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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 joint-plane cave is a cavity high in relation to width developed along steeply dipping joint planes [10].?

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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 cave morphology (Keyword) returned 64 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 64
The sponge community in a semi-submerged temperate sea cave: Density, diversity and richness, 2002, Bell Jj,
The sponge communities inhabiting a temperate semi-submerged sea cave were investigated at Lough Hyne Marine Nature Reserve, Co. Cork, Ireland. Thirty-one species of sponge were reported, the majority of which exhibited either an encrusting or massive morphology. Sponge density (averaged over depth) increased with horizontal distance (5 m intervals) into the cave until approximately 30 m, corresponding to the maximum algal intrusion (algal information from Norton et al., 1971). Species diversity and richness (averaged over depth) were highest at 10 m horizontal distance from the cave entrance. Variability in sponge density, diversity and richness was observed with increasing vertical depth (0.5 m intervals) at most horizontal intervals sampled (5 m apart). These three variables increased initially with depth, but then decreased towards the seabed. Bray-Curtis Similarity Analysis and Multi-Dimensional Scaling (MDS) showed cave sponge community composition to have greater similarity (50%) with local loose rock habitats than the nearby cliffs. Similar processes structuring cave and loose rock sponge communities may account for this situation. Information collected from this and previous studies on the biotic (algal communities, other fauna and competition) and abiotic factors (water flow rate, depth, aerial exposure, light, cave morphology, nutrient depletion and humidity) affecting this and other caves is discussed with respect to its influence on the sponges inhabiting different parts of the cave. Although horizontal zonation patterns have been considered analogous to vertical distribution patterns for algal communities (due to similar decreases in light), this was not the case for the studied sponge communities

Unconfined versus confined speleogenetic settings: variations of solution porosity, 2003, Klimchouk, A. B.

Speleogenesis in confined settings generates cave morphologies that differ much from those formed in unconfined settings. Caves developed in unconfined settings are characterised by broadly dendritic patterns of channels due to highly competing development. In contrast, caves originated under confined conditions tend to form two- or three-dimensional mazes with densely packed conduits. This paper illustrates variations of solution (channel) porosity resulted from speleogenesis in unconfined and confined settings by the analysis of morphometric parameters of typical cave patterns. Two samples of typical cave systems formed in the respective settings are compared. The sample that represents unconfined speleogenesis consists of solely limestone caves, whereas gypsum caves of this type tend to be less dendritic. The sample that represents confined speleogenesis consists of both limestone and gypsum maze caves. The comparison shows considerable differences in average values of some parameters between the settings. Passage network density (the ratio of the cave length to the area of the cave field, km/km2) is one order of magnitude greater in confined settings than in unconfined (average 167.3 km/km2 versus 16.6 km/km2). Similarly, an order of magnitude difference is observed in cave porosity (a fraction of the volume of a cave block, occupied by mapped cavities; 5.0 % versus 0.4 %). This illustrates that storage in maturely karstified confined aquifers is generally much greater than in unconfined. The average areal coverage (a fraction of the area of the cave field occupied by passages in a plan view) is about 5 times greater in confined settings than in unconfined (29.7 % versus 6.4 %). This indicates that conduit permeability in confined aquifers is appreciably easier to target with drilling than the widely spaced conduits in unconfined aquifers.


Halls and Narrows: Network caves in dipping limestone, examples from eastern Australia, 2003, Osborne, R. A. L.

Structurally guided network caves formed in limestones dipping at greater than approximately thirty degrees differ in plan and section from maze caves developed in horizontal to gently dipping limestone. These caves are characterised by the development of large elongate cavities oriented along strike called halls and smaller, short cavities oriented perpendicular to strike called narrows. Halls typically terminate blindly along strike. A range of hall and narrows development is recognised, resulting from increases in dip and differing disposition of joints. Entrances to hall and narrows caves appear to have little genetic relationship to the caves. Hall and narrows caves are common in the steeply dipping Palaeozoic limestones of eastern Australia. While the origin of these caves has yet to be completely explained, many of their features suggest that hydrothermal or artesian water had a role in their development.


Zones of enhanced dissolution and associated cave morphology in an uplifted carbonate island karst aquifer, northern Guam, Mariana Island, 2003, Taboroi D. , Jenson J. W, Mylroie J. E.

n contrast to Paleozoic limestones where drainage is based on classical cave systems (secondary porosity), young limestones of uplifted carbonate islands retain substantial distributed primary porosity. Consequently, speleogenesis on such islands is restricted to environments where dissolution is sufficiently focused to produce caves. Thus, on Guam and similar islands, solution voids large enough for human traverse occur only in settings where dissolution has been focused by hydrologic or geologic boundaries. In the vadose zone, these boundaries are lithologic contacts or structural discontinuities that channel the flow of aggressive water. In the phreatic zone, the boundaries are hydrologic contacts, where aggressive water is produced through the mixing of saturated waters. These geologic and hydrologic settings are sites of significant speleogenesis, each characterized by morphologically and hydrologically distinct types of caves.


Karst morphology and cave sediments as indicators of the uplift history in the Alpi Apuane (Tuscany, Italy), 2003, Piccini Leonardo, Drysdale Russell, Heijnis Henk,
In the Alpi Apuane (Tuscany, Italy), Late Pliocene to Pleistocene karst landforms are preserved as relict phreatic caves, which were formed in a geomorphic setting very different from that of the present day. The largest karst drainage basin in the region, the Frigido, hosts cave systems with a vertical development totalling 1600 m. Abandoned phreatic cave passages preserved within this and neighbouring basins indicate that former base-levels were situated at up to ~1000 m above the modern valley floors. The passages constitute morphostratigraphic markers that can be used to reconstruct the uplift history of the Apuane. Their vertical distribution suggests two major phases of base-level standstill--one at 1000-1200 m a.s.l. and one at 600-700 m a.s.l. Some of the passages situated at the latter level contain >5 m thick flowstones whose top-beds have an age exceeding the limits of U/Th alpha spectrometric dating (>350 ka). Cave morphology and chronological constraints obtained from speleothems suggest that an important uplift event occurred during the Middle Pleistocene following a period of tectonic standstill of probable latest Early Pleistocene age. Active spring caves close to present-day valley floors contain speleothems whose ages exceed 100 ka, implying that no significant downcutting of the seaward valleys, and consequently no tectonic uplift, has occurred during Late Pleistocene

Alpine Hhlenforschung im Nationalpark Gesuse, Steiermark., 2004, Herrmann, E.
Since 2002, members of the Landesverein fr Hhlenkunde in Wien und Niedersterreich pushed ahead systematic cave exploration in the former speleologically neglected chain of Hochtor (2370 m), a very rugged part of the Ennstaler Alpen, Styria. Until now 2200 m of cave galleries in up to 451 m long and 193 m deep caves were surveyed, and altogether 74 caves were registered in the Austrian Cave Inventory. Open ends, bedded limestone of the Dachstein formation and relief energy of more than 1700 m give hope on further success. The documented cave morphology and speleothems offer starting points for scientific research such as (paleo)climatology and morphogenetic interpretation. The extremely difficult terrain on the surface demands alpinistic competence and adapted technology in equipment and exploration. [Tellersackcanyon (1712/56), Seekarschacht III (1712/33), Wildschtzenhhle (1712/71), Nordverschneidungshhle I (1712/60a-e), Kleiner-dstein-Canyon (1712/19), Grazerwegschacht (1712/74), Weie Grotte (1712/18a-c), Schneeschacht (1712/4), Prusikhhle (1712/20)]

Speleothem rupture in karst: tectonic or climatic origin? U-Th dating of rupture events in Salamandre Cave (Gard, southeastern France), 2004, Ponsbranch, Hamelin B. , Brulhet J. , Bruxelles L. ,
Caves are relatively protected from the main external erosional factors. Therefore, they constitute potentially reliable places for long-term conservation of continental history. Moreover their secondary carbonated deposits, the speleothems, can be dated precisely on the 0-500 ka time-scale using U-series isotopes measured by thermo-ionisation mass spectrometry (TIMS). Tectonic events (tectonic displacements and earthquakes) may change cave morphology and induce speleothem breaking or displacement as has been shown by previous studies performed mainly in Italy [Forti et Postpischl, 1984; Postpischl et al., 1991 for example]. Nevertheless, collapses of speleothems observed today in caves are difficult to interpret as their origin may be linked to several other natural processes. We studied the Aven de la Salamandre cave located in southeastern France (Gard), an area between the Cevennes fault and the Nimes fault, where evidence of Quaternary vertical movements was previously described. However, this region is not considered to be a seismic active zone. The Aven de la Salamandre cave is characterized by numerous broken speleothems. Some of them are very large and a lot of them are covered by growth of new calcite or new speleothem generation. We report here 13 TIMS U/Th analysis performed on two broken speleothems recovered by second generation calcite growth. Dating results are discussed through time corrections due to detrital content of calcite. In the first sequence, a 7 0.35 ka fracture event is identified. In the second sequence, the age of the breakdown is between 1.1 0.1 and 6.3 2 ka. These events could thus be contemporary. Hypotheses for the origin of this fracture event are presented and discussed: (i) karstic catastrophic event due to intense climatic changes or to cavity collapse (break down of hanging wall, gravity, landslide...); (ii) co-seismic ruptures. The first conclusion of this study is that these collapse episodes in the Aven de la Salamandre cave cannot be due to the direct effect of an earthquake or climatic event. Only indirect effects of flooding (by mobilization of the argillaceous components of the floor and consecutive destabilization of the speleothems growing upon it) or earthquake effects (more likely by local effects than by wave front passage) are privileged. By comparing our dating with regional destructive known events (in other karsts, in cliffs and scarps), dated by relative chronology, we are lead to propose a regional generalized event precisely dated here at 7 ka. This second conclusion doesn't contradict the presence of unbroken speleothems older than 100 ka found in other caves in the neighborhood as local effects is one of the predominant factors relative to speleothem stability. As a final conclusion, this paper promotes the use of speleothems as reliable datable tools for assessing regional stability problems (sensitivity to seismic hazards, to destructive intense climatic events...) as is done for paleoclimatic reconstruction

The troubles with cupolas, 2004, Osborne, R. A. L.

Cupolas are dome-shaped solution cavities that occur in karst caves, and have been described in both limestone and gypsum karst. While there has been considerable discussion in the literature concerning the likely origin and significance of these features, there has been little in the way of detailed description of the features themselves and little attention has been given to the definition of the term. Consequently, there are a number of troubles with cupolas: - What is a cupola? Where do cupolas occur? What are cupolas like? Do cupolas occur with particular types of speleogens? Are Cupolas features of Ceilings or features intersected by ceilings? How do cupolas form? But how can these troubles be resolved? Tentative answers are given here to many of these questions but a great deal of basic field observation and theoretical work is required to solve them. The most important step would be more field observation and measurement of cupolas and of the particular suite of speleogens that occur with them. The troubles with cupolas can be solved and in the process we will come to understand a great deal more about the unusual caves in which they occur.


The troubles with cupolas, 2004, Osborne, L. Armstrong R.

Cupolas are dome-shaped solution cavities that occur in karst caves, and have been described in both limestone and gypsum karst. While there has been considerable discussion in the literature concerning the likely origin and significance of these features, there has been little in the way of detailed description of the features themselves and little attention has been given to the definition of the term. Consequently, there are a number of troubles with cupolas: - What is a cupola? Where do cupolas occur? What are cupolas like? Do cupolas occur with particular types of speleogens? Are cupolas features of ceilings or features intersected by ceilings? How do cupolas form? But how can these troubles be resolved? Tentative answers are given here to many of these questions but a great deal of basic field observation and theoretical work is required to solve them. The most important step would be more field observation and measurement of cupolas and of the particular suite of speleogens that occur with them. The troubles with cupolas can be solved and in the process we will come to understand a great deal more about the unusual caves in which they occur.


Alpine Hhlenforschung im Nationalpark Gesuse, Steiermark, 2004, Herrmann, E.
Since 2002, members of the Landesverein fr Hhlenkunde in Wien und Niedersterreich pushed ahead systematic cave exploration in the former speleologically neglected chain of Hochtor (2370 m), a very rugged part of the Ennstaler Alpen, Styria. Until now 2200 m of cave galleries in up to 451 m long and 193 m deep caves were surveyed, and altogether 74 caves were registered in the Austrian Cave Inventory. Open ends, bedded limestone of the Dachstein formation and relief energy of more than 1700 m give hope on further success. The documented cave morphology and speleothems offer starting points for scientific research such as (paleo)climatology and morphogenetic interpretation. The extremely difficult terrain on the surface demands alpinistic competence and adapted technology in equipment and exploration.

Etude des palokarsts des environs de Saint-Remze (Ardche, France) : mise en vidence dune rivire souterraine fossilise durant la crise de salinit messinienne, 2005, Martini, Jacques
Paleokarst investigation near Saint-Remze, Ardche, France discovery of an underground river fossilized during the Messinian salinity crisis - The paleokarst features studied in this paper are hosted in Lower Cretaceous limestone and generally appear as filled caves, subsequently de-roofed by denudation. The most important of them forms a sequence of segments developed at a relatively constant elevation of 360-380 m above sea level and can be traced over a length of 5.2 km. The ancient cave passages generally appear as soil covered bands, 5 to 20 m in width and limited on both sides by limestone outcrops. At surface the nature of the cave filling is revealed mainly by scattered blocks: calcite from speleothems and calcified clay, silt, sand and breccia. In the best preserved places, the earth band lies in a trench, where the walls may display a cave morphology and where the filling is often exposed in a undisturbed state. Three types of detrital cave filling have been identified, which in stratigraphical order are as follows: 1) Beige-grey silt, sand and microconglomerate of immature alluvials, with elements of Paleozoic granites and metamorphic rocks, and Upper Miocene volcanics, both originating from the Cvennes Mountains 30 km to the NW. The lithological composition is comparable to the recent alluvials of the Paleokarst investigation near Saint-Remze, Ardche, France discovery of an underground river fossilized during the Messinian salinity crisisArdche River, which is flowing a few kilometers to the SW and is deeply entrenched into a canyon at elevations of 40 to 80 m. The karst context, combined with the biostratigraphical data obtained from rodent molars in the alluvials, suggests an Uppermost Miocene age, comprised between ~5.8 and ~5.45 Ma. 2) Red mature alluvials and colluvials originating from local reworking of surficial karst residuals. At one spot they gave a paleontological age of 3.6 to 3.0 Ma, but from the local karst context one may expect ages from final Miocene to Pleistocene in other spots. 3) Monogenic breccia generated from wall gelifraction, which is Pleistocene after rodent molars found in two places. The paleocave is visualised as formed by an underground stream fed from swallow-holes on the bank of the Ardche River, when it was flowing more than 300 m higher than its actual bed. With regard to its relatively constant elevation and a discordant relationship with the country rock bedding, it is interpreted as a vadose cave controlled by a paleo-water-table. The other fillings (2 and 3) were deposited during subsequent vadose speleogenesis and after considerable water-table lowering. The elevation of this fossilised underground river coincides fairly well with the pre-salinity crisis abandonment surface (5.52 Ma), which is evidenced in the area by high perched gravel relics. The end of the speleogenesis could have taken place just before this event (~5.6 Ma) or at an age not younger than ~5.45 Ma. In the latter possibility, speleogenesis had to be working before the regressive erosion generated by the drastic lowering of the Mediterranean Sea [5.52 to 5.33 Ma, Clauzon et al, 2005 ] reached the area and de-watered the deep karst aquifer. This fossil underground river provides also information about the morphological evolution of the area. For instance the nature of the immature alluvials suggests that the torrential regime of the Ardche was about the same than today. It also indicates that the important and famous cave systems in the area (Grotte de Saint-Marcel, Aven dOrgnac, Systme de Foussoubie, Grotte Chauvet), which are developed at lower elevations, cannot be older than ~5.6 Ma and most likely formed mainly during the Plio-Pleistocene, although most of them have been initiated during the salinity crisis.

Ochtin Aragonite Cave (Slovakia): morphology, mineralogy and genesis, 2005, Bosk P. , Bella P. , Cilek V. , Ford D. C. , Hercman H. , Kadlec J. , Osborne A. , Pruner P. ,

Ochtiná Aragonite Cave is a 300 m long cryptokarstic cavity with simple linear sections linked to a geometrically irregular spongework labyrinth. The limestones, partly metasomatically altered to ankerite and siderite, occur as lenses in insoluble rocks. Oxygen-enriched meteoric water seeping along the faults caused siderite/ankerite weathering and transformation to ochres that were later removed by mechanical erosion. Corrosion was enhanced by sulphide weathering of gangue minerals and by carbon dioxide released from decomposition of siderite/ankerite. The initial phreatic speleogens, older than 780 ka, were created by dissolution in density-derived convectional cellular circulation conditions of very slow flow. Thermohaline convection cells operating in the flooded cave might also have influenced its morphology. Later vadose corrosional events have altered the original form to a large extent. Water levels have fluctuated many times during its history as the cave filled during wet periods and then slowly drained.
Mn-rich loams with Ni-bearing asbolane and birnessite were formed by microbial precipitation in the ponds remaining after the floods. Allophane was produced in the acidic environment of sulphide weathering. La-Nd-phosphate and REE enriched Mn-oxide precipitated on geochemical barriers in the asbolane layers. Ochres containing about 50 wt.% of water influence the cave microclimate and the precipitation of secondary aragonite. An oldest aragonite generation is preserved as corroded relics in ceiling niches truncated by corrosional bevels. TIMS and alpha counting U series dating has yielded ages of about 500-450 and 138-121 ka, indicating that there have been several episodes of deposition, occurring during Quaternary warm periods (Elsterian 1/2, Eemian). Spiral and acicular forms representing a second generation began to be deposited in Late Glacial (14 ka – Alleröd) times. The youngest aragonite, frostwork, continues to be deposited today. Both of the younger generations have similar isotopic compositions, indicating that they originated in conditions very similar, or identical, to those found at present in the cave.


Morphometry and distribution of isolated caves as a guide for phreatic and confined paleohydrological conditions, 2005, Frumkin A, Fischhendler I,

Isolated caves are a special cave type common in most karst terrains, formed by prolonged slow water flow where aggressivity is locally boosted. The morphometry and distribution of isolated caves are used here to reconstruct the pateohydrology of a karstic mountain range. Within a homogenous karstic rock sequence, two main types of isolated caves are distinguished, and each is associated with a special hydrogeologic setting: maze caves form by rising water in the confined zone of the aquifer, under the Mt. Scopus Group (Israel) confinement, while chamber caves are formed in phreatic conditions, apparently by lateral flow mixing with a vadose input from above. (c) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved


Kaltbach cave (Siebenhengste, Switzerland): Phantom of the Sandstone?, 2005, Hä, Uselmann Philipp, Tognini Paola

Kaltbach cave is developed within the Eocene Hohgant sandstone in the Siebenhengste area in Switzerland. A remapping project of the cave resulted in a huge increase in length. It also produced a complete, updated map and longitudinal section. The cave's morphology does not fit with the "normal" speleogenesis: it is a so-called phantom cave. Phantoms are created by differential weathering of impure limestone under a preferably warm climate and a very low hydrologic gradient. Once the gradient steepens, the undissolved residual sediments are piped out; the "cave" manifests itself. The paper discusses the geomorphological features that permit to recognize the phantom caves.


The Jabal Al Qarah Caves of the Hofuf Area, Northeastern Saudi Arabia: A geological investigation., 2006, Hussain M. , Alkhalifah F. , Khandaker N. I.
The Jabal Al Qarah Caves, located approximately 13 km east of Al Hofuf, Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, are an intricate cave system developed in the calcareous sandstone, marl and clay of the Upper Miocene to Lower Pliocene Hofuf Formation. Physiographically, the hill of Jabal Al Qarah is an outlier mesa that is located at the eastern edge of the Shedgum Plateau, the southern extension of the As Summon Plateau, and the larger Syrian Plateau to the north. Based on cave morphology and interpreted evolutionary history, the Jabal Al Qarah caves appear to be significantly different from other limestone caves reported in the As Summon Plateau. Jabal Al Qarah is known for Us tall, linear cave passages and narrow canyons. The boxwork of linear passages is better developed here than any other known cave locations in the Eastern Province. Field observations, including orientations of the escarpment face of the Shedgum Plateau, joints, and fractures, coupled with a review of the tectonic history of the region, suggest that these caves resulted from erosional enlargement of a series of very deep and narrow joint-controlled fissures in the Hofuf Formation. Petrographic data, especially an abundance of well-preserved palygorskite type clay minerals, suggests that the Hofuf Formation was deposited in a mudflat-dominated coastal plain environment.

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