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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 calcilutite is 1. clastic limestone or dolomite in which the grains have an average diameter of less than 1/16 millimeter; calcareous mudstone [10]. 2. a carbonate rock that consists predominantly (>50%) of silt and/or clay size calcite (or dolomite) particles [9].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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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 collapse (Keyword) returned 433 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 406 to 420 of 433
Die Erdflle von Layla und Al-Kharj Einblicke in die Karst-Hydrogeologie des oberen Jura von Saudi-Arabien, 2013, Schleusener Florian, Kempe Stephan, Dirks Heiko, Rausch Randolf, Gbel Patricia

Until the end of the 20th century, the sinkhole lakes of Layla and Al-Kharj formed oases in central Saudi Arabia. They were fed by ascending groundwater from the karstified Upper Jurassic anhydrites of the Arab and Hith formations. Morphologic features of a cave near Al-Kharj and hydraulic heads in wells of the Layla region show that the karstification of the anhydrites was hypogene. The karstification led to zones of collapse in the overlying Cretaceous sediments. Because of the exploitation of the underlying aquifer, the sinkhole-lakes dried up, exposing worldwide singular sublacustrine gypsum tufas on their walls. The gypsum tufas and widespread gypsum crusts in the vicinity of the sinkholes reflect the former ascent of the sulphate enriched groundwater.

Die Erdflle von Layla und Al-Kharj Einblicke in die Karst-Hydrogeologie des oberen Jura von Saudi-Arabien, 2013, Schleusener Florian, Kempe Stephan, Dirks Heiko, Rausch Randolf, Gbel Patricia

Until the end of the 20th century, the sinkholelakes of Layla and Al-Kharj formed oases in central Saudi Arabia. They were fed by ascending groundwater from the karstified Upper Jurassic anhydrites of the Arab and Hith formations. Morphologic features of a cave near Al-Kharj and hydraulic heads in wells of the Layla region show that the karstification of the anhydrites was hypogene. The karstification led to zones of collapse in the overlying Cretaceous sediments. Because of the exploitation of the underlying aquifer, the sinkhole-lakes dried up, exposing worldwide singular sublacustrine gypsum tufas on their walls. The gypsum tufas and widespread gypsum crusts in the vicinity of the sinkholes reflect the former ascent of the sulphateenriched groundwater.


Since many years cavers from different caving teams are carrying out a systematic study on the caves of Sulcis-Iglesiente, including geomorphological studies. Over thirty natural caves have been explored, surveyed and registered in the past few years, and over half of these have been made accessible by mine galleries. Among these are worth to be mentioned the “Tre Sorelle” of Domusnovas: these are three mine caves intercepted by the San Paolo mine tunnel. This tunnel, whose collapsed entrance has been reopened after a long digging campaign, has been explored and surveyed for around 700 meters. A total of 10 natural caves, mostly developed along fractures, have been explored and mapped, with developments ranging between 10 and 250 meters and depths from 15 to over 160 meters. Only two of these caves were previously known in the Regional Cave Register. In most of the caves, speleothems consist mainly of flowstones, some of which are clear or usually white, others are dark-brown or tending to black. Some samples of the first and the second flowstone types were collected respectively from the “Sesta Sorella” and “Seconda Sorella” Caves. The powders of these samples were analysed by an X-ray diffractometer. The first type consists of thicker layers of white and fibrous aragonite, which sometimes alternate with thinner layers of grey columnar calcite. In some samples, however, calcite interlayers were absent and just aragonite was found. The second type is composed of alternating layers of darkbrown hemimorphite. Some additional analyses were performed on these samples by Laser Ablation ICP-MS to determine the concentration of minor and trace elements in the different layers and mineralogical phases. The most abundant minor elements in calcite layers are Mg and Zn. Magnesium is about constant (~ 2000 ppm) on different spots and remains under the average Mg content of the cave calcite in this region, whereas Zn ranges from 103 to 104 ppm and is well above the Zn average in calcite of caves in the world. Barium concentration is about 80 ppm and more abundant than Pb (20 ppm) and Sr (10 ppm). Barium is also the main minor element in aragonite, where it can reach almost 2000 ppm. The Zn concentration is very high even in aragonite and is comparable to that of Sr (400-500 ppm), overcoming considerably the Pb concentration (20 ppm). In hemimorphite, the most abundant minor elements are Al and Fe (about 104 ppm). However, it was not quantified how much of these are in the hemimorphite lattice or come from some impurities. Actually, we notice that concentration of Fe and Al in the black layers of hemimorphite is an order of magnitude greater than in the brown ones. In addition, the black layers show an abrupt increase of Mn concentration, which overcomes Fe and Al. The evolution of these flowstones is most probably related to the circulation of fluids connected to the oxidation of sulphides, specially sphalerite.

KARST HAZARDS, 2013, Andreychouk Viacheslav, Tyc Andrzej

Karst hazards are an important example of natural hazards. They occur in areas with soluble rocks (carbonates, mostly limestone, dolomite, and chalk; sulfates, mostly gypsum and anhydrite; chlorides, mostly rock salt and potassium salt; and some silicates, quartzite and amorphous siliceous sediments) and efficient underground drainage. Karst is one of the environments in the world most vulnerable to natural and human-induced hazards. Karst hazards involve fast-acting processes, both on the surface and underground (e.g., collapse, subsidence, slope movements, and floods) and their effects (e.g., sinkholes, degraded aquifers, and land surface). They frequently cause serious damage in karst areas around the world, particularly in areas of intense human activity. Karst threat is the potential hazard to the life, health, or welfare of people and infrastructure, arising from the particular geological structure and function of karst terrains. The presence of underground cavities in the karst massif masks the threat from the hazards of collapse. This means that in some instances, the potential threats from karst, which are inherent features of the karst environment, become hazards. They range in category from potential to real. The term (karst hazards) is related to two other terms, used mostly in applied geosciences, particularly engineering geology – risk assessment and mitigation. Risk is the probability of an occurrence, and the consequential damages are defined as hazards. Risk assessment is the determination of quantitative or qualitative value of risk related to a concrete situation and a recognized hazard. Quantitative risk assessment requires calculations of two components: the magnitude of the potential loss and the probability that the loss will occur. Risk assessment is a step in a risk management. Mitigation may be defined as the reduction of risk to life and the environment by reducing the severity of collapse or subsidence, building subsidence-resistant constructions, restricting land use, etc.

Karst Sinkholes Stability Assessment in Cheria Area, NE Algeria, 2013, Yacine Azizi, Med. Ridha Menani, Med Laid Hemila, Abderahmane Boumezbeur


Karst; Rock Mass Rating (RMR);Sinkhole collapse; Tebessa This research work deals with the problem of karst sinkhole collapse occurring in the last few years in Cheria area (NE Algeria). This newly revealed phenomenon is of a major constrain in land use planning and urbanization, it has become necessary to locate and assess the stability of these underground features before any planning operation. Several exploration methods for the localization of underground cavities have been considered. Geological survey, discontinuity analysis, resistivity survey [ground penetrating radar has not been used as most of the Mio-Plio-Quaternary filling deposit covering Eocene limestone contains clay layers which limits the applicability of the method (Roth et al. in Eng Geol 65:225–232, 2002)] and borehole drilling were undertaken in order to locate underground cavities and assess their depth, geometry, dimensions, etc. Laboratory testing and field work were also undertaken in order to determine both intact rock and rock mass properties. All the rock mechanics testing and measurement were undertaken according to the ISRM recommendations. It has been found that under imposed loading, the stability of the karst cavities depends on the geo-mechanical parameters (RMR, Rock Mass Rating; GSI, Geological Strength Index; E, Young modulus) of the host rock as well as the depth and dimensions of the gallery. It increases with RMR, GSI, E and depth and decreases as the cavity becomes wider. Furthermore, the calculation results show that a ratio (roof thickness to gallery width) of 0.3 and more indicate, a stable conditions. The results obtained in this work allow identifying and assessing the stability of underground karst cavities. The methodology followed in this paper can be taken as a road map in the establishment of a hazard map related to the studied phenomenon. This map will be a useful tool for the future urban extension planning in Cheria area.


Sudden cover-collapse sinkhole (doline) development is uncommon in the karstic Cretaceous-age Edwards limestone of central Texas. This paper presents a case-study of a sinkhole that formed within a stormwater retention pond (SWRP) in southwest Austin. Results presented include hydrogeologic characterizations, fate of stormwater, and mitigation of the sinkhole. On January 24, 2012, a 11 cm (4.5 in) rainfall filled the SWRP with about 3 m (10 ft) of stormwater. Subsequently, a sinkhole formed within the floor of a SWRP measuring about 9 m (30 ft) in diameter and 4 m (12 ft) deep. About 26.5 million liters (7 million gallons) of stormwater drained into the aquifer through this opening. To determine the path, velocity, and destination of stormwater entering the sinkhole a dye trace was conducted. Phloxine B was injected into the sinkhole on February 3, 2012. The dye was detected at one well and arrived at Barton Springs in less than 4 days for a minimum velocity of 2 km/day (1.3 mi/day).Review of pre-development 2-foot topographic contour and geologic maps reveals that the SWRP was built within a broad (5,200 m2; 6 acre), shallow depression bounded by two inferred NE-trending fault zones. Photographs taken during SWRP construction showed steep west-dipping bedrock in the northern SWRP wall. Following collapse of the sinkhole, additional hydrogeologic characterization included excavation to a depth of 6.4 m (21 ft), surface geophysics (resistivity), and rock coring. Geologic materials consisted mostly 89of friable, highly altered, clayey limestone consistent with epikarst in-filled with terra rosa providing a cover of the feature. Dipping beds, and fractured bedrock support proximity to the mapped fault zone. Geophysics and surface observations suggested a lateral pathway for stormwater flow at the junction between the wet pond’s impermeable geomembrane and compacted clay liner for the retention pond. The collapse appears to have been caused by stormwater down-washing poorly consolidated sediments from beneath the SWRP and into a pre-existing karst conduit system.

Mitigation of the sinkhole included backfill ranging from boulders to gravel, a geomembrane cover, and reinforced concrete cap. Additional improvements to the SWRP included a new compacted clay liner overlain by a geomembrane liner on the side slopes of the retention pond.


Permian bedded salt is widespread in the Anadarko Basin of western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, where partial or total dissolution of the shallowest salt in some areas has resulted in subsidence and/or collapse of overlying strata. Groundwater has locally dissolved these salts at depths of 10–250 m. The distribution (presence or absence) of salt-bearing units, typically 80–150 m thick, is confirmed by interpretation of geophysical logs of many petroleum tests and a few scattered cores. Salt dissolution by ground water is referred to as “salt karst.”Chaotic structures, collapse features, breccia pipes, and other evidence of disturbed bedding are present in Permian, Cretaceous, and Tertiary strata that overly areas of salt karst. The dip of Permian and post-Permian strata in the region normally is less than one degree, mainly towards the axis of the Anadarko Basin. Where strata locally dip in various directions at angles of 5–25 degrees or more, and underlying salt units show clear evidence of dissolution, these chaotic dips must result (mostly, if not totally) from subsidence and collapse into underlying salt-dissolution cavities.Gypsum karst and resultant collapse of overlying strata have been proposed in many parts of the Anadarko Basin. However, the gypsum beds typically are only 1–6 m thick and more than 100 m deep, and cannot contribute to disruption of outcropping strata—except where they are within 10–20 m of the surface.Typical areas of disturbed bedding comprise several hectares, or more, with outcrops of moderately dipping strata—as though large blocks of rock have foundered and subsided into large underground cavities. Other examples of disturbed bedding are small-diameter breccia pipes, or chimneys, that extend vertically up from salt-karst cavities, through several hundred meters of overlying strata. The best evidence of these chimneys are collapsed blocks of Cretaceous strata, chaotically dropped some 50 m, or more, that are now juxtaposed against various Permian formations on the north flank of the Anadarko Basin. Any study of surface or shallow-subsurface geology in the Anadarko Basin must consider the influence of subsurface salt karst on the structure and distribution of overlying rocks


Karst development in Permian Castile evaporites has resulted in complex speleogenetic evolution with multiple phases of diagenetic overprinting. More than 10,000 surficial features, primarily sinkholes, occur throughout Culberson County, Texas, and Eddy County, New Mexico, based on GIS-analyses where laminated Castile sulfates crop out. Cave development is largely the result of hypogene processes, where ascending fluids from the underlying Bell Canyon Formation migrate near vertically through the Castile Formation, creating caves up to 100 meters deep and over 500 meters long, which have been breached through a combination of collapse and surface denudation. Numerous small and laterally limited epigene features occur throughout the region, as well as the anomalously large Parks Ranch Cave System with more than 6.5 kilometers of cave development and multiple large, incised, sinkhole entrances. Hypogene caves exhibit varying degrees of epigenic overprinting as a result of surficial breaching.

Water resources in the Castile Formation are directly related to karst development with extremely heterogeneous flow networks. Most springs in the region discharge sulfate-rich waters, contain high levels of hydrogen sulfide, and support sulfate-reducing bacterial colonies. Isolated stream passages in northern Culberson County provide locally significant water resources that do not exhibit elevated hydrogen sulfide concentrations. Local water tables vary greatly over the region and few caves access base-level conditions. Upward migration of hydrocarbons complicates regional hydrology and diagenesis, resulting in extensive evaporite calcitization, which greatly modifies both fluid / rock interaction and permeability structures.


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.


At least six distinct forms of evaporite karst occur in the Holbrook Basin•depending considerably on overburden and/or bedrock type. Early Permian evaporites in the 300-m-thick Corduroy Member of the Schnebly Hill Formation include halite, sylvite, and anhydrite at depths of 215-250 m. Karst features result from collapse of overlying Permian and Triassic strata into underlying salt-dissolution cavities. Evaporite karst occurs primarily along the 100+ km-long dissolution front on the southwestern edge of the basin, and is characterized by numerous sinkholes and depressions generally coincident with the axis of the Holbrook Anticline•in reality a dissolution-collapse monocline. “The Sinks” comprise ~ 300 individual sinks up to 200 m across and 50 m deep, the main karst features along the dissolution front. Westerly along the dissolution front, fewer discrete sinkholes occur, and several breccia pipes are believed to be forming. Numerous pull-apart fissures, graben-sinks, sinkholes, and broad collapse depressions also occur.A newly recognized subsidence/collapse area of some 16 km2 occurs in the western part of the basin, northward from the extension of the Holbrook “anticline.” The Chimney Canyon area is some 12 km east of McCauley Sinks, a postulated breccia pipe exemplified in, and possibly manifested in at least four other closed depressions. Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) data of one depression shows active subsidence of ~4 cm/yr.Karst formation is ongoing, as shown by repeated drainage of Dry and Twin Lakes into newly opened fissures and sinkholes. These two playa lakes were enlarged and modified in recent years into evaporation 2impoundments for effluent discharge from a nearby pulp mill. Four major drainage events occurred within these playa reservoirs during the past 45 years, collectively losing more than 1.23 x107 m3 (10,000 acre-feet) of water and playa sediment. Drainage occurs through piping into bedrock joints in Triassic Moenkopi Formation (sandstone) in the bottom and along the margins of these playas. Effluent discharge has been discontinued into these playas, although recurring precipitation can fill the basins.


Three of the approximately twenty-three municipal wastewater treatment lagoons constructed in the 1970s and 1980s in southeastern Minnesota’s karst region have failed through sinkhole collapse. Those collapses occurred between 1974 and 1992. All three failures occurred at almost exactly the same stratigraphic position. That stratigraphic interval, just above the unconformable contact between the Shakopee and Oneota Formations of the Ordovician Prairie du Chien Group is now recognized as one of the most ubiquitous, regional-scale, karst hydraulic high-transmissivity zones in the Paleozoic hydrostratigraphy of southeastern Minnesota. These karst aquifers have been developing multi-porosity conduit flow systems since the initial deposition of the carbonates about 480 million years ago. The existence of syndepositional interstratal karst unconformities between the Oneota and Shakopee Formations and between the Shakopee and St. Peter Formations, were recognized in the 1800s. About 270 million years ago galena, sphalerite and iron sulfides were deposited in pre-existing solution enlarged joints, bedding planes and caves. The region has been above sea level since the Cretaceous and huge volumes of fresh water have flowed through these rocks. The regional flow systems have changed from east-to-west in the Cenozoic, to north-to-south in or before the Pleistocene. The incision of the Mississippi River and its tributaries has and is profoundly rearranging the ground water flow systems as it varies the regional base levels during glacial cycles. The Pleistocene glacial cycles have removed many of the surficial karst features and buried even more of them under glacial sediments. High erosion rates from row crop agriculture between the us1850s and 1930s filled many of the conduit systems with soil. Over eighty years of soil conservation efforts have significantly reduced the flux of mobilized soil into the conduits. Those conduits are currently flushing much of those stored soils out of their spring outlets. Finally, the increased frequency and intensity of major storm events is reactivating conduit segments that have been clogged and inactive for millions of years.The karst solution voids into which the lagoons collapsed have formed over 480 million years. The recognition and mapping of this major karst zone will allow much more accurate karst hazard maps to be constructed and used in sustainable resource management decisions.


The Fort Hood Military Installation is a karst landscape characterized by Cretaceous-age limestone plateaus and canyons in Bell and Coryell Counties, Texas. The area is located in the Lampasas Cut Plain region of the Edwards Plateau and is stratigraphically defined by exposures of the Fredericksburg Group. Spatial interpolation of 105 km2 of the Fort Hood Military Installation provided depression data that were delineated and classified using geoanalytical methods. Most of the karst features within the study area are predominantly surficial expressions of collapse features, creating windows into karst conduits with surficial exposures of epikarst spatially limited.The increasing capabilities of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and accuracy of geographically referenced data has provided the basis for more detailed terrain analysis and modeling. Research on terrain-related surface features is highly dependent on terrain data collection and the generation of digital models. Traditional methods such as field surveying can yield accurate results; however, they are limited by time and physical constraints. Within the study area, dense vegetation and military land use preclude extensive traditional karst survey inventories. Airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) provides an alternative for high-density and high-accuracy three-dimensional terrain point data collection. The availability of high density data makes it possible to represent terrain in great detail; however, high density data significantly increases data volume, which can impose challenges with respect to data storage, processing, and manipulation. Although LiDAR analysis can be a powerful tool, filter mechanisms must be employed to remove major natural and anthropogenic terrain modifications resulting from military use, road building and maintenance, and the natural influence of water bodies throughout the study area.

INVESTIGATIONS OF LARGE SCALE SINKHOLE COLLAPSES, LAIBIN, GUANGXI, CHINA, 2013, Gao Yongli, Luo Weiquan, Jiang Xiaozhen, Lei Mingtang, Dai Jianling

A series of sinkholes collapsed at Jili village and Shanbei village, Laibin Guangxi, China in June 2010. A large underground stream exists in the north-south transect of the study area and passes the collapse site. Preliminary investigations revealed that extremely heavy rainfall between May 31 and June 1 2010 may have triggered this collapse event. The precipitation, as high as 469.8 mm within one day, was a record high in the study area. A long period of drought in 2009 followed by extremely heavy rainfall along with cave roof collapse may have caused the collapse event on June 3 2010. The “water hammer” effect and collapse-triggered earthquakes caused severe ground failure and fractures in residential houses and Jili Dam. Several collapse events were caused by extreme weather conditions in Guangxi over the past few years. Further studies of the relationship between extreme weather events and sinkhole collapses will help minimize the damage or impact to human infrastructure by avoiding areas susceptible to collapse or by designing infrastructure to better withstand subsidence


A significant minority of sinkholes in the greater Permian Basin region of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico are of human origin. These anthropogenic sinkholes are often associated with historic oil field activity, or with solution mining of Permian salt beds in the shallow subsurface. The well-known Wink Sinks in Winkler Co., Texas formed in 1980 and 2002 within the giant Hendrick oil field. The Wink Sinks were probably the result of subsurface dissolution of salt caused by fresh water leakage in improperly cased abandoned oil wells. In 2008 two catastrophic sinkhole events occurred a few months apart in northern Eddy Co., New Mexico, and a third formed a few months later in 2009 near Denver City, Texas. All three sinkholes were the result of solution mining operations for brine production from Upper Permian salt beds. The Eddy Co. sinkholes formed within the giant Empire oil and gas field, several kilometers from populated areas. In the aftermath of these events, another brine well operation was identified within the city limits of Carlsbad, New Mexico as having a similar geologic setting and pumping history. That well has been abandoned and geotechnical monitoring of the site has been continuous since 2008. Although there is no indication of imminent collapse, geophysical surveys have identified a substantial void in Permian salt beds beneath the brine well extending north and south beneath residential areas, a major highway intersection, a railroad, and an irrigation canal

From Slots to Tubes: The Influence of Dimensionality on Fracture Dissolution Models, 2013, Szymczak, Piotr

We briefly review the models of fracture dissolution process, discussing the experimental and numerical evidence showing that this phenomenon is inherently two-dimensional and hence cannot be accurately described by one-dimensional models. The physical reason for this incompatibility is that a dissolution front in a single rock fracture is potentially unstable to small variations in local permeability, leading to spontaneous formation of dissolution channels in the rock. This leads to a dramatic increase of fissure opening rates, which must be taken into account not only in the estimation of karstification times but also in the assessment of ground subsidence, dam collapse or toxic seepage risks.

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