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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 flow-mass curve is 1. a mass curve with runoff discharge as a hydrologic quantity [16]. 2. the integral of the curve of a hydrograph [16].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
See all featured articles
Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for dust (Keyword) returned 105 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 105
Two New Types of Gypsum Speleothems from New Mexico: Gypsum Trays and Gypsum Dust, 1994, Calaforra Jos Mara, Forti Paola

The Treasure Cave, Rincn de la Victoria (Malaga, Spain), 1994, Gutirrez Jos Lus, Guzmn Antonio, Mendoza Fernando
La Cueva del Tesoro (The Treasure Cave) is located on the East, 10 kilometres from the city of Malaga, in a coastal promontory called El Cantal (a small steep), which is situated in the municipality of Rincn de la Victoria. The composition of land in this zone El Cantal is made up of limestone and there are many caves which are located within a radius of 2 kilometres, although some of them have already disappeared: la Cueva dei Tesoro, la cueva del Hoyo de la Mina, Cuevas de Navarro, Cuevas de la Cantera, Cueva de los Molinos, Cueva de la Raja del Humo, etc. The best known of these caves and the only one who can be visited is the Cueva del Tesoro. It has been also known by some other names, such as the Cueva del Higuern or the Cueva del Suizo. The Cueva del Tesoro has its origin in the sea coast depths; that is why its morphology is made up of halls, gorges and columns. Then, and because of the upheaval of El Cantal the cave emerged out of the sea. Finally, fresh water percolation resulted in the formation of some stalactites and stalagmites, although they are of less importance within the whole cave This cave. which was already used as shelter for 8 months by Marcus Crassus (according to a legend) in 86 B.C. when he was prosecuted, it was also used, according to another tradition, to hide the Almoravid treasure in the l2th century. This treasure has been searched for by some people in the last two hundred years. One of them was the Swiss, Antonio de la Nari, who died because of an explosion inside the cave in 1847. Professor Manuel Laza Palacios from Malaga, owner of the cave, has been the best specialist and treasure searcher. He was an exceptional person, has knew how to keep alive hopefully the old legend throughout his whole life. Besides, the cave has provided some important archaeological discoveries: Father Breuil found out some cave paintings in 1918 and excavations have been recently carried out by Mr. Manuel Laza. A rather interesting material appeared, such as Neolithic pottery, lithic industry (the most important object is an Upper Paleolithic arrow-head), human and animal remains. According to these discoveries, the presence of human beings in this cave is proved since the Paleolithic. There are also a series of legends and traditions related to the Cueva del Tesoro. So, in this frame, it has been given for sure and for a very long time that the ghost of the Swiss still appears in El Cantal to look for the treasure. Another tradition, studied by Mr. Laza, places the sanctuary of the old goddess Noctiluce inside a hall of the cave.

Southeast South Australia has large reserves of potable groundwater, generally close to the surface. European settlement has had a major impact on groundwater quality due to the presence of extensive karst in the unconfined aquifer. Historically, industries such as cheese factories were often sited close to karst features (e.g. caves and sinkholes) because they provided a convenient means of waste disposal. Although most have long since closed, they have left a legacy of pollution plumes of varying sizes. In Mount Gambier, the main regional centre, the presence of both exposed and subterranean karst features provided a ''perfect system'' for the disposal of stormwater. Prior to the provision of a sewerage system within Mount Gambier, all toilet and household wastewaters were disposed to ground. These activities and the subsequent problems that began emerging in the 1960s have led to a concerted effort over the last 20 years to change the philosophy of waste disposal and to generate an understanding and responsibility by those who live in the region and depend on groundwater for the major part of their water supply. Mount Gambier's water supply comes from the Blue Lake. Groundwater inflow from a highly karstic Tertiary limestone aquifer provides 90% of the recharge to the Blue Lake. The lake is a high-value resource in a high-risk environment and in order to minimize this risk, a water-quality management plan for the lake is currently being developed

Guab As, une grotte dans de la dolomie mgascristalline hydrothermale (Namibie occidentale), 1995, Marais E. , Martini J. , Irish J.
The authors describe a cave in the semi-desert area of the Hakos Mountains, 100km to the southwest of Windhoek, Namibia. The cave is significant due to the very unusual country rock, with which it is associated. It formed by dissolution of the dolomite core of a large quartz vein, which is 800 m long and 200 m wide, developed in mica-schist. The cave consists of a complex succession of large chambers, more or less overlapping each others, with walls generally consisting of quartz. In most instances the dolomite has been completely dissolved or occurs under the floor, concealed by dust and scree. Although the cave developed within a very small volume of carbonate, the total length reaches 695 m and the depth 85 m. The bottom is occu-pied by a pool which is only temporarily filled with water and probably marks the position of a perched water-table. The cave formed in a perched phreatic environment during an undetermined period

Examining Early Nineteenth Century Saltpeter Caves: An Archaeological Perspective, 1997, Duncan, M. S.
During the War of 1812, the southeastern United States experienced a drastic need for saltpeter to be used in gunpowder. The limestone caves of Kentucky became the focal point of a brief, but vital, mining industry. Two production models are drawn from the extant literature and compared to Saltpeter Cave, an archaeological case study site in northeastern Kentucky. Equipment types, production systems, and water-transport systems are discussed vis-?-vis their function in each production model.

Hydrogeological study and discharge features of the Niksar karst springs (Tokat-Turkey), 1997, Syed M. A. , Afsin M. , Celik M. ,
The exposed Paleozoic and Recent units in the study area have various hydrogeological characteristics such as pervious, semipervious, and impervious. Pervious limestones and associated impervious formations that were not influenced by tectonic movement are connected to produce karst springs. This paper presents the relationship between the discharge coefficient and other aquifer properties by using the hydrograph analyses of the karst springs. The magnitude of the discharge of the spring apparently controls the character of flow (such as laminar) and conduit in the aquifer. The correlation analysis shows a positive relation between Q(0)-Q(t), Q(0)-storage capacity, Q(t)-storage capacity, and alpha-discharge change, These results enhances the properties of the karst springs. Both monthly and annual rainfall contribute to spring discharge. All karst springwaters are suitable for household and food industry uses

Tracing recharge from sinking streams over spatial dimensions of kilometers in a karst aquifer, 1997, Greene E. A. ,
Stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen were used to trace the sources of recharge from sinking streams to wells and springs several kilometers downgradient in the karst Madison aquifer near Rapid City, South Dakota. Temporal sampling of streamflow above the swallets identified a distinct isotopic signature that was used to define the spatial dimensions of recharge to the aquifer. When more than one sinking stream was determined to be recharging a well or spring, the proportions were approximated using a two-component mixing model. From the isotopic analysis, it is possible to link sinking stream recharge to individual wells or springs in the Rapid City area and illustrate there is significant lateral movement of ground water across surface drainage basins. These results emphasize that well-head protection strategies developed for carbonate aquifers that provide industrial and municipal water supplies need to consider lateral movement of ground-water flow from adjacent surface drainage basins

Study on the contamination of fracture-karst water in Boshan District, China, 1997, Zhu X. Y. , Xu S. H. , Zhu J. J. , Zhou N. Q. , Wu C. Y. ,
Boshan is an industrial city in the center of Shandong Province where ground water is the only source for the urban water supply. The major water resource is fracture-karst water in the middle Ordovician carbonate rocks. Based on the hydrogeological investigation and mapping in this area we studied the geologic and hydrogeologic settings, the major pollution sources and the pathways of contamination, the principal contaminants, and their spatial distribution in ground water. The ground-water quality has also been estimated by the fuzzy mathematic method. The geostatistical method, such as the kriging method, was taken to simulate spatial distribution of the contaminants. The grey system method was adopted to forecast future contamination. An attempt at the remediation of Cr6 contamination in fracture-karst water was also discussed. Finally, some proposals for the protection of the ground-water environment in Boshan District are offered

Sea water intrusion in coastal karst springs: Example of the Blaz spring (Croatia), 1997, Bonacci O, Rojebonacci T,
Brackish karst springs are common along every karstic sea shore consisting of limestone and dolomite. On the Croatian sea coast there are more than 300 permanent or temporary brackish karst springs. From the standpoint of water supply, the problem of karst spring water salinization is quite significant because large quantities of high quality fresh water are not available to be used either as drinking water or for industrial and agricultural purposes. The salinity of brackish karst springs situated along the Adriatic coast varies from 10 to more than 18 000 mg Cl 1(-1) with an unfavourable distribution during the year. In the wet winter period, when water quantities in the region are abundant, the salinity is exceedingly low. In the warm and dry summer period the chloride concentration is high. At that season, when a shortage of flesh water in the region occurs, especially due to tourism, karst spring water is so salty that it cannot be used at all. The mechanism of sea water intrusion is relatively well known but the problem of karst springs desalinization has not been solved in practice. The Ghyben-Herzberg relationship is formulated exclusively on the basis of hydrostatic equilibrium, and its use under dynamic conditions is limited. The dynamics of fresh water circulation towards karst spring exits are very specific for each individual spring. Using numerous hydrological, hydrometric, hydrogeological and speleological investigations of the brackish Blaz (Croatia) karst spring, this paper gives the plausible position and dimensions of the main karst conduits through which sea water penetrates into the spring exit

Geochemical patterns in soils of the karst region, Croatia, 1997, Prohic E. , Hausberger G. , Davis J. C. ,
Soil samples were collected at 420 locations in a 5-km grid pattern in the Istria and Gorski Kotar areas of Croatia, and on the Croatian islands of Cres, Rab and Krk, in order to relate geochemical variation in the soils to underlying differences in geology, bedrock lithology, soil type, environment and natural versus anthropogenic influences. Specific objectives included assessment of possible agricultural and industrial sources of contamination, especially from airborne effluent emitted by a local power plant. The study also tested the adequacy of a fixed-depth soil sampling procedure developed for meager karstic soils. Although 40 geochemical variables were analyzed, only 15 elements and 5 radionuclides are common to all the sample locations. These elements can be divided into three groups: (1) those of mostly anthropogenic origin - Pb, V, Cu and Cr; (2) those of mixed origin - radionuclides and Zn; and (3) those of mostly geogene origin - Ba, Sr, Ti, Al, Na, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Ni and Co. Variation in Pb shows a strong correlation with the pattern of road traffic in Istria. The distributions of Ca, Na and Mg in the flysch basins of southern Istria and Slovenia are clearly distinguishable from the distributions of these elements in the surrounding carbonate terrains, a consequence of differences in bedrock permeability, type of drainage and pH. The spatial pattern of Cs-137 from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident reflects almost exclusively the precipitation in Istria during the days immediately after the explosion. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science B.V

An Investigation of the Climate, Carbon Dioxide and Dust in Jenolan Caves, N.S.W., PhD Thesis, 1997, Michie, Neville

Pressure of use of Jenolan Caves as a tourist spectacle has raised concerns about the wellbeing of the caves, so three related physical subjects were reviewed and investigated; the cave microclimate, the carbon dioxide in the cave atmosphere and dustfall in the caves. The microclimate has been shown to be dominated by several physical processes: in the absence of air movement, conduction and radiation dominate; in association with air movement, convective coupled heat and mass transfer tends to dominate energy flows. A new approach using boundary conditions and qualitative characteristics of transient fronts enables accurate measurement and analysis of energy, heat and mass transfer. This technique avoids the dimensionless number and transfer coefficient methods and is not geometrically sensitive. Conditions in caves are also determined by the capillary processes of water in cave walls. Air movement in caves depends on surface weather conditions and special problems of surface weather observation arise. A series of experiments were undertaken to evaluate the cave and surface processes. The physical processes that collect, transport and release dust were measured and described. Dust in the caves was shown to be carried from the surface, mainly by visitors. The concept of the Personal Dust Ooud is developed and experimental measurements and analysis show that this process is a major threat to the caves. New techniques of measurement are described. An accurate physiological model has been developed which predicts most of the carbon dioxide measured in Jenolan Caves, derived mainly from visitors on the cave tours. This model, developed from previously published human physiological information also predicts the production of heat and water vapour by cave tourists. The effects of carbon dioxide on cave conditions has been investigated. Details of a two year program of measurements in the caves are given. The generalised approach and methods are applicable to other caves, mines and buildings.

History of the Guano Mining Industry, Isla de Mona, Puerto Rico, 1998, Frank, E. F.
Isla de Mona, Puerto Rico is ringed by hundreds of flank margin caves (Frank 1993; Mylroie et al. 1995). In the late 1800s and early 1900s, ~150,000 metric tons of phosphorite, altered bat guano, were mined from the caves. A high phosphate content made the phosphorite a valuable fertilizer (Wadsworth 1973). Briggs (1974) indicates the guano deposits have been exhausted from seven of the eight largest known cave systems on the island. Many relics from the guano mining days are still present in the caves and surrounding areas today.

Forest recovery in the karst region of Puerto Rico, 1998, Rivera L. W. , Aide T. M. ,
Widespread deforestation has led to an increase in secondary forest in the tropics. During the late 1940s in Puerto Rico, forest covered only 6% of the island, but a shift from agriculture to industry has led to the increase of secondary forest. This study focuses on the regeneration of forest following the abandonment of pastures and coffee plantations located in the karst region of Puerto Rico. Alluvial terraces and sinkholes were the principal features used for pastures, shifting agriculture, and coffee plantations, whereas mogotes (limestone hills of conical shape) were burned periodically or cut for charcoal or wood production. Abandoned pasture sites had a greater woody species diversity in comparison with coffee sites. The density of woody stems was greater in the abandoned pasture sites and Spathodea campanulata was the dominant species. In coffee sites Guarea guidonia was the most abundant species. There was no difference in basal area between the two land uses. Canonical Correspondence Analysis applied separately to adults and seedlings clearly separated each community according to land use. Seedling composition in coffee sites indicates a resistance to change in terms of the dominant species while in the pasture sites the composition will change as the dominant species S. campanulata is replaced with more shade tolerant species. Patches of forest that remained on the steep sides of mogotes and the presence of bats appears to have enhanced forest recovery, but the land use history of these sites has affected the pattern of regeneration and will continue to affect forest dynamics for many years. The karst area is a critical environment for water resources and biodiversity and its conservation and restoration is essential. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Mapping Chicxulub crater structure with gravity and seismic reflection data, 1998, Hildebrand A. R. , Pilkington M. , Ortizaleman C. , Chavez R. E. , Urrutiafucugauchi J. , Connors M. , Granielcastro E. , Camarazi A. , Halpenny J. F. , Niehaus D. ,
Aside from its significance in establishing the impact-mass extinction paradigm, the Chicxulub crater will probably come to exemplify the structure of large complex craters. Much of Chicxulub's structure may be mapped' by tying its gravity expression to seismic-reflection profiles revealing an [~]180 km diameter for the now-buried crater. The distribution of karst topography aids in outlining the peripheral crater structure as also revealed by the horizontal gradient of the gravity anomaly. The fracturing inferred to control groundwater flow is apparently related to subsidence of the crater fill. Modelling the crater's gravity expression based on a schematic structural model reveals that the crater fill is also responsible for the majority of the negative anomaly. The crater's melt sheet and central structural uplift are the other significant contributors to its gravity expression. The Chicxulub impact released [~]1.2 x 1031 ergs based on the observed collapsed disruption cavity of [~]86 km diameter reconstructed to an apparent disruption cavity (Dad) of [~]94 km diameter (equivalent to the excavation cavity) and an apparent transient cavity (Dat) of [~]80 km diameter. This impact energy, together with the observed [~]2 x 1011 g global Ir fluence in the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) fireball layer indicates that the impactor was a comet estimated as massing [~]1.8 x 1018 g of [~]16.5 km diameter assuming a 0.6 gcm-3 density. Dust-induced darkness and cold, wind, giant waves, thermal pulses from the impact fireball and re-entering ejecta, acid rain, ozone-layer depletion, cooling from stratospheric aerosols, H2O greenhouse, CO2 greenhouse, poisons and mutagens, and oscillatory climate have been proposed as deleterious environmental effects of the Chicxulub impact with durations ranging from a few minutes to a million years. This succession of effects defines a temperature curve that is characteristic of large impacts. Although some patterns may be recognized in the K-T extinctions, and the survivorship rules changed across the boundary, relating specific environmental effects to species' extinctions is not yet possible. Geochemical records across the boundary support the occurrence a prompt thermal pulse, acid rain and a [~]5000 year-long greenhouse. The period of extinctions seems to extend into the earliest Tertiary

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

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

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