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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 irrigation is the artificial watering of fields for crop production [16].?

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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 processes and landforms (Keyword) returned 37 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 31 to 37 of 37
Origin and karst geomorphological significance of the enigmatic Australian Nullarbor Plain blowholes, 2011, Doerr Stefan H. , Davies Rob R. , Lewis Alexander, Pilkington Graham , Webb John A. , Ackroyd Peter J. , Bodger Owen

The Australian Nullarbor Plain, one of the world's largest limestone platforms (~200 000?km2), has few distinctive surface karst features for its size, but is known for its enigmatic ‘blowholes’, which can display strong barometric draughts. Thousands of these vertical tubes with decimetre–metre (dm–m) scale diameter puncture the largely featureless terrain. The cause and distribution of these has remained unclear, but they have been thought to originate from downward dissolution and/or salt weathering.
To elucidate blowhole distribution and mode of formation we (i) correlated existing location data with Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) data, which distinguishes the subtle undulations (< 10?m per?km) of the landscape, (ii) surveyed blowhole morphology and (iii) determined their rock surface hardness.
Over a sampled area of 4200?km2, the distribution of 615 known blowholes is not correlated with present topography. Blowholes are often connected to small or, in some cases extensive, but typically shallow cavities, which exhibit numerous ‘cupolas’ (dome-shaped pockets) in their ceilings. Statistical arguments suggest that cavities with cupolas are common, but in only a few cases do these puncture the surface. Hardness measurements indicate that salt weathering is not their main cause. Our observations suggest that blowholes do not develop downwards, but occur where a cupola breaks through the surface. Lowering of the land surface is suggested to be the main cause for this breakthrough. Although cupolas may undergo some modification under the current climate, they, as well as the shallow caves they are formed in, are likely to be palaeokarst features formed under a shallower water table and wetter conditions in the past. The findings presented have implications for theories of dissolutional forms development in caves worldwide. The environmental history of the Nullarbor platform allows testing of such theories, because many other factors, which complicate karst evolution elsewhere, have not interfered with landform evolution here. Copyright


Acqua Fitusa Cave: an example of inactive water-table sulphuric acid cave in Central Sicily, 2012, Vattano M. , Audra Ph. , Bigot J. Y. , Waele J. D. , Madonia G. , Nobcourt J. C.

Hypogenic caves are generated by water recharging from below independently of seepage from the overlying or immediately adjacent surface. These waters are often thermal and enriched in dissolved gases, the most common of which are CO2 and H2S. Hypogenic caves can be thermal caves, sulphuric acid caves, basal injection caves. They differ from epigenic caves in many ways, such as: speleogenetic mechanisms, morphological features, chemical deposits, and lack of alluvial sediments (KLIMCHOUK, 2007; KLIMCHOUK & FORD, 2009; PALMER, 2011). Several studies were conducted to evaluate the hypogenic origin of a large number of caves (AUDRA et alii, 2010; KLIMCHOUK & FORD, 2009; STAFFORD et alii, 2009). A significant contribution was given by the work of Klimchouk (2007) that systematically provided instruments and models to better understand and well define the hypogenic karst processes and landforms. Detailed studies on hypogenic caves were carried out in Italy since the 90s in different karst systems, especially in the Central and Southern Appenines. These studies mainly concerned chemical deposits related to ascending water and micro-biological action (GALDENZI & MENICHETTI, 1995; GALDENZI, 1997; PICCINI, 2000; GALDENZI & MARUOKA, 2003, FORTI & MOCCHIUTTI, 2004; GALDENZI, 2012). In this paper, we present the first results of researches conducted in Acqua Fitusa cave that was believed to be an epigenic cave until today. Acqua Fitusa cave is located in Central Sicily, along the north-eastern scarp of a N-S anticline, westward vergent, forming the Mt. La Montagnola. The cave formed in the Upper Cretaceous Rudist breccias member of the Crisanti Fm., composed of conglomerates and reworked calcarenites with rudist fragments and benthic foraminifers ( CATALANO et alii, 2011). The cave consists at least of three stories of subhorizontal conduits, displaying a total length of 700 m, and a vertical range of 25 m. It represents a clear example of inactive water-table sulphuric acid cave, produced mainly by H 2S degassing in the cave atmosphere. Despite the small size, Acqua Fitusa cave is very interesting for the abundance and variety of forms and deposits related to rising waters and air flow. A ~ 7 m deep inactive thermo-sulphuric discharge slot intersects the floor of some passages for several meters (Fig. 1). Different morphologies of small and large sizes, generated by condensation-corrosion processes, can be observed along the ceiling and walls: ceiling cupolas and large wall convection niches occur in the largest rooms of the cave; deep wall convection niches, in places forming notches, incise cave walls at different heights; condensation-corrosion channels similar to ceiling-half tubes carve the roof of some passages; replacements pockets due to corrosion-substitution processes are widespread; boxwork due to differential condensation-corrosion were observed in the upper parts of the conduits. Sulphuric notches with flat roof, linked to lateral corrosion of the thermal water table, carve the cave walls at different heights recording past stages of base-level lowering. 


Speleogenesis of an exhumed hydrothermal sulphuric acid karst in Cambrian carbonates (Mount San Giovanni, Sardinia), 2013, Dewaele Jo, Forti Paolo, Naseddu Angelo

In the past few years the systematic study of caves intercepted by mine workings in southwest Sardinia has permitted us to observe morphologies due to rare speleogenetic and minerogenetic processes related to ancient hydrothermal activity. These relic morphologies are slowly being overprinted by recent speleogenetic processes that tend to obscure the hypogene origin of these caves. A combined geomorphological and mineralogical investigation has permitted a fairly detailed reconstruction of the various phases of evolution of these caves. Cave formation had already started in Cambrian times, but culminated in the Carboniferous, when most of the large voids still accessible today were formed. A key role in carbonate dissolution was played by sulphuric acid formed by the oxidation of the polymetallic ores present in the rocks since the Cambrian. During the Quaternary a variety of minerals formed inside the caves: calcite and aragonite, that yielded sequences of palaeo-environmental interest, and also barite, phosgenite, hydrozincite, hemimorphite and many others. These minerals are in part due to a phreatic thermal hypogenic cave forming phase, and in part to later epigene overprinting in an oxidizing environment rich in polymetallic ores. Massive gypsum deposits, elsewhere typical of this kind of caves, are entirely absent due to dissolution during both the phreatic cave formation and the later epigenic stage


Speleogenesis of an exhumed hydrothermal sulphuric acid karst in Cambrian carbonates (Mount San Giovanni, Sardinia), 2013, De Waele Jo, Forti P. , Naseddu A.

n the past few years the systematic study of caves intercepted by mine workings in southwest Sardinia has permitted us to observe morphologies due to rare speleogenetic and minerogenetic processes related to ancient hydrothermal activity. These relic morphologies are slowly being overprinted by recent speleogenetic processes that tend to obscure the hypogene origin of these caves. A combined geomorphological and mineralogical investigation has permitted a fairly detailed reconstruction of the various phases of evolution of these caves. Cave formation had already started in Cambrian times, but culminated in the Carboniferous, when most of the large voids still accessible today were formed. A key role in carbonate dissolution was played by sulphuric acid formed by the oxidation of the polymetallic ores present in the rocks since the Cambrian. During the Quaternary a variety of minerals formed inside the caves: calcite and aragonite, that yielded sequences of palaeo-environmental interest, and also barite, phosgenite, hydrozincite, hemimorphite and many others. These minerals are in part due to a phreatic thermal hypogenic cave forming phase, and in part to later epigene overprinting in an oxidizing environment rich in polymetallic ores. Massive gypsum deposits, elsewhere typical of this kind of caves, are entirely absent due to dissolution during both the phreatic cave formation and the later epigenic stage.


Discussion on the article ‘Coastal and inland karst morphologies driven by sea level stands: a GIS based method for their evaluation’ by Canora F, Fidelibus D and Spilotro G, 2013, Waele J. D. , Parise M.

Comments are presented on the article by Canora et al. (2012) dealing with karst morphologies driven by sea level stands in the Murge plateau of Apulia, southern Italy. Our comments start from cave levels, that are considered in the cited article as a proof of sea level stands. We argue that the presence of sub-horizontal passages in cave systems is not a sufficient condition for correlating them with hypothetical past sea level stands. Such a correlation must be based upon identification of speleogenetic features within the karst systems, and/or geological field data. The problems encountered when using cave surveys for scientific research, and their low reliability (especially in the case of old surveys) are then treated, since they represent a crucial point in the paper object of this discussion. Eventually, we present some final consideration on cave levels and terraces, and on the specific case study, pointing out once again to the need in including geological field data to correctly find a correspondance between flat landforms and sea level fluctuations. Our main conclusion is that field data and information on speleogenesis of the underground karst landforms cannot be disregarded in a study that claims to deal with the influence of sea-level changes on caves.


Paleoflood events recorded by speleothems in caves, 2014, Gazquez F. , Calaforra J. M. , Forti P. , Stoll H. , Ghaleb B. , Delgadohuertas A.

Speleothems are usually composed of thin layers of calcite (or aragonite). However,
cemented detrital materials interlayered between laminae of speleothemic carbonate have been also observed in many caves. Flowstones comprising discontinuous carbonate layers form due to flowing water films,while flood events introduce fluviokarstic sediments in caves that, on occasion,are recorded as clayey layers inside flowstones and stalagmites. This record provides a potential means of understand­ing the frequency of palaeofloods using cave records.In this work,we investigate the origin of this type of detritaldeposit in El Soplao Cave (Northern Spain). The age of the lowest aragonite layer
of a flowstone reveals that the earliest flood period occurred before 500 ka, though most of the flowstone formed between 422 +69/-43 ka and 400 +66/-42 ka. This suggests that the cave was periodically affected by palaeoflood events that introduced detrital sediments from the surface as a result of occasional extreme rainfall events,especially at around 400 ka.The mineralogical data enable an evolutionary modelfor this flowstone to be generated based on the alternation offload events with laminar flows and carbonate layers precipitation that can be extrapolated to other caves in which detrital sediments inside speleothems have been found. 


Vadose CO2 gas drives dissolution at water tables in eogenetic karst aquifers more than mixing dissolution, 2014, Gulley J. , Martin J. , Moore P.

Most models of cave formation in limestone that remains near its depositional environment and has not been deeply buried (i.e. eogenetic limestone) invoke dissolution from mixing of waters that have different ionic strengths or have equilibrated with calcite at different pCO2 values. In eogenetic karst aquifers lacking saline water, mixing of vadose and phreatic waters is thought to form caves. We show here calcite dissolution in a cave in eogenetic limestone occurred due to increases in vadose CO2 gas concentrations and subsequent dissolution of CO2 into groundwater, not by mixing dissolution. We collected high-resolution time series measurements (1 year) of specific conductivity (SpC), temperature, meteorological data, and synoptic water chemical composition from a water table cave in central Florida (Briar Cave).We found SpC, pCO2 and calcite undersaturation increased through late summer, when Briar Cave experienced little ventilation by outside air, and decreased through winter, when increased ventilation lowered cave CO2(g) concentrations.We hypothesize dissolution occurred when water flowed from aquifer regions with low pCO2 into the cave, which had elevated pCO2. Elevated pCO2 would be promoted by fractures connecting the soil to the water table. Simple geochemical models demonstrate that changes in pCO2 of less than 1% along flow paths are an order of magnitude more efficient at dissolving limestone thanmixing of vadose and phreatic water.We conclude that spatially or temporally variable vadose CO2(g) concentrations are responsible for cave formation becausemixing is too slow to generate observed cave sizes in the time available for formation. While this study emphasized dissolution, gas exchange between the atmosphere and karst aquifer vadose zones that is facilitated by conduits likely exerts important controls on other geochemical processes in limestone critical zones by transporting oxygen deep into vadose zones, creating redox boundaries that would not exist in the absence of caves.


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