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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 stress, seepage is when water flows through a porous medium, force is transferred from the water to the medium by viscous friction. the force transferred to the medium is equal to the loss of hydraulic head. this force, called seepage force, is exerted in the direction of flow [21].?

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 glacio-karst (Keyword) returned 6 results for the whole karstbase:
Un exemple de karst haut-alpin : le Dsert de Plat (Haute-Savoie), 1984, Maire, R.
AN EXAMPLE OF HIGH ALPINE KARST: THE DSERT DE PLAT (HAUTE-SAVOIE) - Situated in the French Northern Alps between 1600m and 2800m elevation, the Dsert de Plat is characterised by a wet, cold and very snowy climate (P = 2400-2800 mm/year). We observe several morphoclimatic levels: the upper mountain karst (1500-1700m), the subalpine karst (1700-1950m), the alpine karst (1950 - 2600m) and the proglacial karst (well developed in the Haut-Giffre massif. Glacio-karstic landforms like cirque-dolines and pavements (Schichttreppenkarst) are inherited from the quaternary glaciations. The deep karst underlines the part of quaternary climatic sequence with complex drainage and fillings. Now, the karstic flow is a nival type (maximum during the spring and summer minimum) but the hydrochemical cycles are opposite (spring minimum). Nevertheless, because of a very abundant underground discharge during hot season (80%), the exported limestone reaches 75% of annual amount. The specific dissolution is strong (104 mm/ky), but it does not reach the optimum of forest mountain karst, like Vercors (120-170mm/ky).

Apports des datations U/Th dans la karstogense de la Grande Moucherolle-Rochers de la Balme (Vercors), 1986, Delannoy J. J. , Holliger Ph.
234 U - 230 Th DATING OF SPELEOTHEMS AND KARSTOGENESIS OF THE "GRANDE MOUCHEROLLE-ROCHERS DE LA BALME" (VERCORS) - In this article, is presented a first geomorphological and speleological synthesis of the subalpine karst of the Grande Moucherolle (2285 m) - Rochers de Ia Balme. This area of Vercors (Alps), which has 8 caves deeper than 300m (Antre des Damns -720m; Clos de La Fure -580m...) is surely the most promising sector from a speleological point of view. Through the study of the glacio-karstic landforms and the distri-bution of the great caves, it seems that there is a real relation between these two parameters. In order to evaluate the contribution of quaternary glaciations in the genesis of caves, isotopic dating (234U-230Th) have been performed on underground carbonated deposits. After a presentation of the chronometric method 234U-230Th, the results are analysed according to their speleological environment. A paleogeographic reconstitution through the middle and recent Quaternary is proposed for the geosystem of the Grande Moucherolle - Rochers de la Balme.

Le karst alpin des Mts. Retezat (Carpathes mridionales, Roumanie), 1991, Badescu, D.
THE ALPINE KARST 0F RETEZAT M0UNTAINS (ROMANIA) - The limestone area of the Retezat Mountains (2079 m), in the Carpathian range (Transylvania), is the principal alpine karst of Romania. It is formed by a syncline structure of jurassic limestone covering a crystalline precambrian basement. The mountain climate is wet (1400 mm/year) and continental. The glacio-karstic morphology (glacial cirque, dry valleys) is developed on a tertiary polygenic surface folded and uplifted since the Oligocene and Neogene. The catchment basin (85 km2) feeds the Izvorul Cernei karst spring (0,5-10 m3/s), the most important of Romania. Water tracings (s = 55 m/h) and statistical studies on caves suggest the development of a complex karst system. 50% of underground waters come from the running off on the precambrian basement and explain the rate of sodium. The majority of the potholes and glacires are situated above 1700m; the deepest is Stna Tomii cave (-136m) with a 115m direct pit.

Glacio-karsts gypseux de la zone polaire et periglaciaire: Exemple du Spitzberg et de Siberie orientale,, 1992, Pulina M.

Alpine karsts. Genesis of large subterranean networks. Examples : the Tennengebirge (Austria) - the Ile de Crémieu, the Chartreuse and the Vercors (France), PhD Thesis, 1993, Audra, Philippe

This work, based on the study of several underground alpine networks, aims to propose some milestone in the history of these karstic regions.

The first part of the work is made up of three regional studies.

The Tennengebirge mountains are a massif of the limestone High Alps in the region of Salzburg in Austria. A cone karst close to the base level developed in the Neogene. Streams from the Alps fed the karst, resulting in the huge horizontal networks of which the Eisriesenwelt provides evidence. During the successive phases of upthrust, the levels of karstification, whether on the surface or deeper down, settled into a tier pattern, thus descending in stages from the base level. From the Pliocene era onwards, thanks to an increase in potential, alpine shafts replace the horizontal networks. The formation of these shafts is more pronounced during glaciation. The study of the Cosa Nostra - Bergerhöhle system developing 30 km of conduits on a gradient reaching almost 1 500 m provides a fairly full view of the karstification of this massif. It includes the horizontal levels developed in the Miocene and the Plio-Pleistocene, joined together by vertical sections. The most noteworthy features of the Tennengebirge, as in the neighboring massifs, lie first and foremost in the extreme thickness of the limestone which has recorded and immunized the differents steps of karstification. Secondly, the size of the networks can be, for the most part, accounted for by the contribution of allogenous waters from the streams of the Neogene and the glaciers of the Pleistocene. Generally sudden and unexpected, these flows of water engendered heavy loads (up to 600 m), simultaneously flooding several levels. To a lesser extent, the situation is similar today.

The Ile de Cremieu is a low limestone plateau on the western edge of the Jura. Due to its location in the foothills, the lobes of the Rhône glacier have covered it up, obliterating the surface karst. However, widespread evidence of anteglacial morphologies remains : paleokarst, cone karst, polygenic surface. Because of glacial plugging, access to the underground karst is limited. The main cavity is the cave of La Balme. Its initial development dates back to an early period. The morphological study has permitted the identification of several phases which go back to the Pleistocene and which are related to the Rhône glacier. The latter brought about modifications in the base level by supplying its merging waters as well as moraine material. These variations in the base level shaped the drainage structure. The underground glacial polishes are one of the noteworthy aspects recorded.

The massives of the Moucherotte and dent de Crolles belong to the northern French Prealps. They conceal large networks, respectively the Vallier cave and the Dent de Crolles. They were formed in the early Pliocene after the final orogenic phase and are in the form of horizontal conduits. The upthrust, which brought about the embanking of the Isère valley, left them in a perched position by taking away the basin which fed them. They were later, however, able to take advantage of waters from the Isère glacier during a part of the Pleistocene. The Vallier cave contains particularly glacio-karstic sediments of the lower Pleistocene, representing unique evidence of glaciation during this period. The vertical networks were put in place at the end of the Pliocene with the increase in karstification potential ; they underwent changes in the Pleistocene due to the effect of autochton and allogenous glaciers.

The second part of the work deals in general with the various forms and processes of karstification, sometimes going beyond the Alps. The study of cave deposits is a privileged tool in the understanding and reconstruction not only of the history of the networks but also the regional environment. The dating of speleothems by the U / Th method has very ofen given an age of over 350 000 years. The age of the networks is confirmed by the use of paleomagnetism which has yielded evidence of speleothems and glacio-karstic sediments anterior to 780 000 years. Anisotropic measurements of magnetic susceptibility have been used to distinguish the putting into place of glacio-karstic deposits by decantation.

Measurements of calcite rates lead to a typology of sediments based on their nature and carbonate content (rehandled weathered rocks, fluvial sands, carbonated varves, decantation clays). Granulometry confirms this differenciation by supplying precise details of transport and sedimentation modes : suspension and abrupt precipitation of clay, suspension and slow decantation of carbonated varves, suspension and rolling together with a variable sorting of sand and gravel. Mineralogical analyses oppose two types of detrital deposits. On the one hand, the rehandling of antequaternary weathered rocks extracted by the karst as a result of scouring during environmental destabilization and on the other hand, sediments characteristic of the ice age of the Pleistocene. The latter are not highly developed and their arrival in the karst is always later. Examination of heavy minerals, the morphoscopy of quartz grains and study of micromorphologies on thin blades provide precise details of conditions of evolution. The use of these methods of investigation allows for an accurate definition of the features of the evolution of the differents types of fillings, particularly speleothems, rehandled weathered rocks as well as carbonated varves. This wealth and complexity are emphasized by a detailed study of the sedimentary sequences of the Vallier cave and of the Bergerhöhle.
Speleogenesis is approached last of all in the light of above study. Emphasis is placed on the major part played by corrosion in the temporarily phreatic zone and on its many consequences (multi-level concept, simultaneous evolution of levels, origin of deep waterlogged karsts…).
Varia tions in the base level have induced karstification in contexts in which the potential was weak. These were followed by periods of increased potential to which were added the effects of glaciation. Perched horizontal levels belong to the first stages which ended in the early Pliocene, whereas alpine shafts developed in the second context. The role of structure and the parameters governing the shape of conduits (pits, meanders, canyons) are also dealt with. The different parts of the karst are borne in mind when dealing with the strength of karstic erosion during the ice age. It notably appears that it is weak on the crests and more or less non-existent in the deep parts of the karst which are liable to flooding. Finally, a preliminary analysis of an observation of neotectonic traces is presented.


The deepest cave in the world in the Arabika Massif (Western Caucasus), 2008, Klimchouk A. B. , Samokhin G. V. & Kasjan Yu. M.

Arabika is an outstanding high-mountain karst massif in the Western Caucasus composed of Lower Cretaceous and Upper Jurassic limestones continuously dipping southwest to the Black Sea shore and plunging below the sea level. The central sector (elevations within 2000-2700 m) is characterized by pronounced glacio-karstic landscape and hosts several deep caves including the deepest cave in the world (Krubera-Voronja Cave) recently explored to the depth of -2191 m.  Dye tracing experiments conducted in 1984-1985 revealed that the Krubera Cave area is hydraulically connected with major springs at the Black Sea shore and the submarine discharge, with the flow directed across major fold structures. Krubera Cave has an extremely steep profile and reveals a huge thickness of the vadose zone. Its lower boundary is at elevation of about 110 m, which suggests a very low overall hydraulic gradient of 0.007-0.008. Reported low salinity groundwater tapped by boreholes in the shore area at depths 40-280, 500, 1750 and 2250 m, which suggests the existence of deep flow system with vigorous flow. Submarine discharge in the Arabika coast is reported at depths up to ca. 400 m bsl. Huge closed submarine depression is revealed at the sea-floor in front of Arabika with the deepest point of ca. 400 m bsl. These facts point to a possibility that the main karst system in Arabika could have originated in response to the Messinian salinity crisis (5.96 – 5.33 Myr) when the Black Sea could have almost dried up, similarly to the adjacent Mediterranean where the sea level drop up to 1600 m is well established. Further development of the huge vadose zone and a super-deep cave have been caused by subsequent uplifts during Pliocene-Pleistocene, highly differential between the shore sector (0.1-0.2 km of total uplift) and the central sector (2-2.5 km) of Arabika.


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