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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 pumping test is a test designed to determine aquifer characteristics by pumping a well and plotting the drawdown curves of observation wells for comparison with theoretical curves.?

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KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
See all featured articles
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 pattern (Keyword) returned 463 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 436 to 450 of 463
Early-stage hypogene karstification in a mountain hydrologic system: A coupled thermohydrochemical model incorporating buoyant convection, 2013, Chaudhuri A. , Rajaram H. , Wiswanathan H.

The early stage of hypogene karstification is investigated using a coupled thermohydrochemical model of a mountain hydrologic system, in which water enters along a water table and descends to significant depth (_1 km) before ascending through a central high-permeability fracture. The model incorporates reactive alteration driven by dissolution/ precipitation of limestone in a carbonic acid system, due to both temperature- and pressuredependent solubility, and kinetics. Simulations were carried out for homogeneous and heterogeneous initial fracture aperture fields, using the FEHM (Finite Element Heat and Mass Transfer) code. Initially, retrograde solubility is the dominant mechanism of fracture aperture growth. As the fracture transmissivity increases, a critical Rayleigh number value is exceeded at some stage. Buoyant convection is then initiated and controls the evolution of the system thereafter. For an initially homogeneous fracture aperture field, deep well-organized buoyant convection rolls form. For initially heterogeneous aperture fields, preferential flow suppresses large buoyant convection rolls, although a large number of smaller rolls form. Even after the onset of buoyant convection, dissolution in the fracture is sustained along upward flow paths by retrograde solubility and by additional ‘‘mixing corrosion’’ effects closer to the surface. Aperture growth patterns in the fracture are very different from those observed in simulations of epigenic karst systems, and retain imprints of both buoyant convection and preferential flow. Both retrograde solubility and buoyant convection contribute to these differences. The paper demonstrates the potential value of coupled models as tools for understanding the evolution and behavior of hypogene karst systems.

HYPOGENE CAVE PATTERNS IN IRON ORE CAVES: CONVERGENCE OF FORMS OR PROCESSES?, 2014, Auler A. S. , Piló L. B. , Parker C. W. , Senko J. M. , Sasowsky I. D. , Barton H. A.

Speleogenesis in iron ore caves may involve generation of porosity at depth with a later surficial phase associated with slope hydrological processes. The earlier phreatic phase results in morphological features similar to but much more irregular at wall and ceiling scale than what is observed in hypogene caves. Processes responsible for the generation of caves do not seem to follow normal karst geochemical paths, but instead occur through bacterially mediated redox reactions.


Hypogene or per-ascensum, whatever you prefer to call them, caves that form from the bottom up have a great range of patterns in plan, large cavity morphology and an expanding, but specific suite of speleogens that distinguish them from fluvial caves formed by descending surface water. Once thought to be rare and unusual, caves or sections of caves with plans, large cavities and suites of “hypogene” speleogens are turning up in situations traditionally thought to have fluvial or even glacial origin. The role of condensation corrosion in the formation of cavities and speleogens remains controversial, but surprisingly some insights may come for processes in salt mines. Phantom rock formation and removal and similar processes involving removal of dolomitized bedrock, de-dolomitized bedrock, and almost trace-free removal of palaeokarst raise problems of both temporal relationships and of how to distinguish between the outcomes of recent and ancient processes. The presence of “hypogene” speleogens in both gneiss and marble caves in Sri Lankan of unclear origin adds to the complexity. Back in the early 1990s, before hypogene caves were de-rigour, workers such as David Lowe were puzzling about speleo-inception, how caves begin. Perhaps the rare occurrences of solution pockets in joints in obvious fluvial caves, such as Postojna Jama, are indicating that many more caves than we imagine are actually multi-process and multiphase and that “hypogene” processes of various types are significant agents of speleo-inception.

Characteristics of gas disaster in the Huaibei coalfield and its control and development technologies, 2014, Wang L. , Cheng Y. , An F, Zhou H. , Kong S. , Wang W.

The Huaibei coalfield is in the East China Economic Area, which is rich in coal and gas resources. However, hundreds of coal and gas outburst accidents have occurred because of the complex geological structures of the coalfield. Based on theoretical analysis and field statistics, the characteristics of regional geological structures and the coal measure strata evolution in the Huaibei coalfield were researched, and gas resource distribution and gas parameters were statistically analyzed to determine the dominant controlling factors of gas occurrence and gas dynamic disaster. The results indicated that the Huaibei coalfield has undergone complex tectonic evolution, causing obvious differences in gas storage in different blocks of different mining areas, which exhibits a pattern of high amounts of gas in the south and east, and low amounts of gas in the north and west. The coal seam and gas occurrence have a bipolar distribution in the coalfield caused by multiple tectonic movements, and they are deeply buried. Horizontal tectonic stress plays a dominant role in gas outburst, and the thermal evolution and trap effects of magma intrusion increase the possibility and extent of gas outburst. Considering coal seam and gas occurrence characteristics in the coalfield, we propose a new technology for deep coal reservoir reconstruction which combined present underground regional gas control methods and surface well extraction methods. The technology has three effects: developing gas resources, improving coal mining safety level and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which has been practiced to be effective in coal mines in the Huaibei coalfield.

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

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

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

Mineralogical evidence is preliminarily presented.

Geologic constraints and speleogenesis of Cova des Pas de Vallgornera, a complex coastal cave from Mallorca Island (Western Mediterranean), 2014, Ginés J. , Fornós J. J. , Ginés A. , Merino A. , Gràcia F.

The flat areas of eastern and southern Mallorca host a remarkable coastal karst, where Cova des Pas de Vallgornera stands out due to its length (more than 74 km) and its special morphological suite. The pattern of the cave is quite heterogeneous showing sharp differences produced by the architecture of the Upper Miocene reef: spongework mazes and collapse chambers dominate in the reef front facies, whereas joint-guided conduits are the rule in the back reef carbonates. Regarding the speleogenesis of the system, a complex situation is envisaged involving three main agents: coastal mixing dissolution, drainage of meteoric diffuse recharge, and hypogene basal recharge related to local geothermal phenomena. The cave system is disposed in two main tiers of passages, of which geomorphologic interpretations are derived from their elevation data. The evolutionary trends as well as the chronology of the different cave sections are difficult to establish owing to the frequent shifting of the coastal base level during the Plio-Quaternary. In this respect, the genesis and evolution of the cave were fully controlled by sea-level fluctuations in the Western Mediterranean basin, with the main phases of cave formation, based on vertebrate paleontological data, going back to mid-Pliocene times.

Linking mineral deposits to speleogenetic processes in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (Mallorca, Spain)., 2014, Onac B. P. , Fornós J. J. , Merino A. , Ginés J. , Diehl J.

Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (CPV) is the premier cave of the Balearic Archipelago. Over 74 km of passages develop within two carbonate lithofacies (reef front and back reef), which ultimately control the patterns of the cave and to some degree its mineral infilling. The diversity of speleothem-forming minerals is four times greater around or within hypogene-related features (vents, rims, cupolas), compared to any other vadose passages in the cave. The mineralogy of speleothems (crusts, nodules, crystals, earthy masses) associated with hypogene features in the seaward upper maze of Sector F is characterized by the presence of aragonite, ankerite, huntite, clay minerals, and quartz. In the Tragus and Nord sectors, however, the dominant mineral is dolomite, along with aragonite, celestine, huntite, clay minerals, and quartz. Calcite is by far the most ubiquitous mineral throughout the cave. Detailed macroscopic and scanning electron microanalysis and imaging have permitted the investigation of textural relationships between the minerals associated with vents, rims, and vent’s roof and walls. These studies along with morphological and stable isotope analyses confirm that not all minerals are connected with a hypogene stage in the cave evolution, and furthermore, none of them appears to be sulfuric acid by-products. Instead, the mineral assemblages documented in speleothems from CPV clearly support at least three speleogenetic pathways, namely seacoast mixing, ascending of warm groundwaters, and meteoric recharge (vadose). Thus, cave minerals in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera hold the keys to reconstruction and understanding of processes and conditions under which they precipitated, allowing to establish their relationship with various speleogenetic pathways

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.

Sagging and collapse sinkholes over hypogenic hydrothermal karst in а carbonate terrain, 2014, Frumkin A. , Zaidner Y. , Na'aman I. , Tsatskin A. , Porat N. , Vulfson L.

We show that clusters of karst sinkholes can occur on carbonate hypogene karst terrains. Unlike common doline karst of dissolution origin, the studied sinkholes form mainly by sagging and collapse. Thermal survey, OSL dating and morphologic analysis during quarrying and excavations are applied to study the sinkholes at the Ayyalon karst, Israel. The thermal survey shows the spatial pattern of rising warm water plumes, whose temperature is > 2 °C warmer than the surrounding aquifer water. These plumes dissolve the limestone, creating large voids and maze caves. Mass wasting forms surface sinkholes mainly by sagging and collapse. Both types of deformation often occur within the same depression. Lack of hydrologic connection between the surface and underground voids constrain drainage and promote rapid accumulation of colluvium, dust and pedogenic clays. These have filled the sinkholes up to their rim before the late Holocene. OSL dating constrains the rate of sediment accumulation within the sinkholes. The average filling rate (thickness divided by elapsed time) is ~ 47 mm ka− 1 for the last 53 ± 4 ka in Sinkhole 1, while in Sinkhole 2 (“Nesher Ramla karst depression”), the rate is ~ 61 mm ka− 1 from ~ 200 to 78 ka, and ~ 173 mm ka− 1 since ~ 78 ka. Between ~ 170 and 78 ka, Sinkhole 2 was intensively used by Middle Paleolithic hominins. The studied sinkholes may be considered as a type locality for hypogene sinkhole terrain on carbonate rocks.

Structural and lithological guidance on speleogenesis in quartz–sandstone: Evidence of the arenisation process, 2014,

A detailed petrographic, structural and morphometric investigation of different types of caves carved in the quartz–sandstones of the “tepui” table mountains in Venezuela has allowed identification of the main speleogenetic factors guiding cave pattern development and the formation of particular features commonly found in these caves, such as funnel-shaped pillars, pendants and floor bumps. Samples of fresh and weathered quartz–sandstone of the Mataui Formation (Roraima Supergroup) were characterised through WDS dispersive X-ray chemical analyses, picnometer measurements, EDAX analyses, SEM and thin-section microscopy. In all the caves two compositionally different strata were identified: almost pure quartz–sandstones, with content of silica over 95% and high primary porosity (around 4%), and phyllosilicate-rich quartz–sandstone, with contents of aluminium over 10% and low primary porosity (lower than 0.5%). Phyllosilicates are mainly pyrophyllite and kaolinite. SEMimages on weathered samples showed clear evidence of dissolution on quartz grains to different degrees of development, depending on the alteration state of the samples. Grain boundary dissolution increases the rock porosity and gradually releases the quartz grains, suggesting that arenisation is a widespread and effective weathering process in these caves. The primary porosity and the degree of fracturing of the quartz–sandstone beds are the main factors controlling the intensity and distribution of the arenisation process. Weathering along iron hydroxide or silt layers, which represent inception horizons, or a strata-bounded fracture network, predisposes the formation of horizontal caves in specific stratigraphic positions. The loose sands produced by arenisation are removed by piping processes, gradually creating anastomosing open-fracture systems and forming braided mazes, geometric networks or main conduit patterns, depending on the local lithological and structural guidance on the weathering process. This study demonstrates that all the typical morphologies documented in these quartz–sandstone caves can be explained as a result of arenisation, which is guided by layers with particular petrographic characteristics (primary porosity, content of phyllosilicates and iron hydroxides), and different degrees of fracturing (strata-bounded fractures or continuous dilational joints).



The theory of gravity-driven regional groundwater flow was first proposed in 1962/3 based on the Laplace equation. Hydraulic-head patterns were calculated for a two dimensional trapezoidal and homogeneous flow domain with flow lines drawn by hand. The flow region was intended to represent one flank of a stream basin with a periodically undulating water table. At the dawn of numerical modeling the results generated international interest. Numerical models began to be produced with progressively increasing complexity of basin geometry, types and distributions of permeability and time dependent flow. One of the most important results of the first analyses was the birth of the flow-system concept. In a flow system groundwater moves from relatively highly elevated recharge areas, through medium high mid-line regions to relatively low lying discharge areas where it may resurface. Because flow systems are associated with topographic elements of different scale, they are self-organized in hierarchically nested geometric patterns.
The understanding of the systematized structure of basinal groundwater flow soon resulted in the recognition that flow systems act like subsurface conveyor belts. They mobilize and remove matter and heat from the recharge area, pick up more or/and emplace some of it en route, and deposit them in the discharge region. In short: flowing groundwater is a general geologic agent. The original „Theory of regional groundwater flow” became thus expanded into a bimodal umbrella theory with two component theories: i) „The hydraulics of basin-scale groundwater flow” and ii) „The geologic agency of regional groundwater flow”. More than half a century after its conception the theory is extensively analyzed and continues to be applied to a growing number of groundwater related disciplines

The show cave of Diros vs. wild caves of Peloponnese, Greece - distribution patterns of Cyanobacteria, 2014,

The karst cave ‘Vlychada’of Diros, one of the oldest show caves in Peloponnese, sustains extended phototrophic biofilms on various substrata – on rocks inside the cave including speleothems, and especially near the artificial lighting installation (‘Lampenflora’). After a survey of the main abiotic parameters (Photosynthetically Active Radiation -PAR, Temperature -T, Relative Humidity -RH, Carbon Dioxide -CO2) three clusters of sampling sites were revealed according to Principal Component Analysis (PCA): i) the water gallery section predominately influenced by CO2, ii) the dry passages influenced by RH and PAR, and iii) the area by the cave exit at the dry section influenced by temperature. The collected samples from the water gallery section and the dry passages of the cave revealed a total of 43 taxa of Cyanobacteria, with the unicellular/colonial forms being the most abundant. The applied non-metric Multi-dimensional Scaling Ordination (nMDS) of the cumulative species composition showed a clear distinction between the water gallery section and the dry passages of the cave. Further comparison with previous data from other wild caves of Peloponnese (‘Kastria’, ‘Francthi’, and ‘Selinitsa’) was conducted revealing a distinction between the show cave and the wild ones. Apart from the human impact on cave ecosystems – through aesthetic alteration (‘greening’) of cave decorations by the ‘Lampenflora’, and by the cleaning treatments and restoration projects on the speleothems – identification of the organisms constituting the ‘Lampenflora’ might provide taxonomically and ecologically significant taxa.

Transferring the concept of minimum energy dissipation from river networks to subsurface flow patterns, 2014, Hergarte Stefan, Winkler Gerfried, Birk Steffen

Principles of optimality provide an interesting alternative to modeling hydrological processes in detail on small scales and have received growing interest in the last years. Inspired by the more than 20 years old concept of minimum energy dissipation in river networks, we present a corresponding theory for subsurface flow in order to obtain a better understanding of preferential flow patterns in the subsurface. The concept describes flow patterns which are optimal in the sense of minimizing the total energy dissipation at a given recharge under the constraint of a given total porosity. Results are illustrated using two examples: two-dimensional flow towards a spring with a radial symmetric distribution of the porosity and dendritic flow patterns. The latter are found to be similar to river networks in their structure and, as a main result, the model predicts a power-law distribution of the spring discharges. In combination with two data sets from the Austrian Alps, this result is used for validating the model. Both data sets reveal power-law-distributed spring discharges with similar scaling exponents. These are, however, slightly larger than the exponent predicted by the model. As a further result, the distributions of the residence times strongly differ between homogeneous porous media and optimized flow patterns, while the mean residence times are similar in both cases.

Incipient vertical traction carpets within collapsed sinkhole fills, 2014,

Small vertically oriented traction carpets are reported from the collapsed sandy fills of 100 m deep Devonian limestone sinkholes underlying the Lower Cretaceous Athabasca oil sands deposit in north-eastern Alberta, Western Canada. Dissolution of 100 m of underlying halite salt beds caused cataclysmic collapse of the sinkhole floors and water saturated sinkhole sand fills to descend very rapidly. Turbulent currents flushed upper sinkhole fills of friable sandstone blocks and disaggregated sand and quartz pebble for tens of metres. Laminar deposits with inverse grading accumulated as many as six to eight curvilinear entrained pebble streaks, 10 to 30 cm long, vertically impinged against the sides of descending collapse blocks. These deposits were initiated as vertically oriented early stage traction carpets that interlocked fine sand grains and inversely graded overlying pebbles entrained below the dilute overlying turbulent flows. Vortexes that flushed these sinkhole fills and induced these depositional processes may have lasted only seconds before the very rapid descents abruptly halted. Some of the fabrics were suspended vertically in-place and preserved from unlocking and obliteration. These small fabrics provide insight into the instability and ephemeral character of the transition from strong gravity-driven grain falls to very early stages of traction carpet formation. These short-lived deposits of very thin sand layers resulted from sufficient incipient frictional freezing that grain interlocking overcame, however briefly, the strong gravity drives of the vertical falls that would have otherwise dispersed grains and obliterated any organized fabric patterns. Tenuous frictionally locked grains were also suspended at the centres of hyperbolic grain fall flows that briefly developed between turbulent flow eddies, some of which were fortuitously preserved. Some of these suspended grain locking zones passed downward onto the relatively more stable surfaces of the rapidly descending block surfaces. The morphogenesis of these early stage traction carpets differ from more fully developed deposits elsewhere because of their short-lived transport, dynamic instability and vertical orientation.

Tectonic control of cave development: a case study of the Bystra Valley in the Tatra Mts., 2015, Szczygieł Jacek, Gaidzik Krzysztof, Kicińska Ditta

Tectonic research and morphological observations were carried out in six caves (Kalacka, Goryczkowa, Kasprowa Niżna, Kasprowa Średnia, Kasprowa Wyżnia and Magurska) in the Bystra Valley, in the Tatra Mountains. There are three cave levels, with the youngest active and the other two inactive, reflecting development partly under epiphreatic and partly under phreatic conditions. These studies demonstrate strong control of the cave pattern by tectonic features, including faults and related fractures that originated or were rejuvenated during uplift, lasting from the Late Miocene. In a few local cases, the cave passages are guided by the combined influence of bedding, joints and fractures in the hinge zone of a chevron anticline. That these cave passages are guided by tectonic structures, irrespective of lithological differences, indicates that these proto-conduits were formed by "tectonic inception”. Differences in the cave pattern between the phreatic and epiphreatic zones at a given cave level may be a result of massif relaxation. Below the bottom of the valley, the effect of stress on the rock mass is related to the regional stress field and only individual faults extend below the bottom of the valley. Thus in the phreatic zone, the flow is focused and a single conduit becomes enlarged. The local extension is more intense in the epiphreatic zone above the valley floor and more fractures have been sufficiently extended to allow water to flow. The water migrates along a network of fissures and a maze could be forming. Neotectonic displacements (of up to 15 cm), which are more recent than the passages, were also identified in the caves. Neotectonic activity is no longer believed to have as great an impact on cave morphology as previously was thought. Those faults with displacements of several metres, described as younger than the cave by other authors, should be reclassified as older faults, the surfaces of which have been exposed by speleogenesis. The possible presence of neotectonic faults with greater displacements is not excluded, but they would have had a much greater morphological impact than the observed features suggest.

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