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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 induced recharge is a method of withdrawing ground water at strategic points to induce natural recharge [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 erosion (Keyword) returned 434 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 406 to 420 of 434
Quartz sandstone peak forest landforms of Zhangjiajie Geopark, northwest Hunan Province, China: pattern, constraints and comparison, 2012, Yang Guifang, Tian Mingzhong, Zhang Xujiao, Chen Zhenghong, Wray Robert A. L. , Ge Zhiliang, Ping Yamin, Ni Zhiyun, Yang Zhen

The Zhangjiajie Sandstone Peak Forest Geopark in northwest Hunan Province, China, is a comprehensive geopark containing many spectacular quartz sandstone landforms, limestone karst landscapes and various other important geoheritage resources. It is listed as a UNESCO World Geopark and is also part of the World Heritage Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area for its important landscape features. Many of the sandstone landforms, particularly the vast number of thin pillars or spires, are very unusual and serve as the core landscapes of the geopark. But Zhangjiajie displays a diverse range of landform types, exhibiting spectacular patterns and regular distributions. In this paper, the geomorphic traits, distribution pattern and constraints of the sandstone landforms of the Zhangjiajie Geopark are examined. Our study indicates that in the outcropping areas, the sandstones display four distinctive levels from 300 to 1,000 m above sea level, and these extend clearly from the highest sandstone plateau platform to the center of the valleys. The high sandstone platforms developed close to a flat high-level erosional surface, and subsequent erosion into this plateau has resulted in successively lower levels of landforms that transition gradually from peak walls, peak clusters, peak forests and peak pillars to remnant peaks in the lower valley bottoms. The form and distribution of the Zhangjiajie sandstone landforms are primarily dominated by the geological setting, particularly the presence of brittle structures (fractures and joint sets) trending NNW, ENE and NE. Triggered by the episodic tectonic movements, major streams and escarpments frequently occur along these structural directions, while some of the peak walls, peak clusters and peak forests have their longer elongated axes corresponding to NE or NNW directions, with an increased density of peak forms at the intersection of these fractures and joints. The geometry of the diverse sandstone landforms is also influenced to a certain degree by the climatic, water system distribution, lithologic properties, biological process, meteorological features and denudation processes. The suite of quartz sandstone landforms in Zhangjiajie can be compared with other sandstone landscapes regionally, and our interpretation of the sandstone peak forest formation processes offers a significant contribution to the study of topographic features and the geomorphic evolution of sandstone landscapes

A holistic approach to groundwater protection and ecosystem services in karst terrains, 2012, Goldscheider, Nico

A holistic conceptual approach to groundwater and natural resources protection, surface and subsurface biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services in karst terrains is presented. Karst landscapes and aquifers consist of carbonate rock in which a part of the fractures has been enlarged by chemical dissolution. They are characterised by unique geomorphological and hydrogeological features, such as rapid infiltration of rainwater, lack of surface waters, and turbulent flow in a network of fractures, conduits and caves. Karst terrains contain valuable but vulnerable resources, such as water, soil and vegetation, and they provide a great variety of habitats to many species, both at the surface and underground, including many rare and endemic species. Karst systems deliver various ecosystem services and act as natural sinks for carbon dioxide (CO2) thus helping to mitigate climate change. It is demonstrated that all these resources and ecosystem services cannot be considered in an isolated way but are intensely interconnected. Because of these complex feedback mechanisms, impacts on isolated elements of the karst ecosystem can have unexpected impacts on other elements or even on the entire ecosystem. Therefore, the protection of natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services in karst requires a holistic approach.

A Non-Linear Fluid-solid Coupling Mechanical Model Study for Paleokarst Collapse Breccia Pipes Under Erosion Effect, 2012, Yao Banghua, Mao Xianbiao, Zhang Kai, Cai Wei

In this research the seepage characteristics of Paleokarst collapse breccia pipes under particles erosion effect, and their water inrush mechanism were studied. In this paper, based on the seepage theory of pores media and the nonlinear mechanics theory, we deduced the transport equation of particles in Paleokarst collapse breccia pipes, obtained the seepage field equation for Paleokarst collapse breccia pipes, and investigated the porosity evolution equation under the effect of particles transport, building a nonlinear fluid-solid coupling model for Paleokarst collapse breccia pipes. Furthermore, we took the relationship between fluid and particle velocities as well as the effect of particle concentration on fluid property into account, and assumed the porosity in Paleokarst collapse breccia pipes obey Weibull distribution. Finally, we lead the model equations into the COMSOL Multiphysics to solve, obtaining the parameters including porosity, seepage velocity, particle concentration, water inflow evolution law as the time. The research results indicate that: (1) particles in Paleokarst collapse breccia pipes will be eroded and transport under the effect of fluid movement as the time, the concentration of particles behaved rapidly increased and then sharply decreased, and the porosity and seepage velocity grew quickly until reached the maximum value; (2) the seepage capacity for Paleokarst collapse breccia pipes initially grows slowly, while seepage velocity increases at an increasing rate with the growth and connectivity of porosity; (3) the porosity evolution under erosion effect in Paleokarst collapse breccia pipe is an important reason for Paleokarst collapse breccia pipe water inrush.

Development of a deep karst system within a transpressional structure of the Dolomites in north-east Italy, 2013, Sauro Francesco, Zampieri Dario, Filipponi Marco

The Piani Eterni karst system is one of the longest and deepest caves of Italy situated in the southern sector of the Dolomiti mountain range. The area where the cave was formed displays peculiar structural settings confined in a tectonic transpressive corridor between two regional thrusts (Belluno and Valsugana). During Miocene uplift of the range the inheritance of Mesozoic structures led to the formation of a deep and wide upward-branching flower (or palm tree) structure cutting the carbonate sequence and exposing the surrounding surface to karst processes after erosion. The relative lowering of the hydrologic base level, due both to the uplift of the area and then to the carving of deep glacial valleys in the Quaternary, allowed the formation of paleo-phreatic conduits at subsequently deeper levels, interconnected by vadose shafts and canyons.

This work gives a detailed tectonic interpretation of the transpressive structure and picks out the tectonic features most favorable to the karst development. A detailed statistical analysis of the distribution and orientation of the karst conduits was performed using 31 km of 3D surveys showing that the development of the cave was strictly guided by a few favorable surfaces of stratigraphic and tectonic origin. These features are known in the literature as inception horizons and tectonic inception features, respectively. Cave levels are usually related to lithologic favorable conditions associated with standings of the paleo-water table. Here we suggest that some tectonic surface geometries could have led to the opening of voids in the active tectonic phase leading to the formation of the original proto-conduit network. Different types of tectonic inception features identified in the cave were described in terms of geometry and kinematics. Tensional fractures, as well as fault plane undulations and flexural slip surfaces between beds, are described as the most favorable tectonic surfaces for the development of the conduits. Finally, we discuss why transpressional settings and related flower structures in soluble rocks can enhance the karst process allowing the formation of huge and deep karst systems.

Large Epigenic Caves in High-Relief Areas, 2013, Hauselmann, Ph.

Although the two conditions given in the title, ‘Large Epigenic Caves’ and ‘High-Relief Area’, already considerably narrow down the caves that fall within these categories, it quickly becomes clear that the geomorphology of such caves is not clear from the beginning. A closer look into the literature actually reveals that diverse speleogenetic agents may influence the genesis of such caves. Vertical vadose passages as well as (epi) phreatic base-level control very commonly occur in large cavesin high-relief areas. The key to understanding the genesis of these caves is: (1) the notion of time (commonly such caves are old and may even present different distinct phases of evolution) and (2) the evolution of the surface around these caves. Commonly, caves in mountainous areas deliver hints to reconstruct the (spatial and temporal) evolution of the surface morphology. In that manner, caves in mountains and in lowlands are no different, but surface information within them ountains is generally much more rare because of the intensive erosional processes in such steeply sloping areas.

Denudation and Erosion Rates in Karst, 2013, Gunn, J.

In many lithologies erosion (removal of material) and denudation (lowering of the land surface) are directly related butthis is not the case in karst where the majority of erosion is subsurface and only contributes to denudation over geological time. Dissolution is the dominant agent of both denudation and erosion although mechanical weathering of karst rock by clasts brought in by allogenic streams may contribute to the enlargement of cave passages. Most published ‘denudation’rates are actually corrosion rates and many were based on at most a few years of spot measurements at a spring or at a catchment outlet. Hence, considerable caution is necessary in interpreting the results. Cosmogenic nuclides could provide loner-term denudation estimates but have only rarely been applied to karst. Theoretical equations allow prediction of maximum erosion rates from runoff (water surplus), temperature, and carbon dioxide concentrations but field measurements indicate that erosion rarely operates at the maximal rate. Erosion rates vary spatially, with dolines a clear focus, and vertically, with most dissolution contributing to development of the epikarst rather than direct lowering of the land surface. Human activities, and particularly limestone quarrying, are potent erosive forces and in some areas more limestone was removed by quarrying in the twentieth century than by corrosion over the Holocene. Quarrying is also a direct agent of denudation, locally lowering land surface by tens or hundreds of meters

Seawater and Biokarst Effects on Coastal Limestones, 2013, De Waele J. , Furlani S.

Coastal limestones are characterized by a typical set of morphologies throughout the world, related to a combination of physical, chemical, and biological processes, the relative importance of each depends on geographical and local conditions. In tropical and temperate areas biological processes are dominant, whereas at high latitudes physical abrasion becomes more important. The morphology of limestone coasts depends on a wide set of interrelated processes that are locally contingent and, therefore, cannot be described by a global scheme

The vertical dimension of karst: controls of vertical cave pattern, 2013, Audra P. , Palmer A. N.

The vertical development of karst is related to the geomorphic evolution of the surrounding landscape. Cave profiles and levels reflect the local fluvial base level and its changes through time. These cave features tend to be preserved far longer than correlative surface features, which are more susceptible to weathering and erosion. As a result, cave morphology offers abundant clues that are helpful in reconstructing the regional geomorphic history. In the vadose zone, water is drawn downward by gravity along vertical fractures. In the phreatic zone, water follows the hydraulic gradient along the most efficient paths to available outlets in nearby valleys. Phreatic passages tend to have gentler gradients close to the water table, generally with some vertical sinuosity. Responding to irregular recharge rates, fluctuations in the water table define a transition zone, the epiphreatic zone, in which passages develop by floodwater flow. Free-surface flow in the vadose zone and full pipe flow in the phreatic zone produce distinctive passage morphologies. Identification of former vadose–phreatic transition zones makes it possible to reconstruct the position of former water tables that represent past static fluvial base levels. Early conceptual models considered cave origin mainly in relation to its position relative to the water table. Later, analytical and digital models showed that dramatic enlargement occurs when dissolutional enlargement of initial fissures is sufficient to allow rapid dissolution and turbulent flow to take place throughout the entire conduit length. Cave development is favored by the widest initial openings, and less importantly by the steepest hydraulic gradients and shortest flow distances. Consequently, most phreatic cave development takes place at or near the water table, but the presence of relatively wide fractures can lead to phreatic loops. Cave levels record successive base-level positions as valleys deepen. The oldest levels in Mammoth Cave (USA) and Clearwater Cave (Malaysia) have been dated beyond 3.5 Ma. However, when base level rises, the deepest parts of the karst are flooded and the flow follows phreatic lifts. In the epiphreatic zone, floodwater produces looping tubes above the low-flow water table. In these last two situations, high-level passages with large vertical loops are not necessarily the oldest. The juvenile pattern, composed of steep vadose passages, is common when soluble rock is first exposed. In perched aquifers, vadose erosion can produce very large cross sections. In dammed aquifers, the main drain is established at the water table. Irregular recharge causes backflooding, and passages develop throughout the epiphreatic zone, with looping profiles; however, when recharge is fairly regular, the passages develop along the stable water table. Interconnected cave levels correspond to some of the largest cave systems in the world. When base level rises, the karst is flooded; water rises through phreatic lifts and discharges at vauclusian springs. A per ascensum speleogenesis can produce higher-elevation passages that are younger than passages at lower elevations. Base-level rises occur after tectonic subsidence, filling of valleys, or sea-level rise, especially around the Mediterranean in response to the Messinian Salinity Crisis. Deep-phreatic karst, if not hypogenic, can generally be attributed to flooding by a base-level rise. 

Unusual polygenetic void and cave development in dolomitized Miocene chalks on Barbados, West Indies, 2013, Sumrall J. B. , Mylroie J. E. , Machel H. G.

Barbados provides an unusual case of polygenetic cave development within dolomitized chalks and marls of the Miocene Oceanics Group. These diagenetic processes are driven by a succession and interplay of tectonic uplift, fracturing, hypogene fluid injection, overprinting by mixing zone diagenesis, and mechanical and biological erosion in the current littoral zone. The significance of the voids and caves within the chalks on Barbados are: 1) these appear to be the first dissolution caves documented in dolomitized chalk, and 2) these features show a polygenetic origin documenting the diagenetic changes in lithology that allowed the development and preservation of these cave types.



The Botovskaya Cave is a typical example of a two-dimensional maze with a total length of explored passages exceeding 60 km, which represents the longest limestone cave system in the Russian Federation. The clastic cave sediments filling the cave passages differ in both mineral and mineral magnetic properties and were deposited under different hydrological conditions. The older portion of the clastic cave fills was derived from overlying sandstones, whereas the properties of younger cave sediments show closer affinity to the soils and weathering products originating on the sandstone plateau above the cave. The cave sediments underwent repeated periods of deposition and erosion during the Tertiary and Pleistocene.



Caves evolve due to various geomorphological processes which can be used to develop a classification scheme. We adapted existing genetic classifications and focused on the main genetic process which we defined as the one that was responsible for most of the cave volume. This scheme was applied to the 4,849 known caves of Lower Austria and some neighbouring areas. It turned out that more than half of the caves have developed due to weathering and erosion and only 45 % are karstic ones.

Characterization and conceptualization of a relict karst aquifer (Bilecik, Turkey), 2013, Aydin H. , Ekmekci M. , Soylu M. E.

The carbonate rocks in Turkey have different hydrogeological properties as a result of controlling karstification factors, such as lithostratigraphy, source of energy gradient, tectonic activity, type of erosion base, fluctuation in sea level, and climate change in their extended areas. This study was undertaken for the characterization and conceptualization of the hydrogeological behavior of a unique example of the dissected relict karst aquifer, which is known as the Harmanköy-Beyyayla Karst System (HBKS) in Central Turkey. In order to obtain the conceptualization of the HBKS, properties of recharge, flow, storage, and discharge was analyzed. The contribution of allogenic-point recharge to the Beyyayla and Döşkaya aquifers occurs from the Beyyayla and Tozman sinkhole with approximately 85% of total recharge. The rest of the recharge takes place as autogenic-diffuse/point type from the limestone rock-mass. The recharge on the Nardın aquifer originates from direct precipitation onto the limestone area mainly as autogenic-diffuse and, to lesser extent, as autogenic-point. Groundwater flow occurs as conduit flow at the Beyyayla and Döşkaya aquifers and as dispersed flow at the Nardın aquifer. The evaluation of all parameters shows that the HBKS can be divided into three distinct sub-catchments, namely, the Beyyayla, Döşkaya, and Nardın, while it has two different hydrogeological system so Beyyayla and Döşkaya have similar characteristics.

Karst Memores Aboye and Beneath the See: Marseilles and Its Continental Shelf During the Cosquer Cave Occupation, 2013, Collinagirard, Jacques

In the south of France, the Cosquer Cave with its famous prehistoric paintings is located in  a karstic area located between Marseilles and Cassis. This emerged and submerged karst is  typical ofkarstic coasts submerged after the Late-Glacial Maximum. Ail the forms observed  in the hinterland can be observed directly by scuba divers and indirectly on bathymetrie  charts: lapiaz, karstic archs, sinkholes, uvala and polje. The emerged and submerged landscapes  are mainly the heritage of specifie lithological conditions (Urgonian limestones) and  tectonic conditions (vertical faulting network leading to coastal eollapse in theMediterranean  Sea). üther elements of this submerged Iandscape are given by the traces of the last sea  level rise (palaeo-shorelines and erosion platforms and notehes). AIl the area between  Marseilles and La Ciotat is now established as the Calanques National Park, inc1uding the  Cosquer Cave with its upper Palaeolithic rock art paintings, which adds an international  archaeological interest to this exceptional natural area


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 Eocene limestone plateau of the western Desert of Egypt has various karst features, including shafts created during ancient wet periods. These Paleokarst shafts have been investigated on the plateau to the west of the Nile valley, specifically northwest of Assiut. Most of these shafts are infilled by conglomerate (cemented flint, red soil and limestone chips) and appear as pockets in limestone hills. The morphology of the shafts and the characteristics of their infillings suggest that they developed in vadose zone at the base of epikarst limits. This stage probably took place from the end of Early Eocene to the Middle Miocene. A later, different stage of water erosion occurred, most probably during Pliocene/Pleistocene period. This stage led to remove the epikarst zone, and reshaped the area to create a hilly landscape penetrated by infilled shafts.

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