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Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology


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Community news

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 show cave is a cave that has been made accessible to the public for guided visits [25].?

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


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KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
See all featured articles
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 mining (Keyword) returned 218 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 211 to 218 of 218
Niche differentiation in Meta bourneti and M. menardi (Araneae, Tetragnathidae) with notes on the life history, 2014,
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Meta menardi and M. bourneti are two species of spiders inhabiting caves and other subterranean habitats. The occurrence of both species within the same cave has never been proved convincingly and several authors hypothesized a complete niche differentiation mainly based on microclimatic conditions.In order to study the apparent niche differentiation of the two species, we studied several populations of M. menardi and M. bourneti occurring in six caves in the Western Italian Alps (NW Italy). A series of squared plots were monitored monthly from March 2012 to February 2013. At each survey, we counted individuals and we collected the main environmental variables at each plot, namely distance from cave entrance, structural typology (wall, floor or ceiling), light intensity, wind speed and counts of potential prey. Moreover, temperature and relative humidity were continuously logged in each cave. We run several statistical models (GLMMs) in order to relate the counts of individuals to the environmental parameters. The distance from the cave entrance, structural typology and prey availability resulted most important factors driving the abundance of both species within the cave. On the other hand, despite life cycles appeared very similar, the two species seems to exhibit different tolerance to the microclimatic variations within the cave, which emerged as the main factors determining the differentiation of their niche. At least in our study area, M. bourneti tolerates broad microclimatic fluctuations and is potentially able to colonize a wide variety of caves. On the other hand, when the climatic conditions in a cave are suitable for M. menardi (narrow ranges of relatively low temperature and high humidity), M. bourneti is excluded.


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,
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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,
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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,
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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.


Genesis of folia in a non-thermal epigenic cave (Matanzas, Cuba), 2015,
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D'angeli Ilenia Maria, De Waele Jo, Ceballo Melendres Osmany, Tisato Nicola, Sauro Francesco, Grau Gonzalez Esteban Ruben, Bernasconi Stefano, Torriani Stefano, Bontognali Tomaso Renzo Rezio

Folia are an unusual speleothem type resembling inverted cups or bracket fungi. Themechanismof folia formation is not fully understood and is the subject of an ongoing debate. This study focuses on an occurrence of folia present in Santa Catalina Cave, a non-thermal epigenic cave located close to Matanzas (Cuba). The sedimentology, morphology, petrology, permeability and geochemistry of these folia have been studied to gain new insight on the processes leading to their development. It is concluded that folia in Santa Catalina Cave formed at the top of a fluctuating water body, through CO2-degassing or evaporation, which may have been enhanced by the proximity to cave entrances. Two observations strongly support our conclusions. (1) When compared to other subaqueous speleothems (e.g. cave clouds) present in the same rooms, folia occur exclusively within a limited vertical interval that likely represents an ancient water level. Folia occur together with calcite rafts and tower cones that developed, respectively, on top of and below the water level. This suggests that a fluctuating interface is required for folia formation. (2) The measured permeability of the folia is too high to trap gas bubbles. Thus, in contrast to what has been proposed in other studies, trapped bubbles of CO2 cannot be invoked as the key factor determining the genesis and morphology of folia in this subaqueous environment.


Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, 2015,
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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

Helictites—an enigmatic type of mineral structure occurring in some caves—differ from classical speleothems as they develop with orientations that defy gravity. While theories for helictite formation have been forwarded, their genesis remains equivocal. Here, we show that a remarkable suite of helictites occurring in Asperge Cave (France) are formed by biologically-mediated processes, rather than abiotic processes as had hitherto been proposed. Morphological and petro-physical properties are inconsistent with mineral precipitation under purely physico-chemical control.

Instead, microanalysis and molecular-biological investigation reveals the presence of a prokaryotic biofilm intimately associated with the mineral structures. We propose that microbially-influenced mineralization proceeds within a gliding biofilm which serves as a nucleation site for CaCO3, and where chemotaxis influences the trajectory of mineral growth, determining the macroscopic morphology of the speleothems. The influence of biofilms may explain the occurrence of similar speleothems in other caves worldwide, and sheds light on novel biomineralization processes.


Depth and timing of calcite spar and “spar cave” genesis: Implications for landscape evolution studies, 2015,
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Calcite spar (crystals >1 cm in diameter) are common in limestone and dolostone terrains. In the Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico and west Texas, calcite spar is abundant and lines small geode-like caves. Determining the depth and timing of formation of these large scalenohedral calcite crystals is critical in linking the growth of spar with landscape evolution. In this study, we show that large euhedral calcite crystals precipitate deep in the phreatic zone (400–800 m) in these small geode-like caves (spar caves), and we propose both are the result of properties of supercritical CO2 at that depth. U-Pb dating of spar crystals shows that they formed primarily between 36 and 28 Ma. The 87Sr/86Sr values of the euhedral calcite spar show that the spar has a signifi cantly higher 87Sr/86Sr (0.710–0.716) than the host Permian limestone (0.706–0.709). This indicates the spar formed from waters that are mixed with, or formed entirely from, a source other than the surrounding bedrock aquifer, and this is consistent with hypogene speleogenesis at signifi cant depth. In addition, we conducted highly precise measurements of the variation in nonradiogenic isotopes of strontium, 88Sr/86Sr, expressed as 88Sr, the variation of which has previously been shown to depend on temperature of precipitation. Our preliminary 88Sr results from the spar calcite are consistent with formation at 50–70 °C. Our fi rst U-Pb results show that the spar was precipitated during the beginning of Basin and Range tectonism in a late Eocene to early Oligocene episode, which was coeval with two major magmatic periods at 36–33 Ma and 32–28 Ma. A novel speleogenetic process that includes both the dissolution of the spar caves and precipitation of the spar by the same speleogenetic event is proposed and supports the formation of the spar at 400–800 m depth, where the transition from supercritical to subcritical CO2 drives both dissolution of limestone during the main speleogenetic event and precipitation of calcite at the terminal phase of speleogenesis. We suggest that CO2 is derived from contemporaneous igneous activity. This proposed model suggests that calcite spar can be used for reconstruction of landscape evolution


Karst pocket valleys and their implications on Pliocene–Quaternary hydrology and climate: Examples from the Nullarbor Plain, southern Australia, 2015,
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Karst on the Nullarbor Plain has been studied and described in detail in the past, but it lacked the determination of the karst discharge and palaeo-watertable levels that would explain the palaeohydrological regime in this area. This study explores the existence of previously unrecognised features in this area – karst pocket valleys – and gives a review on pocket valleys worldwide. Initial GIS analyses were followed up by detailed field work, sampling, mapping and measuring of morphological, geological, and hydrological characteristics of representative
valleys on the Wylie and Hampton scarps of the Nullarbor Plain. Rock and sand samples were examined for mineralogy, texture and grain size, and a U–Pb dating of a speleothem froma cave within a pocket valley enabled the establishment of a time frame of the pocket valleys formation and its palaeoenvironmental implications. The pocket valleys document the hydrological evolution of the Nullarbor karst system and the Neogene–Pleistocene palaeoclimatic evolution of the southern hemisphere. A review of pocket valleys in different climatic and geological settings suggests that their basic characteristics remain the same, and their often overlooked utility as environmental indicators can be used for further palaeoenvironmental studies. The main period of intensive karstification and widening of hydrologically active underground conduits is placed into the wetter climates of the Pliocene epoch. Subsequent drier climates and lowering of the watertable that followed sea-level retreat in the Quaternary resulted in formation of the pocket valleys (gravitational undermining, slumping, exudation and collapse), which, combined with periodic heavy rainfall events and discharge due to impeded drainage, caused the retreat of the pocket valleys from the edge of escarpments.


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