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Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 11 Jul, 2012
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

Klimchouk on 26 Mar, 2012
Dear Colleagues, This is to draw your attention to several recent publications added to KarstBase, relevant to hypogenic karst/speleogenesis: Corrosion of limestone tablets in sulfidic ground-water: measurements and speleogenetic implications Galdenzi,

The deepest terrestrial animal

Klimchouk on 23 Feb, 2012
A recent publication of Spanish researchers describes the biology of Krubera Cave, including the deepest terrestrial animal ever found: Jordana, Rafael; Baquero, Enrique; Reboleira, Sofía and Sendra, Alberto. ...

Caves - landscapes without light

akop on 05 Feb, 2012
Exhibition dedicated to caves is taking place in the Vienna Natural History Museum   The exhibition at the Natural History Museum presents the surprising variety of caves and cave formations such as stalactites and various crystals. ...

Did you know?

That underground divide is subsurface watershed between two catchment areas in karst; often with incongruent with the surface topography of the area [20]. synonyms: (french.) ligne de partage des eaux souterraines, limit souterrainne; (german.) unterirdische waberscheide; (greek.) ypoghios ythroketis; (italian.) spartiacque sotterraneo; (russian.) vodorazdel podzemnyh vod; (spanish.) divisoria subterranea; (turkish.) yeraltisu bolumu; (yugoslavian.) podzemna razvodnica, podzemna vododelnica. see also subsurface divide.?

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Geochemical and mineralogical fingerprints to distinguish the exploited ferruginous mineralisations of Grotta della Monaca (Calabria, Italy), Dimuccio, L.A.; Rodrigues, N.; Larocca, F.; Pratas, J.; Amado, A.M.; Batista de Carvalho, L.A.
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
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Your search for surfaces (Keyword) returned 207 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 196 to 207 of 207
Analysis of "standard" (Lipica) lemestone tablets and their weathering by carbonate staining and SEM imaging, a case study on the Vis island, Croatia, 2013, Krklec Kristina, Marjanac Tihomir, Perica Dražen

This paper focuses on the evolution and patterns of microscale weathering forms and dissolution rates of “standard” (Lipica) limestone tablets. Analysis of carbonate weathering using combination of methods (quantitative analysis by the weight loss of "standard" tablets, and qualitative analysis of the weathered surfaces by stained acetate peels and SEM imaging) showed that dissolution takes place not only at the surface of limestone tablets, but also along voids and cavities in limestone tablets which makes total weathering surface larger than the area of the tablet surface. Dissolution is more pronounced on the micritic calcite surfaces (due to different dissolution kinetics of carbonate minerals), resulting in lowering of the surface (calcite matrix) which causes gradual unburial and removal of authigenic dolomite grains.


Quaternary glacial cycles: Karst processes and the global CO2 budget, 2013, Larson Erik B. , Mylroie John E.

Extensive research has been conducted investigating the relationship between karst processes, carbonate deposition and the global carbon cycle. However, little work has been done looking into the relationship between glaciations, subsequent sea level changes, and aerially exposed land masses in relation to karstic processes and the global carbon budget. During glaciations sea-level exposed the world’s carbonate platforms. with the sub-aerial exposure of the platforms, karst processes can occur, and the dissolution of carbonate material can commence, resulting in the drawdown of CO2 from the atmosphere as HCO3−. Furthermore, the material on the platform surfaces is primarily aragonite which is more readily soluble than calcite allowing karst processes to occur more quickly. During glaciations arctic carbonates and some of the temperate carbonates are blanketed in ice, effectively removing those areas from karst processes. Given the higher solubility of aragonite, and the extent of carbonate platforms exposed during glaciations, this dissolution balances the CO2 no longer taken up by karst processes at higher latitudes that were covered during the last glacial maximum The balance is within 0.001 GtC / yr, using soil pCO2 (0.005 GtC / yr assuming atmospheric pCO2) which is a difference of <1% of the total amount of atmospheric CO2 removed in a year by karst processes. Denudation was calculated using the maximum potential dissolution formulas of Gombert (2002). On a year to year basis the net amount of atmospheric carbon removed through karstic processes is equivalent between the last glacial maximum and the present day, however, the earth has spent more time in a glacial configuration during the quaternary, which suggests that there is a net drawdown of atmospheric carbon during glaciations from karst processes, which may serve as a feedback to prolong glacial episodes. This research has significance for understanding the global carbon budget during the quaternary.


An approach for collection of nearfield groundwater samples in submerged limestone caverns, 2013, Mills Aaron L. , Tysall Terrence N. , Herman Janet S.

Walls of submerged caves feeding Florida springs are often lined with a heavy mat of filamentous bacteria, many of which are able to oxidize reduced sulfur in groundwater migrating from the porous bedrock into the cave conduit. To determine changes in water chemistry as water passes through the microbial mat, a simple device made from standard well screen and sealed with a rubber stopper and controllable vents was installed in a hole drilled in the wall of the cave passage. The sampler was sealed in place with marine epoxy. we measured anions in water from the sampler and from the water-filled conduit taken just outside the sampler. Most anions measured viz., Cl, NO3, and PO43−, increased slightly between the matrix and conduit waters. However, traces of sulfide were measured in the water from the rock matrix, but not in the conduit. SO4 2−concentrations in the conduit were about twice that measured in the water from the sampler, about 22 and 11 mg SO42− L−1, respectively, providing further evidence that sulfur oxidation is an important process in the bacterial mats attached to the limestone surfaces in these caves. An additional use of the sampling device is to measure discharge from the local bedrock into the cave conduit.


The weathered Carboniferous limestone at Bullslaughter Bay, South Wales: the first example of ghost-rock recorded in the British Isles, 2014, Rowberry Matt D. , Battiauqueney Yvonne, Walsh Peter, Blazejowski Blazej, Boutroumazeilles Viviane, Trentesaux Alain, Krizova Lenka, Griffiths Hywel

The Carboniferous Limestone at Bullslaughter Bay hosts some of the most notable examples of deep weathering in  the British Isles as well as two members of an enigmatic suite of breccias known as the Gash Breccias. The weathered limestone has  been investigated thoroughly in order to identify the process responsible for the weathering. In this paper it is demonstrated that the  weathering is isovolumetric but the weathering profile is not characterised by a vertical gradient and its depth suggests that meteoric  waters did not contribute significantly to the weathering process. The weathered limestone has lost significant amounts of calcium and  parts are virtually decalcified. It is seen that the dominant primary minerals of illite and quartz have been preserved while secondary  clay minerals are generally absent. The weathered limestone cannot be a saprolite sensu stricto as it has been subjected to only restricted  chemical processes. It is, therefore, interpreted as a “ghost-rock”. This type of weathering results from chemical dissolution by slow  moving waters in the saturated zone. It is suggested that the weathering may have taken place during periods of emergence in the  Carboniferous, at the same time as the cyclothem tops were exposed to subaerial modification, as evidenced by omission surfaces and  palaeokarstic solution features. This is the first time that ghost-rock weathering has been reported from the British Isles.


CONDENSATION CORROSION: MEASUREMENTS AND GEOMORPHIC EVIDENCE IN THE FRASASSI CAVES, 2014, Galdenzi S. , Jones D. , Macalady J.

The condensation of acidic waters on subaerial carbonate surfaces (condensation corrosion) can be an important speleogenetic agent under certain conditions (Cigna and Forti, 1986; Sarbu and Lascu, 1997). Specific morphologies associated with condensation corrosion include notches, niches, cupolas, megascallops and domes (Audra, 2009), and have been recognized in many caves from different regions of the world and from different geologic settings. Condensation corrosion can be particularly important in thermal caves, where temperature differences facilitate air convection and water condensation, as well as in sulphidic caves, where degassing and subsequent oxidation of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas provides a ready source of acidity to the subaerial cave environment.
In pioneering studies on the formation of sulphidic caves, condensation corrosion via H2S degassing and oxidation to sulphuric acid was considered the primary mechanism for speleogenesis (Principi, 1931; Egemeier, 1981). However, recent research has cast doubt on the importance of subaerial H2S oxidation for sulphidic cave formation (Engel et al., 2004). In the Frasassi cave system, Italy, morphological evidence for both subaerial and subaqueous limestone dissolution has been extensively documented (Galdenzi, 1990; Galdenzi and Maruoka, 2003). In particular, corrosion above the water table has resulted in the formation of massive gypsum deposits as well as specific passage morphologies. Measured rates by Galdenzi et al. (1997) corroborated morphological evidence that condensation corrosion is important at least under certain conditions. Therefore, in order to better define the role of subaerial processes in the Frasassi cave system, we quantified sulphide flux to the cave atmosphere in the modern cave environment, and documented morphological evidence for subaerial corrosion in the past


Diatom flora in subterranean ecosystems: a review., 2014, Falasco Elisa, Luc Ector, Marco Isaia, Carlos E. Wetzel, Lucien Hoffmann, Francesca Bona.

In scarcity of light and primary producers, subterranean ecosystems are generally extremely oligotrophic habitats, receiving poor supplies of degradable organic matter from the surface. Human direct impacts on cave ecosystems mainly derive from intensive tourism and recreational caving, causing important alterations to the whole subterranean environment. In particular, artificial lighting systems in show caves support the growth of autotrophic organisms (the so-called lampenflora), mainly composed of cyanobacteria, diatoms, chlorophytes, mosses and ferns producing exocellular polymeric substances (EPSs) made of polysaccharides, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. This anionic EPSs matrix mediates to the intercellular communications and participates to the chemical exchanges with the substratum, inducing the adsorption of cations and dissolved organic molecules from the cave formations (speleothems). Coupled with the metabolic activities of heterotrophic microorganisms colonising such layer (biofilm), this phenomenon may lead to the corrosion of the mineral surfaces. In this review, we investigate the formation of biofilms, especially of diatom-dominated ones, as a consequence of artificial lighting and its impacts on speleothems. Whenever light reaches the subterranean habitat (both artificially and naturally) a relative high number of species of diatoms may indeed colonise it. Cave entrances, artificially illuminated walls and speleothems inside the cave are generally the preferred substrates. This review focuses on the diatom flora colonising subterranean habitats, summarizing the information contained in all the scientific papers published from 1900 up to date. In this review we provide a complete checklist of the diatom taxa recorded in subterranean habitats, including a total of 363 taxa, belonging to 82 genera. The most frequent and abundant species recorded in caves and other low light subterranean habitats are generally aerophilic and cosmopolitan. These are, in order of frequency: Hantzschia amphioxys, Diadesmis contenta, Orthoseira roeseana, Luticola nivalis, Pinnularia borealis, Diadesmis biceps and Luticola mutica. Due to the peculiarity of the subterranean habitats, the record of rare or new species is relatively common. The most important environmental factors driving species composition and morphological modifications observed in subterranean populations are analysed throughout the text and tables. In addition, suggestions to prevent and remove the corrosive biofilms in view of an environmentally sustainable cave management are discussed.


Incipient vertical traction carpets within collapsed sinkhole fills, 2014,

Small vertically oriented traction carpets are reported from the collapsed sandy fills of 100 m deep Devonian limestone sinkholes underlying the Lower Cretaceous Athabasca oil sands deposit in north-eastern Alberta, Western Canada. Dissolution of 100 m of underlying halite salt beds caused cataclysmic collapse of the sinkhole floors and water saturated sinkhole sand fills to descend very rapidly. Turbulent currents flushed upper sinkhole fills of friable sandstone blocks and disaggregated sand and quartz pebble for tens of metres. Laminar deposits with inverse grading accumulated as many as six to eight curvilinear entrained pebble streaks, 10 to 30 cm long, vertically impinged against the sides of descending collapse blocks. These deposits were initiated as vertically oriented early stage traction carpets that interlocked fine sand grains and inversely graded overlying pebbles entrained below the dilute overlying turbulent flows. Vortexes that flushed these sinkhole fills and induced these depositional processes may have lasted only seconds before the very rapid descents abruptly halted. Some of the fabrics were suspended vertically in-place and preserved from unlocking and obliteration. These small fabrics provide insight into the instability and ephemeral character of the transition from strong gravity-driven grain falls to very early stages of traction carpet formation. These short-lived deposits of very thin sand layers resulted from sufficient incipient frictional freezing that grain interlocking overcame, however briefly, the strong gravity drives of the vertical falls that would have otherwise dispersed grains and obliterated any organized fabric patterns. Tenuous frictionally locked grains were also suspended at the centres of hyperbolic grain fall flows that briefly developed between turbulent flow eddies, some of which were fortuitously preserved. Some of these suspended grain locking zones passed downward onto the relatively more stable surfaces of the rapidly descending block surfaces. The morphogenesis of these early stage traction carpets differ from more fully developed deposits elsewhere because of their short-lived transport, dynamic instability and vertical orientation.


Hydrogeology of northern Sierra de Chiapas, Mexico: A conceptual model based on a geochemical characterization of sulfide-rich karst brackish springs, 2014,

Conspicuous sulfide-rich karst springs flow from Cretaceous carbonates in northern Sierra de Chiapas, Mexico. This is a geologically complex, tropical karst area. The physical, geologic, hydrologic and chemical attributes of these springs were determined and integrated into a conceptual hydrogeologic model. A meteoric source and a recharge elevation below 1500 m are estimated from the spring water isotopic signature regardless of their chemical composition. Brackish spring water flows at a maximum depth of 2000 m, as inferred from similar chemical attributes to the produced water from a nearby oil well. Oil reservoirs may be found at depths below 2000 m. Three subsurface environments or aquifers are identified based on the B, Li+, K+ and SiO2 concentrations, spring water temperatures, and CO2 pressures. There is mixing between these aquifers. The aquifer designated Local is shallow and contains potable water vulnerable to pollution. The aquifer named Northern receives some brackish produced water. The composition of the Southern aquifer is influenced by halite dissolution enhanced at fault detachment surfaces. Epigenic speleogenesis is associated with the Local springs. In contrast, hypogenic speleogenesis is associated with the brackish sulfidic springs from the Northern and the Southern environments.


Stable isotope data as constraints on models for the origin of coralloid and massive speleothems: The interplay of substrate, water supply, degassing, and evaporation, 2015, Caddeo Guglielmo A. , Railsback L. Bruce, Dewaele Jo, Frau Franco

Many speleothems can be assigned to one of two morphological groups: massive speleothems, which consist of compact bulks of material, and coralloids, which are domal to digitate in form. Faster growth on protrusions of the substrate occurs in the typical growth layers of coralloids (where those layers are termed “coralloid accretions”), but it is not observed in the typical layers of massive speleothems, which in contrast tend to smoothen the speleothem surface (and can therefore be defined as "smoothing accretions"). The different growth rates on different areas of the substrate are explainable by various mechanisms of CaCO3 deposition (e.g., differential aerosol deposition, differential CO2 and/or H2O loss from a capillary film of solution, deposition in subaqueous environments). To identify the causes of formation of coralloids rather than massive speleothems, this article provides data about d13C and d18O at coeval points of both smoothing and coralloid accretions, examining the relationship between isotopic composition and the substrate morphology. In subaerial speleothems, data show an enrichment in heavy isotopes both along the direction of water flow and toward the protrusions. The first effect is due to H2O evaporation and CO2 degassing during a gravity-driven flow of water (gravity stage) and is observed in smoothing accretions; the second effect is due to evaporation and degassing during water movement by capillary action from recesses to prominences (capillary stage) and is observed in subaerial coralloids. Both effects coexist in smoothing accretions interspersed among coralloid ones (intermediate stage). Thus this study supports the origin of subaerial coralloids from dominantly capillary water and disproves their origin by deposition of aerosol from the cave air. On the other hand, subaqueous coralloids seem to form by a differential mass-transfer from a still bulk of water towards different zones of the substrate along diffusion flux vectors of nutrients perpendicular to the isodepleted surfaces. Finally, this isotopic method has proved useful to investigate the controls on speleothem morphology and to obtain additional insights on the evolution of aqueous solutions inside caves.


Stable isotope data as constraints on models for the origin of coralloid and massive speleothems: The interplay of substrate, water supply, degassing, and evaporation, 2015, Caddeo Guglielmo A. , Railsback L. Bruce, Dewaele Jo, Frau Franco

Many speleothems can be assigned to one of two morphological groups: massive speleothems, which consist of compact bulks of material, and coralloids, which are domal to digitate in form. Faster growth on protrusions of the substrate occurs in the typical growth layers of coralloids (where those layers are termed “coralloid accretions”), but it is not observed in the typical layers of massive speleothems, which in contrast tend to smoothen the speleothem surface (and can therefore be defined as "smoothing accretions"). The different growth rates on different areas of the substrate are explainable by various mechanisms of CaCO3 deposition (e.g., differential aerosol deposition, differential CO2 and/or H2O loss from a capillary film of solution, deposition in subaqueous environments). To identify the causes of formation of coralloids rather than massive speleothems, this article provides data about d13C and d18O at coeval points of both smoothing and coralloid accretions, examining the relationship between isotopic composition and the substrate morphology. In subaerial speleothems, data show an enrichment in heavy isotopes both along the direction of water flow and toward the protrusions. The first effect is due to H2O evaporation and CO2 degassing during a gravity-driven flow of water (gravity stage) and is observed in smoothing accretions; the second effect is due to evaporation and degassing during water movement by capillary action from recesses to prominences (capillary stage) and is observed in subaerial coralloids. Both effects coexist in smoothing accretions interspersed among coralloid ones (intermediate stage). Thus this study supports the origin of subaerial coralloids from dominantly capillary water and disproves their origin by deposition of aerosol from the cave air. On the other hand, subaqueous coralloids seem to form by a differential mass-transfer from a still bulk of water towards different zones of the substrate along diffusion flux vectors of nutrients perpendicular to the isodepleted surfaces. Finally, this isotopic method has proved useful to investigate the controls on speleothem morphology and to obtain additional insights on the evolution of aqueous solutions inside caves.


Tectonic control of cave development: a case study of the Bystra Valley in the Tatra Mts., 2015, Szczygieł Jacek, Gaidzik Krzysztof, Kicińska Ditta

Tectonic research and morphological observations were carried out in six caves (Kalacka, Goryczkowa, Kasprowa Niżna, Kasprowa Średnia, Kasprowa Wyżnia and Magurska) in the Bystra Valley, in the Tatra Mountains. There are three cave levels, with the youngest active and the other two inactive, reflecting development partly under epiphreatic and partly under phreatic conditions. These studies demonstrate strong control of the cave pattern by tectonic features, including faults and related fractures that originated or were rejuvenated during uplift, lasting from the Late Miocene. In a few local cases, the cave passages are guided by the combined influence of bedding, joints and fractures in the hinge zone of a chevron anticline. That these cave passages are guided by tectonic structures, irrespective of lithological differences, indicates that these proto-conduits were formed by "tectonic inception”. Differences in the cave pattern between the phreatic and epiphreatic zones at a given cave level may be a result of massif relaxation. Below the bottom of the valley, the effect of stress on the rock mass is related to the regional stress field and only individual faults extend below the bottom of the valley. Thus in the phreatic zone, the flow is focused and a single conduit becomes enlarged. The local extension is more intense in the epiphreatic zone above the valley floor and more fractures have been sufficiently extended to allow water to flow. The water migrates along a network of fissures and a maze could be forming. Neotectonic displacements (of up to 15 cm), which are more recent than the passages, were also identified in the caves. Neotectonic activity is no longer believed to have as great an impact on cave morphology as previously was thought. Those faults with displacements of several metres, described as younger than the cave by other authors, should be reclassified as older faults, the surfaces of which have been exposed by speleogenesis. The possible presence of neotectonic faults with greater displacements is not excluded, but they would have had a much greater morphological impact than the observed features suggest.


Stable isotope data as constraints on models for the origin of coralloid and massive speleothems: The interplay of substrate, water supply, degassing, and evaporation, 2015, Caddeo Guglielmo Angelo, Railsback Loren Bruce, De Waele Jo, Frau Franco

Many speleothems can be assigned to one of two morphological groups: massive speleothems, which consist of compact bulks of material, and coralloids, which are domal to digitate in form. Faster growth on protrusions of the substrate occurs in the typical growth layers of coralloids (where those layers are termed “coralloid accretions”),

but it is not observed in the typical layers of massive speleothems, which in contrast tend to smoothen the speleothem surface (and can therefore be defined as “smoothing accretions”). The different growth rates on different areas of the substrate are explainable by various mechanisms of CaCO3 deposition (e.g., differential aerosol deposition, differential CO2 and/or H2O loss fromacapillary filmof solution, deposition in subaqueous environments).

To identify the causes of formation of coralloids rather than massive speleothems, this article provides data about δ13C and δ18O at coeval points of both smoothing and coralloid accretions, examining the relationship between isotopic composition and the substratemorphology. In subaerial speleothems, data showenrichment in heavy isotopes both along the direction of water flow and toward the protrusions. The first effect is due to H2O evaporation and CO2 degassing during a gravity-driven flow of water (gravity stage) and is observed in smoothing accretions; the second effect is due to evaporation and degassing duringwatermovement by capillary action from recesses to prominences (capillary stage) and is observed in subaerial coralloids. Both effects coexist in smoothing accretions interspersed among coralloid ones (intermediate stage). Thus this study supports the origin of subaerial coralloids from dominantly capillary water and disproves their origin by deposition of aerosol fromthe cave air. On the other hand, subaqueous coralloids seem to form by a differential mass-transfer from a still bulk of water toward different zones of the substrate along diffusion flux vectors of nutrients perpendicular to the iso-depleted surfaces. Finally, this isotopic method has proved useful to investigate the controls on speleothem morphology and to obtain additional insights on the evolution of aqueous solutions inside caves.


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