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Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology


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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 hydraulic conductivity is 1. a proportionality constant relating hydraulic gradient to specific discharge which for an isotropic medium and homogeneous fluid, equals the volume of water at the existing kinematic viscosity that will move in unit time under a unit hydraulic gradient through a unit area measured at right angles to the direction of flow [22]. 2. the volume of water that will move through a medium in a unit of time under a unit hydraulic gradient through a unit area measured perpendicular to the direction of flow [22]. 3. the ability of a rock unit to conduct water under specified conditions [10]. it is typically expressed as gpd/ft2, ft/day, or m/day.?

Checkout all 2699 terms in the KarstBase Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms


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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 desertification (Keyword) returned 9 results for the whole karstbase:
Surface and subsurface environmental degradation in the karst of Apulia (southern Italy), 2003,
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Parise M. , Pascali V. ,
Karst environments are highly vulnerable to a variety of degradation and pollution problems. Geology (fractured carbonate rocks), morphology (presence of a network of cavities produced by karst processes), and hydrogeology (rapid concentrated flow through fractures and conduits) of karst carbonates strongly favour the movement of contaminants towards the water table. In particular, poor quality of subsurface water can derive from polluting substances flowing at the surface, and/or by direct immission of liquid and solid waste into the water table through the systems of conduits and joints in the rock mass. As a consequence, water quality can deteriorate severely, which implies very high economic and social costs in order to clean the polluted sites and restore the original situation. In some cases, such as when the original karst morphology is changed because of anthropogenic interventions, the variations created in the landscape are not recoverable, and a loss of sites of naturalistic interest has to be registered. High vulnerability of a typical karst region of the Mediterranean area is illustrated in this paper by describing some case studies from Apulia, southern Italy. The Apulia region, where karst processes have had a prominent role in the development of the present landscape, is mostly underlain by intensely karstified limestone. Two cases of pollution due to solid waste into karst cavities (Grave di S. Leonardo in the Gargano Promontory and Grave Pelosello in the Murge plateau), landscape transformation in the Minervino Murge area, and degradation of Gravina Monsignore, a typical karst valley in southeastern Murge, are described in the paper. In two out of four cases, degradation of the sites was discovered thanks to activity from local speleologists, who also acted as promoters for cleaning and safeguarding the polluted sites. These examples underline well the mismanagement of karst territories (in particular, the common practice to dump refuse into sinkholes and caves), the pollution of limestone aquifers, and the effects that such pollution in karst areas might have in terms of the risk to public health

How types of carbonate rock assemblages constrain the distribution of karst rocky desertified land in Guizhou Province, PR China: Phenomena and mechanisms, 2004,
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Wang S. J. , Li R. L. , Sun C. X. , Zhang D. F. , Li F. Q. , Zhou D. Q. , Xiong K. N. , Zhou Z. F. ,
In Southwestern China karst rocky desertification (a process of land degradation involving serious soil erosion, extensive exposure of basement rocks, drastic decrease of soil productivity and the appearance of a desert-like landscape) results from irrational land use on the fragile, thin karst soil. Soil particles in the Guizhou karst plateau were accumulated predominantly from residues left behind after the dissolution of carbonate rocks, and the thickness of the soil layer is related to the amount of argillaceous substances in the lost carbonate rock. This paper examines the spatial distribution of karst rocky desertified (KRD) land in Guizhou Province, and relates it to the different assemblages of basement carbonate rocks. Types of carbonate rock assemblages are discussed using a 1 : 500000 scale digital-distribution map. Their distribution and sensitivity to erosion are analysed, demonstrating that the occurrence of KRD land is positively correlated to homogeneous carbonate rocks. Differences in physical and chemical properties of limestone and dolomite rocks lead to differences in dissolution, accumulation rate of soil particles and relief on the surface, and these factors influence land-use potential.

Karst rocky desertification in southwestern China: Geomorphology, landuse, impact and rehabilitation, 2004,
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Wang S. J. , Liu Q. M. , Zhang D. F. ,
Karst rocky desertification is a process of land degradation involving serious soil erosion, extensive exposure of basement rocks, drastic decrease in soil productivity, and the appearance of a desert-like landscape. It is caused by irrational, intensive land use on a fragile karst geo-ecological environment. The process is expanding rapidly, and it is daily reducing the living space of residents and is the root of disasters and poverty in the karst areas of southwestern China. The tectonic, geomorphic and environmental background to karst rocky desertification is analysed. Population pressure and the intensive land use that have led to this serious land degradation are described. Although the problem concerns the Chinese Government and some profitable experience in the partial restoration or reconstruction of the ecological environment has been gained, effective remedial action has not been achieved on a large scale.

Natural and anthropogenic hazards in karst areas of Albania, 2004,
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Parise M. , Qiriazi P. , Sala S. ,
In Albania, about one quarter of the country is occupied by outcroppings of soluble rocks; thus, karst represents an important and typical natural environment. Today karst areas are seriously threatened by a number of hazards, of both natural and anthropogenic origin. Many problems are related to agricultural practices: the use of heavy machinery, ever-increasing in recent years, results at many sites in destruction of the original karst landscapes. Use of pesticides and herbicides, in addition, causes the loss of karst ecosystems of great biological relevance, as has been observed in the Dumre district, where about 80 lakes of karst origin are present in the evaporites of Permian-Triassic age. Agricultural practice performed on slopes with medium to high gradient is a further factor which greatly predispose the slopes to erosion. The cave heritage of Albania (estimated so far in about 1000 caves) is at risk because of the uncontrolled quarrying activities which determine the total or partial destruction of karst caves, including many of naturalistic, archaeological and speleological interest. Many caves have also become sites of illegal disposal of solid and liquid wastes, which causes pollution of the karst ecosystems and of the aquifer therein present, with heavy negative consequences on the quality of water. Even though most of the cases here mentioned are related to anthropogenic activities, the natural hazards, such as subsidence phenomena, floods, and the development of sinkholes, have not to be disregarded

Protection of Karst in the Philippines., 2006,
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Restificar S. D. F. , Day M. J. , Urich P. B.
The article presents an overview of the current status of karst protection in the Philippines. Prior studies indicate that of the 35,000km2 of karst landscape in the country, about 29% is protected . However, protection of karst has not to date been a priority of the Philippine government, and the country has no existing legislation that is directly decreed for protection and conservation of karstlands. Most contemporary karst protection is indirect, in that the karst is located within protected areas established for other, although often related reasons, such as ecological conservation, water supply protection and tourism. However, it appears that the Philippine government is gradually recognizing explicitly the need to protect karst landscapes. The establishment of the National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act in 2001 and the inclusion of karst water resources in the countrys National Action Plan (NAP) under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) are significant steps towards explicit protection of karst areas. Although the existing legislation only addresses specific facets of karst landscape, it may stimulate additional programs and legislation that will more broadly protect karst landscapes nationally. Philippines, karst, caves, protected areas, environmental legislation

Assessment of karst rocky desertification using the radial basis function network model and GIS technique: a case study of Guizhou Province, China, 2006,
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Huang Q. H. , Cai Y. L. ,
Karst rocky desertification in karst areas of Southwest China is an obstacle for the sustainable development of the locality. While many researchers have studied this issue, this study quantified the various indicators affecting desertification, using GIS technology to extract spatial data and to construct a RBFN (radial basis function network) model for Guizhou province. By calibrating sample data of the different levels of karst rocky desertification, the model parameters were established, and then the assessment of karst rocky desertification. Results show that in counties of Southwestern Guizhou Province karst rocky desertification is severe, counties in northern Guizhou have moderate desertification, and southeastern counties are affected lightly. Comparison of the results with other research shows conformity with actual conditions, proving the reasonability and applicability of the RBFN model

OBSERVATIONS OF PLIOCENE KARSTS FOSSILIZED BY QUATERNARY EOLIAN SILTS IN THE MATMATA MOUNTAINS (SOUTH-EAST TUNISIA), 2012,
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Sghari, Abdeljalil

The submeridional Dahar chain in southeastern Tunisia is over 200 km long. It is separated from the Mediterranean Sea by the Jeffara plain with some tens of kilometers in width. This landscape continues to the South into Libya, but to the North, the chain ends with the Matmata mountains which form a plateau slightly inclined to the west and some 10 km wide. The eastern scarp shows a mainly calcareous geological stratigraphy from Upper Permian to the Senonian. The Dahar-Matmata structure belongs to the Sahara platform and shows a hiatus during the whole Tertiary, since it was emerged since Upper Cretaceous. The Tunisian Atlas nearby shows a completely different paleogeographic evolution, with a complete Tertiary series and a later Plio-Quaternary structuration. These two paleogeographic domains of Southern Tunisia, the Sahara Atlas and the NE border of the Sahara platform, were influenced by the Messinian crisis (5.9 Ma to 5.3 Ma). This was expressed by the collapse of the Mediterranean Sea level, profoundly modifying the fluvial dynamics with an inversion of the erosional system, from normal erosion to regressive erosion. It results a deepening of canyons in the downstream part and a deepening of the watercourses in the upstream part. The geological structures in the Messinian have been deeply affected by these large eustatic changes, with an incision of cluses in the Atlas and the deposition of a thick clayeysandy series that we could recently link to deltaic systems and Gilbert deltas. The re-establishment of seaways between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and the subsequent infill in the Lower Pliocene (Zanclean transgression), with an important inpact in Southern Tunisia, had multiple consequences in that region. The newly adjusted sealevel, together with a more humid climate that was confirmed by faunal and floral extension oof tropical plants in Northern Africa, stimulated an important karstification of the limestone areas. In the Dahar chain, caves, dolines, karstic depressions or karstic dry valleys emerged, the most spectacular ones being found in the Matmata Mountains. The karstic depressions are the forms that represent best this Pliocene karstification that surely was interrupted in an early stage, because localized endokarstic forms had not enough time to develop. So the karstification seems to have been active in Matmata from 5.4 to 4.0 million years, i.e. two times as long than the duration of the Messinian crisis. The interruption of karstification is due to an increase in temperature and dryness, which even gets more intense during the Pliocene, pulverizing the soils. Already at the beginning of the desertification, a calcareous crust forms by rapid cristallization of dirt. It is immediately transported from the karstic zones to the Jeffara plain. This transfer fo dissolved calcite was the origin of the resistant calcitic crust well known in the Jeffara plain. We now identified the same crust in a karstic depression in the Matmata Mountains, opening the way to new geomorphologic and tectonic interpretations, and a review of the eolian silts formerly attributed to the Upper Pleistocene. Later, during Upper Pliocene-Gelasian, we observe a general tectonic uplift of the Dahar chain and the Matmata Mountains as well as the subsidence of the Jeffara plain at the Medenine fault (NW-SE), prolonging the large Gafsa fault towards the East. The karstic paleoforms were thus uplifted more than 500 m, but nevertheless remain open on the Jeffara plain, as seen by large depressions. As a consequence, the karstic depressions of Matmata played the role of traps for eolian silts blown from the Jeffara plain during the extreme desertification in the Upper Pliocene-Gelasian. The morphological reconstruction since the Messinian shows a succession of important events during the Pliocene that profoundly influenced the Quaternary. All indications permit to reject the hypothesis that the Matmata silts came from the West (Eastern Erg).

 


OBSERVATIONS OF PLIOCENE KARSTS FOSSILIZED BY QUATERNARY EOLIAN SILTS IN THE MATMATA MOUNTAINS (SOUTH-EAST TUNISIA), 2012,
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Sghari, Abdeljalil

The submeridional Dahar chain in southeastern Tunisia is over 200 km long. It is separated from the Mediterranean Sea by the Jeffara plain with some tens of kilometers in width. This landscape continues to the South into Libya, but to the North, the chain ends with the Matmata mountains which form a plateau slightly inclined to the west and some 10 km wide. The eastern scarp shows a mainly calcareous geological stratigraphy from Upper Permian to the Senonian. The Dahar-Matmata structure belongs to the Sahara platform and shows a hiatus during the whole Tertiary, since it was emerged since Upper Cretaceous. The Tunisian Atlas nearby shows a completely different paleogeographic evolution, with a complete Tertiary series and a later Plio-Quaternary structuration. These two paleogeographic domains of Southern Tunisia, the Sahara Atlas and the NE border of the Sahara platform, were influenced by the Messinian crisis (5.9 Ma to 5.3 Ma). This was expressed by the collapse of the Mediterranean Sea level, profoundly modifying the fluvial dynamics with an inversion of the erosional system, from normal erosion to regressive erosion. It results a deepening of canyons in the downstream part and a deepening of the watercourses in the upstream part. The geological structures in the Messinian have been deeply affected by these large eustatic changes, with an incision of cluses in the Atlas and the deposition of a thick clayeysandy series that we could recently link to deltaic systems and Gilbert deltas. The re-establishment of seaways between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and the subsequent infill in the Lower Pliocene (Zanclean transgression), with an important inpact in Southern Tunisia, had multiple consequences in that region. The newly adjusted sealevel, together with a more humid climate that was confirmed by faunal and floral extension oof tropical plants in Northern Africa, stimulated an important karstification of the limestone areas. In the Dahar chain, caves, dolines, karstic depressions or karstic dry valleys emerged, the most spectacular ones being found in the Matmata Mountains. The karstic depressions are the forms that represent best this Pliocene karstification that surely was interrupted in an early stage, because localized endokarstic forms had not enough time to develop. So the karstification seems to have been active in Matmata from 5.4 to 4.0 million years, i.e. two times as long than the duration of the Messinian crisis. The interruption of karstification is due to an increase in temperature and dryness, which even gets more intense during the Pliocene, pulverizing the soils. Already at the beginning of the desertification, a calcareous crust forms by rapid cristallization of dirt. It is immediately transported from the karstic zones to the Jeffara plain. This transfer fo dissolved calcite was the origin of the resistant calcitic crust well known in the Jeffara plain. We now identified the same crust in a karstic depression in the Matmata Mountains, opening the way to new geomorphologic and tectonic interpretations, and a review of the eolian silts formerly attributed to the Upper Pleistocene. Later, during Upper Pliocene-Gelasian, we observe a general tectonic uplift of the Dahar chain and the Matmata Mountains as well as the subsidence of the Jeffara plain at the Medenine fault (NW-SE), prolonging the large Gafsa fault towards the East. The karstic paleoforms were thus uplifted more than 500 m, but nevertheless remain open on the Jeffara plain, as seen by large depressions. As a consequence, the karstic depressions of Matmata played the role of traps for eolian silts blown from the Jeffara plain during the extreme desertification in the Upper Pliocene-Gelasian. The morphological reconstruction since the Messinian shows a succession of important events during the Pliocene that profoundly influenced the Quaternary. All indications permit to reject the hypothesis that the Matmata silts came from the West (Eastern Erg).


Carbon cycle in the epikarst systems and its ecological effects in South China, 2012,
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Jiang Z. , Lian Y. , Qin X.

The carbon cycle in a global sense is the biogeochemical process by which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere, pedosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the earth. For epikarst systems, it is the exchange of carbon among the atmosphere, water, and carbonate rocks. Southern China is located in the subtropical zone; its warm and humid weather creates favorable conditions for the dynamic physical, chemical, and ecological processes of the carbon cycle. This paper presents the mechanisms and characteristics of the carbon cycle in the epikarst systems in south China. The CO2 concentration in soils has clear seasonal variations, and its peak correlates well with the warm and rainy months. Stable carbon isotope analysis shows that a majority of the carbon in this cycle is from soils. The flow rate and flow velocity in an epikarst system and the composition of carbonate rocks control the carbon fluxes. It was estimated that the karst areas in south China contribute to about half of the total carbon sink by the carbonate system in China. By enhancing the movement of elements and dissolution of more chemical components, the active carbon cycle in the epikarst system helps to expand plant species. It also creates favorable environments for the calciphilic plants and biomass accumulation in the region. The findings from this study should help in better understanding of the carbon cycle in karst systems in south China, an essential component for the best management practices in combating rock desertification and in the ongoing study of the total carbon sink by the karst flow systems in China


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