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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 alpine karst is 1. karst formed at high latitude, or in polar regions regardless of altitude. 2. almost synonymous with glaciokarst but restricted to areas of high altitude and relief [9]. synonyms: glaciokarst; nival karst.?

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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 pits (Keyword) returned 91 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 91
Un pseudo-karst dans les argiles (Las Bardenas, Navarre, Espagne), 1986, Maire R. , Pernette J. F.
PSEUDO-KARST IN SANDY-CLAY (LAS BARDENAS NAVARRA-, SPAIN) - The spectacular badlands of Las Bardenas are situated south of the Navarra province (NE Spain); they develop in the sandy-clay (Oligo-Miocene) of the tertiary Ebra basin, with a semi-arid climatic context (<400 mm/year). Pseudo-karstic landforms have been observed near mini-canyons: sinkholes, pits, caves, natural bridges... This morphology of mechanical origin is possible because the running waters disappear underground into the decompression fissures generated on the edges of canyon cliffs. Yet, in a few caves, the gallery is made directly in the mass of sandy-clay, without the help of joints, cracks or fissures ("piping"). This recent pseudo-karst and badlands are the obvious consequence of the historical destruction of forest during the Middle Age.

Premires observations morphologiques et splologiques sur le karst haut-alpin du Tennengebirge (Salzburg, Autriche), 1987, Audra, Ph.
THE MASSIF OF TENNENGEBIRGE (SALZBURG, AUSTRIA) - The Tennengebirge, in the Salzburg limestone Alps, are characterised by an important high alpine karst, containing some of the deepest austrian caves (Batman Hhle: -1219m, Schneeloch: 1086m, Platteneck: -937m, Gipfel Loch: -852m). The phreatic zone locates at 720m asl. The main springs are situated on the northern side of the mountain. A description of the Vordere Pitschenberg Valley has been sketched illustrating a large diversity and underground, of actual or inherited character.

Wilderness Myths and Australian Caves, 1987, Hamiltonsmith, Elery

Beyond a preliminary discussion of some of the basic issues in the writing of any history, the paper looks at what might be called 'Wilderness Myths' of Australian caves. Any wild place generates myths, and Australian caves have their share of these, which constitute the 'folk history' of caving areas (and often that of cave guides). It is argued that these are more-or-less systematic and are not simply the result of error or simple exaggeration in transmitting the story. Examples include myths about bottomless pits, blind fish, aboriginal-white conflict, bushrangers and popular heroes of cave discoveries (along with the interesting result that non-heroes are neglected or even completely forgotten). Wilderness myths present two issues to the would-be historian : what actual events contributed to them and what does their evolution as myths mean?


Surface karst features at a southern slope of Stupryggen (Srkapp Land, Spitsbergen). [in Polish], 1989, Lindner Leszek, K?ysz Piotr

Gypsym karst in the NW part of the Nordenskiold Land - West Spitsbergen. [in Polish], 1989, Pulina Marian, Postnov Igor

Le karst du gypse du centre de la dpression de l'Ebre (Espagne), 1990, Soriano, M. A.
THE GYPSUM KARST OF THE CENTER OF THE EBRE BASSIN (SPAIN) - The central Ebro basin was filled with evaporitic deposits (gypsum and limestones) during the Miocene. During the Quaternary, several alluvial terrace and pediment levels were developed and they overlay the gypsum deposits. A large number of karstic landforms developed on gypsum have been found. The most important reason is its high solubility. We have found different types of microlandforms. The most important are Rillenkarren, solution pits and micro etching. There are also small tumuli. They are active at present. We have differentiated three macrolandforms: paleocollapses, depressions and alluvial dolines. The paleocollapses are very narrow and deep. They are filled with quaternary materials. They are not active and were generated in the Middle or Upper Pleistocene. The depressions were developed by the gypsum dissolution, together with topographical and geomorphologic factors. They do not seem to be active nowadays. The alluvial dolines are developed on the terrace and pediment deposits, which overlay gypsum materials. There is basin, well and pan-shaped dolines and they are especially frequent in the T2 terrace level. From the study of aerial photographs of different years, the variations in the number and size of dolines and their density have been determined. Natural factors (lithology and fractures), together with human activities (irrigation) are the principal causes in their development.

EVIDENCE FOR EXTENSIVE POST-CALEDONIAN KARST DEVELOPMENT IN SOUTHWESTERN SPITSBERGEN, 1992, Bjornerud M,
Proterozoic limestones at several localities in southwestern Spitsbergen contain karst-elated features (layered clastic infillings, collapse breccias, deeply weathered depressions) which overprint the Caledonian deformational fabric in the rocks. These features apparently developed between middle Devonian and mid-Carboniferous time when the Precambrian basement complex stood high above sea level. Recognition of these karst features may shed light on depositional and tectonic events in post-Caledonian Spitsbergen

HALITE SALTERN IN THE CANNING BASIN, WESTERN-AUSTRALIA - A SEDIMENTOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF DRILL CORE FROM THE ORDOVICIAN-SILURIAN MALLOWA SALT, 1992, Cathro Dl, Warren Jk, Williams Ge,
The Late Ordovician-Early Silurian Mallowa Salt of the Carribuddy Group, Canning Basin, north-west Australia, is the largest halite deposit known in Australia, attaining thicknesses of 800 m or more within an area of approximately 200 000 km2. Study of 675 m of drill core from BHP-Utah Minerals' Brooke No. 1 well in the Willara Sub-basin indicates that the Mallowa Salt accumulated within a saltern (dominantly subaqueous evaporite water body) that was subject to recurrent freshening, desiccation and exposure. Textures and bromine signatures imply a shallow water to ephemeral hypersaline environment typified by increasing salinity and shallowing into evaporitic mudflat conditions toward the top of halite-mudstone cycles (Type 2) and the less common dolomite/anhydrite-halite-mudstone cycles (Type 1). The borate mineral priceite occurs in the capping mudstones of some cycles, reinforcing the idea of an increasing continental influence toward the top of mudstone-capped halite cycles. The rock salt in both Type 1 and Type 2 cycles typically comprises a mosaic of large, randomly orientated, interlocking halite crystals that formed during early diagenesis. It only partially preserves a primary sedimentary fabric of vertically elongate crystals, some with remnant aligned chevrons. Intraformational hiati, halite karst tubes and solution pits attest to episodic dissolution. Stacked Type 2 cycles dominate; occasional major recharges of less saline, perhaps marine, waters in the same area produced Type 1 cycles. The envisaged saltern conditions were comparable in many ways to those prevailing during the deposition of halite cycles of the Permian Salado Formation in New Mexico and the Permian San Andres Formation of the Palo Duro Basin area in Texas. However, in the Canning Basin the cycles are characterized by a much lower proportion of anhydrite, implying perhaps a greater degree of continental restriction to the basin. The moderately high level of bromine in the Mallowa Salt (156.5 43.5 ppm Br for primary halite, 146.1 54.7 ppm Br for secondary halite) accords with evolved continental brines, although highly evaporative minerals such as polyhalite and magnesite are absent. The bromine levels suggest little or no dissolution/reprecipitation of primary halite and yet, paradoxically, there is little preservation of the primary depositional fabric. The preservation of early halite cements and replacement textures supports the idea of an early shutdown of brine flow paths, probably at burial depths of no more than a few metres, and the resultant preservation of primary bromine values in the secondary halite

Alpine karsts. Genesis of large subterranean networks. Examples : the Tennengebirge (Austria) - the Ile de Crémieu, the Chartreuse and the Vercors (France), PhD Thesis, 1993, Audra, Philippe

This work, based on the study of several underground alpine networks, aims to propose some milestone in the history of these karstic regions.

The first part of the work is made up of three regional studies.

The Tennengebirge mountains are a massif of the limestone High Alps in the region of Salzburg in Austria. A cone karst close to the base level developed in the Neogene. Streams from the Alps fed the karst, resulting in the huge horizontal networks of which the Eisriesenwelt provides evidence. During the successive phases of upthrust, the levels of karstification, whether on the surface or deeper down, settled into a tier pattern, thus descending in stages from the base level. From the Pliocene era onwards, thanks to an increase in potential, alpine shafts replace the horizontal networks. The formation of these shafts is more pronounced during glaciation. The study of the Cosa Nostra - Bergerhöhle system developing 30 km of conduits on a gradient reaching almost 1 500 m provides a fairly full view of the karstification of this massif. It includes the horizontal levels developed in the Miocene and the Plio-Pleistocene, joined together by vertical sections. The most noteworthy features of the Tennengebirge, as in the neighboring massifs, lie first and foremost in the extreme thickness of the limestone which has recorded and immunized the differents steps of karstification. Secondly, the size of the networks can be, for the most part, accounted for by the contribution of allogenous waters from the streams of the Neogene and the glaciers of the Pleistocene. Generally sudden and unexpected, these flows of water engendered heavy loads (up to 600 m), simultaneously flooding several levels. To a lesser extent, the situation is similar today.

The Ile de Cremieu is a low limestone plateau on the western edge of the Jura. Due to its location in the foothills, the lobes of the Rhône glacier have covered it up, obliterating the surface karst. However, widespread evidence of anteglacial morphologies remains : paleokarst, cone karst, polygenic surface. Because of glacial plugging, access to the underground karst is limited. The main cavity is the cave of La Balme. Its initial development dates back to an early period. The morphological study has permitted the identification of several phases which go back to the Pleistocene and which are related to the Rhône glacier. The latter brought about modifications in the base level by supplying its merging waters as well as moraine material. These variations in the base level shaped the drainage structure. The underground glacial polishes are one of the noteworthy aspects recorded.

The massives of the Moucherotte and dent de Crolles belong to the northern French Prealps. They conceal large networks, respectively the Vallier cave and the Dent de Crolles. They were formed in the early Pliocene after the final orogenic phase and are in the form of horizontal conduits. The upthrust, which brought about the embanking of the Isère valley, left them in a perched position by taking away the basin which fed them. They were later, however, able to take advantage of waters from the Isère glacier during a part of the Pleistocene. The Vallier cave contains particularly glacio-karstic sediments of the lower Pleistocene, representing unique evidence of glaciation during this period. The vertical networks were put in place at the end of the Pliocene with the increase in karstification potential ; they underwent changes in the Pleistocene due to the effect of autochton and allogenous glaciers.

The second part of the work deals in general with the various forms and processes of karstification, sometimes going beyond the Alps. The study of cave deposits is a privileged tool in the understanding and reconstruction not only of the history of the networks but also the regional environment. The dating of speleothems by the U / Th method has very ofen given an age of over 350 000 years. The age of the networks is confirmed by the use of paleomagnetism which has yielded evidence of speleothems and glacio-karstic sediments anterior to 780 000 years. Anisotropic measurements of magnetic susceptibility have been used to distinguish the putting into place of glacio-karstic deposits by decantation.

Measurements of calcite rates lead to a typology of sediments based on their nature and carbonate content (rehandled weathered rocks, fluvial sands, carbonated varves, decantation clays). Granulometry confirms this differenciation by supplying precise details of transport and sedimentation modes : suspension and abrupt precipitation of clay, suspension and slow decantation of carbonated varves, suspension and rolling together with a variable sorting of sand and gravel. Mineralogical analyses oppose two types of detrital deposits. On the one hand, the rehandling of antequaternary weathered rocks extracted by the karst as a result of scouring during environmental destabilization and on the other hand, sediments characteristic of the ice age of the Pleistocene. The latter are not highly developed and their arrival in the karst is always later. Examination of heavy minerals, the morphoscopy of quartz grains and study of micromorphologies on thin blades provide precise details of conditions of evolution. The use of these methods of investigation allows for an accurate definition of the features of the evolution of the differents types of fillings, particularly speleothems, rehandled weathered rocks as well as carbonated varves. This wealth and complexity are emphasized by a detailed study of the sedimentary sequences of the Vallier cave and of the Bergerhöhle.
Speleogenesis is approached last of all in the light of above study. Emphasis is placed on the major part played by corrosion in the temporarily phreatic zone and on its many consequences (multi-level concept, simultaneous evolution of levels, origin of deep waterlogged karsts…).
Varia tions in the base level have induced karstification in contexts in which the potential was weak. These were followed by periods of increased potential to which were added the effects of glaciation. Perched horizontal levels belong to the first stages which ended in the early Pliocene, whereas alpine shafts developed in the second context. The role of structure and the parameters governing the shape of conduits (pits, meanders, canyons) are also dealt with. The different parts of the karst are borne in mind when dealing with the strength of karstic erosion during the ice age. It notably appears that it is weak on the crests and more or less non-existent in the deep parts of the karst which are liable to flooding. Finally, a preliminary analysis of an observation of neotectonic traces is presented.


Le puits de Flenu : la plus grande structure endokarstique du monde (1200 m) et la problmatique des puits du Houiller (Belgique), 1994, Quinif, Y.
In the Hainaut province, in Belgium, great vertical and cylindrical structures pass through the productive Westphalian. They are several coal-miners. They contain rocks from the lower Cretaceous cover, for example die Wealdian formations (clays, lignites and sands). Those pits result from deep karst in the dinantian limestones under the Namuro--Westphalian.

SILICATE KARST ASSOCIATED WITH LATERITIC FORMATIONS (EXAMPLES FROM EASTERN NIGER), 1994, Sponholz B. ,
Silicate and iron crust karst pits and sinkholes in eastern Niger are filled with reworked lateritic sediments or with unconsolidated palaeosoils and aeolian deposits. The fillings facies depend on the environmental conditions during deposition. Geomorphological and sedimentological studies on the karst fillings and the interpretation of various karst/filling associations allow an approach to the chronology of landscape development in eastern Niger plateaus

MICROBIOLOGICAL ACTIVITY IN THERMOGLACIAL KARST SPRINGS, SOUTH SPITSBERGEN, 1994, Lauritzen S. E. , Bottrell S. ,
Along the Hornsund fault zone, South Spitsbergen (76-degrees-60'N), thermokarstic springs smell of H2S and display either growth of, or eject fragments of, organic slime. The temperature in individual springs varies between 4 and 15-degrees-C. Their rate of discharge is approximately 1 L s-1 to 18 m3 s-1, corresponding to a minimum temperature of 30-degrees-C within the base of the aquifer. The water, which contains a few ppm SO4(2-), 0.5 ppm S2-, and several thousand ppm NaCl, appears to be a mixture of turbid glacial meltwater and hot brine. Water chemistry and stable isotopes indicate that the salinity is not the result of simple dilution of modern seawater from the brackish zone beneath the coastal karst aquifer, but rather originates from a deep thermal brine component where concentrations and isotopic composition of various species are controlled by water-rock interaction in the source area of the brine. A value of DELTAdeltaS-34 of up to about 30 parts per thousand indicates that sulfide is a bioreduction product of sulfate. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) studies revealed bacteria and fungal hypha in the organic slime, and larger spherical particles (approximately 3.8 mum diameter) that display high concentrations of Fe and S. These findings demonstrate the presence of sulfate-reducing bacteria within the subpermafrost aquifer

La plate-forme du Yucatn (Mexique), 1995, Heraudpia, M. A.
The Platform of the Yucatan peninsula, south of Mexico, is constituted by a tertiary carbonated series (Eocene to Pliocene). The karst landforms are a "Kuppenkarst" whose positive reliefs are more conspicuous in the centre because of greater altitude (0 to 400 m). Most caves are developed under the base level. The cenote corres-ponds to drowned pits which can be 100 m deep or more. The flooded caves, like Nohoch Nah Chich (40km long), are the longest in the world. The history of karstification began during the Tertiary, between the end of Eocene to Pliocene in relation with uplift. The crypto-dissolution occurs under an alte-ritic cover which comes from a former silicated detritic cover (south peninsula crystalline massif). Speleogenesis depends on the halocline i.e. mixing corrosion zone (salt water/fresh water) and the fluctuations of the sea level.

OCCURRENCE OF HYPOGENIC CAVES IN A KARST REGION - EXAMPLES FROM CENTRAL ITALY, 1995, Galdenzi S, Menichetti M,
The caves of the Umbria and Marche regions in central Italy are made up of three-dimensional maze systems that display different general morphologies due to the various geological and structural contexts. At the same time, the internal morphologies of the passages, galleries, and shafts present some similarity, with solutional galleries characterized by cupolas and blind pits, anastamotic passages, roof pendants, and phreatic passages situated at different levels. Some of these caves are still active, as is the case for Frassassi Gorge, Parrano Gorge, and Acquasanta Terme, with galleries that reach the phreatic zone, where there is a rising of highly mineralized water, rich in hydrosulfydric acid, and with erosion of limestone walls and the formation of gypsum. Elsewhere there are fossil caves, such as Monte Cucco and Pozzi della Piana, where large speleothems of gypsum are present 500 m or more above the regional water table. In all of these important karst systems it is possible to recognize basal input points through fracture and intergranular porosity networks at the base of the oxidizing zone in the core of the anticline, where mineralized water rises up from the Triassic evaporitic layers in small hydrogeological circuits. Different underground morphologies can derive from the presence of a water table related to an external stream or from the confined setting of the carbonate rocks, underlying low permeable sedimentary cover, where artesian conditions can occur

Interaction between glacier and karst aquifers: Preliminary results from Hilmarfjellet, South Spitsbergen, 1996, Lauritzen, Steinerik

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