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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 drawdown curve is a plot of drawdown with radial distance from a well [16].?

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


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Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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Karst environment, Culver D.C.
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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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Caves of Vakuta, Trobriand Islands, Papua, 1969,
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Ollier C. D. , Holdsworth D. K

In a previous paper (1968a) we described caves of Kiriwina, the largest of the Trobriand Islands, a group of coral islands situated 100 miles off the north-east coast of Papua. This paper records caves of Vakuta, a smaller island south of Kiriwina. Vakuta is shaped like a boomerang (Figure 1) and is separated from the southern tip of Kiriwina by Kasilamaka Passage, about half a mile wide. The area of Vakuta Island is approximately 11 square miles. The island contains three villages, the most important being Vakuta Village which has a Methodist (now United Church) Mission. A track links Vakuta Village to Kasilamaka Passage which can be crossed by native canoe; the track continues on Kiriwina to Losuia, 40 miles north. Vakuta Island has a population of about 500. The Vakutans are of the same mixed Melanesian-Polynesian stock as the people of Kiriwina. Woodcarving is not practised to the same extent as in Kiriwina and the quality is generally low. However, some canoes have particularly well decorated prows. The influence of the Mission is very evident in the dress of the Vakutans and in the village, old cast-off clothing, often quite dirty, is the rule. In the fields the women wear grass and fibre skirts though the men were not seen to wear a pubic leaf as usual in Kiriwina, but shorts. Papuan Airlines operate a weekly flight between Port Moresby and Losuia, the Administration Centre, using Skyvan aircraft. Weekend tourist charter flights in DC-3 aircraft arrive frequently, but irregularly, from Port Moresby and occasionally from Lae and Rabual. The authors visited Vakuta Island in December, 1968. Guides were recruited locally and we were fortunate to be assisted by Mr. Gilbert Heers, the only European resident of the island, who speaks fluent Kiriwini which made communication with our guides relatively easy. With his help, we were able to obtain accounts of the legends and traditions associated with the caves on the island. We have also had valuable discussions about Vakuta and the customs and legends of the Trobriand Islands with Mr. Lepani Watson, M.H.A., who was born on Vakuta, and Mr. John Kasaipwalova, a Trobriand Islander now studying at the University of Queensland. We are most grateful for the assistance of these people. Although the most accurate map of the Trobriands is an Admiralty chart, the authors used an old U.S. Army map which was based on a pre-war Government survey. The caves were roughly surveyed using 100 ft tape, prismatic compass and abney level. The village rest-house became the social centre of the village during our stay. We had no difficulty in finding food. A surprising variety of foods such as yams, sweet potato, eggs, pineapples, soursop, tomatoes and fresh coconut appeared and payment was accepted eagerly in stick tobacco and newspaper. Payment in cash was rarely appreciated, though it will become more useful now that a trade store has been established by the Village Co-operative. To avoid repetitive explanations of features in the accounts of individual caves, various general topics will be discussed first.


A new species of the subterranean Amphipod genus Allocrangonyx (Gammaridae), with a redescription of the genus and the remarks on its zoogeography., 1971,
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Holsinger John R.
The systematics of the North American, subterranean amphipod genus Allocrangonyx are revised and two species are recognized; A. pellucidus (Mackin) and A. hubrichti, new species. Allocrangonyx is critically compared with the European genus Niphargus and several endemic North American genera of the Crangonyx group. Because of its unique morphological position, Allocrangonyx is removed from the Crangonyx group and placed in the newly designated AlIocrangonyx group. Some factors believed to have influenced speciation within the genus are discussed in some detail.

A new species of the subterranean Amphipod genus Allocrangonyx (Gammaridae), with a redescription of the genus and the remarks on its zoogeography., 1971,
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Holsinger John R.
The systematics of the North American, subterranean amphipod genus Allocrangonyx are revised and two species are recognized; A. pellucidus (Mackin) and A. hubrichti, new species. Allocrangonyx is critically compared with the European genus Niphargus and several endemic North American genera of the Crangonyx group. Because of its unique morphological position, Allocrangonyx is removed from the Crangonyx group and placed in the newly designated AlIocrangonyx group. Some factors believed to have influenced speciation within the genus are discussed in some detail.

Some Caves of Kitava, Trobriand Islands, Papua, 1971,
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Ollier C. D. , Holdsworth D. K

The Trobriand group of coral islands is situated 100 miles off the north-east coast of Papua, north of the D'Entrecasteaux Islands. Kitava, the most easterly island of the group, is approximately 4~ miles by 2~ miles. It is 15 miles east of Wawela on the main island of Kiriwina, though 50 miles by sea from Losuia around the north coast of Kiriwina. The population is approximately 2,000 natives, the majority being subsistence farmers and fishermen. No Europeans live on the island. Yams, taro, sweet potatoes and bananas are the main garden products. Fish, chickens and eggs are eaten, and pigs are used in ceremonial feasts or "sing-sings" . Kitava is served by occasional boats, but cannot be reached by air. The Administration boat, "The Pearl", is based at Losuia and calls at irregular intervals of a few weeks, the journey from Losuia taking about five hours. Kitavans travel far in their canoes, and the ceremonial Kula trade involves journeys to other Trobriand islands, the Amphletts, Dobu and the Woodlark Islands. The authors spent four days on Kitava in May, 1969, and lived in a native house near the village of Bomapou in the north of the island. Trade tobacco was used as currency to pay for food, and to pay guides and carriers. A trade store has since been established near the beach, a mile from the main village of Kumwageya, and payment in cash may be more acceptable in future. Children appreciate being paid in chewing gum, known throughout the islands as "P.K.". Very little English is spoken on the island and we were fortunate in having the company of Mr. Gilbert Heers who speaks the Kiriwinan language fluently.


Cave Paintings From Kitava, Trobriand Islands, Papua, 1971,
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Ollier C. D. , Holdsworth D. K

Kitava is the most easterly island of the Trobriand group. It is an uplifted coral atoll, oval in plan, with a maximum diameter of 4 1/2 miles. The centre of the island is swampy and surrounded by a rim that reaches a height of 142 m. Caves occur in various parts of the rim and several have been described in a previous article (Ollier and Holdsworth, 1970). One of the caves, Inakebu, is especially important as it contains the first recorded cave drawings from the Trobriand Islands. Inakebu is situated on the inner edge of the island rim at the north-eastern end of the island. Map 1 shows the location of the cave on Kitava Island. Map 2 is a plan of the cave, surveyed by C.D. Ollier and G. Heers. The location of the cave drawings is shown on the plan. Inakebu is a "bwala", that is a place where the original ancestor of a sub-clan or dala is thought to have emerged from the ground. The bwala tradition is common throughout the Trobriands and neighbouring islands. It has been described by many writers on the anthropology of the area, and was summarised in Ollier and Holdsworth (1969). The people believe that if they enter such places they will become sick and die. Until November, 1968, no member of the present native population had been in the cave, though there is a rumour that a European had entered it about 20 years before, but turned back owing to lack of kerosene. It must be admitted that this tale sounds rather like the stories one hears in Australia that Aborigines were afraid of the dark caves and therefore did not go into them. In fact, the many discoveries in the Nullarbor Plain caves show that they did, and the cave drawings in Inakebu show that someone has been in this cave. The point is that it does not seem to be the present generations who entered the caves but earlier ones; people from "time before" as they say in New Guinea. The first known European to enter the cave was Gilbert Heers, a trader in copra and shell who lived on the nearby island of Vakuta. He went into the cave on 8 November 1968 accompanied by Meiwada, head of the sub-clan associated with Inakebu, who had never been inside before. Heers and Meiwada investigated the two outer chambers but then turned back because they had only poor lights. They returned with better light on 15 November. Since they had not become sick or died, they then found seven other men willing to accompany them. They found the narrow opening leading to the final chamber, and discovered the drawings. None of the men, many of whom were quite old, had ever seen the drawings or heard any mention of them before. The drawings are the only indication that people had previously been in this deep chamber. There are no ashes or soot marks, no footprints, and no pottery, bones or shells such as are commonly found in other Trobriand caves, though bones and shells occur in the chamber near the entrance. With one exception, the drawings are all on the same sort of surface, a clean bedrock surface on cream coloured, fairly dense and uniform limestone, with a suitably rough texture. Generally the surface has a slight overhang, and so is protected from flows or dripping water. On surfaces with dripstone shawls or stalactites, the drawings were always placed between the trickles, on the dry rock. We have found no examples that have been covered by a film of flow stone. The one drawing on a flow stone column is also still on the surface and not covered by later deposition. A film of later deposit would be good to show the age of the drawings, but since the drawings appear to have been deliberately located on dry sites the lack of cover does not indicate that they are necessarily young. There are stencil outlines of three hands, a few small patches of ochre which do not seem to have any form, numerous drawings in black line, and one small engraving.


The second International Colloquium on the Genera Niphargus and Gammarus, Lyon, 1973. Review on the Niphargus working group., 1973,
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Ginet Rene
Following the First Colloquium held at Verona in 1969, it was planned to hold at Lyon in July, 1973, the Second International Colloquium dealing with the genus Niphargus and also with the genus Gammarus. As subject matter in discussions dealing with the first of these genera, the meeting was devoted mainly the balancing the various viewpoints (based on the European approach) and initiating a collective study of the systematics of these hypogean Amphipoda. The systematics are currently quite confused. Several modifications of the propositions of the Colloquium at Verona (published in 1972) were discussed. A third Colloquium, with the same objectives, is planned after an interval of three years.

Description of the male of Mexistenasellus parzefalli (cavernicolous Crustacea Isopoda Asellota of Mexico) and observations on this species., 1973,
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Magniez Guy
Description of the male of the Mexican cavernicolous Stenasellid Mexistenasellus parzefalli Magniez, 1972, from Huizache Cave, San-Luis Potosi State, Mexico. In the female with a brood pouch, the coxopodit of the maxilliped contains two provisional, oostegit-like plates, whereas the ovigerous female of european Stenase1lids have only the inner one. This temporary sexual female character is known in other Isopods, such as the cavernicolous Caecosphaeroma burgundum Dollfus.

Ecological and evolutive aspects of the communities of temperate and tropical caves: observations on the biological cycles of some species of Ptomaphagus (Coleoptera Catopidae)., 1973,
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Sbordoni Marina Cobolli, Sbordoni Valerio
Differences between tropical and temperate cave communities are an important topic in the actual biospeleological thinking. Among the most striking differences is the paucity of terrestrial troglobites in tropical caves. This fact may depend on the higher energy input into tropical caves which lessens the selection pressures for energy-economizing troglobite adaptations. Consequently evolutionary rates would be slowed in tropical caves and, in a date group, troglobites would appear later in such caves than in temperate ones with lower energy input. In order to investigate this point the authors studied the degree of adaptation to the cave environment in two species of Mexican Ptomaphagus which, being phylogenetically related, probably descend from the same epigean ancestor. Among these species the first one, P. troglomexicanus Peck, lives in a typical temperate cave (i.e. cold, high altitude cave, with scarce food supply) in the Sierra de Guatemala (Tamaulipas), the other one, P. spelaeus (Bilimek), populates tropical caves (i.e. warm, lowland cave, with rich food supply) in the State of Guerrero. In addition a comparison is made with P. pius Seidlitz, an epigean species from southern Europe. The results show a striking difference between P. troglomexicanus on a side and the other two species. Differences chiefly concern morphological features such as relative antenna length, structural complexity (i.e. the number of sensilla) of the antenna chemioreceptor organs in the 70, 90, 100 segments, degree of reduction of eye, wing and pigmentation and physiological ones such as the length of the life cycle. The possible causes of these differences are discussed. According to the authors these differences appear due to the different selection pressures acting in the two types of caves. In addition a comparison between the "tropical cave" species, P. spelaeus, with the epigean one, P. pius, does not point out the differences that one could expect by the diverse ecology of these species. These observations support the idea that evolutionary rates in cavernicoles are strongly affected by the ecology of the cave, mainly depending on the degree of energy input, and are poorly consistent with the hypothesis that mutations affecting degenerative processes are selectively neutral.

The second International Colloquium on the Genera Niphargus and Gammarus, Lyon, 1973. Review on the Niphargus working group., 1973,
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Ginet Rene
Following the First Colloquium held at Verona in 1969, it was planned to hold at Lyon in July, 1973, the Second International Colloquium dealing with the genus Niphargus and also with the genus Gammarus. As subject matter in discussions dealing with the first of these genera, the meeting was devoted mainly the balancing the various viewpoints (based on the European approach) and initiating a collective study of the systematics of these hypogean Amphipoda. The systematics are currently quite confused. Several modifications of the propositions of the Colloquium at Verona (published in 1972) were discussed. A third Colloquium, with the same objectives, is planned after an interval of three years.

Description of the male of Mexistenasellus parzefalli (cavernicolous Crustacea Isopoda Asellota of Mexico) and observations on this species., 1973,
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Magniez Guy
Description of the male of the Mexican cavernicolous Stenasellid Mexistenasellus parzefalli Magniez, 1972, from Huizache Cave, San-Luis Potosi State, Mexico. In the female with a brood pouch, the coxopodit of the maxilliped contains two provisional, oostegit-like plates, whereas the ovigerous female of european Stenase1lids have only the inner one. This temporary sexual female character is known in other Isopods, such as the cavernicolous Caecosphaeroma burgundum Dollfus.

Ecological and evolutive aspects of the communities of temperate and tropical caves: observations on the biological cycles of some species of Ptomaphagus (Coleoptera Catopidae)., 1973,
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Sbordoni Marina Cobolli, Sbordoni Valerio
Differences between tropical and temperate cave communities are an important topic in the actual biospeleological thinking. Among the most striking differences is the paucity of terrestrial troglobites in tropical caves. This fact may depend on the higher energy input into tropical caves which lessens the selection pressures for energy-economizing troglobite adaptations. Consequently evolutionary rates would be slowed in tropical caves and, in a date group, troglobites would appear later in such caves than in temperate ones with lower energy input. In order to investigate this point the authors studied the degree of adaptation to the cave environment in two species of Mexican Ptomaphagus which, being phylogenetically related, probably descend from the same epigean ancestor. Among these species the first one, P. troglomexicanus Peck, lives in a typical temperate cave (i.e. cold, high altitude cave, with scarce food supply) in the Sierra de Guatemala (Tamaulipas), the other one, P. spelaeus (Bilimek), populates tropical caves (i.e. warm, lowland cave, with rich food supply) in the State of Guerrero. In addition a comparison is made with P. pius Seidlitz, an epigean species from southern Europe. The results show a striking difference between P. troglomexicanus on a side and the other two species. Differences chiefly concern morphological features such as relative antenna length, structural complexity (i.e. the number of sensilla) of the antenna chemioreceptor organs in the 70, 90, 100 segments, degree of reduction of eye, wing and pigmentation and physiological ones such as the length of the life cycle. The possible causes of these differences are discussed. According to the authors these differences appear due to the different selection pressures acting in the two types of caves. In addition a comparison between the "tropical cave" species, P. spelaeus, with the epigean one, P. pius, does not point out the differences that one could expect by the diverse ecology of these species. These observations support the idea that evolutionary rates in cavernicoles are strongly affected by the ecology of the cave, mainly depending on the degree of energy input, and are poorly consistent with the hypothesis that mutations affecting degenerative processes are selectively neutral.

A new interstitial Asellid from southern Spain: Bragasellus boui n.sp. (Crustacea Isopoda Asellota) and some reflections on European Asellidae genera., 1974,
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Henry Jean Paul, Magniez Guy
Description of a new, unpigmented and eyeless Asellid, belonging to the iberian genus Bragasellus Henry et Magniez, 1968. Eragasellus boui, n.sp., lives on the bottom of a river that is a tributary of Guadalquivir River (Southern Spain). Bragasellus, Proasellus, Stygasellus and Synasellus are four genuine phyletic lines of European Asellidae, all of them independent of each other, and the authors confirm their validity as true genera.

Ecological and Faunistic Data on the Stenasellidae (Crustacea Isopoda Asellota of Subterranean Waters)., 1974,
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Magniez Guy
Some important morphological features, which are discussed here, point out that the Stenasellids (Crustacea Isopoda Asellota) must be considered as a true family (Stenasellidae), independent from the Asellidae. A definition and a renewed diagnosis of the Stenasellidae Dudich, 1924, are given. Their relationships must be pursued, especially in the marine Parastenetroidea and in the psammic Microcerberidae. Until 1938, the group was known only from subterranean waters of southern Europe. Now, several genera and many thermophile species from north-tropical underground waters have been discovered in Africa (5 gen., 12 sp.), Asia (1 gen., 2 sp.) and Central America (1 gen., 4 sp.). The Stenasellids are very active burrowers. Such a behaviour explains how their phyletic lines had colonized the continental underground waters, by migrations from the littoral gravels to the underflow of rivers, phreatic alluvial waters and fnally, to the karstic waters. The typical medium for the life of the group is represented by the phreatic zones of African shields arenas. In European phyletic lines, the speciation seems to be linked with tertiary subsidences (within the Tyrrhenian area, for the line of Stenasellus virei). The European species which have survived quaternary glaciations may have diversified themselves (rising of subspecies), recolonizing newly vacant biotopes in postglacial ages.

The life cycle of a Kentuky cave beetle, Ptomaphagus hirtus, (Coleoptera; Leiodidae; Catopinae)., 1975,
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Peck Stewart B.
Ptomaphagus hirtus has been successfully kept in laboratory culture at 12.5C with food in surplus at all times. Eggs hatched in 18.5 days. Three larval instars were present, which had a total larval life span of 42 days. The pupal stage lasted 32 days. Adult males and adult females had average life spans of 2.2 years and 1.6 years respectively. Maximum adult longevity was 4.2 years. Females reached reproductive maturity a month after eclosion, young and old females produced one egg every 3.5 and 3.8 days respectively, and were reproductively active for as long as 2.5 years. Compared to European cave catopid beetles, this is a primitive or unmodified life cycle.

Recent karyological research on cave planarians from Europe., 1976,
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Gourbault Nicole
Very few studies have been involved with karyology in Planarian living in total darkness. The first results indicate however, that most of the hypogeous Paludicoles have a diploid chromosome number notably superior to the similar surface forms. In another connection a relative uniformity of the morphology of the chromosome is observed in the same group, so that the studied karyotypes show a similar general aspect.

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