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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 lift is the vertical pumping distance between the water level in a well to the land surface [16].?

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


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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 records (Keyword) returned 269 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 241 to 255 of 269
New insights into the carbon isotope composition of speleothem calcite: An assessment from surface to subsurface, 2012,
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Meyer, Kyle William

The purpose of this study was to provide new insights into the interpretation of speleothem (cave calcite deposit) δ13C values. We studied two caves in central Texas, which have been actively monitored for over 12 years. We compared δ13C values of soil CO2 (δ13Cs), cave drip water (δ13CDIC), and modern cave calcite (δ13Ccc). Measured average δ13C values of soil CO2 were -13.9 ± 1.4‰ under mixed, shallowly-rooted C3-C4 grasses and were -18.3 ± 0.7‰ under deeply-rooted ashe juniper trees (C3). The δ13CDIC value of minimally-degassed drip water in Natural Bridge Caverns was -10.7 ± 0.3‰. The carbon isotope composition of CO2 in equilibrium with this measured drip water is -18.1 ± 0.3‰. The agreement between juniper soil CO2 and drip water (within ~0.2‰) suggests that the δ13C value of drip water (δ13CDIC) that initially enters the cave is controlled by deeply-rooted plants and may be minimally influenced by host-rock dissolution and/or prior calcite precipitation (PCP). At Inner Space Caverns, δ13CDIC values varied with vegetation above the drip site, distance from the cave entrance, and distance along in-cave flow paths. Whereas CO2 derived from deeply-rooted plants defines the baseline for drip water δ13CDIC entering the caves, kinetic effects associated with the degassing of CO2 and simultaneous precipitation of calcite account for seasonal variability in δ13CDIC and δ13Ccc. We documented increases in δ13CDIC at a rate of up to 0.47‰/hour during the season of peak degassing (winter), suggesting that δ13CDIC variations may be controlled by total elapsed time of CO2 degassing from drip water (Ttotal). We also observed seasonal shifts in the δ13C values of modern calcite grown on glass substrates that are correlated with shifts in drip water δ13CDIC values and drip-rate. Therefore, we suggest that increased aridity at the surface above a given cave results in, slower drip-rates, higher Ttotal, and therefore higher δ13CDIC values. We propose that large variability (>2‰) in speleothem δ13Ccc values dominantly reflect major vegetation changes, and/or increasing Ttotal by slowing drip-rates. Based on these findings, variability in speleothem carbon isotope records may serve as a proxy for paleoaridity and/or paleovegetation change.


New insights into the carbon isotope composition of speleothem calcite : an assessment from surface to subsurface, 2012,
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Meyer, Kyle William

The purpose of this study was to provide new insights into the interpretation of speleothem (cave calcite deposit) δ13C values. We studied two caves in central Texas, which have been actively monitored for over 12 years. We compared δ13C values of soil CO2 (δ13Cs), cave drip water (δ13CDIC), and modern cave calcite (δ13Ccc). Measured average δ13C values of soil CO2 were -13.9 ± 1.4‰ under mixed, shallowly-rooted C3-C4 grasses and were -18.3 ± 0.7‰ under deeply-rooted ashe juniper trees (C3). The δ13CDIC value of minimally-degassed drip water in Natural Bridge Caverns was -10.7 ± 0.3‰. The carbon isotope composition of CO2 in equilibrium with this measured drip water is -18.1 ± 0.3‰. The agreement between juniper soil CO2 and drip water (within ~0.2‰) suggests that the δ13C value of drip water (δ13CDIC) that initially enters the cave is controlled by deeply-rooted plants and may be minimally influenced by host-rock dissolution and/or prior calcite precipitation (PCP). At Inner Space Caverns, δ13CDIC values varied with vegetation above the drip site, distance from the cave entrance, and distance along in-cave flow paths. Whereas CO2 derived from deeply-rooted plants defines the baseline for drip water δ13CDIC entering the caves, kinetic effects associated with the degassing of CO2 and simultaneous precipitation of calcite account for seasonal variability in δ13CDIC and δ13Ccc. We documented increases in δ13CDIC at a rate of up to 0.47‰/hour during the season of peak degassing (winter), suggesting that δ13CDIC variations may be controlled by total elapsed time of CO2 degassing from drip water (Ttotal). We also observed seasonal shifts in the δ13C values of modern calcite grown on glass substrates that are correlated with shifts in drip water δ13CDIC values and drip-rate. Therefore, we suggest that increased aridity at the surface above a given cave results in, slower drip-rates, higher Ttotal, and therefore higher δ13CDIC values. We propose that large variability (>2‰) in speleothem δ13Ccc values dominantly reflect major vegetation changes, and/or increasing Ttotal by slowing drip-rates. Based on these findings, variability in speleothem carbon isotope records may serve as a proxy for paleoaridity and/or paleovegetation change.


A geomorphological and speleological approach in the study of hydrogeology of gypsum karst of Sorbas (SE Spain), 2012,
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Sanna L, Gazquez F. , Calaforra J. M.

The Sorbas massif (Almeria, SE Spain) is one of most karstified gypsiferous areas of the world, with hundreds of dolines and different karst features. In this massif more than 1000 caves have been discovered in an area of about 12 km2. Its Messinian gypsum, deposited in a Neogene intramontane basin, is composed of continuous strata of very pure selenite. The purpose of this research is to identify the main karst geomorphological features and to integrate these data with hydrogeological records for better understanding the role of the karst aquifer in the groundwater recharge of the Aguas River. This study took place in the southern part of the Sorbas gypsum plateau with several steps and multiple field campaigns for geomorphological and geostructural data compilation and to record the different karst forms. Also water samples from the main springs have been collected for geochemical analysis. All field items have been inventoried with corresponding spatial position and compared with the previously existing information. Subsequently, an exhaustive data elaboration was performed leading to the definition of the karst features of the area, rendered by maps. To assess the extent of karstification, the spatial analysis of the cave entrance’s distribution together with structural alignments have been studied.
The cave entrances, a means of access to deep karst, are an expression of discontinuous surface karst phenomenon closely connected with underground drainage that allow to reconstruct the main direction of groundwater flow. This kind of approach can be apply in those areas where rock is exploited, to discern a possible indicator of the effects of the mining and to find the best management conditions that allow the conservation of most of the cavities, the preservation of the recharge basin of the karst system and springs, the minimum affectation to the vadose groundwater flow, the protection of nearby springs and minimizing the visual impact.


Historic inscriptions in Predjama cave system and high floods in 2010, 2012,
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Sebela, S.

High floods of September 2010 partly ruined historic inscription made by charcoal »Slovenski gadje 1882« in Predjama cave system. Regarding studied historic records the September 2010 floods were the highest in Predjama at least since 1882. If we thrust the well-documented floods in 1826 they can even be higher than ones in 2010. In 2010 the water reached 489.60 m above the sea level at entrance parts of the cave and about 485 m at Vetrovna Luknja causing that the old inscription from 1882 was under water and partly destroyed. Another old inscription »Nagel 1748«, probably done by more resistant pencil, did not suffer from the 2010 floods. Contrary, it was twice partly destroyed by carless visitors, first in 1991 and secondly in the period 1991 – 2005.


Historic inscriptions in Predjama cave system and high floods in 2010, 2012,
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ebela, Stanka

High floods of September 2010 partly ruined historic inscription made by charcoal »Slovenski gadje 1882« in Predjama cave system. Regarding studied historic records the September 2010 floods were the highest in Predjama at least since 1882. If we thrust the well-documented floods in 1826 they can even be higher than ones in 2010. In 2010 the water reached 489.60 m above the sea level at entrance parts of the cave and about 485 m at Vetrovna Luknja causing that the old inscription from 1882 was under water and partly destroyed. Another old inscription »Nagel 1748«, probably done by more resistant pencil, did not suffer from the 2010 floods. Contrary, it was twice partly destroyed by carless visitors, first in 1991 and secondly in the period 1991 – 2005.


THE ROLE OF SULFATE-RICH SPRINGS AND GROUNDWATER IN THE FORMATION OF SINKHOLES OVER GYPSUM IN EASTERN ENGLAND, 2013,
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Cooper A. H. , Odling N. E. , Murphy Ph. J. , Miller C. , Greenwood Ch. J. , Brown D. S.

Heavily karstified gypsum and dolomite aquifers occur in the Permian (Zechstein Group) of Eastern England. Here rapid active gypsum dissolution causes subsidence and abundant sinkholes affect an approximately 140-km by 3-km area from Darlington, through Ripon to Doncaster. The topography and easterly dip of the strata feed artesian water through the dolomite up into the overlying gypsum sequences. The shallow-circulating groundwater emerges as sulfate-rich springs with temperatures between 9-12 oC, many emanating from sinkholes that steam and do not freeze in the winter (such as Hell Kettles, Darlington). Water also circulates from the east through the overlying Triassic sandstone aquifer. Calcareous tufa deposits and tufa-cemented gravels also attest to the passage and escape of this groundwater. The sizes of the sinkholes, their depth and that of the associated breccia pipes are controlled by the thickness of gypsum that can dissolve and by the bulking factors associated with the collapsed rocks. The presence of sulfate-rich water affects the local potability of the supply. Groundwater abstraction locally aggravates the subsidence problems, both by active dissolution and drawdown. Furthermore, the gypsum and dolomite karstification has local implications for the installation of ground-source heat pumps. The sulfate-rich springs show where active subsidence is expected; their presence along with records of subsidence can inform planning and development of areas requiring mitigation measures.


A model for the formation of layered soda-straw stalactites, 2013,
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Paul Bence, Drysdale R. , Green Helen, Woodhead Jon, Hellstrom John, Eberhard Rolan

Climate records based upon instrumental data such as rainfall measurements are usually only available for approximately the last 150 years at most. To fully investigate decadal-scale climate variation, however, these records must be extended by the use of climate proxies. Soda-straw stalactites (straws) are a previously under-utilised potential source of such data. In this contribution we investigate the structure and formation of straws and look at some issues that may affect the reliability of straw-based palaeoclimate records. We use laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) trace element analysis to document surface contamination features that have the potential to obscure annual trace element variations, and develop a method to reveal the underlying layering. We also use LA- ICP-MS to map the two-dimensional trace element distribution in straws. These maps reveal straw-layer geometry, in which layers are widest at the outside edge of the straw, narrowing and becoming almost parallel on the interior of the straw.

Based upon these observations, we present a model for the formation of straws of this type, where rapid degassing of CO2 from the drip extending below the straw forms the wider outer layers. Summers are defined by increased layer widths and higher trace element contents relative to winter layers. In palaeoclimate studies, where such annual variations can be used to construct time-lines, we suggest that, ideally, the outside surface of the straw be analysed where the trace element content difference is greatest and layering is widest.

The terminal phase of one straw (FC-02) shows decreasing layer widths and increased trace element contents. These features may also be representative of soda-straw responses to drought-induced decreases in percolation water.


New records for stygobionts from the Edwards Aquifer of Central Texas, 2013,
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Hutchins Benjamin T, Tovar Ruben U, Schwartz Benjamin F

Layer-bounding surfaces in stalagmites as keys to better paleoclimatological histories and chronologies, 2013,
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Railsback L. B. , Akers P. D. , Wang L. , Holdridge G. A. , Riavo Voarintsoa N.

Petrographic recognition of layer-bounding surfaces in stalagmites offers an important tool in constructing paleoclimate records. Previous petrographic efforts have examined thickness of layers (a possible proxy for annual rainfall) and alternation of layers in couplets (a possible indicator of seasonality). Layer-bounding surfaces, in contrast, delimit series of layers and represent periods of non-deposition, either because of exceptionally wet or exceptionally dry conditions.

Two types of layer-bounding surfaces can be recognized according to explicitly defined petrographic criteria. Type E layer-bounding surfaces are surfaces at which layers have been truncated or eroded at the crest of a stalagmite. Keys to their recognition include irregular termination of layers otherwise present on the stalagmite’s flank, dissolutional cavities, and coatings of non-carbonate detrital materials. Type E surfaces are interpreted to represent wet periods during which drip water became so undersaturated as to dissolve pre-existing stalagmite layers, and thus they necessarily represent hiatuses in the stalagmite record. Type L layer-bounding surfaces are surfaces below which layers become thinner upward and/or layers have lesser lateral extent upward, so that the stalagmite’s layer-specific width decreases. They are thus surfaces of lessened deposition and are interpreted to represent drier conditions in which drip rate slowed so much that little deposition occurred. A Type L surface may, but does not necessarily, represent a hiatus in deposition. However, radiometric age data show that Type L surfaces commonly represent significant hiatuses.

These surfaces are significant to paleoclimate research both for their implications regarding climate change (exceptionally wet or dry conditions) and in construction of chronologies in which other data, such as stable isotope ratios, are placed. With regard to climate change, recognition of these surfaces provides paleoclimatological information that can complement or even substitute for geochemical proxies. With regard to chronologies, recognition of layer- bounding surfaces allows correct placement of hiatuses in chronologies and thus correct placement of geochemical data in time series. Attention to changing thickness of annual layers and thus to accumulation rate can also refine a chronology. A chronology constructed with attention to layer-bounding surfaces and to changing layer thickness is much more accurate than a chronology in which hiatuses are not recognized at such surfaces.


HYPOGENE SULFURIC ACID SPELEOGENESIS AND RARE SULFATE MINERALS (FIBROFERRITE, JAROSITE SUBGROUP) BAUME GALINIERE CAVE (ALPES-DE-HAUTE-PROVENCE, FRANCE), 2013,
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Audra P. Gá, Zquez F. Rull F. Bigot J. Y. Camus H.

 

The oxidation of sulfide sources (H2S gas, pyrite, hydrocarbons) produces sulfuric acid that strongly reacts with bedrock, causing limestone dissolution and complex interactions with other minerals. This type of cave development, known as sulfuric acid speleogenesis, is a subcategory of hypogenic speleogenesis, where aggressive water rises from depth. It also produces uncommon minerals, mainly sulfates. Baume Galinière is located in Southern France, in the Vaucluse spring watershed. This small maze cave displays characteristic features such as corrosion notches, calcite dikes and iron crusts, and sulfate minerals. Thirteen minerals were identified, including elemental sulfur, calcite, quartz, pyrite, goethite, gypsum, fibroferrite, plus all of the six members of the jarosite subgroup (jarosite, argentojarosite, ammoniojarosite, hydroniumjarosite, natrojarosite, plumbojarosite). The Baume Galinière deposits are the first documented cave occurrence of argentojarosite and the second known occurrence of plumbojarosite, hydronium jarosite, ammoniojarosite, and fibroferrite. Together with other hypogenic caves in the Vaucluse watershed, Baume Galinière Cave owes its origin in buried conditions to deep water rising along major faults, mixing with meteoric water at the contact of the karst aquifer and overlying impervious cover, and causing pyrite deposition. Sulfuric acid speleogenesis occurred later after base level drop, when the cave arrived in shallow phreatic then in vadose zone, with oxidation of pyrites involving sulfidic gases. Attenuated oxidation is still occurring through condensation of incoming air from outside. Baume Galinière Cave records the position of the paleo-cover and documents its retreat in relationship to valley incision caused by uplift and tilting of the Vaucluse block during Neogene.


Naica caves: perhaps the most important mine caves of the world, 2013,
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Badino Giovanni, Forti Paolo

In 2005 La Venta Esplorazioni Geografiche together with C/Producciones of Mexico City and Peñoles Society started with the “Projecto Naica” a complex multidisciplinary project to explore, document and study all the relevant aspects of Naica caves. The project lasted about five years. Thanks to the “Projecto Naica” it is now clear that the Naica caves are presently the most important mine caves of the world, not only from the aesthetic point of view but also from the scientific one. But these cave will be likely destroyed in a short span of time and therefore La Venta Esplorazioni Geografiche is now working hard to try to preserve for future generations not only the memory and the records (already achieved with the “Projecto Naica”), but also a significant part of this incredible underground world.


Shape variation of Aegla schmitti (Crustacea, Decapoda, Aeglidae) associated to superficial and subterranean stream reaches, 2013,
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Camile Fernandes, Maria Bichuette

The species Aegla schmitti is relatively abundant in epigean streams in the Upper Ribeira Basin, southeastern Brazil and has a few records in caves. In this study, we questioned if those individuals would be an accidental presence or could be populations already established in cave streams? In this case, would morphological variations be associated with superficial and subterranean stream reaches? In this exploratory survey we tried to answer these questions by assessing the shape variation of cephalothorax using landmark-based geometric morphometrics. Different shapes were found for both environments, evidencing a successful hypogean colonization. The area effect was discarded as being the unique factor responsible for the divergence, therefore, for the first time in the literature, here we report morphological modifications associated with subterranean colonization in troglophiles. We also conceived and discussed some hypotheses about the colonization.


Aquatic biota of different karst habitats in epigean and subterranean systems of Central Brazil visibility versus relevance of taxa, 2013,
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Luiza Bertelli Simes, Tnia Cristina Dos Santos Ferreira, Maria Elina Bichuette

The karstic area of São Domingos, central Brazil, holds extensive drainage systems. In order to understand its biodiversity, various volumes of water were filtered with planktonic nets in stretches of subterranean and superficial rivers on five different occasions. We sampled four drips (152L), three calcite pools (368L), two subterranean rivers fed mainly by percolation water (6, 395L), two subterranean rivers fed mainly by water coming from a sinkhole (4, 175L) along different caves, one resurgence (158L), and four epigean rivers (101, 690L). Physical and chemical variables were measured at some sites. Canonical Correlation Analysis was used to verify relationships between taxa and environment. The degree of similarity of the biota was assessed by cluster analysis (Sorensen, single linkage). There were records of exclusive taxa in epigean and subterranean samples, mainly in drips, which harbour the most unique fauna. The high richness of taxa presently recorded reveals the potential of the vadose zone biota in the tropical region, which was neglected in studies on Brazilian subterranean biodiversity. According to our results, the unsaturated zone tropical fauna may have different composition compared to that from temperate habitats. The studied communities were dominated by rotifers, while crustacean are predominant in the latter. The hypothesis can be clarified with the increase of long term studies and taxa identification at species level, besides the use of complementary sampling methods.


Seismic study of the low-permeability volume in southern France karst systems, 2013,
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Galibert P. Y. , Valois R. , Mendes M. , Gurin R.

Locating groundwater in deep-seated karst aquifers is inherently difficult. With seismic methods, we studied the upper epikarst and the underneath low-permeability volume (LPV) of several karst systems located in the southern Quercy and Larzac regions of France and found that refraction tomography was effective only in the epikarst and not in the LPV. We evaluated a 3D case study using a combination of surface records and downhole receivers to overcome this limitation. This 3D approach unveiled a set of elongated furrows at the base of the epikarst and identified heterogeneities deep inside the LPV that may represent high-permeability preferred pathways for water inside the karst. To achieve the same result when no borehole was available, we studied seismic amplitudes of the wavefield, recognizing that wave-induced fluid flow in low-permeability carbonates is a driving mechanism of seismic attenuation. We developed a workflow describing the heterogeneity of the LPV with spectral attributes derived from surface-consistent decomposition principles, and we validated its effectiveness at benchmark locations. We applied this workflow to the 3D study and found a low-amplitude signal area at depth; we interpreted this anomaly as a water-saturated body perched above the aquifer.


THE ROLE OF SULFATE-RICH SPRINGS AND GROUNDWATER IN THE FORMATION OF SINKHOLES OVER GYPSUM IN EASTERN ENGLAND, 2013,
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Cooper A. H. , Odling N. E. , Murphy Ph. J. , Miller C. , Greenwood Ch. J. , Brown D. S.

Heavily karstified gypsum and dolomite aquifers occur in the Permian (Zechstein Group) of Eastern England. Here rapid active gypsum dissolution causes subsidence and abundant sinkholes affect an approximately 140-km by 3-km area from Darlington, through Ripon to Doncaster. The topography and easterly dip of the strata feed artesian water through the dolomite up into the overlying gypsum sequences. The shallow-circulating groundwater emerges as sulfate-rich springs with temperatures between 9-12 oC, many emanating from sinkholes that steam and do not freeze in the winter (such as Hell Kettles, Darlington). Water also circulates from the east through the overlying Triassic sandstone aquifer. Calcareous tufa deposits and tufa-cemented gravels also attest to the passage and escape of this groundwater.The sizes of the sinkholes, their depth and that of the associated breccia pipes are controlled by the thickness of gypsum that can dissolve and by the bulking factors associated with the collapsed rocks. The presence of sulfate-rich water affects the local potability of the supply. Groundwater abstraction locally aggravates the subsidence problems, both by active dissolution and drawdown. Furthermore, the gypsum and dolomite karstification has local implications for the installation of ground-source heat pumps. The sulfate-rich springs show where active subsidence is expected; their presence along with records of subsidence can inform planning and development of areas requiring mitigation measures.


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