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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 micrite is a microscopic texture. an abbreviation of 'microcrystalline calcite ooze' which refers to precipitated finely crystalline carbonate sediments in grains from 1 to 4 microns in diameter [20]. synonyms: (french.) micrite; (greek.) micrite; (italian.) micrite; (spanish.) micrita; (turkish.) mikrit; (yugoslavian.) mikrit. see biomicrite, peloid.?

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

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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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 crusts (Keyword) returned 56 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 56
A tentative classification of paleoweathering formations based on geomorphological criteria, 1996, Battiauqueney Y,
A geomorphological classification is proposed that emphasizes the usefulness of paleoweathering records in any reconstruction of past landscapes. Four main paleoweathering records are recognized: 1. Paleoweathering formations buried beneath a sedimentary or volcanic cover. Most of them are saprolites, sometimes with preserved overlying soils. Ages range from Archean to late Cenozoic times; 2. Paleoweathering formations trapped in karst: some of them have buried pre-existent karst landforms, others have developed simultaneously with the subjacent karst; 3. Relict paleoweathering formations: although inherited, they belong to the present landscape. Some of them are indurated (duricrusts, silcretes, ferricretes,...); others are not and owe their preservation to a stable morphotectonic environment; 4. Polyphased weathering mantles: weathering has taken place in changing geochemical conditions. After examples of each type are provided, the paper considers the relations between chemical weathering and landform development. The climatic significance of paleoweathering formations is discussed. Some remote morphogenic systems have no present equivalent. It is doubtful that chemical weathering alone might lead to widespread planation surfaces. Moreover, classical theories based on sea-level and rivers as the main factors of erosion are not really adequate to explain the observed landscapes

Ancient helictites and the formation of vadose crystal silt in upper Jurassic carbonates (Southern Germany), 1998, Reinhold C. ,
Speleothems and vadose crystal silt are effective indications for karstification processes in the fossil record. Upper Jurassic limestones in Southern Germany that have undergone vadose diagenesis contain on crystal margins and tips of coarse bladed calcites numerous fibrous calcite crystals, formed by abnormal growth conditions, and internal sediment within fractures and vugs, Fibrous calcite crystals grew as crusts, in fence and mesh-like arrangements. Fibrous crystals, which have a length:width ratio of greater than 1:10, are made up of stacked subcrystals composed of an alternation of hexagonal prisms and rhombohedra, They exhibit a central to somewhat eccentric capillary. Electron probe microanalysis shows low-Mg calcite mineralogy with negligible amounts of Fe, Mn, and Sr as well as dis seminated clay and metal hydroxide impurities. Stable-isotope data show relatively C-13-enriched and O-18-depleted values (delta(13)C similar to parts per thousand PDB, delta(18)O similar to -6 parts per thousand PDB), suggesting a meteoric environment and CO2 degassing as the main process of formation, Fibrous calcite crystals form from capillary fluids that are highly supersaturated with respect to calcium carbonate, contaminated with alien mineral impurities. The abnormal growth pattern is suggested to be substrate-controlled and attributed to mineral impurities that produce numerous crystallization nuclei. Fibrous calcite crystals are comparable to helictites of the filiform type that are reported only from Quaternary caves. Nevertheless, the diagenetic sequence and oxygen isotope data suggest a Late Cretaceous to early Tertiary age for their formation. The internal sediment consists exclusively of silt-size fragments of fibrous crystals and therefore is comparable to vadose crystal silt. Crystal silt is generated by the erosion of fibrous crystals both by va dose seepage and air currents. This study is the first observation of ancient helictites and related vadose crystal silt, documenting the close relationship between pore ceiling vadose cements and the generation of crystal silt

Palaeomagnetic research of cave sediments in SW Slovenia, 1998, Bosá, K Pavel, Pruner Petr, Zupan Hajna Nadja

Three profiles of caves sediments (Divača fossil cave, Divaška Jama and Trhlovca Cave) were studied in the Kras near Divača village. Mineralogical study proved relatively uniform mineral composition of the light fraction indicating the main source from weathered sediments of Eocene flysch. Some minerals are derived from weathering profiles and crusts (e.g. gibbsite). Detailed magnetostratigraphic investigations of three profiles defined normal and reverse polarity magnetozones and shows the correlation between the profiles in the Divaška Jama and Trhlovca Cave. The narrow normal magnetozones probably correlate with the Jaramillo polarity event (0.90 to 0.97 Ma) of the Matuyama epoch. Those data indicate the substantial age of cave in which the last phase of filling started before 0.97 Ma and finished before the Brunhes/Matuyama boundary, i.e. around 0.73 Ma. Magnetostratigraphic data of the Divača profile detected two narrow normal magnetozones in the long reverse polarity zone which probably correlate with Olduvai and Reunion polarity events (about 1.67 to 1.87 Ma) of reverse Matuyama epoch or with some of normal magnetozones (about 3.8 to 5.0 Ma) within reverse Gilbert epoch. Data indicate the possibility that the cave was originated during the Messinian period characteristic by sea-level fall and evolution of deep karst in the Mediterranean Basin.


Laterisation on limestones of the Tertiary Wankoe Formation and its relationship to the African Surface, southern Cape, South Africa, 1999, Marker M. E. , Holmes P. J. ,
The existence of erosion surfaces has long been recognised as a macroscale feature of the southern African landscape. Evidence is presented here to demonstrate that laterisation as a soil process affected the calcareous Tertiary Wankoe Formation of the southern Cape. Remnants of the Tertiary African Surface along the southern Cape Coastal Plateau are characterised by deep weathering mantles capped by duricrusts of laterite and silcrete. The limestones have been assumed to be the coastal equivalent of the inland African Surface. Through field mapping of the study locality discussed below, and through sedimentological and geochemical analysis (X-ray fluorescence spectrometry) of selected samples, it was possible to demonstrate that the laterisation process also affected these older Tertiary Limestones. However, the evidence is rarely preserved, and nowhere have complete, intact laterised profiles survived. More often, strong weathering resulted in case-hardening of the topography and the formation of dense calcrete. The implication from this coastal locality is that laterisation as a soil forming process extended from the Mid Tertiary Period until the early Pleistocene Period within this particular sub-region of southern Africa. The significance of this locality within the broader context of the African Surface remnants which occur from the Cape Peninsula in the west to the Knysna area in the east, as well as the palaeoenvironmental significance of laterisation on a substrate which is not conducive to this type of weathering, are also examined. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Hydrochemical Interpretation of Cave Patterns in the Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico, 2000, Palmer, A. N. , Palmer, M. V.
Most caves in the Guadalupe Mountains have ramifying patterns consisting of large rooms with narrow rifts extending downward, and with successive outlet passages arranged in crude levels. They were formed by sulfuric acid from the oxidation of hydrogen sulfide, a process that is now dormant. Episodic escape of H2S-rich water from the adjacent Delaware Basin, and perhaps also from strata beneath the Guadalupes, followed different routes at different times. For this reason, major rooms and passages correlate poorly between caves, and within large individual caves. The largest cave volumes formed where H2S emerged at the contemporary water table, where oxidation was most rapid. Steeply ascending passages formed where oxygenated meteoric water converged with deep-seated H2S-rich water at depths as much as 200 m below the water table. Spongework and network mazes were formed by highly aggressive water in mixing zones, and they commonly rim, underlie, or connect rooms. Transport of H2S in aqueous solution was the main mode of H2S influx. Neither upwelling of gas bubbles nor molecular diffusion appears to have played a major role in cave development, although some H2S could have been carried by less-soluble methane bubbles. Most cave origin was phreatic, although subaerial dissolution and gypsum-replacement of carbonate rock in acidic water films and drips account for considerable cave enlargement above the water table. Estimates of enlargement rates are complicated by gypsum replacement of carbonate rock because the gypsum continues to be dissolved by fresh vadose water long after the major carbonate dissolution has ceased. Volume-for-volume replacement of calcite by gypsum can take place at the moderate pH values typical of phreatic water in carbonates, preserving the original bedrock textures. At pHs less than about 6.4, this replacement usually takes place on a molar basis, with an approximately two-fold volume increase, forming blistered crusts.

Clays in Caves of the Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico, 2000, Polyak, V. J. , Gven, N.
The origins of clay minerals in the caves of the Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico are categorized as (1) detrital, (2) inherited from the weathering of dolostone and siltstone, and (3) authigenic. Clay minerals found in these caves include hydrated halloysite, kaolinite, dickite, illite, montmorillonite, illite-smectite mixed-layers, palygorskite, and trioctahedral smectite. The detrital clay minerals are montmorillonite, illite, dickite and kaolinite. The clay minerals inherited from the bedrock by condensation-induced weathering (in wall residues) are illite and dickite. Cave-authigenic clay minerals include hydrated halloysite (endellilte), trioctahedral smectite, montmorillonite, and probably palygorskite. Hydrated halloysite formed by the alteration of illite, montmorillonite, illite-smectite mixed-layers, kaolinite, or dickite during sulfuric acid-related speleogenesis. Trioctahedral smectite precipitated with Mg-carbonate minerals in dolomite crusts and huntite moonmilk. Montmorillonite formed in saturated ledge deposits of redistributed wall residues. Less clear is the origin of palygorskite in laminated silt and clay deposits in Carlsbad Cavern.

AUTHIGENESIS OF TRIOCTAHEDRAL SMECTITE IN MAGNESIUM-RICH CARBONATE SPELEOTHEMS IN CARLSBAD CAVERN AND OTHER CAVES OF THE GUADALUPE MOUNTAINS, NEW MEXICO, 2000, Polyak Victor James, Guven Necip,
Trioctahedral smectite is a constituent of Mg-rich carbonate crusts and moonmilks (pasty deposits) in caves of the Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico. Energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis of individual crystallites and their aggregates along with the X-ray diffraction analysis indicates that the smectite is probably stevensite. Saponite is likely present in some samples also. The smectite is intimately associated with dolomite crusts and huntite moonmilks in Carlsbad Cavern, Lechuguilla Cave, and other dolostone caves. Clay particles appear as fibers and films, with aggregates comprising decimicron-sized filamentous masses that envelop crystals of dolomite, huntite, and magnesite. The occurrence of smectite is related to the genesis of the Mg-rich carbonate minerals. In water films, progressive evaporation and carbon dioxide loss results in the sequential precipitation of Mg-rich calcite, aragonite, dolomite, huntite, and magnesite. This sequence of carbonate precipitation removes Ca and greatly increases the Mg/Ca ratio in the solutions. Silica is commonly available probably because of high pH conditions, and consequently, smectite forms in the Mg-rich alkaline environment. Along with the Mg-rich carbonate minerals, opal, quartz, and uranyl vanadates may precipitate with the smectite

Pedogenic and Karstic Features at the Boundaries of Bathonian Depositional Sequences in the Grands Causses Area (Southern France): Stratigraphic Implications, 2000, Charcosset P, Combes Pj, Peybernes B, Ciszak R, Lopez M,
Several exposure surfaces (D1 to D6) underlain by paleosols, paleokarstic surfaces, and subsurface paleokarsts were identified in the Middle to Upper Bathonian Calcaires a Stipites and Dolomies II Formations in southern France. Two kinds of paleosols with different degrees of maturity were recognized: simple ferruginous crusts, capping very irregular bed surfaces, and a rooted horizon. The paleokarstic surfaces are marked by nodular horizons and paleocaves. On the Cevennes shoal, the paleokarsts discontinuities are associated with synsedimentary tectonic processes, which did not extend into the overlying Dolomies II Formation. Subsurface paleokarsts were observed in the Cirque du Bout du Monde (on the Cevennes shoal) within the Calcaires a Stipites Formation, just beneath surface D5. They are characterized by stronger brecciation of the beds. Most of the paleokarstic discontinuities described in this study correspond to the boundaries of four third-order depositional sequences, Bt 1 to Bt 4 (D1 at the base of Bt 1; D2, D3, D4, and D5 capping Bt 1, Bt 2, Bt 3, and Bt 4, respectively; D6 at the top of the Dolomies II Formation). D1, D2, and D3 paleokarsts are geographically limited to the Grands Causses Graben, whereas D4, D5, and D6 are present only on the Cevennes shoal. Geographic trends of paleokarsts confirm the transgressive trend of sequences Bt 3 and Bt 4, and of the overlying Dolomies II Formation towards the shoal. D6 paleokarstic features were also observed within the uppermost part of the Dolomies II Formation in the Horst de Saint-Bresson. The latter transgressive process provides evidence for subaerial exposure of this paleostructure during the latest Bathonian-Callovian interval, induced by tectonic uplifts

Mn-Fe deposits in shallow cryptic marine environment: examples in northwestern Mediterranean submarine caves, 2001, Allouc J, Harmelin Jg,
Black coating of hard substrates by Mn and Fe oxides has long been reported from shallow, dark, submarine caves. However, these littoral metallic deposits have never been studied in detail, despite expected analogies with deep-sea polymetallic crusts. Submarine caves are characterized by darkness and low rates of exchanges with the open sea. Lack of primary production and confinement of inner water bodies result in marked oligotrophy and extremely reduced biomass, i.e. conditions close to those prevailing in deep-sea habitats. Field evidences suggested that the formation of Mn-Fe coatings was closely tied to these particular environmental conditions. The goal of this study was to examine the detailed features of Mn-Fe coatings from dark caves with different local conditions, and to try to identify the processes responsible for their deposition. Study sites and methods Three sublittoral, single-entrance, caves were sampled by scuba diving along the coasts of Provence (France, Mediterranean Sea) (fig. 1). The first site is a large karstic cave (Tremies Cave, 16 m depth at entrance floor, 60 m long; Marseille-Cassis area) with an ascending profile which results in a buffered thermal regime and markedly oligotrophic conditions due to warm water trapping in its upper part (fig. 1 and 2). Wall fragments were sampled at 30 m (medium confinement : zone B) and 60 in (strong confinement : zone C) from the cave entrance. The second site is a large tubular cavity open in conglomerate formations (3PP Cave, 15 m depth at entrance floor, 120 m long; La Ciotat) with a descending profile which results in relative permanence of winter temperatures within the inner parts, complex water circulation and presumed greater input of sedimented particles than in the preceding cave (fig.1 and 2). Wall samples were taken at 25 m, 70 in and 100 m from entrance. The third site is a small, horizontal, cave open in quartzite formations (Bagaud Cave, 7 in depth at entrance floor, about 10 m long; WNW of Port-Cros Island, bay of Hyeres). Sampling was performed on walls of a narrow corridor between an anterior room and a smaller inner room. A sporadic outflow of continental waters is located in the inner room. The samples were preserved in 50% ethylic alcohol or studied soon after their sampling. Before carbon coating and SEM examination, or microanalyses with SEM-associated spectrometers, they were treated in a 33% Chlorox solution and thereafter washed in demineralized water and dried. Micromorphology At low-medium magnification (<20,000), the aspect of coatings varies between caves and, especially, between inner-cave locations. All the described structures are made up of Mn and Fe oxides. In Tremies Cave, coatings of walls from zone B are composed of irregular erected constructions (height : 10s to 100s μm) formed by the aggregation of roughly ovoid primary concretions of about 10 μm (fig. 3). The surface of those primary concretions displays numerous lacunose to reticulate films (pores, about 0.5 μm in diameter, are often subrounded). Remnants of these films and organomorphic corpuscles occur also within the primary concretions (fig. 4). On younger substrates (broken wall exposed since 1970), primary concretions are poorly developed and no prominent construction is visible (fig. 5). In more confined conditions (zone C), the erected constructions of ancient coatings are smaller and less numerous than in zone B but are well individualized (fig. 6). In this zone: C, besides some remnants of lacunose to reticulate films (fig. 7), there is an appearance of filaments and ovoid corpuscles (height/width : 10-30/5-15 μm), which seem to be linked to filaments by a short stalk (fig. 8). In 3 PP Cave, at 25-70 m from entrance, wall coatings present porous heaps of primary concretions (fig. 9). The surface and the inside of the latter comprise remnants of lacunose to reticulate films that evoke those observed in Tremies Cave (fig. 10 and 11). On younger substrates (hard parts of sessile invertebrates), coatings are restricted to micrometric organomorphic corpuscles with some remnants of lacunose or fibrous films (fig. 12). At 100 in from the entrance, coatings are shaped by numerous erected constructions, more or less coalescing (fig. 13). Besides remnants of lacunose films, the primary concretions contain interlacing filaments (diameter : 0.2-0.3 μm) forming cords or veils (fig. 14). In Bagaud Cave, the primary concretions are aggregated in irregular heaps (fig. 15). Lacunose films are particularly frequent and tend to form three-dimensional mamillated structures that were not observed in the other caves (fig. 16). In particular, there is an appearance of tubular structures (fig. 17) and of numerous hemispheroidal structures (diameter : 4-5 μm) with an upper orifice (fig. 18 and 19). At higher magnification (20,000), whatever the cave and inner-cave location, the aspect of oxide deposits is rather smooth or, especially, microgranular (fig. 20). Mineral composition The composition of coatings is different between caves and according to their inner-cave location. In both large caves (Tremies and 3 PP), the Mn/Fe ratio increases with the distance from the cave entrance, i.e. when exchanges with the open sea diminish (fig. 21a). This trend is particularly clear in Tremies Cave, where the confinement gradient is strongly marked. Besides, the Mn/Fe ratio also seems to increase when films are present in the analysed volume (some cubic micrometers) (fig. 21b). In Bagaud Cave, the Mn/Fe ratio reaches high values despite the small size of this cave and its low confinement level. Discussion and conclusions SEM observations suggest that in each studied cave, the Mn-Fe coatings are biosedimentary deposits. Genesis of these deposits is assumed to result mainly from the replacement of biofilms (composed of cells and slime, i.e, of extracellular polymeric substance produced by microorganisms) generated by microbial populations colonizing the cave walls. Considering the darkness of the cave-locations, microbes consist mainly in bacteria, but fungi are probably responsible for the filaments and ovoids corpuscules (evoking sporocysts) occurring in innermost parts. Observations at different scales of the morphological features of oxide deposits reveal a structured organisation which varies along the strong environmental gradients (particularly the confinement level) that occur from the entrance to the innermost parts : erected constructions made up of primary concretions become more and more defined and acquire a pseudo-columnar shape. The aspect of biofilms appears to be controlled by the same environmental parameters. In open or relatively open environments, they frequently show a three-dimensional development (with frequent skullcape-like shapes), while in more confined conditions they exhibit a planar layout. These changes reflect either the adaptation of the slime-producing bacteria to the local trophic resources (correlated to the rate of exchange with the open sea) and water movements, or spatial replacement of taxa. It is assumed that slime (mainly composed of water and exopolysaccharides) induces a local increase of the concentration in dissolved Mn and acts as an ion exchange resin that allows the retention of Mn on the functional groups of EPS. These conditions promote the nucleation of Mn oxide crystallites in the slime. Then. the anionic character of Mn oxides in seawater, and their capacity to catalyse the oxydation of Mn2 to Mn4, allow the process to go on without any other biological intervention; thus, the process of crystal growth becomes possible. In caves where Mn is only supplied by seawater (Tremies and 3 PP), the average value of the Mn/Fe ratio of coatings is negatively correlated to the local availability of nutrients. This trend is probably linked to changes in the selectivity of slimes towards the processes of retention of cations, because this ratio is clearly influenced by the occurrence of biofilms. However, independently from trophic resources, the Mn/Fe ratio can be notably increased when additional Mn is provided by the seeping or flowing of continental waters (Bagaud Cave)

Caves formed within Upper Cretaceous skarns at Baita, Bihor County, Romania: Mineral deposition and speleogenesis, 2002, Onac B. P. ,
The Baita metallogenic district, in Bihor County, Romania, is genetically connected to a deep-seated Upper Cretaceous granitic pluton. Within this district, several bodies of skarn host economic concentrations of Mo, W, Bi, Cu, Pb, Zn, B, wollastonite, and marble. During mining, numerous karst cavities were encountered. Minerals such as wittichenite, antimonian luzonite, natrolite, quartz, chalcanthite, rosasite, glaukosphaerite, aurichalcite, azurite, malachite, norsethite and, more commonly, calcite, aragonite, hydromagnesite, and goethite were found within these skarn-hosted caves as crusts, coralloids, minute crystals, aggregates, and earthy masses. Some of the minerals are of hydrothermal origin, whereas others are interpreted to have formed during episodes of hydrothermal or vadose alteration. A third group consists of minerals that were precipitated from low-temperature karstic waters. Although most skarn-hosted cavities exhibit the classical features of meteoric-water-induced cave, their mineralization, morphology, and position within the skarn support a hydrothermal or a mixed hydrothermal-vadose origin

ENVIRONMENTAL BASELINE GEOCHEMISTRY OF SEDIMENTS AND PERCOLATING WATERS IN THE MODRI] CAVE, CROATIA, 2002, Miko Slobodan, Kuhta Mladen, Kapelj Sanja

A comprehensive study of Modrić cave was undertaken to evaluate the baseline conditions before its utilization for tourism. Silty loams with guano contain abundant quartz, illite and taranakite and minor vivianite and high concentrations of Cu (2869 mg/kg), Zn (951 mg/kg) and Cd (28 mg/kg). Also sediments mixed with guano are enriched with light REE as well as elevated concentrations of U, Th, Rb and Hg. Sediments with bone fragments contain abundant quartz, illite, calcite and hydroxylapatite and minor carndallite and lower contents of heavy metals. All sediments analysed showed various degrees of contamination by Cu and Zn from dispersed guano. Most of the Zn and Cu in cave sediments and the hydroxyl-apatite crusts are mainly controlled by the iron and manganese hydroxide and the organic fractions, the organic fraction plays an important role in sediment samples with direct influence of guano and in hydroxylapatite crusts while in samples with bone fragments the hydroxide control is dominant. Guano influence on the percolating waters was observed in two cases in the left channel where due to the higher content of orthophosphates saturation in respect to hydroxyl-apatite is present.


Gypsum deposits in the Frasassi Caves, central Italy, 2003, Galdenzi, S. , Maruoka, T.
The Frasassi Caves are hypogenic caves in central Italy, where H2S-rich groundwater flows in the lowest cave level. Near the water table, the H2S is converted to sulfuric acid by biotic and abiotic processes, which have enhanced cave development. The sulfate generally deposits above the water table as a replacement gypsum crust coating limestone walls or as large gypsum crystals. Although the oxidation of sulfide also occurs below the water table, sulfate saturation is not achieved, therefore, sulfate does not precipitate below the water table. In the upper dry levels of the cave, three main types of ancient gypsum deposits occurs: (1) replacement crusts, similar to the presently forming deposits of the active zone, (2) microcrystalline large and thick floor deposits, and (3) euhedral crystals inside mud. The study of the depositional setting and the analysis of sulfur isotopes in the gypsum and groundwater clearly demonstrate that all the sampled gypsum in the cave formed by H2S oxidation above the water table. Some fraction of small sulfur isotopic differences between H2S in the water and gypsum can be explained by isotopic fractionation during abiotic and/or biotic oxidation of H2S.

Heterogeneity of parent rocks and its constraints on geochemical criteria in weathering crusts of carbonate rocks, 2004, Wang S. J. , Feng Z. G. ,
Owing to the low contents of their acid-insoluble components, carbonate rocks tend to decrease sharply in volume in association with the formation of weathering crust. The formation of a 1 m-thick weathering crust would usually consume more than ten meters to several tens of meters of thickness of parent rocks. The knowledge of how to identify the homogeneity of parent rocks is essential to understand the formation mechanism of weathering crust in karst regions. especially that of thick-layered red weathering crust. In this work the grain-size analyses have demonstrated that the three profiles studied are the residual weathering crust of carbonate rocks and further showed that there objectively exists the, heterogeneity of parent rocks in the three studied weathering crusts. The heterogeneity of parent rocks can also be. reflected in geochemical parameters of major elements, just as the characteristics of frequency plot of pain-size distribution. Conservative trace element ratios Zr/Hf and Nb/Ta are proven to be unsuitable for tracing the heterogeneity of parent rocks of weathering crust, but its geochemical mechanism is unclear. The authors strongly suggest in this paper that the identification of the homogeneity of parent rocks of weathering crust in karst regions is of prime necessity

Unique iron-manganese colonies of microorganisms in Zoloushka Cave (Ukraine-Moldova), 2009, Andreychouk V. N. , Klimchouk A. , Boston P. , Galuskin E.

During open-pit quarrying and related lowering of groundwater level in the gypsum karst aquifer (since 1950), large cave Zoloushka became accessible for direct exploration, in which considerable geochemical transformations of environment occurred, accompanied by the formation of specific deposits, as well as by burst of microbial activity. Among microorganisms, some of the most active were various iron bacteria. Microbial activity has resulted in precipitation of black and red biochemical formations – microbialites (coatings, crusts, films, stalactites, stalagmites, etc.), which cover walls and floors of cave passages. Most interesting among the microbialites are iron-rich colonial formations of various shapes (stalagmite-like, tube-like, coral-like, etc.) formed by yet unidentified fungi-like microorganisms which likely are new to science. In this paper, we characterize occurrence and morphology of the colonial aggregates, morphology and chemical composition of microorganisms  and develop working hypotheses of their identification.


Solutional features and cave deposits related to hypogene speleogenetic processes in a littoral cave of Mallorca Island (western Mediterranean) , 2010, Fornó, S J. J. , Merino A. , Giné, S J. , Giné, S A. , Grà, Cia F.

The Cova des Pas de Vallgornera, located in the southern part of Mallorca Island (western Mediterranean) and developed in Upper Miocene reefal carbonate limestones, is an exceptional coastal cave because of its particular morphological features and the presence of deposits with uncommon mineralogies. Littoral mixing dissolution processes represent the most important speleogenetic mechanism to be considered in the eogenetic karst platform, where it develops; nevertheless, part of the cave consists of an extensive network of galleries that show morpho-sedimentary features pointing up to a possible participation of hypogene speleogenesis. The morphological assemblage of the cave illustrates besides the typical coastal karstification, a noticeable meteoric water recharge along with a possible deep recharge of hypogenic character. Features consisting in upwards solutional channels are abundant, including a complete morphologic suite of rising flow supporting the involvement of hypogene speleogenetic processes. Furthermore, the presence of vents and some related speleothems, such as crusts and cave rims, together with Mn and Fe-rich deposits hosting several minerals not observed until present in other caves of the region must be highlighted. Given the monotonous surface geology around the cave, it is suspected that ascending Sr, Ba, Mn, and Al-rich hypogene solutions may have reacted with the host rock to form this unique mineral assemblage. These deep-seated speleogenetic and mineralogical phenomena could be associated with the feeble geothermal anomalies existing currently in the Llucmajor platform, related to SW–NE faults which delimitate the subsidence basin existing in the southern end of Mallorca Island.


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