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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 specific yield is the ratio of the volume of water that a given mass of saturated rock or soil will yield by gravity to the volume of that mass. this ratio is stated as a percentage [6].?

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.
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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 thorium (Keyword) returned 18 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 18
Eine weitere Methode zur absoluten Altersbestimmung von Tropfsteinen., 1964,
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Trimmel, H.
[Uran-Thorium-Methode, Italien]

A High-Resolution Record of Holocene Climate Change in Speleothem Calcite from Cold Water Cave, Northeast Iowa, 1992,
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Dorale Ja, Gonzalez La, Reagan Mk, Pickett Da, Murrell Mt, Baker Rg,
High-precision uranium-thorium mass spectrometric chronology and 18O-13C isotopic analysis of speleothem calcite from Cold Water Cave in northeast Iowa have been used to chart mid-Holocene climate change. Significant shifts in [dagger]18O and [dagger]13C isotopic values coincide with well-documented Holocene vegetation changes. Temperature estimates based on 18O/16O ratios suggest that the climate warmed rapidly by about 3{degrees}C at 5900 years before present and then cooled by 4{degrees}C at 3600 years before present. Initiation of a gradual increase in [dagger]13C at 5900 years before present suggests that turnover of the forest soil biomass was slow and that equilibrium with prairie vegetation was not attained by 3600 years before present

Geomagnetic palaeosecular variation recorded in North And Central American speleothems, PhD thesis, 1995,
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Lean, C. M. B.

The aim of this project was to collect samples of stalagmites from Northern and Central America in order to produce records of the palaeosecular variation of the earth's magnetic field. Two stalagmites were sampled from Western Canada and ten from Mexico and Guatemala which could be compared with contemporaneous stalagmite records from these areas (Latham, 1981; Latham et al, 1982; 1986; 1987; 1989).
The stalagmites were generally weakly magnetised but remanence directions were stable upon stepwise thermal and alternating-field demagnetisation. Consistency in directions recorded between central and corresponding lateral sub-samples within two stalagmites (MSC2 from Canada and CP1 from Guatemala) inferred that any depositional errors caused by surface effects were less than the measurement errors. Grain size analysis showed the presence of a fine-grained magnetic fraction (0.01 - 0.1?:m) sourced from the cave drip-waters (either by direct deposition or by chemical precipitation) and a coarser magnetic fraction (0.01 - >10?:m) sourced from the flood-borne detritus. The latter source was dominant in stalagmites which were regularly inundated with water. The type of magnetic mineral present was determined by the geology of the catchment area; magnetite dominated in the Vancouver Island stalagmites, titanomagnetite in the Mexican stalagmites and haematite in the Guatemalan stalagmite.
Uranium-series dating of samples was hindered by the young ages of many of the samples, by low uranium concentrations and by the presence of allogenic thorium. If significant amounts of allogenic thorium were present, a sample age could be calculated based on an estimate of the initial thorium ratio ([230Th/232Th]0). Analysis of samples from Sumidero Recuerdo in Mexico, however, suggested that this ratio is not constant with time and may vary by a factor of two over approximately 1700 years. Due to these imprecisions many dates were out of stratigraphic sequence and age estimates were made assuming constant growth rates, except where growth had ceased for a finite length of time.
Records of sequential change of palaeomagnetic direction were obtained from the Mexican stalagmite SSJ3 and the Canadian stalagmite MSC2. The reliability of the latter record was confirmed by comparison with another Canadian stalagmite record (Latham et al, 1987) and contemporaneous lacustrine records. Other records were disappointing due to poor temporal resolution; each sub-sample represented a period of approximately 1000 years in Mexican stalagmites SSJ2 and SSJ4. Such slow growth rates are insufficient for the resolution of secular variation features with periods of less than 2000 years and are only suitable to gain information about the nature of long-term secular variations, for example the far-sided virtual geomagnetic poles and low inclinations predominant throughout the Holocene in Southern Mexico.
The existence of matching contemporaneous stalagmite records of secular variation together with the demonstrated lack of depositional inclination errors is encouraging, despite the sometimes "hit or miss" aspects of sample selection. Nevertheless it has been proved that speleothem records have the potential to complement the existing archaeomagnetic, lava and lacustrine data.


Dated co-occurrence of Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus from Tham Khuyen Cave, Vietnam, 1996,
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Ciochon R, Long Vt, Larick R, Gonzalez L, Grun R, Devos J, Yonge C, Taylor L, Yoshida H, Reagan M,
Tham Khuyen Cave (Lang Son Province, northern Vietnam) is one of the more significant sites to yield fossil vertebrates In east Asia, During the mid-1960s, excavation in a suite of deposits produced important hominoid dental remains of middle Pleistocene age, We undertake more rigorous analyses of these sediments to understand the fluvial dynamics of Pleistocene cave infilling as they determine how skeletal elements accumulate within Tham Khuyen and other east Asian sites, Uranium/thorium series analysis of speleothems brackets the Pleistocene chronology for breaching, infilling, and exhuming the regional paleokarst, Clast analysis indicates sedimentary constituents, Including hominoid teeth and cranial fragments, accumulated from very short distances and under low fluvial energy, Electron spin resonance analysis of vertebrate tooth enamel and sediments shows that the main fossil-bearing suite (S1-S3) was deposited about 475 thousand years ago, Among the hominoid teeth excavated from S1-S3, some represent Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus blacki, Criteria are defined to differentiate these teeth from more numerous Pongo pygmaeus elements, The dated cooccurrence of Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus blacki at Tham Khuyen helps to establish the long co-existence of these two species throughout east Asia during the Early and Middle Pleistocene

Palaeosecular variation observed in speleothems from western China and northern Spain, PhD thesis, 1996,
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Openshaw, S. J.

This study has produced records of the palaeosecular variation (PSV) of the earth's magnetic field from Speleothems from China and Spain. The ultimate aim of this project was to produce contemporaneous PSV records which would show that Speleothems accurately record ambient geomagnetic field behaviour. From Sichuan Province, China, five Speleothems were collected of which four were studied for their records of PSV. Eight Spanish Speleothems from the Cantabrian coast were collected but their weak magnetisation allowed only one record of PSV to be produced.
All speleothem sub-samples were weakly magnetised and had, on average, initial intensities of <100 x 10-8 Am2kg-1. Despite this, the majority of sub-samples were stable during stepwise alternating-field and thermal demagnetisation and each displayed a single component of magnetisation after removal of any secondary overprints. Rock magnetic experiments were hampered by low mineral concentrations but suggested that the remanences of each speleothem were carried by a mixture of multi and single-domain (titano-) magnetite and also by haematite present in significant quantities. The primary method of remanence acquisition appeared to be a depositional remanence sourced from flooding. This was corroborated by a linear relationship between sub-sample intensities and weight % acid insoluble detritus.
A selection of sub-samples from each speleothem were dated using uranium-thorium disequilibrium and alpha spectrometry. For the majority of sub-samples the low concentrations of uranium, high levels of detrital contamination and initially low chemical yields raised the associated dating inaccuracies above the quoted level for alpha spectrometry of 5-10%. Two Spanish Speleothems had high uranium concentrations and little, or no, detrital contamination. Percent age errors of these Speleothems ranged from 1 to 6%. Comprehensive experiments on the efficiencies of three electrodeposition methods were also undertaken. The most efficient method was found to be a modified version of the Hallstadius method (Hallstadius, 1984), which consistently achieved chemical yields between 40 and 90% for uranium and thorium.
In order to correct more analytically for the presence of detrital contamination, the leachate/leachate method of Schwarcz and Latham (1989) was tested. The maximum likelihood estimation data treatment technique (Ludwig and Titterington, 1994) was used to calculate dates from these analyses. Tests on Mexican speleothem SSJ2 gave excellent results allowing a revised dating scheme to be adopted. Tests on some sub-samples from Chinese Speleothems were generally unsuccessful due to analytical errors.
The isotope 210Pb was used to date the top surface of one speleothem. A constant growth rate was inferred which was significantly less than that calculated from the 230Th - 234U dating method. This was thought to be due to the former techniques inability to resolve growth rates of periods of less than 200 years.
Despite the dating errors associated with each speleothem the records of PSV compare well with each other and with contemporaneous records from China, Japan and also the UK (for the Spanish record). In addition. agreement with PSV data modelled from observatory records suggested that westward drift of the non-dipole geomagnetic field was predominant during the past 10ka.


Protactinium-231 Dating of Carbonates by Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry: Implications for Quaternary Climate Change, 1997,
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Edwards Rl, Cheng H, Murrell Mt, Goldstein Sj,
Measurement of protactinium-231 ($^{231}$Pa) in carbonates by thermal ionization mass spectroscopy yields $^{231}$Pa ages that are more than 10 times more precise than those determined by decay counting. Carbonates between 10 and 250,000 years old can now be dated with $^{231}$Pa methods. Barbados corals that have identical $^{231}$Pa and thorium-230 ($^{230}$Th) ages indicate that the timing of sea level change over parts of the last glacial cycle is consistent with the predictions of the Astronomical Theory. Two Devils Hole calcite subsamples record identical $^{231}$Pa and $^{230}$Th ages, suggesting that the chronology of this climate record is accurate

Trace element (Th, U, Pb, REE) behaviour in a cryptokarstic halloysite and kaolinite deposit from Southern Belgium: importance of 'accessory' mineral formation for radioactive pollutant trapping, 2002,
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De Putter T, Andre L, Bernard A, Dupuis C, Jedwab J, Nicaise D, Perruchot A,
Hectometer wide cryptokarsts in Paleozoic limestone from Southern Belgium have been studied, to determine to what extent U, Th, Ph and rare earth elements (REE) have been mobilized in the karst sedimentary filling, during a Miocene weathering event. The weathering process resulted in the massive halloysite/kaolinite formation at the karst wall. As with most fossil systems, data on weathering fluid chemistry are lacking, hence it is difficult to quantify relevant parameters such as pH, Eh, and to address solution chemistry. However, on the basis of both field studies of more recent systems, and of geochemical modeling, it is proposed that moderately acid fluids percolated through a multi-layer sedimentary filling, in near-surface conditions and in a temperate/warm climate. Special attention is paid to the trace element immobilization/trapping processes, in newly crystallized REE phosphates, at the karst wall. Analytical methods used include major/trace element geochemistry (emission ICP, ICP-MS) and mineralogy (XRD, SEM, TEM, microprobe). The results suggest that both the sandy sediments that are in contact with the karst carbonate wall, and the carbonate wall itself acted as a kind of geochemical 'barrier'. Mineralization cells settled there, at the decimeter to meter scale. This results in sequential trace element (Pb, Th, REE, U) trapping, according to the affinity of these elements for the aqueous solution. At the end of the sequence, minute U-rich automorphic (Ce, Nd) monazite crystals (from 3 nm upwards) formed on kaolinite flakes. Though the analogy between the studied cryptokarst and planned surface-based repositories for low-level radioactive waste (LLW) in argillaceous context is far from complete, the results outlined here are relevant because they show that even in natural-i.e. intrinsically uncontrolled and unmonitored-systems, 'pollutant' radionuclide (U, Th, REE, Pb) migration paths are often limited in space. Various processes converge towards trapping of these elements, that are present in the radioactive waste. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved

Holocene Forcing of the Indian Monsoon Recorded in a Stalagmite from Southern Oman, 2003,
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Fleitmann D, Burns Sj, Mudelsee M, Neff U, Kramers J, Mangini A, Matter A,
A high-resolution oxygen-isotope record from a thorium-uranium-dated stalagmite from southern Oman reflects variations in the amount of monsoon precipitation for the periods from 10.3 to 2.7 and 1.4to 0.4thousand years before the present (ky B.P.). Between 10.3 and 8 ky B.P., decadal to centennial variations in monsoon precipitation are in phase with temperature fluctuations recorded in Greenland ice cores, indicating that early Holocene monsoon intensity is largely controlled by glacial boundary conditions. After [~]8 ky B.P., monsoon precipitation decreases gradually in response to changing Northern Hemisphere summer solar insolation, with decadal to multidecadal variations in monsoon precipitation being linked to solar activity

Depositional and post-depositional history of warm stage deposits at Knocknacran, Co. Monaghan, Ireland: implications for preservation of Irish last interglacial deposits, 2004,
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Vaughan A. P. M. , Dowling L. A. , Mitchell F. J. G. , Lauritzen S. E. , Mccabe A. M. , Coxon P. ,
Organic-rich deposits, uncovered during overburden removal from mantled gypsum karst at Knocknacran opencast gypsum mine, Co. Monaghan, are the best candidate to date for a last interglacial record in Ireland. The two till and organic-rich deposits (preserved at different quarry elevations) were emplaced on to a Tertiary dolerite surface during high-energy flood events and subsequently folded and faulted by movement towards sinkholes in underlying gypsum. Uranium-thorium disequilibrium dating suggests that the organic-rich deposits in the upper section were hydrologically isolated at ca. 41 ka and those in the lower section at ca. 86 ka. Interpretation of the pollen content, although tentative because of the depositional and post-depositional history of the material, suggests that the organic material originated in a warm stage possibly warmer than the post-Eemian interstadials. The unusual setting of preservation may indicate that in situ, last interglacial deposits have generally been removed by erosion in Ireland.

Timing and dynamics of the last deglaciation from European and North African [delta]13C stalagmite profiles--comparison with Chinese and South Hemisphere stalagmites, 2006,
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Genty D, Blamart D, Ghaleb B, Plagnes V, Causse C, Bakalowicz M, Zouari K, Chkir N, Hellstrom J, Wainer K, Bourges F,
The last deglaciation and its climatic events, such as the Bolling-Allerod (BA) and the Younger-Dryas (YD), have been clearly recorded in the [delta]13C profiles of three stalagmites from caves from Southern France to Northern Tunisia. The three [delta]13C records, dated by thermal ionization mass spectrometric uranium-thorium method (TIMS), show great synchroneity and similarity in shape with the Chinese cave [delta]18O records and with the marine tropical records, leading to the hypothesis of an in-phase (between 15.5 and 16 ka ~0.5 ka) postglacial warming in the Northern Hemisphere, up to at least 45[deg]N. The BA transition appears more gradual in the speleothem records than in the Greenland records and the Allerod seems warmer than the Bolling, showing here close similarities with other marine and continental archives. A North-South gradient is observed in the BA trend: it cools in Greenland and warms in our speleothem records. Several climatic events are clearly recognizable: a cooler period at about 14 ka (Older Dryas (OD)); the Intra-Allerod Cold Period at about ~13.3 ka; the YD cooling onset between 12.7 and 12.90.3 ka. Similar to the BA, the YD displays a gradual climate amelioration just after its onset at 12.750.25 ka, up to the Preboreal, and is punctuated by a short climatic event at 12.15 ka. Even though the Southern Hemisphere stalagmite records seem to indicate that the postglacial warming started about ~3 ka1.8 ka earlier in New Zealand (~41 [deg]S), and about ~1 to ~2 ka earlier in South Africa (24.1 [deg]S), large age uncertainties, essentially due to slow growth rates, make the comparison still perilous. The overall [delta]13C speleothem record seems to follow a baseline temperature increase controlled by the increase in insolation and punctuated by cold events possibly due to the N-America freshwater lake discharges

Das Alter der Stalagmiten im Katerloch (2833/59): Erste Ergebnisse der Uran/Thorium Datierung, 2006,
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Boch R, Sptl C. , Kramers J.
For the first time precise ages are reported for stalagmites from Katerloch, one of Austrias most prominent dripstone caves. Age determinations using the mass-spectrometric Uranium/Thorium method were performed on drill cores taken near the base of dripstone formations. Seven stalagmites were sampled and yielded an age spectrum ranging from ca. 10,000 years before present to older than 450,000 yr. Two stalagmites formed during the Last Interglacial (basal ages of ca. 130,000 yr), while two other stalagmites, which are still active today, started growing at the onset of the current interglacial (the Holocene) ca. 11,000 - 10,000 yr ago. Based on these chronological data a mean growth rate of 0.3-0.5 mm/yr is calculated for these up to several meter long Holocene stalagmites, which is markedly faster than growth rates known from stalagmites in cooler, alpine caves.

Altersbestimmungen an zwei groen Stalagmiten der Grasslhhle (2833/60), 2006,
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Boch R, Sptl C. , Kramers J.
The occurrence of a generation of speleologically young speleothems in Grassl Cave (Styria, Austria) is documented by conventional radiocarbon analyses of predominantly small stalagmites (Trimmel, 2002). The present article reports the first age determinations on tall stalagmites typical of this cave using the Uranium/Thorium method. Two samples each of two stalagmites were obtained and analyzed. These four measurements yielded reliable results and demonstrate that the age of both stalagmites is beyond the dating limit of the U/Th method, i.e. it is older than ca. 450,000 years. The results can be regarded as a first piece of evidence that tall dripstone formations in Grassl Cave have rather old ages.

Thorium-uranium ratios of rocks and speleothems based on the high-resolution gamma-spectrometry, 2009,
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Gudzenko V. V.

High-precision 238U234U230Th disequilibrium dating of the recent past: a review, 2009,
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Zhao Jianxin, Yu Kefu, Feng Yuexing

Although it was demonstrated 20 years ago that mass spectrometric U–Th methods are capable of highprecision dating of young corals, the use of this approach to decipher recent environmental, climatic and archaeological records is still restricted and its potential has not yet been widely recognised. U–Th methods are typically used to determine the ages of carbonate materials such as speleothem and coral. Dating young carbonates of this sort is challenging. Their extremely low 230Th content necessitates stricter instrumental and laboratory conditions than those required for dating older samples. Moreover, analyses must be corrected for the presence of non-radiogenic 230Th, which is proportionally far more significant than in older samples. Nevertheless, 2s precisions of around _1–10 years are readily achievable for pristine coral samples dating from the last 500 years. Although the range of analytical precisions for speleothems may vary more widely depending on U concentrations and levels of nonradiogenic 230Th correction, published studies reveal 2s precisions of around _10–80 years for typical speleothems. This paper demonstrates how the U–Th method may be applied to establish the causes of recent coral mortality, to determine the recurrence interval of extreme wave events, to investigate earthquake frequency and neotectonic uplift, to reconstruct recent climatic history, and to understand settlement patterns and sociopolitical changes in Polynesia prior to European contact.


Wachstumsphasen von Stalagmiten im Katerloch (2833/59), 2010,
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Boch R. , Sptl C. , Kramers J.
This article gives an overview on the time intervals in the past documented by absolutely dated stalagmites from Katerloch Cave, one of Austrias most well known and highly decorated dripstone caves. The dating results are compared with those of two other caves in the region, Blasloch and Moos - schacht. Multiple subsamples obtained along the growth axes of eight stalagmites from Katerloch were analyzed by a state-ofthe- art Uranium-Thorium dating technique. In total, 83 individual measurements were conducted, and this data set is currently one of the most comprehensive ones of caves in the Alpine realm. Four stalagmites (K1, K3, K7, K8) and a segment of stalagmite K5 formed during the current warm period (Holocene). K8 started its growth 2.4 kyr before present (1 kyr = 1000 years), i.e. during the Iron Age. Three stalagmites (K1, K3, K7) formed between 11 and 10 kyr, i.e. during the early Holocene, and the largest stalagmite (K7, 170 cm) stopped growing already 6.5 kyr before present. The average growth rate of these samples ranges from 0.2 to 0.7 mm/yr, which is very high compared to typical stalagmites from alpine cave sites. Stalagmites K5 and K6 grew for a few thousand years after ca. 59 and 60 kyr, respectively, i.e. during the last ice age (Wrmian Glacial). The mean growth rates are significantly lower (0.1-0.2 mm/yr). The two oldest of the eight stalagmites studied (K2 and K4) formed since ca. 129 kyr, i.e. during the early Last Interglacial. The mean growth rates (0.5-0.6 mm/yr) were similar to those in the Holocene. In addition, dating of drill cores from large, in-situ stalagmites in Katerloch revealed ages of more than half a million years (Boch et al., 2006a).

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