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Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology


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Community news

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 water table is 1. the top surface of a body of slowly moving ground water that fills the pore spaces within a rock mass. above it lies the freely draining vadose zone, and below it lies the permanently saturated phreas. in uniform aquifers, such as sandstone, the water table is a smoothly contoured surface intersecting the ground at rivers and lakes, but in limestone it is more complex. individual cave conduits may be above or below the water table, and therefore either vadose or phreatic, and the water table cannot normally be related to them. the water table concept does, however, apply to the diffuse drainage of percolation water in the micro-fissure network of limestone, but its detailed structure may be complicated by the presence of conduits. the watertable slope (hydraulic gradient) is low in limestone due to the high permeability, and the level is controlled by outlet springs or local geological features. high flows create steeper hydraulic gradients and hence rises in the water level away from the spring. in france's grotte de la luire, the water level in the cave (and therefore the local water table) fluctuates by 450m [9]. 2. the upper surface of a zone of saturation except where that surface is formed by a confining unit [22]. 3. the upper surface of the zone of saturation on which the water pressure in the porous medium equals atmospheric pressure [22]. 4. the upper boundary of an unconfined zone of saturation, along which the hydrostatic pressure is equal to the atmospheric pressure [10]. see also potentiometric surface.?

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 o-18 (Keyword) returned 27 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 27 of 27
Identifying the flow systems in a karstic-fissured-porous aquifer, the Schneealpe, Austria, by modelling of environmental O-18 and H-3 isotopes, 2002,
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Maloszewski P. , Stichler W. , Zuber A. , Rank D. ,
The Schneealpe karst massif of Triassic limestones and dolomites with the altitude up to 1800 m a.s.l., situated 100 km SW of Vienna in Kalkalpen, is the main drinking water resource for the city. The catchment area of about 23 km(2) is drained by two springs: the Wasseralmquelle (196 Vs) and the Siebenquellen (310 1/s). This karstic aquifer is approximated by two interconnected parallel flow systems of: (a) a fissured-porous aquifer, and (b) karstic channels. The fissured-porous aquifer is of a high storage capacity and contains mobile water in the fissures and stagnant water in the porous matrix. The water enters this system at the surface and flows through it to drainage channels, which are regarded as a separate flow system, finally drained by both springs. The channels are also connected with sinkholes, which introduce additional water directly from the surface, Measurements of O-18 and tritium in precipitation and springs were modelled by a combined application of lumped-parameter models. Modelling yielded information on the mean values of the following hydraulic parameters: (1) The volume of water in the whole catchment area is 255 X 10(6) m(3), of which about 1.8 X 10(6) m(3) are in channels and 253 X 10(6) m(3) in the fissured-porous aquifer. (2) The total volumetric flow rate is 506 1/s, of which 77 1/s comprises direct flow from sinkholes to springs and 429 1/s are contributed to fissured-porous aquifer. (3) As the volume of the massif is 16.6 x 10 m(3), the total water saturated porosity (fissures and micropores of the matrix) is 1.5% and the channel porosity is about 0.01%. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Using stable isotope analysis (delta D-delta O-18) to characterise the regional hydrology of the Sierra de Gador, south east Spain, 2002,
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Vandenschrick G. , Van Wesemael B. , Frot E. , Pulidobosch A. , Molina L. , Stievenard M. , Souchez R. ,
Water stress is rapidly increasing in many Mediterranean coastal zones mainly due to expansion in agriculture and tourism. In this paper, we focus on the Sierra de Gador-Campo de Dalias aquifer system (southeastern Spain) in order to assess the capability of water stable isotope analysis (deltaD-delta(18)O) to refine the understanding on recharge of this karstic aquifer system. Different types of surface and groundwater were sampled along an altitudinal gradient from the recharge zone in the mountains to the coastal plain. Surface water is restricted to local runoff, collected in closed reservoirs. Runoff amounts, collected in three of these reservoirs were monitored together with the precipitation in their catchments. Meteorological maps were used to detect the origin of the precipitation generating the majority of the runoff. The results were compared to literature data on local and regional precipitation. The use of oxygen and hydrogen isotopic composition has proved to be a useful tool to explain the origin of groundwater in a Mediterranean karstic system. Such studies are, however, not numerous and are often limited to local scale recharge for fast-reacting systems. This paper focuses on the delta(18)O-deltaD relationships of local precipitation to explain the isotopic variability of a large karstic aquifer system. The isotopic compositions of groundwater sampled along an altitudinal gradient from the recharge zone to the coastal plain are well displayed, in a deltaD-delta(18)O diagram, on a mixing line connecting a pole of Mediterranean waters to a pole of Atlantic waters. The Atlantic signature predominates in the shallow groundwater of natural springs, reflecting the rainfall which produced the local runoff sampled. The Mediterranean signature is mainly restricted to deep groundwater from boreholes in the coastal plain. The existence of a degree of spatial separation of groundwater types demonstrates that groundwater flow in a complex karstic system is not always continuous. The Mediterranean signature of deep groundwater could be due to past extreme rainfall events during which connectivity between recharge and reservoir exists, while at the same time the Atlantic signature of recent winter rains dominates in shallow groundwater. The assumption that an equilibrium in isotopic composition is established within a continuous aquifer and that therefore a slope lower than 8 in a deltaD-delta(18)O diagram indicates evaporation is not necessarily valid.

Carbon 13 of TDIC to quantify the role of the unsaturated zone: the example of the Vaucluse karst systems (Southeastern France), 2003,
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Emblanch C, Zuppi Gm, Mudry J, Blavoux B, Batiot C,
The total dissolved inorganic carbon (TDIC) and C-13(TDIC) have been used as chemical and isotopic tracers to evaluate the contribution of different water components discharging at the Fontaine de Vaucluse karst spring near Avignon. At the same time they have been used to separate its flood hydrograph. Waters flowing from unsaturated zone (UZ) and saturated zone (SZ) show similar concentration in TDIC. In UZ and SZ water rock interactions do not obey to the same kinetic. The mixing rate between water coming from the UZ characterised by a short residence time and water from the SZ with a longer residence time has been evaluated in the spring discharge. In a hydrodynamic system, which is rather complex as it is open to the soil CO2 in UZ and closed to the same CO2 in the SZ, C-13(TDIC) has excellent characteristics as an environmental tracer. In order to better describe the inwardness of mass movements within the aquifer, the apparent contrasting information obtained using two different isotopes (O-18 of water molecules and C-13 of TDIC) must be combined. O-18 informs whether the hydrodynamic system acts as piston flow (PF) or follows a well mixing model (WMM). Conversely, C-13 gives more complete information on the UZ contributes to the total discharge. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Differences in the C-14 age, delta C-13 and delta O-18 of Holocene tufa and speleothem in the Dinaric Karst, 2003,
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Horvatincic N. , Bronic I. K. , Obelic B. ,
We studied Holocene speleothems and tufa samples collected in numerous caves and rivers in the Dinaric Karst of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Serbia and Montenegro. Differences in the formation process of tufa and speleothems are discussed in the context of their isotopic composition (C-14, C-13 and O-18), as well as the chemistry of surface water (rivers, lakes) and drip water (in caves). The physical and chemical parameters monitored in the surface water (tufa precipitation) and drip water (speleothem precipitation) show that more stable conditions accompany speleothem rather than tufa formation. This is particularly obvious in the water temperature variations (2-22degreesC in surface water and 7-12degreesC in drip water) and in saturation index variation (3-11 in surface water and 1-6 in drip water). The range of C-14 ages recorded by Holocene speleothems (similar to 12 000 yr) is wider by several thousands years than that of Holocene tufa samples (similar to 6000 yr). delta(13)C values for tufa samples range from -12parts per thousand to -6parts per thousand and for speleothem samples from -12parts per thousand to ?? per thousand reflecting higher soil carbon and/or vegetation impact on the process of tufa than on speleothem formation. The differences in delta(18)O values of tufa and speleothem samples from different areas reflect different temperature conditions and differing isotopic composition in the water. The study shows that speleothems from the Dinaric Karst can be used as global palaeoclimatic records, whereas tufa records changes in the local palaeoenvironment. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Linear model describing three components of flow in karst aquifers using O-18 data, 2004,
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Long A. J. , Putnam L. D. ,
The stable isotope of oxygen, 180, is used as a naturally occurring ground-water tracer. Time-series data for 5 180 are analyzed to model the distinct responses and relative proportions of the conduit, intermediate, and diffuse flow components in karst aquifers. This analysis also describes mathematically the dynamics of the transient fluid interchange between conduits and diffusive networks. Conduit and intermediate flow are described by linear-systems methods, whereas diffuse flow is described by mass-balance methods. An automated optimization process estimates parameters of lognormal, Pearson type III, and gamma distributions, which are used as transfer functions in linear-systems analysis. Diffuse flow and mixing parameters also are estimated by these optimization methods. Results indicate the relative proximity of a well to a main conduit flowpath and can help to predict the movement and residence times of potential contaminants. The three-component linear model is applied to five wells, which respond to changes in the isotopic composition of point recharge water from a sinking stream in the Madison aquifer in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Flow velocities as much as 540 m/d and system memories of as much as 71 years are estimated by this method. Also, the mean, median, and standard deviation of traveltimes; time to peak response; and the relative fraction of flow for each of the three components are determined for these wells. This analysis infers that flow may branch apart and rejoin as a result of an anastomotic (or channeled) karst network. Published by Elsevier B.V

Use of stable isotopes to quantify flows between the Everglades and urban areas in Miami-Dade County Florida, 2004,
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Wilcox W. M. , Sologabriele H. M. , Sternberg L. O. R. ,
An isotopic study was performed to assess the movement of groundwater for a site located in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The site encompasses portions of a protected wetland environment (northeast Everglades National Park) and suburban residential Miami, incorporating municipal pumping wells and lakes formed by rock mining. Samples of ground, surface, and rainwater were analyzed for their isotopic composition (oxygen-18 and deuterium). Various analytical and graphical techniques were used to analyze this data and two conceptual box models were developed to quantify flows between different regions within the site. Results from this study indicate that the aquifer underlying the study site (the Biscayne aquifer) is highly transmissive with the exception of two semi-confining layers of reduced hydraulic conductivity. Everglades surface water infiltrates into the aquifer and migrates east toward residential areas. In these urban areas, 'shallow' groundwater (above the deeper semi-confining layer) is substantially affected by urban rainfall while 'deep' groundwater (below the deeper semi-confining layer) maintains a composition similar to that of Everglades water. Rock mining lakes in the area provide 'breaks' in the semi-confining layers that allow for mixing of shallow and deep groundwater. As water travels eastward, municipal well intakes, screened to a depth below the deeper semi-confining layer, draw upon not only shallow urban water (predominantly comprised of urban rainfall) and lake water (having influences from both urban rainfall and Everglades water) but also deep water that originated in the Everglades. Results from one of the box models estimate that over 60% of the water being removed by municipal pumping originated in the Everglades. These conclusions suggest that Everglades water, both directly through deep groundwater flow and indirectly through mixing with rock-mining lakes, is being drawn into the operating municipal wellfield.

Stable isotope (H-2, O-18 and Sr-87/Sr-86) and hydrochemistry monitoring for groundwater hydrodynamics analysis in a karst aquifer (Gran Sasso, Central Italy), 2005,
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Barbieri M, Boschetti T, Petitta M, Tallini M,
This paper deals with chemical and isotope analyses of 21 springs, which were monitored 3 times in the course of 2001; the monitoring program was focused on the groundwater of the Gran Sasso carbonate karst aquifer (Central Italy), typical of the mountainous Mediterranean area. Based on the hydrogeological setting of the study area, 6 groups of springs with different groundwater circulation patterns were distinguished. The hydrogeochemistry of their main components provided additional information about groundwater flowpaths, confirming the proposed classification. The spatial distribution of their ion concentrations validated the assumptions underlying the hydrogeological conceptual model, showing diverging groundwater flowpaths from the core to the boundaries of the aquifer. Geochemical modelling and saturation index computation elucidated water-carbonate rock interaction, contribution by alluvial aquifers at the karst aquifer boundaries, as well as impacts of human activities. The analysis of O-18/O-16 and H-2/H values and their spatial distribution in the aquifer substantiated the hydrogeology-based classification of 6 groups of springs, making it possible to trace back groundwater recharge areas based on mean isotope elevations; the latter were calculated by using two rain monitoring stations. Sr-87/Sr-86 analyses showed seasonal changes in many springs: in winter-spring, the changes are due to inflow of new recharge water, infiltrating into younger rocks and thus increasing (87)sr/Sr-86 values; in summer-autumn, when there is no recharge and spring discharge declines, changes are due to base flow groundwater circulating in more ancient rocks, with a subsequent drop in Sr-87/Sr-86 values. The results of this study stress the contribution that spatio-temporal isotope monitoring can give to the definition of groundwater flowpaths and hydrodynamics in fissured and karst aquifers, taking into account their hydrogeological and hydrogeochemical setting. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

Estimation of denitrification potential in a karst aquifer using the N-15 and O-18 isotopes of NO3-, 2005,
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Einsiedl F, Maloszewski P, Stichler W,
A confined aquifer in the Malm Karst of the Franconian Alb, South Germany was investigated in order to understand the role of the vadose zone in denitrifiaction processes. The concentrations of chemical tracers Sr2 and Cl- and concentrations of stable isotope O-18 were measured in spring water and precipitation during storm events. Based on these measurements a conceptual model for runoff was constructed. The results indicate that pre-event water, already stored in the system at the beginning of the event, flows downslope on vertical and lateral preferential flow paths. Chemical tracers used in a mixing model for hydrograph separation have shown that the pre-event water contribution is up to 30%. Applying this information to a conceptual runoff generation model, the values of delta(15)N and delta(18)O in nitrate could be calculated. Field observations showed the occurence of significant microbial denitrification processes above the soil/ bedrock interface before nitrate percolates through to the deeper horizon of the vadose zone. The source of nitrate could be determined and denitrification processes were calculated. Assuming that the nitrate reduction follows a Rayleigh process one could approximate a nitrate input concentration of about 170 mg/l and a residual nitrate concentration of only about 15%. The results of the chemical and isotopic tracers postulate fertilizers as nitrate source with some influence of atmospheric nitrate. The combined application of hydrograph separation and determination of isotope values in delta(15)N and delta(18)O of nitrate lead to an improved understanding of microbial processes (nitrification, denitrification) in dynamic systems

Stable isotope study of cave percolation waters in subtropical Brazil: Implications for paleoclimate inferences from speleothems, 2005,
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Cruz Fw, Karmann I, Viana O, Burns Sj, Ferrari Ja, Vuille M, Sial An, Moreira Mz,
We analyze the interannual monthly variability of oxygen isotope ratios in data from IAEA stations along the Atlantic coast of South America between 23 degrees and 34 degrees S to evaluate the influence of parameters such as temperature, rainfall amount and moisture source contribution on meteoric water recharging two karst systems in subtropical Brazil. In addition, a 2 year monitoring program performed on soil and cave drip and rimstone pool waters from sampling sites with contrasting discharge values and located at 100 and 300 m below the surface in the Santana Cave System (24 degrees 31' S; 48 degrees 43' W), is used to test the influence of hydrologic and geologic features on the temporal variations of seepage water delta(18)O. Interannual monthly variations in delta(18)O of rainfall reflect primarily regional changes in moisture source contribution related to seasonal shifts in atmospheric circulation from a more monsoonal regime in summer (negative values of delta(18)O) to a more extratropical regime in winter (positive values of delta(18)O). Variations in groundwater delta(18)O indicate that the climatic signal of recent rainfall events is rapidly transmitted through the relatively deep karst aquifer to the cave drip waters, regardless of location of collection in the cave. In addition, the data also suggest that water replenishment in the system is triggered by the increase in hydraulic head during periods when recharge exceeds the storage capacity of the soil and epikarst reservoirs. Significant perturbations in the groundwater composition, characterized by more positive values of delta(18)O, are probably connected to an increased Atlantic moisture contribution associated with extratropical precipitation. This implies that the delta(18)O of speleothems from caves in this region may be a suitable proxy for studying tropical-extratropical interactions over South America, a feature that is intrinsically related to the global atmospheric circulation. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Flow system dynamics and water storage of a fissured-porous karst aquifer characterized by artificial and environmental tracers, 2005,
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Einsiedl F,
Concentration breakthrough curves obtained from a tracer test and time series of environmental tracers were analyzed to characterize slow and preferential water flow in a karst aquifer of the Franconian Alb, Germany. Tritium (H-3) and chemical tracers (uranine, bromide, strontium) were measured during low flow conditions and a storm runoff event. The mean transit time of water along the conduits was determined using bromide. Environmental tracer data collected between 1969 and 2003 were modeled to estimate the mean transit time of H-3 in the fissured-porous karst system (diffuse flow). The modelling approach was also used to estimate the water volume of the karst system and the conduits. The results suggest that the total water volume in the fissured-porous karst aquifer is in the range of 57 X 10(6) m(3) and approximately 6% of the total water volume is stored in the soil zone and the epikarst. The water storage capacity of the conduits seems to be of minor importance. A mean transit time of bromide in the range of 14 h was calculated for the conduit flow. The fissures and the porous rock matrix have a calculated water saturated porosity of 5.5% and a mean transit time of approximately 62 years was calculated. Thus the porous rock matrix represents the major dilution and storage zone for pollutants in the karst system. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Modification and preservation of environmental signals in speleothems, 2006,
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Fairchild Ij, Smith Cl, Baker A, Fuller L, Spotl C, Mattey D, Mcdermott F, Eimp,
Speleothems are primarily studied in order to generate archives of climatic change and results have led to significant advances in identifying and dating major shifts in the climate system. However, the climatological meaning of many speleothem records cannot be interpreted unequivocally, this is particularly so for more subtle shifts and shorter time periods, but the use of multiple proxies and improving understanding of formation mechanisms offers a clear way forward. An explicit description of speleothem records as time series draws attention to the nature and importance of the signal filtering processes by which the weather, the seasons, and longer-term climatic and other environmental fluctuations become encoded in speleothems. We distinguish five sources of variation that influence speleothem geochemistry, i.e. atmospheric, vegetation/soil, karstic aquifer, primary speleothem crystal growth and secondary alteration, and give specific examples of their influence. The direct role of climate diminishes progressively through these five factors. We identify and review a number of processes identified in recent and current work that bear significantly on the conventional interpretation of speleothem records, for example: (1) speleothem geochemistry can vary seasonally and hence a research need is to establish the proportion of growth attributable to different seasons and whether this varies over time; (2) whereas there has traditionally been a focus on monthly mean delta O-18 data of atmospheric moisture, current work emphasizes the importance of understanding the synoptic processes that lead to characteristic isotope signals, since changing relative abundance of different weather types might control their variation on the longer-term; (3) the ecosystem and soil zone overlying the cave fundamentally imprint the carbon and trace element signals and can show characteristic variations with time; (4) new modelling on aquifer plumbing allows quantification of the effects of aquifer mixing; (5) recent work has emphasized the importance and seasonal variability Of CO2-degassing leading to calcite precipitation upflow of a depositional site on carbon isotope and trace element composition of speleothems; (6) although much is known about the chemical partitioning between water and stalagmites, variability in relation to crystal growth mechanisms and kinetics is a research frontier; (7) aragonite is susceptible to conversion to calcite with major loss of chemical information, but the controls on the rate of this process are obscure. Analytical factors are critical in generating high-resolution speleothem records. A variety of methods of trace element analysis is available, but standardization is a common problem with the most rapid methods. New stable isotope data on Irish stalagmite CC3 compares rapid laser-ablation techniques with the conventional analysis of micromilled powders and ion microprobe methods. A high degree of comparability between techniques for delta O-18 is found on the millimeter to centimeter scale, but a previously described high-amplitude oxygen isotope excursion around 8.3 ka is identified as an analytical artefact related to fractionation of the laser-analysis associated with sample cracking. High-frequency variability of not less than 0.5 parts per thousand may be an inherent feature of speleothem delta O-18 records. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Dolomite formation in breccias at the Musandam Platform border, Northern Oman Mountains, United Arab Emirates, 2006,
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Breesch L, Swennen R, Vincent B,
The presence of dolomite breccia patches along Wadi Batha Mahani suggests large-scale fluid flow causing dolomite formation. The controls on dolomitization have been studied, using petrography and geochemistry. Dolomitization was mainly controlled by brecciation and the nearby Hagab thrust. Breccias formed as subaerial scree deposits, with clay infill from dissolved platform limestones, during Early Cretaceous emergence. Cathodoluminescence of the dolostones indicates dolomitization took place in two phases. First, fine-crystalline planar-s dolomite replaced the breccias. Later, these dolomites were recrystallized by larger nonplanar dolomites. The stable isotope trend towards depleted values (delta O-18: -2.7 parts per thousand to - 10.2 parts per thousand VPDB and delta C-13: -0.6 parts per thousand to -8.9 parts per thousand VPDB), caused by mixing dolomite types during sampling, indicates type 2 dolomites were formed by hot fluids. Microthermometry of quartz cements and karst veins, post-dating dolomites, also yielded high temperatures. Hot formation waters which ascended along the Hagab thrust are invoked to explain type 2 dolomitization, silicification and hydrothermal karstification. (C) 2006 Elsevier B.V, All rights reserved

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