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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 volumetric flowmeter is apparatus designed to measure a volume flow rate [16].?

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

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Browse Speleogenesis Issues:

KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
Engineering challenges in Karst, Stevanović, Zoran; Milanović, Petar
See all featured articles
Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
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
See all featured articles from other geoscience journals

Search in KarstBase

Your search for excavations (Keyword) returned 22 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 22 of 22
Cave excavation: some methodological and interpretive considerations, 2011, Stratford, D. J.

Caves potentially afford excellent levels of preservation for buried sediments, artefacts and faunal remains but, through depositional, post-depositional and diagenetic processes, material can be disassociated from its primary context. As well as the established archaeological or palaeontological research questions, the priorities of excavations in cave sediments include: identifying distinct stratigraphical units, clarifying the site formation processes responsible for the accumulation and distribution of the assemblages, and identifying any preserved primary contextual information. A wide variety of sediments that are "typically missing or masked" (Goldberg and Sherwood, 2006, p.20) in open-air sites can be encountered during cave excavation. This, combined with the stratigraphical complications inherent to cave sites makes every site different and warrants a site-specific, multi-disciplinary approach to its excavation. Stratigraphically sensitive and flexible methods of excavation and documentation are required when approaching cave excavation. A site-specific combination of techniques and practices helps ensure the stratigraphical integrity of the excavation material, successful adaptation to the cave environment and changing sedimentological conditions, and the restriction of information loss. This paper presents some important considerations needed when planning and conducting excavations of artefact and bone-bearing cave sediments as well as some of the interpretive issues surrounding the material once it is removed.

Dogs, scouts and cavers: a history of archaeological excavation at Dog Hole Cave, Haverbrack, Cumbria, UK, 2011, Wilkinson D. M. , O'regan H. J. , Thorp J.

Dog Hole, at Haverbrack in southern Cumbria, was first examined by J Wilfrid Jackson in 1912 and has been explored and excavated on a number of occasions since then. Here we provide a history of these excavations, based on archival material and conversations with some of those involved. Jackson's excavation opened up the shaft and found numerous domestic animal bones, but it wasn't until the late 1950s that further work was undertaken. This work was due to the activities of the local Scout troop who were hoping to extend the site, but following the discovery of human remains, found themselves focussed on archaeology instead. Subsequent to this, there has been further caving activity that uncovered more bones, and in 2010 a new excavation led by O'Regan began. Our historical researches have highlighted several key points in relation to cave archaeology, not just at Dog Hole, but for all sites. Firstly, should cavers 'rubbish' such as drinks cans and bottles be disposed of or is it archaeology? In the case of Dog Hole a best-before date on one item has provided a latest date for the opening of a squeeze - but it is only 24 years old. Secondly, cave archaeology requires a suite of skills, specialists (note, not 'professionals') working together have the best chance of success and, finally, future historical research may well be crippled unless people begin to print and retain their e-mails.

Entrances, 2012, White, William B.

Entrances are connections between an underlying cave passage and the surface above. Most cave entrances are statistical accidents where the breakthrough to the surface is caused by collapse, by valley deepening, or by human activities such as road cuts, quarries, and other excavations. The number of caves with a certain number of entrances decreases rapidly with the number of entrances, leading to the prediction of a large number of caves that have no entrances. Entrances range in size over several orders of magnitude but there is no relationship between the size of the entrance and the size of the cave.

Archaeological test excavations at two caves in Bishopston Valley, Gower, South Wales, UK, 2013, Dinnis R. , Davies J. S. , Boulton J. M. , Reynolds N. , Schouten R. , Smith G. M. , Souter E. M. , Chamberlain A. T.

A survey of the caves of Bishopston Valley, Gower, published previously in Cave and Karst Science (2010: Vol.37, No.2), identified cave sites with the potential to contain archaeological material within their sedimentary deposits, and assessed the conservation status of these sites. Two caves - Ogof Ci Coch and Valley Side Cave 1 - showed clear signs of recent anthropogenic and/or biogenic disturbance of their fill. Archaeological test excavation at both sites was undertaken in summer 2011, and the results are reported here. Ogof Ci Coch is demonstrated to be an archaeological cave containing Mesolithic and later prehistoric artefacts. However, archaeological material was only found within spoil deposits from a caving dig, now overlying intact but archaeologically sterile deposits near to the mouth of the cave. Archaeological interpretation of this material is therefore limited in scope. Valley Side Cave 1 was found to contain only disturbed deposits which are clearly the result of recent unauthorised excavation at the site. These findings have implications for the conservation and management of cave sites in Bishopston Valley.


The historical copper shale mine excavations on the south-eastern flank of Harz Mountains have cut into numerous large caves in gypsum and anhydrite. These caves are known as “Schlotten” (pl., sg. Schlotte). The word is derived from the Early New High German meaning internal hollow formations allowing the drainage of water and already finds mention in XVIth century literature. However, these quite spectacular gypsum caves have never aroused the interest of the wider public. Discovered through mining, they have always been only accessible via pit shafts and galleries and invariably considered to be part of the mine. But in a scientific sense they are deep phreatic and hypogene caves in a parent rock of anhydrite or gypsum, in their natural state filled with water and without an entrance. They are unique geological outcrops in Zechstein (upper Permian), large karst caves of rare character and particular beauty as well as cultural witnesses to historical mining. The miners used the “Schlotten” for a long period of time to drain water from the mines (until the XVIIIth century) and for economical reasons also to store unwanted spoil (until the XIXth century). As the mine workings reached deeper levels, sub- sidence and flooding became more common and the intensity of the karst dissolution process increased. Problems of catastrophic proportions due to mine flooding were encountered in 1892 near Eisleben and in 1988 near Sangerhausen. The hydrological problems that confronted the copper shale mine excavations in the south-eastern Harz region are of geogenic origin. The exploitable seams, which on average slope between 3º and 8º, are covered with a between 4 and 7 metre thick layer of limestone (Zechstein) with the characteristics of a karst aquifer. Above this a 60 m thick layer of anhydrite or gypsum is found, in which the “Schlotten” are formed, notably on geological faults. The relevance of the “Schlotten” as a natural phenomenon was first appreciated in depth by Johann Carl Freiesleben (1774-1846). He described them scientifically in 1809 and campaigned emphatically for their preservation. With regard to this, the “Wimmelburger Schlotten” near Eisleben were surveyed and geologically mapped by Anton Erdmann (1782-1848). The plan and side elevation of the cave survey were reproduced in copperplate and are considered to be the oldest published depiction of a gypsum cave in Germany. From the mid 70s the “Schlotten” became subject of speleological research for a short period of time. The abandoned projects have only recently been re-established. Two of the “Schlotten” are accessible via the Mining Museum Wettelrode: the “Segen-Gottes-Schlotte” and the “Elisabethschaechter Schlotte” near Sangerhausen. The “Wimmelburger Schlotten” near Eisleben are the largest gypsum caves in Germany and to a certain extent accessible for research.


Many quarries for the extraction of gypsum are located in the hills of the Monferrato area (central eastern Piedmont). Close to the village of Moncalvo, Asti Province, a subterranean quarry of more than 20 km long is present. During the excavations a fracture from which water gushed at a pressure of 3 atm has been intercepted in 2005. The underground works have been suspended immediately and, after only a few hours a water flow comprised between 3000 and 4000 Ls-1 has flooded the quarry tunnels filling a volume of over 60,000 m3. After more than one month of pumping the flooded areas have been made accessible again, revealing a thin rock diaphragm that separated the quarry tunnel from a natural cave, which failed under the high hydraulic pressure. Through this small gap it has been possible to access an extensive karst network that previously was completely submerged. During the following quarry operations a second natural cave has been encountered, belonging to the same system but physically divided from the first cave by some metres of sediments. The total development of this cave system is around 1 km. The exploration of these caves has allowed to gather an interesting set of observations that have contributed to elaborating a speleogenetic model. The first information regards the impressive

amount of snottites present along the walls of the caves, and the overall thickness of gypsum rock subdued to weathering, reaching up to 30 cm. There are many morphologies that clearly demonstrate the caves being formed in phreatic conditions, such as pendants and corrosion cupola, but also flat corrosion bevels and V-shaped cross-sections, further evidences of formation in saturate conditions. The stratigraphic asset of the area surely has played a fundamental role in the formation of these karst systems. From bottom to top there is a thick shale sequence, and a thin discontinuous and extremely well karstified marly limestone bed that seemed to have enhanced the hydrological flow in the above lying gypsum beds. The principal cave systems are formed in between the first and second bed of gypsum, along a shaly finely stratified interbed rich in organic material. On the floor of the main passage there are many rather small subvertical conduits that develop up to the underlying limestone bed thus favoring the upward movement of water and the dissolution of the gypsum rocks. The subterranean excavations also have intercepted other caves, most of them of much smaller size, often reaching some cubic metres in size and partially filled with large gypsum crystals, grown by the continuous but slow feeding of slightly supersaturated waters.

Sagging and collapse sinkholes over hypogenic hydrothermal karst in а carbonate terrain, 2014, Frumkin A. , Zaidner Y. , Na'aman I. , Tsatskin A. , Porat N. , Vulfson L.

We show that clusters of karst sinkholes can occur on carbonate hypogene karst terrains. Unlike common doline karst of dissolution origin, the studied sinkholes form mainly by sagging and collapse. Thermal survey, OSL dating and morphologic analysis during quarrying and excavations are applied to study the sinkholes at the Ayyalon karst, Israel. The thermal survey shows the spatial pattern of rising warm water plumes, whose temperature is > 2 °C warmer than the surrounding aquifer water. These plumes dissolve the limestone, creating large voids and maze caves. Mass wasting forms surface sinkholes mainly by sagging and collapse. Both types of deformation often occur within the same depression. Lack of hydrologic connection between the surface and underground voids constrain drainage and promote rapid accumulation of colluvium, dust and pedogenic clays. These have filled the sinkholes up to their rim before the late Holocene. OSL dating constrains the rate of sediment accumulation within the sinkholes. The average filling rate (thickness divided by elapsed time) is ~ 47 mm ka− 1 for the last 53 ± 4 ka in Sinkhole 1, while in Sinkhole 2 (“Nesher Ramla karst depression”), the rate is ~ 61 mm ka− 1 from ~ 200 to 78 ka, and ~ 173 mm ka− 1 since ~ 78 ka. Between ~ 170 and 78 ka, Sinkhole 2 was intensively used by Middle Paleolithic hominins. The studied sinkholes may be considered as a type locality for hypogene sinkhole terrain on carbonate rocks.

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