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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 cave-in lake is a shallow body of water whose basin is produced by collapse of the ground following thawing of ground ice in regions underlain by permafrost. synonym: thermokarst lake.?

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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 cave walls (Keyword) returned 47 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 31 to 45 of 47
Isotopic indications of water-rock interaction in the hypogene Tavrskaya cave, Crimea, Ukraine, 2011, Dublyansky Yuri, Klimchouk Alexander, Timokhina Elisaveta, Spö, Tl Christoph

The Inner Range of the Crimea Mountains has recently been identified as an area of previously unrecognized hypogene speleogenesis (Klimchouk et al. 2009). The entrance of the Tavrskaya cave is located in the middle of the 25 m-high scarp of the cuesta built up of Paleocene limestone. The cave comprises two parallel major passages (ca. 180 m long, up to 7-8 m high and up to 5-6 m wide) connected by a smaller passage. The major passages are slightly inclined toward the north-west following the dip of bedding. The morphology of the cave bears strong indications of dissolution at conditions of ascending flow in a confined aquifer setting.
A massive calcite crust, studied in this paper, was first found in a small cave located ca. 200 m from Tavrskaya cave along the cuesta scarp. According to its position and morphology, the cave corresponds to the rift-like “feeder” zone of Tavrskaya cave. Recently, similar calcite crust was found in Tavrskaya cave, in a rift-like passage of the  near-scarp zone. The crust is built up of a brownish translucent calcite whose columnar crystals (bounded by competitive growth surfaces) are arranged in a characteristic radiating pattern. Calcite contains only all-liquid inclusions indicating deposition at less than ca. 50ºC. It also contains filamentous biological material (possibly fungi or cyanobacteria), which sometimes facilitated entrapment of fluid inclusions. This calcite body is tentatively
interpreted as a paleo-spring deposit (ascending flow). In order to characterize the isotopic properties of this calcite and the bedrock limestone we drilled small-diameter cores through the calcite formation, as well as through the wall of a cavity devoid of calcite. Stable isotope analyses were performed along these cores. To provide a basis for comparison several samples from the same lithostratigraphic units were collected far from the cave. Along a 15 cm-long profile, both oxygen and carbon isotopes of the limestone remain stable at 18O = -4.3 0.2
h and 13C = -1.7 0.3 h (1). Only within the 1.5 cm-thick zone immediately underlying the calcite 18O and 13C values plunge to ca. -8 h and -9 h respectively,. It appears from this data that water rock-interaction associated with the deposition of this calcite produced only a thin alteration halo in the limestone. However, when data from the cave-wall cores are compared with those collected far from the cave, it appears that the “constant” values from cave walls are shifted relative to the presumably unaltered limestone values toward lower values by
ca. 1.5-3.0 h (oxygen) and 3-4 h (carbon). On the 18O-13C cross-plot the data for unaltered limestone, cave wall limestone, alteration halo, and secondary calcite plot along a well-defined line (R2=0.99).
We propose that the Paleocene limestone in the vicinity of the Tavrskaya cave has experienced a two-stage alteration. During the first stage, presumably associated with the process of cave excavation, the bedrock has been altered (18O depleted by 1.5 to 3.0 h and 13C by 3 to 4 %). The thickness of this zone of early alteration is unknown but must be larger than 15 cm (length of our cores). The second stage of alteration was associated with the deposition of calcite; during this stage the isotopic composition was further depleted (by 4-5 h in 18O and 8-10 h in 13C). The extent of alteration was much smaller, though, and restricted to zones where calcite was deposited (ca. 15 mm beneath the calcite).


Subglacial Maze Origin in Low-Dip Marble Stripe Karst: Examples from Norway, 2011, Skoglund R. O. , Lauritzen S. E.

Maze caves or network caves are enigmatic in their evolution, as they form flow nets rather than more efficient, direct point-to-point flow routes. Network caves are often characterized by uniform passage dimensions in several directions, which indicates simultaneous dissolution of most available fractures. Nonshauggrotta in Gildeska° l, northern Norway, is formed in low-dip marble strata and situated as a relict in a topographical and hydrological hanging position, thus lacking a modern drainage area. The cave displays a reticulate network geometry dictated by two orthogonal fracture sets. Passage morphology and paleocurrent marks in the cave walls (scallops) demonstrate that the cave evolved under water-filled conditions (phreatic) and that the relatively slow flow was directed uphill towards the confining aquiclude and the cliff face. In that sense, it has some resemblance to hypogene caves. However, we propose that the cave is a result of ice-contact speleogenesis, as it developed in the lee side of the Nonshaugen ridge under topographically directed glacier flow and seems independent of the otherwise variable flow regimes characteristic of the glacial environment.


Mineralogical and chemical characteristics of black coatings in Postojna cave system , 2011, Zupanč, Ič, Nina, ebela Stanka, Miler Milo

Mineralogical and chemical analyses of black coatings from two sites in Postojna cave system were studied. Scattered samples
were taken from the entrance parts of the cave and from Črna Jama. Thin sections, powder X-ray diffraction (XRD) technique and scanning electron microscope coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (SEM/EDS) were used. Microscopic investigation of thin sections of black coloured material from both locations revealed that the main material is carbonate – calcite, with evenly dispersed prevailingly minute opaque black grains. The XRD analysis on samples from both locations confirmed just a presence of calcite with minor quartz and dolomite, excluding Mn and Fe oxides or apatite-group minerals as reason for black colouring. The SEM/EDS analysis
of samples from the entrance parts of Postojna cave system was consistent with XRD analysis, which did not show any Mn oxides. The high content of C measured in the black coatings from the cave entrance parts indicates organic C, which deposited
on the cave walls at time of the petrol explosion during WW2. We can attribute black coatings from Črna Jama to one form of organic C as well, but it is certainly different from the one in the entrance parts of Postojna cave system. As in Črna Jama no other evidence indicates for old human inhabitation of the place: torches of first tourists are a more probable origin of charcoal. On both locations black coatings can be at least partly described by microclimate conditions at cave entrances, which caused the deposition of organic material of allogenic origin (for example soot due to the forest fires).


Ascending speleogenesis of Sokola Hill: a step towards a speleogenetic model of the Polish Jura, 2011, Gradziń, Ski M. , Hercman H. , Kiciń, Ska D. , Pura D. , Urban J.

The paper deals with the origin of caves in Sokola Hill (Polish Jura). the caves abound in solution cavities in the walls and ceilings, many of them arranged hierarchically, some others arranged in rising sets. blind chimneys and ceiling half-tubes are also present. these features collectively indicate that the caves originated under phreatic conditions by an ascending flow of water, probably of elevated temperature. Phreatic calcite spar, crystallized from water of elevated temperature, lines the cave walls. during the formation of the caves the Jurassic limestone aquifer was confined by impermeable cover. three possible scenarios for the origin of the caves are suggested. the first scenario points to formation of the caves during the Palaeogene prior to the removal of the confining cretaceous marls. the second connects the origin of the caves with regional palaeoflow driven by tectonic loading by carpathian nappes to the south, while the third refers to local topographically driven palaeoflow. both the second and third scenarios assume that the Polish Jura had a cover of Miocene impermeable clastics. All the scenarios account for the origin of the caves in Sokola Hill and explain the common occurrence of ascending caves throughout the Polish Jura.

In the subsequent stages of evolution the caves were partly filled with various deposits. conglomerates composed of Jurassic limestone clasts, quartz sands and sandstones are preserved as erosional remnants, locally covered by or interfingered with calcite flowstones. the clastic deposits were laid down by surface streams that invaded the caves earlier than 1.2 Ma. the caves were not invaded by water from Pleistocene glaciers, which is proved by the assemblage of heavy minerals in the cave clastics.


Structural and host rock controls on the distribution, morphology and mineralogy of speleothems in the Castanar Cave (Spain), 2011, Alonsozarza A. M. , Martinperez A. , Martingarcia R. , Gilpena I. , Melendez A. , Martinezflores E. , Hellstrom J. , Munozbarco P.

The Castanar Cave (central western Spain) formed in mixed carbonate-siliciclastic rocks of Neoproterozoic age. The host rock is finely bedded and shows a complex network of folds and fractures, with a prevalent N150E strike. This structure controlled the development and the maze pattern of the cave, as well as its main water routes. The cave formed more than 350 ka ago as the result of both the dissolution of interbedded carbonates and weathering of siliciclastic beds, which also promoted collapse of the overlying host rock. At present it is a totally vadose hypergenic cave, but its initial development could have been phreatic. The cave's speleothems vary widely in their morphology and mineralogy. In general, massive speleothems (stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones, etc.) are associated with the main fractures of the cave and bedding planes. These discontinuities offer a fairly continuous water supply. Other branching, fibrous, mostly aragonite speleothems, commonly occur in the steeper cave walls and were produced by capillary seepage or drip water. Detailed petrographical and isotope analyses indicate that both aragonite and calcite precipitated as primary minerals in the cave waters. Primary calcite precipitated in waters of low magnesium content, whereas aragonite precipitated from magnesium-rich waters. Differences in isotope values for calcite (-5.2‰ for ?18O and -9.6‰ for ?13C) and aragonite (?18O of -4.5‰ and ?13C of -3.5‰ ) can be explained by the fact that the more unstable mineral (aragonite) tends to incorporate the heavier C isotope to stabilize its structure or that aragonite precipitates in heavier waters. Changes in the water supply and the chemistry and instability of aragonite caused: (1) inversion of aragonite to calcite, which led to the transformation of aragonite needles into coarse calcite mosaics, (2) micritization, which appears as films or crusts of powdery, opaque calcite, and (3) dissolution. Dolomite, huntite, magnesite and sepiolite were identified within moonmilk deposits and crusts. Moonmilk occurs as a soft, white powder deposit on different types of speleothems, but mostly on aragonite formations. Huntite and magnesite formed as primary minerals, whereas dolomite arose via the replacement of both huntite and aragonite. Owing to its variety of speleothems and location in an area of scarce karstic features, the Castanar Cave was declared a Natural Monument in 1997 and is presently the target of a protection and research programme. Although the main products formed in the cave and their processes are relatively well known, further radiometric data are needed to better constrain the timing of these processes. For example, it is difficult to understand why some aragonite speleothems around 350 ka old have not yet given way to calcite, which indicates that the environmental setting of the cave is still not fully understood. 


Folia in der Odelsteinhhle, Steiermark Erstnachweis im deutschsprachigen Raum , 2011, Plan L. , De Waele J.
Folia are speleothems resembling small inverted rimstone dams on overhanging cave walls. The present model assumes a genesis below the water table by degassing of CO2 that leads to rising bubbles. Worldwide, they are only known from some two dozens caves, almost all of those caves are hypogenic in origin. A new occurrence of typically formed but small folia from Odelstein cave in the Johnsbach valley (southern Gesuse Mountains) is described. The morphology and the sediments of this cave are characteristic for epigenic caves. Therefore the source of the CO2 remains speculative.

Scallops, 2012, Murphy, Phillip J.

Solutional sculpturing of cave walls can provide information on both the direction and discharge of water flow in a cave passage. Their asymmetry indicates the direction of ground water flow and their wavelength is inversely proportional to the flow velocity. Laboratory and field investigations have enabled the calculation of mean flow velocity from scallop wavelength data and thus the calculation of discharge at the time of scallop formation. Other hydraulic parameters may also be estimated from scallop measurements.


CROSS ANALYSIS DISCHARGES / SCALLOPS OF VOGUË MILL (ARDÈCHE RIVER), 2012, Cailhol, Didier

Very often, cave walls present forms that have their origin by turbulent flow of water: the scallops. They were object of many studies (in situ observations, analogous modelisation in rocks with high solubility, numerical modelisation...). Here we use an abandoned site (Voguë mill, left bank of Ardèche river), where stacked scallops were studied in detail. Formed during 432 years on a wall built with local limestone, we see three length classes that can be linked to three hydrogeologic situations. The discharge calculated on the base of the length and the form of the scallops was compared to a reference discharge of the Water Agency Rhône Méditerranée Corse. The comparisons show that the difference between field observation and haydrological data is not larger than 20 %. Thus the simple method of scallop studies is validated and shows that it is well adapted for calculating paleodischarges


The Prehistoric Cave Art and Archaeology of Dunbar Cave, Montgomery County, Tennessee, 2012, Simek J. F. , Blankenship S. A. , Cressler A. , Douglas J. C. , Wallace A. , Weinand D. , Welborn H.

 

Dunbar Cave in Montgomery County, Tennessee has been used by people in a great variety of ways. This paper reports on prehistoric uses of the cave, which were quite varied. The vestibule of the cave, which is today protected by a concrete slab installed during the cave’s days as an historic tourist showplace, saw extensive and very long term occupation. Diagnostic artifacts span the period from Late Paleo-Indian (ca.10,000-years ago) to the Mississippian, and include Archaic (10,000 to 3,000-years ago) and Woodland (3,000–1,000-years ago) cultural materials. These include a paleoindian Beaver Lake Point, Kirk cluster points, Little River types, Ledbetter types, numerous straight-stemmed point types, Hamilton and Madison projectile points. Woodland period ceramics comprise various limestone tempered forms, all in low quantities, and cord-marked limestone tempered wares in the uppermost Woodland layers. Shell-tempered ceramics bear witness to a rich Mississippian presence at the top of the deposit. Given this chronological span, the Dunbar Cave sequence is as complete as any in eastern North America. However, problems with previous excavation strategies make much of the existing archaeological record difficult to interpret. We present a new series of radiocarbon age determinations that show both the great time depth of the vestibule deposits and the problems with their integrity. There was also extensive prehistoric use of Dunbar Cave’s dark zone, including mineral extraction, and ritual interment of the dead. Most importantly, thirty-five petroglyphs and pictographs were made on the cave walls, most probably during the Mississippian period. These include geometric shapes, abstract compositions, and human figures including a mythological hero warrior known from other examples of Mississippian iconography. Dunbar may also have seen ritual visitation very early, i.e., during the Archaic period (ca. 5,000-years ago), entailing the placement of offerings in the cave’s interior waters.


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. 


Source assessment of deposited particles in a Slovenian show cave (Postojnska jama): evidence of long-lasting anthropogenic impact, 2013, Muri G. , Jovič, Ić, A. , Mihevc A.

Postojnska jama (Postojna Cave) is one of the most famous karst caves in the world and has been a well-known tourist attraction for nearly 200 years. It is particularly famous for its unique double-track railway. Eight heavy metals – aluminium (Al), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), lead (Pb), manganese (Mn), strontium (Sr), and zinc (Zn) – were determined in dust deposits by ICP-MS in order to assess sources of deposited particles on the cave walls. The samples were collected along the main passage in the cave, at different horizontal and vertical levels, in order to test horizontal homogeneity and study vertical distribution of the particles. It seems that the railway is an important anthropogenic source of particles, reflected in increased concentrations of Cu, Pb, and Zn, as well as of Fe and Mn in dust deposits at individual sampling sites. The maximum concentrations of Cu (217 μg g-1), Pb (4,940 μg g-1), and Zn (1,060 μg g-1) considerably exceeded their natural abundance and were explained by anthropogenic impact. The three heavy metals are markers for vehicles, engine oil and brake wear. On the other hand, mixed sources could prevail for Fe and Mn. The maximum concentrations of Fe (85,900 μg g-1) and Mn (682 μg g-1) in dust deposits were similar to the concentrations determined in fragments of the railway tracks (97,100 μg g-1 for Fe and 821 μg g-1 for Mn) and were explained by track wear and/or corrosion. In most other parts of the cave, Fe and Mn concentrations were, however, below the concentration of their natural abundance. Al, Sr, and Cr seem to be predominantly of natural origin. They generally exhibited concentrations lower than their natural abundance.


HYPOGENE SPELEOGENESIS AND SPELEOTHEMS OF SIMA DE LA HIGUERA CAVE (MURCIA, SOUTH-EASTERN SPAIN), 2013, Gá, Zquez Fernando Calaforra José, Marí, A

 

Sima de la Higuera Cave (Pliego, south-eastern Spain) has been recently adapted for speleological use. Nevertheless, knowledge of the hypogenic origin of this cavity is still quite limited. The peculiar genetic mechanisms could provide added value if the cave is exploited for speleotourism. By studying geomorphological features and speleothem characteristics, it has been possible to deduce the predominant speleogenetic mechanism (whether hypogenic or epigenic) that controlled the evolution of this cave. The hypogenic mechanism that gave rise to this cavity was associated with upflow of CO2-rich hydrothermal fluid from depth, and was unconnected to meteoric water seepage. In this paper we describe some of the geomorphological evidence and unusual speleothems in Sima de la Higuera Cave. Large scallops are found on the upper level (-74 m); these are related to the mechanism of hypogenic speleogenesis and generally indicate the direction of ascending flow. There are also corrosion crusts made of micritic calcite. In addition, bubble trails related to bubbles of rising CO2 have been identified. Centimetric calcite spar speleothems frequently fill fractures in the host rock. Other typical hypogenic speleothems occur in this cave, including calcite raft cones, folia, cave clouds, tower coral and calcite raft deposits, all suggesting the influence of thermal water during the cave’s formation. Furthermore, the first reported occurrence of calcite raft double-tower cones has been described in this cave; their origin is linked to water table oscillations in Paradise Chamber (-82 m). At the deepest level (-110 m), Mn-Fe oxyhydroxides occur as a black coating totally covering the cave walls, usually over subaerial “boxwork” formations. The wide variety of speleothems unconnected to meteoric water seepage make Sima de la Higuera Cave one of the most unusual hypogenic caves in Spain.


The primokarst, former stages of karstification, or how solution caves can born, 2014, Rodet, J.

The historical approach of the karst always gave preferential treatment to the study of the superficial phenomena or underground cavities explored by human. However as demonstrated by hydrogeologists, the main karst development keep out of reach because of the too small sizing of drains or due to its filling. Consequently appears the question about the inception drain, the way used by the water from the sink hole to reach its resurgence. Some authors consider this primary link as obvious when the practice demonstrates clearly that the hydrodynamic continuity results of a very long, complex and selective evolution, essentially geochemical. This is the field of the drain inception stages, that we can spell “prekarst” or “primokarst”. Those stages include the successive fields of isalterite and alloterite. This last one opens by compaction a free space and allows a concentrated hydrodynamic flow. These processes, at the origin of the endokarst initiation, can develop on the side of synchronous mechanical dynamics if in the same drain or under a regolith coverage, something divides the bedrock and the quick flow. Without any doubt, this is the purview of the cryptokarst and of the cave walls under filling. We can observe it in the progradation front of the introduction karst or in the retrogradation front of the restitution karst.


Cave deposits and sedimentary processes in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (Mallorca, Western Mediterranean), 2014, Fornós J. J. , Ginés J. , Gràcia F. , Merino A. , Gómezpujol L. , Bover P.

The Cova des Pas de Vallgornera is an important and protected coastal cave, located in the southern part of the island of Mallorca, that outstands due to its length and the complex processes involved in its speleogenesis. Although sediments are not the main topic of interest, their presence as well as their paleontological contents are valuable evidence for paleoclimatic and chronological reconstructions of the cave morphogenesis. The sedimentary infilling is characterized by a scarce presence of clastic sedimentation, mainly composed of silts and clays, which can only be found at some minor passages in the innermost parts of the cave. It corresponds to a clayey sedimentation mainly derived from the soil infiltration that can be found mixed with carbonate particles detached from the cave walls. A particularly different situation occurs in the northernmost end of the cave where an important sequence of silty sands are present, hosting a very rich paleontological deposit. The objective of this paper is to describe the detrital deposits present in the cave by means of the integration of sedimentological, chemical, and mineralogical data, which will aim to provide a better understanding of the processes that have occurred during the system’s speleogenetic evolution.


The role of condensation in the evolution of dissolutional forms in gypsum caves: Study case in the karst of Sorbas (SE Spain), 2014, Gazquez F. , Calaforra J. M. , Forti P. , Waele J. D. , Sanna L.

The karst of Sorbas (SE Spain) is one of the most important gypsum areas worldwide. Its underground karst network comprises over 100 km of cave passages. Rounded smooth forms, condensation cupola and pendant-like features appear on the ceiling of the shallower passages as a result of gypsum dissolution by condensation water. Meanwhile, gypsum speleothems formed by capillarity, evaporation and aerosol deposition such as coralloids, gypsum crusts and rims are frequently observed closer to the passages floors. The role of condensation-dissolution mechanisms in the evolution of geomorphological features observed in the upper cave levels has been studied by means of long-term Micro-Erosion Meter (MEM) measurements, direct collection and analysis of condensation waters, and micrometeorological monitoring. Monitoring of erosion at different heights on gypsum walls of the Cueva del Agua reveals that the gypsum surface retreated up to 0.033 mm yr- 1 in MEM stations located in the higher parts of the cave walls. The surface retreat was negligible at the lowest sites, suggesting higher dissolution rates close to the cave ceiling, where warmer and moister air flows. Monitoring of microclimatic parameters and direct measurements of condensation water were performed in the Covadura Cave system in order to estimate seasonal patterns of condensation. Direct measurements of condensation water dripping from a metal plate placed in the central part of the El Bosque Gallery of Covadura Cave indicate that condensation takes place mainly between July and November in coincidence with rainless periods. The estimated gypsum surface lowering due to this condensation water is 0.0026 mm yr- 1. Microclimatic monitoring in the same area shows differences in air temperature and humidity of the lower parts of the galleries (colder and drier) with respect to the cave ceiling (warmer and wetter). This thermal sedimentation controls the intensity of the condensation-evaporation mechanisms at different heights in the cave.


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