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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. ...

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That unsaturated coefficient of permeability is the apparent coefficient of permeability in flow through an unsaturated medium [16].?

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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 shaft (Keyword) returned 159 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 159
Etude d'un chevauchement dans les gouffres du Calernam et des Baoudillouns (Cipires, Alpes-Maritimes), 1991, Gilli, E.
Study of a trust plane in the Baoudillouns and Calernam Caves (Alpes Maritimes, France) - The shafts of Calernam and Baoudillouns are to be found in the Prealps of Grasse (Alpes-Maritimes). They are formed in inclined and over-lap folds, issued from the southward sliding of the sedimentary cover during the alpine orogeny. The cave studied here is the only example to date of a cave that totally crosses a tectonic slice and permits the observation of the thrust plane. Through this study, it can be observed that the bottom of the limestone series has been entirely planed and that abnormal contact (mechanical unconformity) resembles in most cases a normal one. No obvious neotectonic sign has been observed for the moment.

Le karst de Vaucluse (Haute Provence), 1991, Mudry J. , Puig J. M.
The catchment area of the Fontaine de Vaucluse system is more than 1100km2 wide, with an average altitude of 870m. The thickness of the Lower Cretaceous limestone (1500m) gives the system a very thick (800m) unsaturated zone. Karstification is highly developed (four shafts are more than 500m deep) as well as on the valley (pit of 300m depth inside the spring). The bottom of the shafts of the Plateau does not reach the saturated zone of the karst, as their flows are the chemical content of the seepage water. The maximum hydraulic gradient from the Plateau to the spring is low, only 0.3%. Dye tracings permit the assignment of the Ventoux-Lure rang (including its calcareous northern slope with a southward dipping) and the Vaucluse Plateau in the catchment area. The water balance computed by altitude belts shows that the rainfall strongly increases with altitude: 120mm at 200m, 1380mm over 1800m. The dynamic of the system, studied by discharge and physical and chemical content, shows of a well karstified media, that reacts with slight inertia upon the rainy periods, and that is made up of important reserves, particularly within the unsaturated zone, that supply long decline and depletion episodes.

Subterranean Waterworks of Biblical Jerusalem: Adaptation of a Karst System, 1991, Gill Dan,
Ancient Jerusalem has long been known to possess a system of subterranean waterworks by which the spring of Gihon, which issues outside the walls, could be approached from within the city, and its waters diverted to an intramural pool. Most scholars regarded these waterworks as man-made, but the techniques of underground orientation and ventilation employed by the builders, as well as the numerous anomalies and ostensible mistakes in design, mystified investigators. Geological investigation has revealed the waterworks to be part of a well-developed karst system, a network of natural dissolution channels and shafts, in the limestone and dolomite underlying the city. Thus, it was not through primary planning but by means of skillful adaptation of these pre-existing natural features that the city was ensured of a dependable water supply during both war and peace. Likewise, knowledge of the subterranean access may have played a role in David's capture of the Jebusite city

Le gouffre Jean-Bernard (1602 m, Haute-Savoie), coulements souterrains et formation du rseau, 1993, Lips B. , Gresse A. , Delamette M. , Maire R.
With its depth of 1602m and development of more than 20 km, the Jean-Bernard system provides a clear view of an alpine karst system with a steep gradient and reduced watershed (4 km2). Over the last 30 years, hundreds of explorations led by the caving club Vulcain (Lyon) have resulted in a thorough knowledge of the cave. The system develops in a syncline formed from urgonian limestone (Lower Cretaceous). Two parts may be distinguished: a complex upper part with numerous dry phreatic tubes, and a lower part, which is restricted to a high meander. A tracing carried out in 1992 has allowed us to locate the outlet in the riverbed of the Clvieux creek (alt. 780m). The former spring of the upper part must have been situated on the level of the lower entrance (about 1800m) and could date back to the end of the Tertiary when the valley was less deep. The quaternary period is responsible of the entrenching of the old galleries, for the destruction of speleothems and the genesis of the lower underground delta, between -1400m and -1600m.

Alpine karsts. Genesis of large subterranean networks. Examples : the Tennengebirge (Austria) - the Ile de Crémieu, the Chartreuse and the Vercors (France), PhD Thesis, 1993, Audra, Philippe

This work, based on the study of several underground alpine networks, aims to propose some milestone in the history of these karstic regions.

The first part of the work is made up of three regional studies.

The Tennengebirge mountains are a massif of the limestone High Alps in the region of Salzburg in Austria. A cone karst close to the base level developed in the Neogene. Streams from the Alps fed the karst, resulting in the huge horizontal networks of which the Eisriesenwelt provides evidence. During the successive phases of upthrust, the levels of karstification, whether on the surface or deeper down, settled into a tier pattern, thus descending in stages from the base level. From the Pliocene era onwards, thanks to an increase in potential, alpine shafts replace the horizontal networks. The formation of these shafts is more pronounced during glaciation. The study of the Cosa Nostra - Bergerhöhle system developing 30 km of conduits on a gradient reaching almost 1 500 m provides a fairly full view of the karstification of this massif. It includes the horizontal levels developed in the Miocene and the Plio-Pleistocene, joined together by vertical sections. The most noteworthy features of the Tennengebirge, as in the neighboring massifs, lie first and foremost in the extreme thickness of the limestone which has recorded and immunized the differents steps of karstification. Secondly, the size of the networks can be, for the most part, accounted for by the contribution of allogenous waters from the streams of the Neogene and the glaciers of the Pleistocene. Generally sudden and unexpected, these flows of water engendered heavy loads (up to 600 m), simultaneously flooding several levels. To a lesser extent, the situation is similar today.

The Ile de Cremieu is a low limestone plateau on the western edge of the Jura. Due to its location in the foothills, the lobes of the Rhône glacier have covered it up, obliterating the surface karst. However, widespread evidence of anteglacial morphologies remains : paleokarst, cone karst, polygenic surface. Because of glacial plugging, access to the underground karst is limited. The main cavity is the cave of La Balme. Its initial development dates back to an early period. The morphological study has permitted the identification of several phases which go back to the Pleistocene and which are related to the Rhône glacier. The latter brought about modifications in the base level by supplying its merging waters as well as moraine material. These variations in the base level shaped the drainage structure. The underground glacial polishes are one of the noteworthy aspects recorded.

The massives of the Moucherotte and dent de Crolles belong to the northern French Prealps. They conceal large networks, respectively the Vallier cave and the Dent de Crolles. They were formed in the early Pliocene after the final orogenic phase and are in the form of horizontal conduits. The upthrust, which brought about the embanking of the Isère valley, left them in a perched position by taking away the basin which fed them. They were later, however, able to take advantage of waters from the Isère glacier during a part of the Pleistocene. The Vallier cave contains particularly glacio-karstic sediments of the lower Pleistocene, representing unique evidence of glaciation during this period. The vertical networks were put in place at the end of the Pliocene with the increase in karstification potential ; they underwent changes in the Pleistocene due to the effect of autochton and allogenous glaciers.

The second part of the work deals in general with the various forms and processes of karstification, sometimes going beyond the Alps. The study of cave deposits is a privileged tool in the understanding and reconstruction not only of the history of the networks but also the regional environment. The dating of speleothems by the U / Th method has very ofen given an age of over 350 000 years. The age of the networks is confirmed by the use of paleomagnetism which has yielded evidence of speleothems and glacio-karstic sediments anterior to 780 000 years. Anisotropic measurements of magnetic susceptibility have been used to distinguish the putting into place of glacio-karstic deposits by decantation.

Measurements of calcite rates lead to a typology of sediments based on their nature and carbonate content (rehandled weathered rocks, fluvial sands, carbonated varves, decantation clays). Granulometry confirms this differenciation by supplying precise details of transport and sedimentation modes : suspension and abrupt precipitation of clay, suspension and slow decantation of carbonated varves, suspension and rolling together with a variable sorting of sand and gravel. Mineralogical analyses oppose two types of detrital deposits. On the one hand, the rehandling of antequaternary weathered rocks extracted by the karst as a result of scouring during environmental destabilization and on the other hand, sediments characteristic of the ice age of the Pleistocene. The latter are not highly developed and their arrival in the karst is always later. Examination of heavy minerals, the morphoscopy of quartz grains and study of micromorphologies on thin blades provide precise details of conditions of evolution. The use of these methods of investigation allows for an accurate definition of the features of the evolution of the differents types of fillings, particularly speleothems, rehandled weathered rocks as well as carbonated varves. This wealth and complexity are emphasized by a detailed study of the sedimentary sequences of the Vallier cave and of the Bergerhöhle.
Speleogenesis is approached last of all in the light of above study. Emphasis is placed on the major part played by corrosion in the temporarily phreatic zone and on its many consequences (multi-level concept, simultaneous evolution of levels, origin of deep waterlogged karsts…).
Varia tions in the base level have induced karstification in contexts in which the potential was weak. These were followed by periods of increased potential to which were added the effects of glaciation. Perched horizontal levels belong to the first stages which ended in the early Pliocene, whereas alpine shafts developed in the second context. The role of structure and the parameters governing the shape of conduits (pits, meanders, canyons) are also dealt with. The different parts of the karst are borne in mind when dealing with the strength of karstic erosion during the ice age. It notably appears that it is weak on the crests and more or less non-existent in the deep parts of the karst which are liable to flooding. Finally, a preliminary analysis of an observation of neotectonic traces is presented.


Nouveaux traages sur le massif de la Pierre Saint-Martin (Pyrnes-Atlantiques), 1994, Douat M. , Salomon J. N.
In 1982 and 1992 cavers observed the contamination of the B3 and Couey-Lotge underground rivers emerging at the Issaux springs This contamination was thought to be caused by the PSM water purificatlon station which discharges effluents into a fracture. The ARSIP and the LGPA laboratories were asked by the DDA (Pyrenees-Atlantiques administration) to carry out an hydrogeological study to prove the origin of this contamination and determine the limit of the Issaux catchment in the Guillers area in order to find a new site for a modern water purification station. Three uranine tracings were made (Water purification station - B3 underground river - BG. 106 shaft). The first two tracings emerged at the Issaux springs and the third tracing came out at the Bentia spring (Sainte-Engrace). These tracings confirm the hypothesis on the surficial basin limits between Issaux and Saint Vincent.

HIGH-RESOLUTION SEISMIC EXPRESSION OF KARST EVOLUTION WITHIN THE UPPER FLORIDIAN AQUIFER SYSTEM - CROOKED LAKE, POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA, 1994, Evans Mw, Snyder Sw, Hine Ac,
We collected 43 km of high resolution seismic reflection profiles from a 14.5-hectare lake in the central Florida sinkhole district and data from three adjacent boreholes to determine the relationship between falling lake levels and the underlying karst stratigraphy. The lake is separated from karstified Paleogene to early Neogene carbonates by 65-80 m of siliciclastic sands and clays. The carbonate and clastic strata include three aquifer systems separated by clay-confining units: a surficial aquifer system (fine to medium quartz sand in the upper 20-30 m), the 25-35 m thick intermediate aquifer system (in Neogene siliciclastics), and the highly permeable upper Floridan aquifer system in Paleogene to early Neogene limestones. Hydraulic connection between these aquifer systems is indicated by superjacent karst structures throughout the section. Collapse zones of up to 1000 m in diameter and > 50 m depth extend downward from a prominent Middle Miocene unconformity into Oligocene and Upper Eocene limestones. Smaller sinkholes (30-100 m diameter, 10-25 m depth) are present in Middle to Late Neogene clays, sands, and carbonates and extend downward to or below the Middle Miocene unconformity. Filled and open shafts (30-40 m diameter; 10-25 m depth) ring the lake margin and overlie subsurface karst features. The large collapse zones are localized along a northeast-southwest line in the northern ponds and disrupt or deform Neogene to Quaternary strata and at least 50 m of the underlying Paleogene carbonate rocks. The timing and vertical distribution of karst structures are used to formulate a four-stage model that emphasizes stratigraphic and hydrogeologic co-evolution. (1) Fracture-selective shallow karst features formed on Paleogene/early Neogene carbonates. (2) Widespread karstification was limited by deposition of Middle Miocene clays, but vertical karst propagation continued and was focused because of the topographic effects of antecedent karst. (3) Groundwater heads, increase with the deposition of thick sequences of clastics over the semipermeable clays during Middle and Late Neogene time. The higher water table and groundwater heads allowed the accumulation of acidic, organic-rich soils and chemically aggressive waters that percolated down to Paleogene carbonates via localized karst features. (4) After sufficient subsurface dissolution, the Paleogene carbonates collapsed, causing disruption and deformation of overlying strata. The seismic profiles document an episodic, vertically progressive karst that allows localized vertical leakage through the clay-confining units. The spatial and temporal karst distribution is a result of deposition of sediments with different permeabilities during high sea levels and enhanced karst dissolution during low sea levels. Recent decreases in the potentiometric elevation of the Floridan Aquifer System simulates a sea-level lowstand, suggesting that karst dissolution will increase in frequency and magnitude

The Morphology of shafts on the Trnovski gozd plateau in west Slovenia, 1995, Mihevc Andrej

Karst in siliceous rocks; Karst landforms and caves in the Auyn-Tepui Massif (Est. Bolivar, Venezuela)., 1995, Piccini Leonardo
During the expedition Tepuy 93'. six caves were explored in the precambrian quartzites of Roraima Group, in the Auyan-tepui massif. One of this caves reaches the depth of 370 m and a development of almost 3 km; its name is "Sima Auyan-tepui Noroeste" and it is currently the deepest cave in the world discovered in siliceous rocks The geological and morphological study of this cave has underlined again the importance of deep solutional weathering, along the network of fractures for the formation of caves in siliceous rocks. The different formation stages of the big superficial shafts, called "simas" were observed in some vertical collapse caves explored during the expedition, while galleries with phreatic forms were observed in the deep network of caves. All these deep forms involve karst processes of solution at least in the initial stage.

GEOLOGY AND KARST GEOMORPHOLOGY OF SAN-SALVADOR ISLAND, BAHAMAS, 1995, Mylroie J. E. , Carew J. L. ,
The exposed carbonates of the Bahamas consist of late Quaternary limestones that were deposited during glacio-eustatic highstands of sea level. Each highstand event produced transgressive-phase, stillstand-phase, and regressive-phase units. Because of slow platform subsidence, Pleistocene carbonates deposited on highstands prior to the last interglacial (oxygen isotope substage 5e, circa 125,000 years ago) are represented solely by eolianites. The Owl's Hole Formation comprises these eolianites, which are generally fossiliferous pelsparites. The deposits of the last interglacial form the Grotto Beach Formation, and contain a complete sequence of subtidal intertidal and eolian carbonates. These deposits are predominantly oolitic. Holocene deposits are represented by the Rice Bay Formation, which consists of intertidal and eolian pelsparites deposited during the transgressive-phase and stillstand-phase of the current sea-level highstand. The three formations are separated from one another by well-developed terra-rossa paleosols or other erosion surfaces that formed predominantly during intervening sea-level lowstands. The karst landforms of San Salvador consist of karren, depressions, caves, and blue holes. Karren are small-scale dissolutional etchings on exposed and soil-covered bedrock that grade downward into the epikarst, the system of tubes and holes that drain the bedrock surface. Depressions are constructional features, such as swales between eolian ridges, but they have been dissolutionally maintained. Pit caves are vertical voids in the vadose zone that link the epikarst to the water table. Flank margin caves are horizontal voids that formed in the distal margin of a past fresh-water lens; whereas banana holes are horizontal voids that developed at the top of a past fresh-water lens, landward of the lens margin. Lake drains are conduits that connect some flooded depressions to the sea. Blue holes are flooded vertical shafts, of polygenetic origin, that may lead into caves systems at depth. The paleokarst of San Salvador is represented by flank margin caves and banana holes formed in a past fresh-water lens elevated by the last interglacial sea-level highstand, and by epikarst buried under paleosols formed during sea-level lowstands. Both carbonate deposition and its subsequent karstification is controlled by glacio-eustatic sea-level position. On San Salvador, the geographic isolation of the island, its small size, and the rapidity of past sea level changes have placed major constraints on the production of the paleokarst

BLUE HOLES - DEFINITION AND GENESIS, 1995, Mylroie J. E. , Carew J. L. , Moore A. I. ,
Blue holes are karst features that were initially described from Bahamian islands and banks, which have been documented for over 100 years. They are water-fined vertical openings in the carbonate rock that exhibit complex morphologies, ecologies, and water chemistries. Their deep blue color, for which they are named, is the result of their great depth, and they may lead to cave systems below sea level Blue holes are polygenetic in origin, having formed: by drowning of dissolutional sinkholes and shafts developed in the vadose zone; by phreatic dissolution along an ascending halocline; by progradational collapse upward from deep dissolution voids produced in the phreatic zone; or by fracture of the bank: margin. Blue holes are the cumulative result of carbonate deposition and dissolution cycles which have been controlled by Quaternary glacioeustatic fluctuations of sea-level. Blue holes have been widely studied during the past 30 years, and they have provided information regarding karst processes, global climate change, marine ecology, and carbonate geochemistry. The literature contains a wealth of references regarding blue holes that are at times misleading, and often confusing. To standardize use of the term blue hob, and to familiarize the scientific community with their nature, we herein define them as follows: ''Blue holes are subsurface voids that are developed in carbonate banks and islands; are open to the earth's surface; contain tidally-influenced waters of fresh, marine, or mixed chemistry; extend below sea level for a majority of their depth; and may provide access to submerged cave passages.'' Blue holes are found in two settings: ocean holes open directly into the present marine environment and usually contain marine water with tidal now; inland blue holes are isolated by present topography from surface marine conditions, and open directly onto the land surface or into an isolated pond or lake, and contain tidally-influenced water of a variety of chemistries from fresh to marine

RAPID ENTRENCHMENT OF STREAM PROFILES IN THE SALT CAVES OF MOUNT SEDOM, ISRAEL, 1995, Frumkin A, Ford Dc,
Rock salt is approximately 1000 times more soluble than limestone and thus displays high rates of geomorphic evolution. Cave stream channel profiles and downcutting rates were studied in the Mount Sedom salt diapir, Dead Sea rift valley, Israel. Although the area is very arid (mean annual rainfall approximate to 50 mm), the diapir contains extensive karst systems of Holocene age. In the standard cave profile a vertical shaft at the upstream end diverts water from a surface channel in anhydrite or elastic cap rocks into the subsurface route in the salt. Mass balance calculations in a sample cave passage yielded downcutting rates of 0.2 mm s(-1) during peak flood conditions, or about eight orders of magnitude higher than reported rates in any limestone cave streams. However, in the arid climate of Mount Sedom floods have a low recurrence interval with the consequence that long-term mean downcutting rates are lower: an average rate of 8.8 mm a(-1) was measured for the period 1986-1991 in the same sample passage. Quite independently, long-term mean rates of 6.2 mm a(-1) are deduced from C-14 ages of driftwood found in upper levels of 12 cave passages. These are at least three orders of magnitude higher than rates established for limestone caves. Salt cave passages develop in two main stages: (1) an early stage characterized by high downcutting rates into the rock salt bed, and steep passage gradients; (2) a mature stage characterized by lower downcutting rates, with establishment of a subhorizontal stream bed armoured with alluvial detritus. In this mature stage downcutting rates are controlled by the uplift rate of the Mount Sedom diapir and changes of the level of the Dead Sea. Passages may also aggrade. These fast-developing salt stream channels may serve as full-scale models for slower developing systems such as limestone canyons

OCCURRENCE OF HYPOGENIC CAVES IN A KARST REGION - EXAMPLES FROM CENTRAL ITALY, 1995, Galdenzi S, Menichetti M,
The caves of the Umbria and Marche regions in central Italy are made up of three-dimensional maze systems that display different general morphologies due to the various geological and structural contexts. At the same time, the internal morphologies of the passages, galleries, and shafts present some similarity, with solutional galleries characterized by cupolas and blind pits, anastamotic passages, roof pendants, and phreatic passages situated at different levels. Some of these caves are still active, as is the case for Frassassi Gorge, Parrano Gorge, and Acquasanta Terme, with galleries that reach the phreatic zone, where there is a rising of highly mineralized water, rich in hydrosulfydric acid, and with erosion of limestone walls and the formation of gypsum. Elsewhere there are fossil caves, such as Monte Cucco and Pozzi della Piana, where large speleothems of gypsum are present 500 m or more above the regional water table. In all of these important karst systems it is possible to recognize basal input points through fracture and intergranular porosity networks at the base of the oxidizing zone in the core of the anticline, where mineralized water rises up from the Triassic evaporitic layers in small hydrogeological circuits. Different underground morphologies can derive from the presence of a water table related to an external stream or from the confined setting of the carbonate rocks, underlying low permeable sedimentary cover, where artesian conditions can occur

Contribution to geomorphological and hydrogeological study of karst in Mediterranean environment: the Aït Abdi plateau (central limestone High Atlas, Maroc),PhD thesis, 1995, Perritaz, L.

The Ait Abdi karstic plateau is located in the heart of the calcareous High Atlas (32°N/6°W). With an area of 160 km2, it is situated between 2,200 and 3,000 meters above sea level, i.e. 800 meters above the nearest valleys and canyons. It consists of a large series of massive Bajocian limestones which form a large brachysyncline, the axial plane of which dips gently to the NE. These limestones overlie a thick series of Toarcian-Aalenian detritic sediments forming the regional aquiclude and the top of the half captive Middle Liasic aquifer. The plateau is limited both in the N and S by strong changes in dip to the vertical of the sedimentary layers (ejective thrusted anticlines), and in the W and E by deep canyons created by major rivers. Therefore the plateau is a totally isolated calcareous compartment, from both a morphologic and a hydrogeologic point of view.
The climate of this region is Mediterranean with an altitude modification: maximum rainfall occurs in winter and in spring, snow cover is not durable but sometimes important, storms are common for dry season in summer. The precipitations comprise only 500 to 700 mm/year (subhumide zone) and the effective evapotranspiration is approximately 400 mm/year, including the losses due to sublimation. The snow coefficient is 60 %. This means that the recharge of the aquifer, occurring almost entirely during snow melting, is limited, but the large bare surfaces of the plateau with typical well developed karst forms (dolines, poljes, dry valleys, holes) improve the infiltration rate (40%). The specific discharge is only 8.1 L/s/km2.
The morphologic peculiarity of this nival karst consist of a succession of small parallel and asymmetric dry valleys forming some "waves". For that reason, the French geomorphologist Couvreur termed these climate controlled features "karst en vagues". The role of wind and snow in the genesis of these forms is predominant. The most of time structure controlled plateau's poljes are quasi inactive today. All kinds of high mountain karren landforms are present on the plateau and prove the great role of snow role in the microforms genesis.
An ancient speleological network with vertical shafts occluded lower down suggest of ancient more humid climatic conditions. U-Th dating indicates ages between 3,200 and 220,000 years, or outside the range of the method (more than 400,000 years). The lateral flow is conducted by an interstrata network, inactive and dry in the upper part, or active and phreatic at the base, near the regional aquiclude, attesting three karstification phases.
The water discharges as typically karstic hillfoot springs, most of the time oversaturated and forming tufas. Large doleritic vertical dykes cut the plateau and form major drainpipes. The physical-chemical and chemical signature of these spring waters is quite different of the signature of other springs of this area, which discharge whether from small local Toarcian-Aalenian aquifers or from the huge semi confined karstic Middle Liasic aquifer. The plateau springs hydrodynamic response is characteristic for an elevated karstic aquifer with rapid flow. The aquifer geometry does not allow important reserves, but the mean discharge from all perennial springs (about 1 m3/s) is a precious resource for the population of this far area of the Atlas Mountains.


Hidden shafts at the base of the epikarstic zone: A case study from the Sette Communi plateau, Venetian Pre-alps, Italy, 1996, Klimchouk A. B, Sauro U. , Lazzarotto M.

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