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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 suunto compass (registered TM) is a small, handheld sighting compass commonly used in cave survey [25].?

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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 helictite (Keyword) returned 283 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 271 to 283 of 283
Book Review: Tufas and Speleothems: Unravelling the Microbial and Physical Controls, by H.M. Pedley and M. Rogerson (editors), 2011, Grimes K. G.

Secondary halite deposits in the Iranian salt karst: general description and origin, 2011, Filippi Michal, Bruthans Jiř, , Palatinus Luk, Zare Mohammad, Asadi Naser

This paper summaries 12 years of documentation of secondary halite deposits in the Iranian salt karst.
A variety of secondary halite deposits was distinguished and classified into several groups, on the basis of the site and mechanism of their origin. Deposits formed: i) via crystallization in/on streams and pools, ii) from dripping, splashing and aerosol water, iii) from evaporation of seepage and capillary water, and iv) other types of deposits. The following examples of halite forms were distinguished in each of the above mentioned group: i) euhedral crystals, floating rafts (raft cones), thin brine surface crusts and films; ii) straw stalactites, macrocrystalline skeletal and hyaline deposits, aerosol deposits; iii) microcrystalline forms (crusts, stalactites and stalagmites, helictites); iv) macrocrystalline helictites, halite bottom fibres and spiders, crystals in fluvial sediments, euhedral halite crystals in rock salt, combined or transient forms and biologically induced deposits. The occurrence of particular forms depends strongly on the environment, especially on the type of brine occurrence (pool, drip, splashing brine, microscopic capillary brine, etc.), flow rate and its variation, atmospheric humidity, evaporation rate and, in some cases, on the air flow direction. Combined or transitional secondary deposits can be observed if the conditions changed during the deposition. Euhedral halite crystals originate solely below the brine surface of supersaturated streams and lakes. Macrocrystalline skeletal deposits occur at places with rich irregular dripping and splashing (i.e., waterfalls, places with strong dripping from the cave ceilings, etc.). Microcrystalline (fine grained) deposits are generated by evaporation of capillary brine at places where brine is not present in a macroscopically visible form. Straw stalactites form at places where dripping is concentrated in small spots and is frequent sufficient to assure that the tip of the stalactite will not be overgrown by halite precipitates. If the tip is blocked by halite precipitates, the brine remaining in the straw will seep through the walls and helictites start to grow in some places.
Macrocrystalline skeletal deposits and straw stalactites usually grow after a major rain event when dripping is strong, while microcrystalline speleothems are formed continuously during much longer periods and ultimately (usually) overgrow the other types of speleothems during dry periods. The rate of secondary halite deposition is much faster compared to the carbonate karst. Some forms increase more than 0.5 m during the first year after a strong rain event; however, the age of speleothems is difficult to estimate, as they are often combinations of segments of various ages and growth periods alternate with long intervals of inactivity.
Described forms may be considered in many cases as the analogues of forms found in the carbonate karst. As they are created in a short time period the conditions of their origin are often still visible or can be reconstructed. The described halite forms can thus be used for verification of the origin of various carbonate forms. Some of the described forms bear clear evidence of the paleo-water surface level (transition of the skeletal form to halite crystals and vice versa). Other kinds of deposits are potential indicators of the microclimate under which they developed (humidity close to the deliquescence relative humidity).


Black Mn-Fe Crusts as Markers of Abrupt Palaeoenvironmental Changes in El Soplao Cave (Cantabria, Spain), 2011, Gzquez Fernando, Calaforra Jose Maria, Forti Paolo

Peculiar iron and manganese deposits coating walls, floors and ceilings of many galleries are one of the special features of the El Soplao Cave (Cantabria, Spain). These speleothems appear to have been deposited over wall clay deposits, as well as forming part of flowstones. Structure of crusts is essentially amorphous but several manganese and iron oxides were identified like goethite and birnessite, though all occur with a low degree of crystallinity. In the outer layer of the crusts, alteration iron minerals appear that derive from previous minerals in a process probably mediated by microorganisms. EDX microanalyses report fairly high values of Fe and Mn in the crusts, though the Mn/Fe ratio varies considerably as a function of distance from the substrate/bedrock. The present study proposes a genetic model for crust speleothems in El Soplao, based on oscillations of the phreatic level. The origin of these deposits is related to mobilization, under phreatic conditions, of polymetallic sulfides in the host rock. Metal ions (including Fe²⁺ and Mn²⁺) released into the cave under reducing conditions, are oxidized and fixed in a process mediated by bacteria, giving rise to oxides and hydroxides of low crystallinity. The presence of various black intercalated layers in aragonite flowstones indicate periods when cave conditions suddenly changed from vadose, when aragonite is precipitated, to phreatic and epiphreatic conditions, when the Mn-Fe deposits are precipitated. Subsequently, vadose conditions were re-established, leading to the final stages of precipitation of aragonite recorded in the flowstone and recent aragonite helictites on the surface of the Mn-Fe crusts.


Speleothems: General Overview, 2012, White, William B.

Speleothems are secondary mineral deposits formed in caves by flowing, dripping, or seeping water. The most commonly occurring minerals are calcite, aragonite, and gypsum although many other minerals have been found in speleothems. The shapes of speleothems are determined by a competition between the dynamics of the water and the crystal growth habits of the constituent minerals. Stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, and other speleothems deposited from dripping for flowing water take shapes dictated by the details of the flow behavior. Helictites, anthodites, and gypsum flowers formed from seeping water and various pool deposits take shapes dictated by the habit of crystal growth. Tan, orange, and brown colors common to calcite speleothems and also their luminescence under ultraviolet light is due to inclusion of humic and fulvic acid from overlying soils. Speleothems are also found in lava tubes.


Managing the Survey Information of the Caves of Judbarra / Gregory National Park, Northern Territory, 2012, Kershaw, Bob

The extensive caves in the Judbarra / Gregory National Park have been surveyed using traditional techniques since 1990. The techniques used have developed over time, as new technologies have become available to cavers. With the introduction of hardware such as Global Positioning System handheld units and electronic survey equipment, surveying has become easier, especially in small physically restricting passages. The use of computers and cave data reduction software since the mid-1990s has automated the calculation and plotting of survey shot data. Software that enables the production of maps is time-consuming to learn to use; however, the maps are of high quality, and are easy to maintain and adjust as subsequent expeditions continue to add cave survey data. As the amount of data and the number of users of the data grow, a set of protocols has been developed to ensure the integrity and security of a master data set.


Preliminary notes on the Cavernicolous Arthropod Fauna of Judbarra / Gregory Karst Area, northern Australia, 2012, Moulds Timothy, Bannink Peter

The Judbarra / Gregory Karst Region is situated in the Judbarra / Gregory National Park, west of Timber Creek, Northern Territory. Several large joint controlled maze caves occur within the area, developed within and below a prominent dolomitic layer (the Supplejack Member). The caves are predominantly shallow in depth (< 15 m below the surface) but are occasionally developed deeper as multi-level systems, reaching the aquifer. Two biological surveys from the largest caves have revealed 56 morphospecies from 43 families, 19 orders, and 7 classes. All collecting was undertaken in the northern dry season (April to September) and consisted predominantly of opportunistic collecting. The diversity of invertebrates collected from the Judbarra / Gregory karst comprised non-troglobionts (48 species, 86%), troglobionts (5 species, 9%), stygobionts (2 species, 3%), and trogloxenes (1 species, 2%). Five of the species are considered to be potential troglobionts, and two potential stygobionts as indicated by troglomorphisms such as elongate appendages and reduced or absent eyes. The five troglobiont species are an isopod (Platyarthridae: Trichorhina sp.), a scorpion (Buthidae: Lychas? sp. nov.), a pseudoscorpion (Geogarypidae: Geogarypus sp. nov.), a millipede (Polydesmida: sp.), and a planthopper (Meenoplidae: sp.). The two stygobiont species are a hydrobiid snail (Hydrobiidae: sp.), and an amphipod (Amphipoda: sp.). The troglobiont scorpion is only the second collected from a cave environment from continental Australia.


Karst and Paleokarst Features involving Sandstones of the Judbarra / Gregory National Park, Northern Territory, Australia, 2012, Grimes, Ken G.

In addition to carbonate karsts, the Judbarra / Gregory National Park of tropical northern Australia has karst and paleokarst features associated with Proterozoic sandstone units. On a sandstone plateau in the Newcastle Range, there are several large collapse dolines formed in the Proterozoic Jasper Gorge Sandstone. As there is a carbonate unit, the Proterozoic Campbell Springs Dolostone, lying about 110 m beneath the plateau surface, these sinkholes may be subjacent karst features resulting from the upward stoping of large cave chambers. In the Far Northern area of the Judbarra Karst Region, areas of chert breccia are shown on the geological maps, and linear bodies of brecciated sandstone are inset into the carbonate beds of the Skull Creek Formation. The sandstone is derived from the Jasper Gorge Sandstone, which overlies the Skull Creek Formation in adjoining areas. The breccia is interpreted as paleokarst of uncertain age resulting from subsidence of the sandstone into karst trenches or collapsed cavities developed in the underlying carbonate beds.


Epikarstic Maze Cave Development: Bullita Cave System, Judbarra / Gregory Karst, Tropical Australia, 2012, Martini Jacques E. J. , Grimes Ken G.

 In the monsoon tropics of northern Australia, Bullita Cave is the largest (120 km) of a group of extensive, horizontal, joint-controlled, dense network maze caves which are epikarst systems lying at shallow depth beneath a welldeveloped karrenfield. The Judbarra / Gregory Karst and its caves are restricted to the outcrop belt of a thin bed of sub-horizontal, thinly interbedded dolostone and calcitic limestone – the Supplejack Dolostone Member of the Proterozoic Skull Creek Formation. Karst is further restricted to those parts of the Supplejack that have escaped a secondary dolomitisation event. The karrenfield and underlying cave system are intimately related and have developed in step as the Supplejack surface was exposed by slope retreat. Both show a lateral zonation of development grading from youth to old age. Small cave passages originate under the recently exposed surface, and the older passages at the trailing edge become unroofed or destroyed by ceiling breakdown as the, by then deeply-incised, karrenfield breaks up into isolated ruiniform blocks and pinnacles and eventually a low structural pavement. Vertical development of the cave has been generally restricted to the epikarst zone by a 3 m bed of impermeable and incompetent shale beneath the Supplejack which first perched the watertable, forming incipient phreatic passages above it, and later was eroded by vadose flow to form an extensive horizontal system of passages 10-20 m below the karren surface. Some lower cave levels in underlying dolostone occur adjacent to recently incised surface gorges. Speleogenesis is also influenced by the rapid, diffuse, vertical inflow of storm water through the karrenfield, and by ponding of the still-aggressive water within the cave during the wet season – dammed up by "levees" of sediment and rubble that accumulate beneath the degraded trailing edge of the karrenfield. The soil, and much biological activity, is not at the bare karren surface, but down on the cave floors, which aids epikarstic solution at depth rather than on the surface. While earlier hypogenic, or at least confined, speleogenic activity is possible in the region, there is no evidence of this having contributed to the known maze cave systems. The age of the cave system appears to be no older than Pleistocene. Details of the speleogenetic process, its age, the distinctive nature of the cave systems and comparisons with other areas in the world are discussed.


Surface Karst Features of the Judbarra / Gregory National Park, Northern Territory, Australia, 2012, Grimes, Ken G.

In the monsoon tropics of northern Australia, a strongly-developed karrenfield is intimately associated with extensive underlying epikarstic maze caves. The caves, and the mesokarren and ruiniform megakarren are mainly restricted to a flat-lying, 20 m thick, unit of interbedded limestone and dolomite. However, microkarren are mainly found on the flaggy limestones of the overlying unit. These are the best-developed microkarren in Australia, and possibly worldwide. A retreating cover results in a zonation of the main karrenfield from a mildly-dissected youthful stage at the leading edge through to old age and disintegration into isolated blocks and pinnacles at the trailing edge. Cave undermining has formed collapse dolines and broader subsidence areas within the karrenfield. Tufa deposits occur in major valleys crossing the karrenfield. The karrenfield shows some similarities to other tropical karren, including tsingy and stone forests (shilin), but in this area there has not been any initial stage of subcutaneous preparation


A History of Cave Exploration in the Judbarra / Gregory National Park, 2012, Kershaw, Bob

The caves of the Judbarra / Gregory National Park were known to the Aboriginal tribes of the area who used them for art and ritual sites. The initial work by Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission Rangers Keith Claymore and Keith Oliver was followed by the Operation Raleigh Expedition from the UK in 1990, which made the first maps of the caves. Starting in 1991 regular exploration and mapping expeditions by Australian cavers were coordinated by Top End Speleological Society and Canberra Speleological Society. The surveyed passage length of all caves in Judbarra/Gregory National Park is almost 220km and the longest single connected system is the 122km Bullita Cave System in the Central Karst Area. Studies of the geology and biology of the caves were also conducted during this time and are reported on in separate papers in this volume.


Karst in deserts, 2013, Webb J. A. , White S.

Hot deserts are characterized by low mean annual rainfall (o250 mm, o1000) and very high evapotranspiration, so karst processes are inhibited. However, karst features are abundant and well developed in many deserts around the world. Salt caves occur predominantly in this environment and develop rapidly despite the arid climate, because they are formed mainly by rare, but intense, rain events. Deserts also preserve, relatively unaltered, gypsum and carbonate karst that formed in prior wetter climates or by hypogene processes. Carbonate karst, which is the most common karst in hot deserts, is modified very slowly by desert processes, including dissolution and salt crystallization, which fragments bedrock and speleothems


HYDROTHERMAL CAVES IN ATHOS MT. (AGION OROS), 2014, Lazaridis G. , Zhalov A. Makrostergios L. , Genkov A. , Gyorev V. , Stoichkov K. , Radulescu A. , Agapov I. , Kaminskiy S.

A newly identiied ield of hydrothermal caves in Athos Mt. (Agion Oros) is described here for the

very irst time. The cave pattern and the meso- and micro-scale morphology is given and discussed.

Mineralogical evidence is preliminarily presented.


Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, 2015, 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.


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