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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 orographic precipitation is precipitation due to mechanical lifting of air over a ground relief [16].?

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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 stalactites (Keyword) returned 80 results for the whole karstbase:
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Discussion: The Deflect Stalactites of Dan-Yr-Ogof, 1986, Davis, Donald G.

Relationships between the internal and external evolution of the Monte Cucco Karst Complex. Umbria, Central Italy., 1987, Guzzetti Fausto
The relationships between the internal and external evolution of the Mt. Cucco karst complex are studied. A classic set of equations, involving the oxidation of hydrogen sulphide, originated at depth in an evaporitic formation, is used to explain the presence of massive gypsum deposits in the Mt. Cucco and the Faggeto Tondo caves. The distribution and the morphology of more than 30 caves in the system, the presence of gypsum, always located along faults, and the presence of broken stalactites and columns, suggest that the evolution of the karst system has been controlled by tectonic movements. Relationships between the development of the caves and the geomorphic evolution of the area are proposed.

Rapports entre la karstification _primditerranenne et la crise de salinit messinienne, lexemple du karst lombard (Italie), 1994, Bini, A.
The Mediterraean dessiccation theory suggests that during the Messinian the Mediterranean sea lad almost completely dried up did a thick succession of evaporites was laid down Due to dessiccation the erosional base level through the whole Mediterranean area was lowered, with the consequent development of long and deep fluviatile canyons (e.g. Nile, Rhne, Var, etc). This lowering strongly affected karst evolution This paper concerns the karst in Lombardy, around the southalpine lakes. The old evolutionary models, predating dessiccation theory, assume that the lacustine valleys were scoured by the quaternary glaciers. ln this case the karst should have been characterized by some features, like for example the altitudinal cave distribution as a consequence of the valley lowering after each glaciation. Seismic experiments through the lakes and their tributaries have shown that these valleys are deep fluviatile canyons. The study of caves has demonstrated that the caves themselves predate the entrenchment of the valleys and the glaciations. During the latter the caves were filled up and emptied several times, without any modifications of their inner morphology, including stalactites. Moreover the U/Th age determinations indicate that a great number of concretions are older than 350 ky, and that a few are older than 1.5 Ma. As a conse-quence, a general model of karst evolution can be proposed. The former karstic drainage system developed after the Oligo-Miocene emersion. Paleogeography obviously diffe-red from the present day landscape but the main valley had already been scoured. During the Messinian the dramatic lowering of base level determined major changes in karstic evolution and a reorganisation of the karst drainage system that was consequently lowered considerably. The Pliocene transgression determined a new karst evolution, after which a great number of caves were located well below the sea level base. This evolution occurred during hot and wet climate period, with seasonal high flows and relevant discharges of the karstic rivers The great caves of the Lombardian karst developed within the climatic stage.

The Treasure Cave, Rincn de la Victoria (Malaga, Spain), 1994, Gutirrez Jos Lus, Guzmn Antonio, Mendoza Fernando
La Cueva del Tesoro (The Treasure Cave) is located on the East, 10 kilometres from the city of Malaga, in a coastal promontory called El Cantal (a small steep), which is situated in the municipality of Rincn de la Victoria. The composition of land in this zone El Cantal is made up of limestone and there are many caves which are located within a radius of 2 kilometres, although some of them have already disappeared: la Cueva dei Tesoro, la cueva del Hoyo de la Mina, Cuevas de Navarro, Cuevas de la Cantera, Cueva de los Molinos, Cueva de la Raja del Humo, etc. The best known of these caves and the only one who can be visited is the Cueva del Tesoro. It has been also known by some other names, such as the Cueva del Higuern or the Cueva del Suizo. The Cueva del Tesoro has its origin in the sea coast depths; that is why its morphology is made up of halls, gorges and columns. Then, and because of the upheaval of El Cantal the cave emerged out of the sea. Finally, fresh water percolation resulted in the formation of some stalactites and stalagmites, although they are of less importance within the whole cave This cave. which was already used as shelter for 8 months by Marcus Crassus (according to a legend) in 86 B.C. when he was prosecuted, it was also used, according to another tradition, to hide the Almoravid treasure in the l2th century. This treasure has been searched for by some people in the last two hundred years. One of them was the Swiss, Antonio de la Nari, who died because of an explosion inside the cave in 1847. Professor Manuel Laza Palacios from Malaga, owner of the cave, has been the best specialist and treasure searcher. He was an exceptional person, has knew how to keep alive hopefully the old legend throughout his whole life. Besides, the cave has provided some important archaeological discoveries: Father Breuil found out some cave paintings in 1918 and excavations have been recently carried out by Mr. Manuel Laza. A rather interesting material appeared, such as Neolithic pottery, lithic industry (the most important object is an Upper Paleolithic arrow-head), human and animal remains. According to these discoveries, the presence of human beings in this cave is proved since the Paleolithic. There are also a series of legends and traditions related to the Cueva del Tesoro. So, in this frame, it has been given for sure and for a very long time that the ghost of the Swiss still appears in El Cantal to look for the treasure. Another tradition, studied by Mr. Laza, places the sanctuary of the old goddess Noctiluce inside a hall of the cave.

Occurrence and significance of stalactites within the epithermal deposits at Creede, Colorado, 1996, Campbell Wr, Barton Pb,
In addition to the common and abundant features in karst terranes, stalactites involving a wide variety of minerals have also been found in other settings, including epigenetic mineral deposits, bur these are almost always associated with supergene stages. Here we describe a different mode of occurrence from the Creede epithermal ore deposits, in Colorado, wherein stalactites of silica, sphalerite, galena, or pyrite formed in a vapor-dominated setting, below the paleo-water table, and except possibly for pyrite, as part of the hypogene mineralization. Axial cavities may, or may not, be present. No stalagmites have been recognized. The stalactites are small, from a few millimeters to a few centimeters long and a few millimeters in outer diameter. They represent only a small fraction of one percent of the total mineralization, and are covered by later crystals. Their growth orientation usually is unobservable; however, the parallel arrangement of all stalactites in a given specimen, consistency with indicators of gravitational settling, and the common presence of axial structures make the stalactitic interpretation almost unavoidable. In contrast with common carbonate stalactites, the growth mechanism for th sulfide and silica stalactites requires extensive evaporation. Stalactitic forms have also been reported from other deposits, mostly epithermal or Mississippi Valley-type occurrences, but we caution that stalactite-like features can form by alternative processes

Tubular Lava Stalactites and Other Related Segregations, 1998, Allred, K. , Allred, C.
Tubular lava stalactites are found in many lava tubes. Field observations, sample analysis, and comparative studies indicate that these are segregations extruded during cooling from partially crystallized lava at about 1,070 to 1,000C. Retrograde boiling within the lava creates a vuggy fabric and provides a mechanism to expel the interstitial liquid. In addition to tubular lava stalactites, a variety of other lava formations can also result.

Rapport entre karst et glaciers durant les glaciations dans les valles pralpines du sud des Alpes, 1998, Bini Alfredo, Tognini Paola, Zuccoli Luisa
At least 13 glaciations occurred during the last 2.6Ma in the Southern pre_alpine valleys. The glaciers scouring alpine and pre-alpine valleys had all the same feature, being valley temperated glaciers. Their tracks and feeding areas were always the same, just like the petrological contents of their deposits. Contrary to previous assumptions until a few years ago, the origin of these valleys and of the lakes occupying the floor of some of them (Orta, Maggiore, Como, Iseo, Garda Lakes) is due to fluvial erosion related to Messinian marine regression. The valley slopes modelling is Messinian in age, too, while most caves are older. As a general rule, glaciers worked on valley slopes just as a re_modelling agent, while their effects were greater on valley floors. The karstic evolution began as soon as the area was lifted above sea level (upper Oligocene - lower Miocene), in a palaeogeographical environment quite different from the present one, although the main valley floors were already working as a base level. During Messinian age, the excavation of deep canyons along pre-existing valleys caused a dramatic lowering of the base level, followed by a complete re-arrangement of the karstic networks, which got deeper and deeper. The Pliocene marine transgression caused a new re-arrangement, the karst network getting mostly drowned under sea level. During these periods, the climate was hot-wet tropical, characterised by a great amount of water circulating during the wet season. At the same time tectonic upliftings were at work, causing breaking up of the karst networks and a continuous rearrangement of the underground drainage system. In any case, karstic networks were already well developed long before the beginning of Plio-Quaternary glaciations. During glaciations, karst systems in pre-alpine valleys could have been submitted to different drainage conditions, being: a) isolated, without any glacial water flowing; b) flooded, connected to the glacier water-filled zone; c) active, scoured by a stream sinking at glacier sides or in a sub glacial position. The stream could flow to the flooded zone (b), or scour all the unflooded system long down to the resurgence zone, the latter being generally located in a sub glacier position. The glacier/karst system is a very dynamic one: it could get active, flooded or isolated depending on endo- and sub-glacial drainage variations. Furthermore, glaciers show different influences on karstic networks, thus working with a different effect during their advance, fluctuations, covering and recession phases. Many authors believe, or believed, the development of most surface and underground karst in the Alps is due to glaciations, with the last one held to be mostly responsible for this. Whatever the role of glaciers on karstic systems, in pre-alpine valleys caves, we do not have evidence either of development of new caves or of remarkable changes in their features during glaciations. It is of course possible some pits or galleries could have developed during Plio-Quaternary glaciations, but as a general rule glaciers do not seem to have affected karstic systems in the Southern pre-alpine valleys with any remarkable speleogenetic effects: the glaciers effects on them is generally restricted to the transport of great amounts of debris and sediments into caves. The spotting of boulders and pebbles trapped between roof stalactites shows that several phases of in- and out-filling of galleries occurred with no remarkable changing in pre-dating features, including cave decorations. The presence of suspended karst systems does not prove a glacial origin of the valleys, since most of them pre-date any Plio-Quaternary glaciation, as shown by calcite cave deposits older than 1,5Ma. The sediments driven into caves might have caused a partial or total occlusion of most galleries, with a remarkable re-arrangement of the underground drainage system. In caves submitted to periglacial conditions all glaciations long, we can find deposits coming from weathered surface sediments, sharp-edged gelifraction debris and, more rarely, alluvial deposits whose origin is not related to the circulation of the glacial meltwater. In caves lower than or close to the glaciers limit we generally find large amounts of glacier-related deposits, often partly or totally occluding cave galleries. These sediments may be directly related to glaciers, i.e. carried into caves by glacial meltwaters, resulting from surface glacial deposit erosion. They generally show 3 dominant facies: A) lacustrine deposits; B) alluvial deposits and C) debris flow deposits facies. The only way of testing the soundness of the forementioned hypothesis is to study the main characters and spreading of cave sediments, since they are the only real data on connection of glaciers to endokarst networks.

La cristallogense des splothmes de la grotte Lithophagus (Monts Padurea Craiului, Roumanie), 1998, Ghergari Lucrecia, Onac Bogdan Petroniu, Vremir Matei, Strusievicz Robert
The Lithophagus cave system hosts interesting mono- and polycrystalline calcite speleothems (stalactites, stalagmites, crystals, helictites, fongites). Our studies allowed us to identify the crystallographic forms that build up these speleothems, the presence of twins and several generations of crystals. The main growth directions were identified for the helictites. The interpretation of the statistic data enables us to highlight the relationships between crystallographic forms that appear on some speleothems, their frequency, and the different cave environments.

The origin of tubular lava stalactites and other related forms., 1998, Allred Kevin, Allred Carlene
Tubular lava stalactites are often found in lava tubes. Field observations, sample analysis, and comparative studies indicate that these are segregations extruded during cooling from partially crystallized lava al about 1,070; 1,000 C. Retrograde boiling (gas pressure) within the lava provides a mechanism to expel the interstitial liquid. In addition to tubular lava stalactites, a variety of other lava features can also result, such as lava helictites, lava coralloids, barnacle-like stretched lava, runners, runner channels, and some lava blisters and squeeze-ups.

'Hades''; A remarkable cave on Oldoinyo Lengai in the East African Rift Valley., 1998, Davies Gordon J.
Oldoinyo Lengai is the world's only active carbonatite volcano, situated in northern Tanzania within the Eastern Rift Valley, al 2.751 degrees S, 35.902 degrees E. It forms an isolated symmetrical cone at the southern end of Lake Natron, with a summit elevation of 2,890 m (9,480 ft). Periodic eruptions of ash and lava have been recorded since about 1880, and with increasing precision during this century since 1904. In 1990 a routine expedition to monitor activity levels at the summit led to the discovery of a remarkable cave located in the crater floor, filled with numerous long delicate pale yellow stalactites and stalagmites of unknown composition. Within 100 m there was considerable volcanic activity taking place, and black lava was spraying from a small cone at a height of some 10 m above the crater floor. Due to the regular emission of lava at the summit of Lengai it is unlikely that the cave could have survived intact for more than a few months at most. High internal temperatures and lack of safe access precluded any attempt at entry and sampling of the very unusual and attractive formations within the cave, but a good photographic record was obtained.

Cueva de Villa Luz, Tabasco, Mexico: Reconnaissance Study of an Active Sulfur Spring Cave and Ecosystem, 1999, Hose, L. D. , Pisarowicz, J. A.
Cueva de Villa Luz (a.k.a. Cueva de las Sardinas) in Tabasco, Mexico, is a stream cave with over a dozen H2S-rich springs rising from the floor. Oxidation of the H2S in the stream results in abundant, suspended elemental sulfur in the stream, which is white and nearly opaque. Hydrogen sulfide concentrations in the cave atmosphere fluctuate rapidly and often exceed U.S. government tolerance levels. Pulses of elevated carbon monoxide and depleted oxygen levels also occasionally enter the cave. Active speleogenesis occurs in this cave, which is forming in a small block of Lower Cretaceous limestone adjacent to a fault. Atmospheric hydrogen sulfide combines with oxygen and water to form sulfuric acid, probably through both biotic and abiotic reactions. The sulfuric acid dissolves the limestone bedrock and forms gypsum, which is readily removed by active stream flow. In addition, carbon dioxide from the reaction as well as the spring water and cave atmosphere combines with water. The resultant carbonic acid also dissolves the limestone bedrock. A robust and diverse ecosystem thrives within the cave. Abundant, chemoautotrophic microbial colonies are ubiquitous and apparently act as the primary producers to the caves ecosystem. Microbial veils resembling soda straw stalactites, draperies, and u-loops suspended from the ceiling and walls of the cave produce drops of sulfuric acid with pH values of <0.5-3.0 0.1. Copious macroscopic invertebrates, particularly midges and spiders, eat the microbes or the organisms that graze on the microbes. A remarkably dense population of fish, Poecilia mexicana, fill most of the stream. The fish mostly eat bacteria and midges. Participants in an ancient, indigenous Zoque ceremony annually harvest the fish in the spring to provide food during the dry season.

Rupture de speleothemes par fluage d'un remplissage endokarstique. L'exemple de la grotte de Ribiere (Bouches-du-Rhone), 1999, Gilli{ Eric,
Natural caves could be good recorders for paleoearthquakes if it was possible to know precisely the underground damage caused by a seismic event. The researched effects are breakings of speleothems. Therefore, several non-coseismic mechanisms may be involved. A recent study of the Ribiere cave shows that the creeping of a karstic filling explains most of the cave breakings that are attributed to earthquakes.ResumeLes cavites karstiques pourraient etre des enregistreurs de paleoseismes, sous reserve de connaitre de facon precise l'impact d'une secousse sismique sur les grottes. Les effets recherches sont essentiellement des cassures de stalactites et stalagmites, plusieurs mecanismes autres que cosismiques pouvant cependant etre invoques pour expliquer ces ruptures. Or, de recentes observations sur la grotte de Ribiere montrent qu'un fluage de sediment endokarstique peut expliquer la plupart des ruptures de concretions attribuees a des seismes

Speleothem fall (an example of a sudden stalactite collapse in Škocjanske Jame), 1999, Kranjc, Andrej

On March 2 or 3, 1999 a stalactite fell from the roof in Velika Dvorana (Tiha Jama, Škocjanske Jame). This was a cave shield or palette developed on the ceiling, 17 m above the floor. Stalactites up to 2 m long were hanging on the underside of the shield. The collapsed stalactite mass weighed about 2500 kg. On the floor it split into some large (up to 300 kg) and many smaller pieces. The author thinks that bulk fell off as it reached its critical weight. The speleothem type called "shield" is extremely fragile and not well fixed at its base. In the place where this shield developed there is a strong (up to one l/min) inflow of saturated water and it has been estimated up to 2,5 kg of flowstone/year could be deposited. In Škocjanske Jame active shield-like stalactites mostly have fallen from the roof in the places where they are fed by saturated water. However, in a human timescale such events are extremely rare.


Sand speleothems: an Australian example, 1999, Grimes, K. G.

Sand speleothems have formed in sea caves at Loch Ard Gorge, Victoria, Australia, by the localised precipitation of calcium carbonate in loose sand that fills the caves. Calcite-saturated waters have entered the caves from the surrounding porous limestone, either dripping onto the sand, or seeping directly into it from the walls. Removal of the uncemented sand has exposed the cemented formations which have shapes analogous to those of conventional stalagmites, stalactites and shelves.


Mud speleothems in a west Victorian cave, 1999, Grimes, Ken G.

Describes mud stalactites in a cave at Drik Drik, western Vic. Suggests a possible mode of formation.


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