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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 ferrito zone is zone of iron oxide accumulation in soil under humid climate conditions [16].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
Engineering challenges in Karst, Stevanović, Zoran; Milanović, Petar
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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
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Your search for in-situ (Keyword) returned 51 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 51
Reef margin collapse, gully formation and filling within the Permian Capitan Reef: Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico, USA, 1999, Harwood G. M. , Kendall A. C. ,
An area of reef margin collapse, gully formation and gully fill sedimentation has been identified and mapped within Left Hand Tunnel, Carlsbad Caverns. It demonstrates that the Capitan Reef did not, at all times, form an unbroken border to the Delaware Basin. Geopetally arranged sediments within cavities from sponge-algal framestones of the reef show that the in situ reef today has a 10 degrees basinwards structural dip. Similar dips in adjacent back-reef sediments, previously considered depositional, probably also have a structural origin. Reoriented geopetal structures have also allowed the identification of a 200-m-wide, 25-m-deep gully within the reef, which has been filled by large (some >15 m), randomly orientated and, in places, overturned blocks and boulders, surrounded by finer reef rubble, breccias and grainstones. Block supply continued throughout gully filling, implying that spalling of reef blocks was a longer term process and was not a by-product of the formation of the gully. Gully initiation was probably the result of a reef front collapse, with a continued instability of the gully bordering reef facies demonstrated by their incipient brecciation and by faults containing synsedimentary fills. Gully filling probably occurred during reef growth, and younger reef has prograded over the gully fill. Blocks contain truncated former aragonite botryoidal cements, indicating early aragonite growth within the in situ reef. In contrast, former high-magnesian calcite rind cements post-date sedimentation within the gully. The morphology of cavern passages is controlled by reef facies variation, with narrower passages cut into the in situ reef and wider passages within the gully fill. Gully fills may also constitute more permeable zones in the subsurface

The "unroofed cave" near the bunker (Laški Ravnik), 1999, Gerš, L Milan, Stepiš, Nik Uroš, , Š, Uš, Terš, Ič, Simona

Situated in the Laški Ravnik, about 4 km east of Planinsko polje (Slovenia), this unroofed cave is the longest of many found in the area. More than 200m of denuded passage has been traced at the surface. The cave's general trend is north - south. Three main "passages" making up the unroofed cave have been recognised, and each has been transformed in its own way. Disintegration of parts of the former cave roof is apparent, forming "false solution dolines", between which the ceiling is partly preserved, either in-situ or as isolated blocks lying on cave sediment. In the down-dip direction, passage sides have disintegrated almost completely, and detached blocks have slid down into washed-out portions of the former cave passages. All three passages developed along bedding planes, but in different directions, such that two of them now "emerge" above the surface whereas the third plunges down and is completely choked by loam. The unroofed cave passes southwards into a "normal" underground route, where a barely accessible, low and wide passage is accompanied by two "vertical" shafts, which are presumed to be former phreatic jumps. This part of the system is not considered in this paper.


Acidic cave-wall biofilms located in the Frasassi Gorge, Italy, 2000, Vlasceanu L. , Sarbu S. M. , Engel A. S. , Kinkle B. K. ,
Acidic bioflms present on cave walls in the sulfidic region of the Frasassi Gorge, Italy, were investigated to determine their microbial composition and their potential role in cave formation and ecosystem functioning. All biofilm samples examined had pH values <1.0. Scanning electron microscopy of the biofilms revealed the presence of various filaments and rods associated in large clusters with mineral crystals. Qualitative energy-dispersive x-ray analysis was used to determine that the crystals present on the cave walls, associated with the microbial biofilm, were composed of calcium and barium sulfate. Ribosomal RNA-based methods to determine the microbial composition of these biofilms revealed the presence of at least two strains of potential acidophilic, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria, belonging to the genera Thiobacillus and Sulfobacillus. An acid producing strain of Thiobacillus sp. also was obtained in pure culture. Stable isotope ratio analysis of carbon and nitrogen showed that the wall biofilms are isotopically light, suggesting that in situ chemoautotrophic activity plays an important role in this subsurface ecosystem

Geochemical and mineralogical characteristics of Fe-Ni- and bauxitic-laterite deposits of Greece, 2000, Eliopoulos Dg, Economoueliopoulos M,
Contiguous vertical sample profiles from Ni-laterite deposits with in situ features (Kastoria, Profitis Ilias, and Tsouka) and allochthonous Ni- and bauxitic-laterite deposits in contact with basement limestone (Nissi) and bauxitic-laterites lying on peridorite (Parhari) were analyzed for major, trace (including Tn and U), rare earth and platinum-group elements (REE and PGE, respectively). In addition, minerals with emphasis to chromite grains found as residual components in these laterites, inherited from the ophiolitic parent rocks, were analyzed by microprobe. Low Al2O3, TiO2, REE, Th and U contents are common features of the Kastoria, Bitincka and Tsouka deposits. Tn contrast, elevated REE contents are present in the karst-type bauxitic- and Ni-laterite ores of Nissi and bauxitic-laterites of Parhari. The bauxitic-laterite deposit of Nissi attains REE contents of thousands parts per million in samples from the contact between the lowest part of the bauxitic-laterite and the footwall limestone. Highest contents of Th and U are found in the bauxitic-laterites, with Th ranging from 4 to 28 ppm and U from 4 to 66 ppm. In general, increasing Al contents are accompanied by elevated Ti, REE, Tn and U contents at the Parhari and Nissi laterite deposits. Goethite, is the dominant mineral in all Ni-laterite profiles studied, while boehmite co-existing with goethite is common in the bauxitic-laterites at Nissi and Parhari. Goethite exhibits variable Al contents, while the Al/Fe ratio increases towards the top of the profiles. The PGE concentrations are generally low, ranging from less than 100 ppb to a few hundred parts per billion. The lowest values - lower than in the bedrock - were recorded in the saprolite zone. A certain enrichment in Pt (up to 48 ppb), Pd (7 ppb), and Au (16 ppb) is recorded in the reddish altered peridotite overlying the saprolite zone at Profitis Ilias. The Fe-Ni ore overlying the reddish altered peridotite has the highest Os values (14 ppb), Ir (32 ppb), Ru (66 ppb), Rh (20 ppb), Pt (86 ppb), and Pd (186 ppb). Gold contents are below 36 ppb. An increasing Pt/Pd ratio from 3.0 in Fe-Ni-laterites to 6.0 in bauxitic-laterites is apparent. Both whole rock compositions and mineral chemistry of laterites indicate that major controlling factors of the composition of the bauxitic-laterites are the conditions during transportation/deposition of the weathered material and during diagenesis/metadiagenesis stage rather than parent mafic ophiolitic rocks. The comparison between the primary composition of chromite in the saprolite zone and the overlying Fe-Ni ore may provide evidence for the discrimination between Fe-Ni ore linked to in situ weathering and ore derived by transportation to some extent of elastic and chemical material. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Element geochemistry of weathering profile of dolomitite and its implications for the average chemical composition of the upper-continental crust - Case studies from the Xinpu profile, northern Guizho, 2000, Ji H. B. , Ouyang Z. , Wang S. J. , Zhou D. Q. ,
Geochemical behavior of chemical elements is studied in a dolomitite weathering profile in upland of karst terrain in northern Guizhou. Two stages can be recognized during the process of in situ weathering of dolomitite: the stage of sedentary accumulation of leaching residue of dolomitite and the stage of chemical weathering evolution of sedentary soil. Ni, Cr, Mo, W and Ti are the least mobile elements with reference to Al. The geochemical behavior of REE is similar to that observed in weathering of other types of rocks. Fractionation of REE is noticed during weathering, and the two layers of REE enrichments are thought to result from downward movement of the weathering front in response to changes in the environment. It is considered that the chemistry of the upper part of the profile, which was more intensively weathered, is representative of the mobile components of the upper curst at the time the dolomitite was formed, while the less weathered lower profile is chemically representative of the immobile constitution. Like glacial till and loess, the 'insoluble' materials in carbonate rocks originating from chemical sedimentation may also provide valuable information about the average chemical composition of the upper continental crust

Geological barrier - a natural rock stratum for preventing confined karst water from flowing into mines in North China, 2001, Zhou W. F. , Li G. Y. ,
Coalfields in North China encompassing than ten Provinces contain six to seven coal seams in the Permo-Carboniferous strata. The lower three seams, accounting for 37% of the total reserves , are threatened with karst water from the underlain Ordovician limestone. Hundreds of water inrush incidences have occurred in which a large amount of water suddenly flows into tunnels or working faces under high potentiometric pressure 20 years. Large-scale dewatering or depressurizing of the karst aquifer was considered essential to water inrushes and keep the mines safely operational. This practice has caused sinkholes, dry gs, water supply shortage, and groundwater Keywords Geological barrier contamination in the surrounding areas, which is environmentally not permitted. One of the alternative water control measures is to make full use of the layer between the coal seam and the karst er as a geological barrier. Similar to the application in the nuclear industry where a geological barrier of this application is considered a hydraulic barrier as well with the objective to prevent or constrain water flow from the underlying aquifer into mines. Its effectiveness to constrain water flow is described by a parameter referred to as hydrofracturing pressure (P-hf) When the water pressure in the underlying aquifer exceeds P-hf, a wedging effect takes place within the fractures of the geological barrier and, as a result, water inrush occurs. In-situ hydrofracturing tests were used to determine P-hf in bauxite and silty sandstone at tunnels. The P-hf in the silty sandstone is larger than that in the bauxite but they both vary with depth (distance from the bottom of the tunnel). Based on the test results, a new safety criterion for water inrush was derived for mines and it has been successfully applied to mining practices with the minium effort of dewatering in the karst aquifer. The same criterion can also be applied to tunneling and quarrying in areas with similar geological conditions

Modelling of speleothems failure in the Hotton cave (Belgium). Is the failure earthquake induced?, 2001, Cadorin Jf, Jongmans D, Plumier A, Camelbeeck T, Delaby S, Quinif Y,
To provide quantitative information on the ground acceleration necessary to break speleothems, laboratory measurements on samples of stalagmite have been performed to study their failure in bending. Due to their high natural frequencies, speleothems can be considered as rigid bodies to seismic strong ground motion. Using this simple hypothesis and the determined mechanical properties (a minimum value of 0.4 MPa for the tensile failure stress has been considered), modelling indicates that horizontal acceleration ranging from 0.3 m/s(2) to 100 m/s(2) (0.03 to 10g) are necessary to break 35 broken speleothems of the Hotton cave for which the geometrical parameters have been determined. Thus, at the present time, a strong discrepancy exists between the peak accelerations observed during earthquakes and most of the calculated values necessary to break speleothems. One of the future research efforts will be to understand the reasons of the defined behaviour. It appears fundamental to perform measurements on in situ speleothems

The hypogenic caves: a powerful tool for the study of seeps and their environmental effects, 2002, Forti P, Galdenzi S, Sarbu Sm,
Research performed in caves has shown the existence of significant effects of gas seeps, especially CO2 and H2S, within subterranean voids. Carbon dioxide causes important corrosive effects and creates characteristic morphologies (e.g., bell-shaped domes, bubble's trails), but is not involved in the deposition of specific cave minerals. On the other hand, in carbonate environments, hydrogen sulfide when oxidized in the shallow sections of the aquifer generates important corrosion effects and is also responsible for the deposition of specific minerals of which gypsum is the most common.Studies performed in the last few years have shown that H2S seeps in caves are associated with rich and diverse biological communities, consisting of large numbers of endemic species. Stable isotope studies (carbon and nitrogen) have demonstrated that these hypogean ecosystems are entirely based on in situ production of food by chemoautotrophic microorganisms using energy resulting from the oxidation of H2S.Although located only 20 m under the surface, Movile Cave does not receive meteoric waters due to a layer of impermeable clays and loess that covers the Miocene limestone in which the cave is developed. In the Frasassi caves, where certain amounts of meteoric water seep into the limestone, the subterranean ecosystems are still isolated from the surface. As the deep sulfidic waters mix with the oxigenated meteoric waters, sulfuric acid limestone corrosion is accelerated resulting in widespread deposition of gypsum onto the cave walls.Both these caves have raised a lot of interest for biological investigations regarding the chemoautotrophically based ecosystems, demonstrating the possibility of performing such studies in environments that are easily accessible and easy to monitor compared to the deep-sea environments where the first gas seeps were discovered

Transport of suspended solids from a karstic to an alluvial aquifer: the role of the karst/alluvium interface, 2002, Massei N. , Lacroix M. , Wang H. Q. , Mahler B. J. , Dupont J. P. ,
This study focuses on the coupled transport of dissolved constituents and particulates, from their infiltration on a Karst plateau to their discharge from a karst spring and their arrival at a well in an alluvial plain, Particulate markers were identified and the transport of solids was characterised in situ in porous and karstic media, based on particle size analyses, SEM, and traces. Transport from the sinkhole to the spring appeared to be dominated by flow through karst: particulate transport was apparently conservative between the two sites, and there was little difference in the overall character of the particle size distribution of the particulates infiltrating the sinkhole and of those discharging from the spring. Qualitatively, the mineralogy of the infiltrating and discharging material was similar, although at the spring an autochthonous contribution from die aquifer was noted (chalk particles eroded from the parent rock by weathering). In contrast, transport between the spring and the well appears to be affected by the overlying alluvium: particles in the water from the well, showed evidence of considerable size-sorting. Additionally, SEM images of the well samples showed the presence of particles originating from the overlying alluvial system; these particles were not found in samples from the sinkhole or the spring. The differences between the particulates discharging from the spring and the well indicate that the water pumped from the alluvial plain is coming from the Karst aquifer via the very transmissive, complex geologic interface between the underlying chalk formation and the gravel at the base of the overlying alluvial system. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Filamentous 'Epsilonproteobacteria' dominate microbial mats from sulfidic cave springs, 2003, Engel As, Lee N, Porter Ml, Stern La, Bennett Pc, Wagner M,
Hydrogen sulfide-rich groundwater discharges from springs into Lower Kane Cave, Wyoming, where microbial mats dominated by filamentous morphotypes are found. The full-cycle rRNA approach, including 16S rRNA gene retrieval and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), was used to identify these filaments. The majority of the obtained 16S rRNA gene clones from the mats were affiliated with the 'Epsilonproteobacteria' and formed two distinct clusters, designated LKC group I and LKC group II, within this class. Group I was closely related to uncultured environmental clones from petroleum-contaminated groundwater, sulfidic springs, and sulfidic caves (97 to 99% sequence similarity), while group II formed a novel clade moderately related to deep-sea hydrothermal vent symbionts (90 to 94% sequence similarity). FISH with newly designed probes for both groups specifically stained filamentous bacteria within the mats. FISH-based quantification of the two filament groups in six different microbial mat samples from Lower Kane Cave showed that LKC group II dominated five of the six mat communities. This study further expands our perceptions of the diversity and geographic distribution of 'Epsilonproteobacteria' in extreme environments and demonstrates their biogeochemical importance in subterranean ecosystems

The Shaimerden Supergene Zinc Deposit, Kazakhstan: A Preliminary Examination, 2003, Boland Mb, Kelly Jg, Schaffalitzky C,
The Shaimerden supergene zinc deposit in the southern Urals Mountains is located in the province of Kostanai in northwest Kazakhstan. It lies at the southern end of the Kostanai megasyncline, a north-northeast-trending, structurally controlled area of lower Paleozoic clastic and carbonate sedimentary rocks and volcanic rocks. A zinc-lead resource estimated at 4,645,100 tonnes at 21.06 percent Zn has been defined. The deposit is hosted within a sequence of intertidal to open-marine carbonates and evaporites of Visean (Early Carboniferous) age. Although drilling to date has not intersected a fault, significant faulting in the area is suggested by the presence of polymict debris flows comprising a wide range of carbonate facies and by large variations in micropaleontologic dates. Sulfide deposits replaced hydrothermally dolomitized carbonates and were subsequently reworked into polymict conglomerates of probable Carboniferous age that were deposited in a marine environment. Weathering of the sulfide mineral deposits took place during the Triassic Period, following uplift during the late Paleozoic. The weathering occurred in situ, and small intervals of relict sulfides were preserved in the center of the deposit. The degree of weathering increases outward from the center of the deposit, which passes from massive sulfide to massive hemimorphite-smithsonite to weathered clays with hemimorphite-smithsonite fragments. The supergene minerals are overlain by bauxitic clays of Cretaceous age and Quaternary silty soils and sands

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

Cambial growth of Swietenia macrophylla King studied under controlled conditions by high resolution laser measurements, 2003, Dunisch O, Schulte M, Kruse K,
The kinetics of phloem and xylem formation of two-year-old plants of Swietenia macrophylla King (true mahogany) was studied in a model system along the shoot circumference (experiment 1) and along the shoot axis (experiment 2). The radius increment of the shoot was registered by high resolution laser measurements (accuracy: 2 mum) in a spatial resolution of 7.8 to 41.3 mum along the stem circumference and 1.5 mm along the stem axis. The temporal resolution of the measurements was 2 s in experiment 1 and 20 s in experiment 2. The radius increment of the shoot detected by the laser measurements was predominately due to the radial enlargement of the phloem and xylem derivatives. On the phloem side the reinitiation of radial cell enlargement after a cambial dormancy occurred first in sieve tubes with contact to ray parenchyma cells, while on the xylem side the radial cell enlargement of vessels and paratracheal parenchyma was induced almost simultaneously along the shoot circumference. In the phloem and xylem derivatives, which were formed first after the cambial reactivation, radial cell enlargement was induced almost simultaneously along the shoot axis. In more advanced phases of phloem and xylem formation, radial cell enlargement of phloem and xylem derivatives was induced shoot downwards with a rate of approximately 13 mm per min. The mean rate of radial cell enlargement of the phloem and xylem derivatives was 2.26 and 4.37 mum per min, respectively. These findings suggest that the kinetics of cambial growth of tropical tree species differ significantly from kinetics observed in trees from temperate regions. The laser measurements might provide a useful experimental approach for studies of cambial activity in situ

Trace elements in speleothems. A short review of the state of the art., 2004, Verheyden Sophie
A state of the art of the research on trace elements of speleothems is given. First studies focussed on problems such as the colour of speleothems and the aragonite problem. Insitu studies and studies oriented towards a better understanding of vadose hydrology brought new insights in the controls on trace elemental composition of speleothems. Recent studies deal with microscale analyses and annual and intra-annual chemistry changes. Further in-situ studies should be performed to further differentiate influences, such as climate, soil/weathering and local hydrology in order to better constrain possible transfer functions between the surface and a speleothem.

Palaeolithic painting matter: natural or heat-treated pigment?, 2004, Chalmin E, Vignaud C, Menu M,
Analyses of archaeological materials attempt to rediscover the know-how of Prehistoric men by determining the nature of the matter, its preparation mode, and its geographic origin. The preparation mode of painting matter of Palaeolithic rock art consisted not only in mixing and grinding but also in heat-treatment. Palaeolithic painters used two main colors: red (iron oxide, hematite) and black (charcoal or manganese oxide). The different phases of manganese oxides can be distinguished using their elemental composition, their structure and the oxidation state of the Mn ion (II, III, IV). Their transformation during heat-treatment has been studied on mineralogical reference samples by means of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) either coupled or not with a heating stage (in situ). These studies have enabled us to understand the transformation mechanisms of manganese oxides and also to gain insights into the preparation procedures of painting materials during the Palaeolithic period. The painting samples studied in this paper come from the cave of Lascaux (Dordogne, France). These studies allow us to distinguish between natural or heat-treated manganese oxides

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