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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 consolidated rock is rock that has become hard and coherent through compression and lithification [16].?

Checkout all 2699 terms in the KarstBase Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms

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KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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Geochemical and mineralogical fingerprints to distinguish the exploited ferruginous mineralisations of Grotta della Monaca (Calabria, Italy), Dimuccio, L.A.; Rodrigues, N.; Larocca, F.; Pratas, J.; Amado, A.M.; Batista de Carvalho, L.A.
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
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Your search for transit times (Keyword) returned 8 results for the whole karstbase:
Measurements of tritium and O-18 concentrations in precipitation and runoff were used to provide further insight into the groundwater storage properties of the Wimbachtal Valley, a catchment area of 33.4 km2, extending between 636 and 2713 m a.s.l. in the Berchtesgaden Alps. The catchment includes three aquifer types: a dominant porous aquifer; a fractured dolomite; a karstic limestone aquifer. Employing a simple hydrological model, information about mean transit times of environmental tracers is derived for the groundwater runoff component and several karst springs from the application of the exponential and dispersion flow models to the isotopic input and output data. The mean transit times calculated from a dispersion model with transit times of 4.1 years for O-18 and 4.2 years for tritium, which agree well, allow calculation of total (mobile stagnant) groundwater storage volume, which is equivalent to 6.6 m of water depth. Direct runoff appears negligible as in many other cases

Oxidation of organic matter in a karstic hydrologic unit supplied through stream sinks (Loiret, France), 1998, Alberic P, Lepiller M,
The aim of this paper is to appraise the ability of the oxidation of riverine organic matter in the control of limestone dissolution, in a karst network. Biogeochemical processes during infiltration of river water into an alluvial aquifer have already been described for an average flow velocity of 4-5 m d(-1) (Jacobs, L. A., von Gunten, H. R., Keil, R, and Kuslys, M. (1988) Geochemical changes along a river-groundwater infiltration flow path: Glattfelden, Switzerland. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 52, 2693-2706; Von Gunten, H. R., Karametaxas, G., Krahenbuhl, U., Kuslys, M., Giovanoli R., Hoehn E. and Keil R. (1991) Seasonal biogeochemical cycles in riverborne groundwater. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 55, 3597-3609; Bourg, A. C. M. and Bertin, C. (1993) Quantitative appraisal of biogeochemical chemical processes during the infiltration of river water into an alluvial aquifer. Environ. Sci. Technol. 27, 661-666). Karstic drainage networks, such as in the River Loire-Val d'Orleans hydrologic system (Fig. 1), make possible flow velocities up to 200 m h(-1 a) and provide convenient access to different water samples several tens of km apart, at both extremities of the hydrologic unit (Chery, J.-L. (1983) Etude hydrochimique d'un aquifere karstique alimente par perte de cours d'eau (la Loire): Le systeme des calcaires de Beauce sous le val d'Orleans. These, Universite d'Orleans; Livrozet, E. (1984) Influence des apports de la Loire sur la qualite bacteriologique et chimique de l'aquifere karstique du val d'Orleans. These, Universite d'Orleans). Recharge of the karstic aquifer occurs principally from influent waters from stream sinks, either through coarse alluvial deposits or directly from outcrops of the regional limestone bedrock (Calcaires de Beauce). Recharge by seepage waters From the local catchment basin is small (Zunino, C., Bonnet, M. and Lelong, F. (1980) Le Val d'Orleans: un exemple d'aquifere a alimentation laterale. C. R. somm. Soc. Geol. Fr. 5, 195-199; Gonzalez R. (1992) Etude de l'organisation et evaluation des echanges entre la Loire moyenne et l'aquifere des calcaires de Beauce. These, Universite d'Orleans) and negligible in summer. This karstic hydrologic: system is the largest in France in terms of flow (tens to hundreds of m(3)/s) and provides the main water resource of the city of Orleans. Chemical compositions of influent waters (River Loire) and effluent waters (spring of the river Loiret) were compared, in particular during floods in summer 1992 and 1993 (Figs 2-4). Variation of chloride in the River Loire during the stream rise can be used as an environmental tracer of the underground flow (Fig. 2). Short transit times of about 3 days are detectable (Fig, 2) which are consistent with earlier estimations obtained with chemical tracers (Ref. in Chery, J.-L. (1983) These, Universite d'Orleans). Depending on the hydrological regime of the river, organic carbon discharge ranges between 3-7 and 2-13 mg/l for dissolved and particulate matter respectively (Fig. 3). Eutrophic characteristics and high algal biomasses are found in the River Loire during low water (Lair, N. and Sargos, D. (1993) A 10 year study at four sites of the middle course of the River Loire. I - Patterns of change in hydrological, physical and chemical variables in relation to algal biomass. Hudroecol. Appl. 5, 1-27) together with more organic carbon rich suspended particulate matter than during floods (30-40 C-org % dry weight versus 5-10%). Amounts of total organic carbon and dissolved oxygen (Fig. 3) dramatically decrease during the underground transport, whereas conversely, dissolved calcium, alkalinity and inorganic carbon increase (Fig. 4). Anoxia of outflows map start in April. Dissolution of calcium carbonates along the influent path outweighs closed system calcite equilibrium of inflow river waters (Table 3). The impact of organic matter oxidation on calcite dissolution may be traced by variations of alkalinity and total carbonates in water. Following, Jacobs, L. A., von Gunten, H. R., Keil, R. and Kuslys, M. (1988) Geochemical changes along a river-groundwater infiltration flow path: Glattfelden, Switzerland. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 52, 2693-2706), results are shown graphically (Fig. 5). Extent of reactions is controlled by the consumption of dissolved O-2 and nitrate for organic matter oxidation and by the release of Ca2 for calcite dissolution (Table 2). The karstic network is considered to behave like a biological reactor not exchanging with the atmosphere, with steady inhabitant microbial communities (Mariotti A., Landreau A, and Simon B. (1988) N-15 isotope biogeochemisrry and natural denitrification process in groundwater: Application to the chalk aquifer of northern France. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 52, 1869-1878; Gounot, A.-M. (1991) Ecologie microbienne des eaux ei des sediments souterrains. Hydrogeologie, 239-248). Thus, energy requirements only are considered, not carbon assimilation. Moreover, there is no necessity to invoke any delay for nitrification enhancement, as observed elsewhere, after waste water discharge into the river (Chesterikoff, A., Garban, B., Billen, G. and Poulin, M. (1992) Inorganic nitrogen dynamics in the River Seine downstream from Paris (France). Biogeochem. 17, 147-164). Main microbial processes are assumed to be aerobic respiration, nitrification and denitrification. Reactions with iron and manganese, real but not quantitatively important, were neglected. Sulphate reduction and methane formation, certainly not active, were not considered. Denitrification, which is suggested by low nitrate and ammonium concentrations and anoxia in the outflow, is known to be rapid enough to be achieved in a short time (Dupain, S. (1992) Denitrification biologique heterotrophe appliquee au traitement des eaux d'alimentation: Conditions de fonclionnement et mise au point d'un procede. These, Universite Claude Bernard, Lyon). Reaction are somewhat arbitrary but conform to general acceptance (Morel, M. M. and Hering, J. G. (1993) Principles and Applications of Aquatic Chemistry. Wiley, New York). Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (Mulder A., van de Graaf, A. A., Robertson, L: A. and Kuenen, J. G. (1995) Anaerobic ammonium oxidation discovered in a denitrifying fluidized bed reactor. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 16, 177-184). although possible, was not considered. In fact, C/N ratio of the reactive organic matter has only mild repercussions on the results; i.e. in the same range as the analytical errors for alkalinity and total carbonates. The objective was simply to roughly confront characteristics of outflowing waters and the calculation. Respective roles of aerobes and denitrifiers, for instance, are not certain. Several periods during low water or floods were selected with various ranges for calcium dissolution or nitrate and oxygen concentrations. The result is that in most cases simulation and data are in reasonable accordance (Fig. 5). Amounts of organic matter in River Loire are generally sufficient to sustain the process (Table 3. Particulate organic matter is probably the most reactive. The balance of oxidation of organic matter indicates that about 65 mu g C-org/l.h are oxidized during the transport without much variation with the river regime or organic discharge. It is concluded that limestone dissolution is directly dependent on organic matter oxidation, but variation occurs (7-29 mg CuCO3/l) with the level of bases that can be neutralized in the River Loire water. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved

A conceptual model of flow and transport in a karst aquifer based on spatial and temporal variations of natural tracers, 2003, Perrin, Jerome

Karst aquifers represent an important groundwater resource world-wide. They are highly vulnerable to contamination due to fast transport through the system and limited attenuation of contaminants. The two main hydrogeological approaches developed for studying flow and transport are: inference of the
system structure from karst spring hydrographs and chemographs; numerical modelling of flow and transport using a theoretical distribution of flow and transport field parameters. These two approaches lack of validation by detailed field measurements and observations. The main objective of this thesis is to “fill the gap” existing between field and model data. Observations of flow and transport parameters at several locations within the system were used to develop a conceptual model. This model was then compared to the existing models.
The main field test site is the Milandre karst aquifer, located in the Swiss tabular Jura. Natural tracers (major ions, oxygen-18, specific conductance) and discharge were measured on the underground river, its main tributaries, percolation waters, and the main spring. These data were collected on a long-term basis in order to assess the spatial variability of the parameters, and on a short time scale (i.e. flood events) in order to investigate the dynamic processes. Complementary sites (Brandt and Grand Bochat) were used for more observations at the base of the epikarst.
The proposed conceptual model considers four sub-systems: the soil zone, the epikarst, the unsaturated zone, and the phreatic zone. Each has its own specificity with respect to flow and transport. The soil zone controls the actual infiltration into the system. It contributes efficiently to groundwater storage. It mixes quickly stored water with fresh infiltrated water. Its thickness determines land-use: thick soils are generally cultivated whereas thin soils are under forested areas. The solutes concentration of soil waters depends on land-use for pollution-related parameters (nitrate, chloride, sulfate, potassium, sodium). Moreover the soil zone is the main source of CO2 which controls the limestone dissolution-related parameters. The epikarst zone contributes largely to groundwater storage. It distributes groundwater into vadose flow through conduits, and base flow through low permeability volumes (LPV) in the unsaturated zone. It is the sub-system where dissolution-related parameters are mostly acquired.
The unsaturated zone is seen as a transmissive zone connecting the epikarst to the horizontal conduit network of the phreatic zone. In case of flood events, some dissolution still occurs in this sub-system.
The phreatic zone is the partly flooded conduit network draining groundwater to the spring. It collects waters issued from the unsaturated zone, mixes the tributaries, and drain the water towards the discharge area. The role of phreatic storage appears to be limited for both hydraulics and transport.
Tributary mixing is a prominent process that shapes spring chemographs during flood events. In steady-state conditions, base flow is mainly sustained by the epikarst reservoir. Tracer concentrations are stable as the chemical equilibrium is already reached in the epikarst. Waters issued from the different tributaries mix in the conduit network, and the spring chemistry is the result of this mixing.
During flood events, transient flow induces non-linear mixing of the tributaries. The respective contributions of the tributaries change throughout the flood, and the spring chemographs vary accordingly. In case of important recharge, waters issued from other sources than the epikarst participate to the flood. First, soil water reaches the phreatic zone. Its characteristics are a dampened isotopic signal, and ionic concentrations differing from those of the epikarst. Second, fresh water directly issued from rainfall, may reach the phreatic zone. Its characteristics are a varying isotopic signal, and diluted ionic concentrations. The mixing components participating to the flood are controlled by the actual infiltration volume (or height). The limestone dissolution process is effective for the fresh and soil components of flow. However mixing processes play a more important role than dissolution for shaping the spring chemographs.
From a practical point of view, the project confirmed the prominent role of the soil zone and the epikarst on the solute transport in karst systems. This was already integrated in karst vulnerability mapping methods recently developed (EPIK, PI, VULK).


Sources of nitrate contamination and age of water in large karstic springs of Florida, 2004, Katz B. G. ,
In response to concerns about the steady increase in nitrate concentrations over the past several decades in many of Florida's first magnitude spring waters (discharge greater than or equal to2.8 m(3)/s), multiple isotopic and other chemical tracers were analyzed in water samples from 12 large springs to assess sources and timescales of nitrate contamination. Nitrate-N concentrations in spring waters ranged from 0.50 to 4.2 mg/L, and delta(15)N values of nitrate in spring waters ranged from 2.6 to 7.9 per mil. Most delta(15)N values were below 6 per mil indicating that inorganic fertilizers were the dominant source of nitrogen in these waters. Apparent ages of groundwater discharging from springs ranged from 5 to about 35-years, based on multi-tracer analyses (CFC-12, CFC-113, SF6, H-3/He-3) and a piston flow assumption; however, apparent tracer ages generally were not concordant. The most reliable spring-water ages appear to be based on tritium and He-3 data, because concentrations of CFCs and SF6 in several spring waters were much higher than would be expected from equilibration with modern atmospheric concentrations. Data for all tracers were most consistent with output curves for exponential and binary mixing models that represent mixtures of water in the Upper Floridan aquifer recharged since the early 1960s. Given that groundwater transit times are on the order of decades and are related to the prolonged input of nitrogen from multiple sources to the aquifer, nitrate could persist in groundwater that flows toward springs for several decades due to slow transport of solutes through the aquifer matrix

Translating CFC-based piston ages into probability density functions of ground-water age in karst, 2006, Long Andrew J. , Putnam Larry D. ,
SummaryTemporal age distributions are equivalent to probability density functions (PDFs) of transit time. The type and shape of a PDF provides important information related to ground-water mixing at the well or spring and the complex nature of flow networks in karst aquifers. Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) concentrations measured for samples from 12 locations in the karstic Madison aquifer were used to evaluate the suitability of various PDF types for this aquifer. Parameters of PDFs could not be estimated within acceptable confidence intervals for any of the individual sites. Therefore, metrics derived from CFC-based apparent ages were used to evaluate results of PDF modeling in a more general approach. The ranges of these metrics were established as criteria against which families of PDFs could be evaluated for their applicability to different parts of the aquifer. Seven PDF types, including five unimodal and two bimodal models, were evaluated. Model results indicate that unimodal models may be applicable to areas close to conduits that have younger piston (i.e., apparent) ages and that bimodal models probably are applicable to areas farther from conduits that have older piston ages. The two components of a bimodal PDF are interpreted as representing conduit and diffuse flow, and transit times of as much as two decades may separate these PDF components. Areas near conduits may be dominated by conduit flow, whereas areas farther from conduits having bimodal distributions probably have good hydraulic connection to both diffuse and conduit flow

Intrinsic vulnerability of the Alburni karst system (southern Italy), 2007, Ducci D,
In order to, respectively, assess the resource vulnerability and the source vulnerability of the Alburni karst system (southern Italy), the COP and VULK methods have been applied in the framework of the European Approach' as proposed in 2003 by the COST (Co-Operation in Science and Technology) 620 task group - Action: Vulnerability and Risk Mapping for the Protection of Carbonate - Karst - Aquifers'. The Alburni massif, with more than 500 caves, is the most important karst area of southern Italy. The drainage network is not continuous; there are several endoreic basins and large zones without superficial drainage but with many sinking streams (streams disappearing into swallow holes) and dolines. The caves (more than 100), well explored by speleologists, directly communicate with the above mentioned infiltration areas. The most important ones are hierarchically well organized and extend over a wide area. Some of them recharge important springs with very short transit times. The final vulnerability map shows that the prevalent vulnerabilities are high and very high owing to the widespread karstification and the presence of large vegetated areas with gentle slopes that favour fast infiltration on the plateau

Vertical migration of municipal wastewater in deep injection well systems, South Florida, USA, 2007, Maliv R. G. , Guo W. , Missimer T.

Deep well injection is widely used in South Florida, USA for wastewater disposal largely because of the presence of an injection zone (“boulder zone” of Floridan Aquifer System) that is capable of accepting very large quantities of fluids, in some wells over 75,000m 3 / day. The greatest potential risk to public health associated with deep injection wells in South Florida is vertical migration of wastewater, containing pathogenic micro-organisms and pollutants, into brackish-water aquifer zones that are being used for alternative water-supply projects such as aquifer storage and recovery. Upwards migration of municipal wastewater has occurred in a minority of South Florida injection systems. The results of solute-transport modeling using the SEAWAT program indicate that the measured vertical hydraulic conductivi-ties of the rock matrix would allow for only minimal vertical migration. Fracturing at some sites increased the equivalent average vertical hydraulic conductivity of confining zone strata by approximately four orders of magnitude and allowed for vertical migration rates of up 80m/year. Even where vertical migration was rapid, the documented transit times are likely long enough for the inactivation of pathogenic microorganisms. 

A Sustainability Index for Karst Environments, 2012, Van Beynen P. , Brinkmann R. , Van Beynen K.

With growing populations and ever increasing pressure on resources, the need to live sustainably with our environment has increased in significance. When considering such anthropogenic pressures, karst landscapes are as vulnerable, if not more so, than any other environment. Such vulnerability arises from the rapid transit times of percolating water, the poor filtering ability of carbonate bedrock, and the highly specialized biota of subterranean karst. The Karst Sustainability Index (KSI) was created as a standardized metric of sustainable development practices in karst settings. The KSI uses predetermined targets to ascertain the overall sustainability of a karst region. Indicators are designed to incorporate common measures of sustainability for the three domains of social, environmental, and economic resource use. Benchmarking the current state of karst environments allows the comparison of sustainability practices temporally and spatially to highlight areas where remedial policies or actions are needed. This is the first index to incorporate the emerging field of environmental sustainability with karst landscape assessment. To test the applicability of the KSI, a study was undertaken in the Tampa Bay Metropolitan Area, which encompasses four counties that are entirely karst. The TBMA was found to be progressing towards the sustainable management of karst resources, and the KSI provided a robust measure of sustainability.

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