dikes (metabasites) that cut the metasedimentary sequence and are affected by hydrothermal processes recently were found and may shed light on the geochronology of this important geological unit. Zircon crystals recovered from the metabasites are xenocrystic grains that yield U?Pb conventional ages ranging from 2.1 to 2.4 Ga, so the basement of the Vazante Group is Paleoproterozoic or has metasedimentary rocks whose source area was Paleoproterozoic. Pb isotopes determined for titanite separated from the metabasites have common, nonradiogenic Pb compositions, which prevents determination of their crystallization age. However, the Pb signatures observed for the titanite crystals are in agreement with those determined for galena from the carbonate-hosted Zn?Pb deposits hosted by the Vazante Group, including galena from minor sulfide ore bodies of the Vazante deposit. These similarities suggest that the metalliferous fluids that affected the metabasites may have been those responsible for galena formation, which could imply a similar lead source for both nonsulfide and sulfide zinc deposits in the Vazante?Paracatu district. This common source could be related to deep-seated, basin-derived, metalliferous fluids associated with a long-lived hydrothermal system related to diagenesis and deformation of the Vazante Group during the Neoproterozoic.

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.


Hypogenic caves in France. Speleogenesis and morphology of the cave systems, 2010, Audra Philippe, D’antoninobecourt Jeanclaude, Bigot Jeanyves

Hypogenic caves develop by recharge from below, not directly influenced by seepage from the over lying 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 of tenhiding 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 Cara man, Vallondu Salut). Often, thermal in fluences only occur as point thermal infeeders into epigenic caves (Mescla, Estra mar). 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 de posits. The Giant Phreatic Shafts locate along regional active faul tlines. 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 hyperkars tification 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) sulfidicores. Iron deposits as massive bodies (Lagnes) or ontomicrobial media (Ibous sières, 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 suppres ses 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-Sé bastien). In thick folded limestone the rising hypogenic flow alternatively follows joints and bedding planes, pro ducing 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 headward 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 emplace ment of minerals and hydrocarbons.


Karst Geomorphology: Sulfur Karst Processes, 2013, Hose, L. D.

Recognition and understanding of the important role of sulfur redox processes in developing karst has grown over the last25 years with the discovery of remarkable sulfur-rich caves worldwide and advances in geomicrobiology. Recent work hasshown that microbes interact with hydrocarbons, calcium sulfate bedrock, magmatic fluids, and sulfide ore minerals toreduce gypsum/anhydrite to calcite, produce hydrogen sulfide and sulfuric acid, convert limestone to gypsum, in crease porosity in carbonate bedrocks, precipitate massive sulfur, and deposit Mississippi Valley-Type (MVT) ores. These processesare most active in the shallow phreatic and vadose-phreatic subsurface, where transitions between aerobic and anaerobicconditions exist.


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