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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 stress, preconsolidation is the maximum antecedent effective stress to which a deposit has been subjected, and which it can withstand without undergoing additional permanent deformation. stress changes in the range less than the preconsolidation stress produce elastic deformations of small magnitude. in finegrained materials, stress increases beyond the preconsolidation stress produce much larger deformations that are principally inelastic (nonrecoverable) [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.
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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 cavity (Keyword) returned 177 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 151 to 165 of 177
Microbial Communities and Associated Mineral Fabrics in Altamira Cave, Spain., 2009,
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Cuezva S. , Sanchezmoral S. , Saizjimenez C. And Caaveras J. C.
Evidences of microbial colonizations were observed in Altamira Cave, Spain. These consisted of distinct small coloured colonies, both on walls and ceiling, mainly located in the area near the cave entrance, which progressed until reaching the Polychromes Hall. The colonizations were characterized by a high morphological and microstructural variability and related to biomineralization processes. Two main types of CaCO3 deposits were related to the colonies: rosette- or nest-like aggregates of rhombohedral calcite crystals, and spheroid to hemispheroid CaCO3 elements. Colonies distribution seems to be controlled by microenvironmental conditions inside the cavity. The areas of the cave showing higher temperature, relative humidity, and CO2 concentration fluctuations presented a minor biomineralization capability.

MORPHOLOGY AND GENESIS OF THE MAIN ORE BODY AT NANISIVIKZINC/LEAD MINE, BAFFIN ISLAND, CANADA: AN OUTSTANDING EXAMPLEOF PARAGENETIC DISSOLUTION OF CARBONATE BEDROCKS WITHPENE-CONTEMPORANEOUS PRECIPITATION OF SULFIDES AND GANGUEMINERALS, 2009,
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Ford D.

Nanisivik (Inuit – “the place where they find things’) zinc/lead mine is located at Lat. 73o N in northwestern Baf?n Island. The host rock is a Proterozoic platform carbonate 260-800 m thick, medium to massively bedded and pervasively dolomitized. It rests on mixed shales and shaly dolomites, and is overlain by 150+ m of further shales functioning as an aquitard. These formations were buried by later Proterozoic strata, uplifted, eroded and buried again in a Cambrian sedimentary basin. The ore-grade deposits are contained within a horst block of the dolomites dipping NW at 15o across it. Graben to the north and south are roofed in the overlying shales. The principal deposit, the Main Ore, is of zinc, lead and iron sul?de precipitates plus gangue minerals, chie?y secondary dolomite. It extends for three km E-W along the horst. It is horizontal, at ~300 m above sea level and terminated at both ends by modern valley entrenchments. The Main Ore body is consistently ~100 m in width and ?ve-seven m in depth. This wide ceiling is a nearly planar, horizontal corrosion bevel. The sulfdes scarcely extend above it anywhere. Within the Main Ore two or more generations of tapered ?ns of dolomite in situ extend from both south (updip) and north (downdip) walls into the cavity. Fin surfaces truncate the bedding. Edges of ?ns are sinuous, some meandering with a wavelength of ~50 m. Very sharp, horizontal corrosion notches 20-30 cm high extend into the dolomite walls for at least 20 m (the limit of deep crosscuts in the mine). They are ?lled with layered pyrites which continue out into the ore body as regular sheets truncating earlier, dipping mineral layers until they themselves are truncated by later fillings. One exceptional notch, one meter deep, is at least 350 m in breadth. The ore displays four sedimentary modes: (i) regular layers settled or precipitated onto the cavity floor; (ii) chaotic polymict breccias suggestive of channel cut-and-?ll episodes; (iii) the horizontal pyrite sheets in corrosion notches; (iv) minor metasomatic replacements of dolomite. The ore cavity was created by paragenesis in a channel ?ow mode, with ore and gangue deposition on the floor taking place in tandem with dissolutional cavity creation upwards,. Principal deposition took place when a fluid interface could be rigorously maintained. Fluid inclusions indicate derivation of the metals from exchange reactions with metalliferous sediments (the underlying shales), indicating low water/rock ratios and moderate temperatures. The ore fluids were similar to oil field brines. Sulfur isotope fractionations indicate temperatures of 90-150 +/-40o C, suggesting that the Main Ore formed along a gas/brine interface at a depth of at least 1600 m as a consequence of ?uid expulsion in the subsiding Cambrian sedimentary basin.


Microbial Communities and Associated Mineral Fabrics in Altamira Cave, Spain., 2009,
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Cuezva S. , Sanchezmoral S. , Saizjimenez C. , Caaveras J. C.

Evidences of microbial colonizations were observed in Altamira Cave, Spain. These consisted of distinct small coloured colonies, both on walls and ceiling, mainly located in the area near the cave entrance, which progressed until reaching the Polychromes Hall. The colonizations were characterized by a high morphological and microstructural variability and related to biomineralization processes. Two main types of CaCO3 deposits were related to the colonies: rosette- or nest-like aggregates of rhombohedral calcite crystals, and spheroid to hemispheroid CaCO3 elements. Colonies distribution seems to be controlled by microenvironmental conditions inside the cavity. The areas of the cave showing higher temperature, relative humidity, and CO2 concentration fluctuations presented a minor biomineralization capability.


Genesis and functioning of the Aix-les-Bains hydrothermal karst (Savoie, France): past research and recent advances, 2010,
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Hoblea F. , Gallinojosnin S. , Audra Ph.

Aix-les-Bains (Savoie, France) owes its name and reputation to the thermal springs that occur along the eastern shore of Lake Bourget, France largest natural lake. Although the city waters have been exploited since Antiquity, scientific investigations into the nature and characteristics of the hydrothermal karst from which they emerge did not begin until the early 19th century. The present article traces the history of these investigations and summarizes the results of more than two centuries of scientific research. Today, the only visible signs of karstification related to hydrothermal flows are to be found in the discharge zone in the Urgonian limestone anticline that rises above the city centre. These features are: – the Grotte des Serpents, which houses the Alun Spring, the system main natural discharge, – the Chevalley Aven, a blind chimney that was accidentally uncovered in 1996, – other hydrothermal springs that are too small to enter, including the Soufre Spring. Although scientific investigation of the thermal springs at Aix-les-Bains began in the early 19th century, it was not until the 1920s that scientists started examining the relationship between karstification and the state of the aquifer. E.A.Martel was the first researcher to describe the Aix-les-Bains site as an active hydrothermal karst, in a pioneering study published in 1935. Sixty years later, the discovery of the Chevalley Aven during building work on a new hydrotherapy center gave fresh impetus to research into the karstification of the Aix-les-Bains thermo-mineral aquifer. Recent studies have also investigated the deep aquifer below the karst, using data provided by boreholes. The Urgonian limestone karst at Aix-les-Bains is the site of mixing between thermal waters rising through the anticline and meteoric waters percolating from the surface. Meteoric infiltration is sufficiently high for the hydrological behavior of the thermal springs to be identical to that of exsurgences in gravity-fed, cold-water transmissive karsts. The Chevalley Aven is a shaft that descends 30 meters below the surface, thereby providing access to the ground-water at depth. Monitoring of the water quality in the aven has shown that the Legionella contamination of the springs was due to high concentrations of the bacteria in upstream passages in the karst. In 2006, dye-tracing tests confirmed the existence of a hydraulic connection between the Chevalley Aven and the Alun and Soufre Springs, the fact there is a single ascending hydrothermal conduit, which lies between the Chevalley Aven and the Alun Spring. In addition to providing a valuable source of information about the functioning of the thermo-mineral aquifer, the cavities at Aix-les-Bains are of great karstological interest, especially for the study of hypogene speleogenetic processes. The circulation of warm (40oC), sulfur-rich waters and vapours through the system has led to the development of conduits with specific morphologies and the precipitation of characteristic deposits. These features include: – “beaded” chimneys and galleries formed by the linking of spheres produced by condensation-corrosion. Diffuse karstification along bedding planes around the main conduit; – deposition of non-carbonate minerals (gypsum, native sulfur); – formation of biothems and biofilms on walls subject to condensation. The Grotte des Serpents is a horizontal cavity that formed at the upper limit of the water table. The Chevalley Aven is a hypogene chimney that was sculpted under vadose conditions by the release of sulfuric acid-rich vapours above the thermal water table. As well as a surface coating of microbial mats and the presence of bacterial flakes in the thermal water, the vadose parts of the Aix-les-Bains hydrothermal karst contain a characteristic microfauna and flora. These microorganisms are thought to play an active role in hypogene karstification processes.


Isotopic indications of water-rock interaction in the hypogene Tavrskaya cave, Crimea, Ukraine, 2011,
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Dublyansky Yuri, Klimchouk Alexander, Timokhina Elisaveta, Spö, Tl Christoph

The Inner Range of the Crimea Mountains has recently been identified as an area of previously unrecognized hypogene speleogenesis (Klimchouk et al. 2009). The entrance of the Tavrskaya cave is located in the middle of the 25 m-high scarp of the cuesta built up of Paleocene limestone. The cave comprises two parallel major passages (ca. 180 m long, up to 7-8 m high and up to 5-6 m wide) connected by a smaller passage. The major passages are slightly inclined toward the north-west following the dip of bedding. The morphology of the cave bears strong indications of dissolution at conditions of ascending flow in a confined aquifer setting.
A massive calcite crust, studied in this paper, was first found in a small cave located ca. 200 m from Tavrskaya cave along the cuesta scarp. According to its position and morphology, the cave corresponds to the rift-like “feeder” zone of Tavrskaya cave. Recently, similar calcite crust was found in Tavrskaya cave, in a rift-like passage of the  near-scarp zone. The crust is built up of a brownish translucent calcite whose columnar crystals (bounded by competitive growth surfaces) are arranged in a characteristic radiating pattern. Calcite contains only all-liquid inclusions indicating deposition at less than ca. 50ºC. It also contains filamentous biological material (possibly fungi or cyanobacteria), which sometimes facilitated entrapment of fluid inclusions. This calcite body is tentatively
interpreted as a paleo-spring deposit (ascending flow). In order to characterize the isotopic properties of this calcite and the bedrock limestone we drilled small-diameter cores through the calcite formation, as well as through the wall of a cavity devoid of calcite. Stable isotope analyses were performed along these cores. To provide a basis for comparison several samples from the same lithostratigraphic units were collected far from the cave. Along a 15 cm-long profile, both oxygen and carbon isotopes of the limestone remain stable at 18O = -4.3 0.2
h and 13C = -1.7 0.3 h (1). Only within the 1.5 cm-thick zone immediately underlying the calcite 18O and 13C values plunge to ca. -8 h and -9 h respectively,. It appears from this data that water rock-interaction associated with the deposition of this calcite produced only a thin alteration halo in the limestone. However, when data from the cave-wall cores are compared with those collected far from the cave, it appears that the “constant” values from cave walls are shifted relative to the presumably unaltered limestone values toward lower values by
ca. 1.5-3.0 h (oxygen) and 3-4 h (carbon). On the 18O-13C cross-plot the data for unaltered limestone, cave wall limestone, alteration halo, and secondary calcite plot along a well-defined line (R2=0.99).
We propose that the Paleocene limestone in the vicinity of the Tavrskaya cave has experienced a two-stage alteration. During the first stage, presumably associated with the process of cave excavation, the bedrock has been altered (18O depleted by 1.5 to 3.0 h and 13C by 3 to 4 %). The thickness of this zone of early alteration is unknown but must be larger than 15 cm (length of our cores). The second stage of alteration was associated with the deposition of calcite; during this stage the isotopic composition was further depleted (by 4-5 h in 18O and 8-10 h in 13C). The extent of alteration was much smaller, though, and restricted to zones where calcite was deposited (ca. 15 mm beneath the calcite).


The study of Karstic aquifers geodetic measurements in Bus de la Genziana station − Cansiglio plateau (northeastern Italy), 2011,
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Barbara Grillo Carla Braitenberg Roberto Devoti & Ildikò, Nagy

We propose an interdisciplinary study of karstic aquifers using tiltmeters and GPS observations. The study region is located in northeastern Italy, in the seismic area of the Cansiglio Plateau. The Zöllner type Marussi tiltmeters are installed in a natural cavity (Bus de la Genziana) that is part of an interesting karstic area of particular hydrogeologic importance. The Livenza river forms from a number of springs at the foothills of the karstic massif and flows through the Friuli-Veneto plain into the Adriatic Sea. Comparing the tiltmeter signal recorded at the Genziana station with the local pluviometrical series and the hydrometric series of the Livenza river, a clear correlation is recognized. Moreover, the data of a permanent GPS station located on the southern slopes of the Cansiglio Massif (CANV) show also a clear correspondence with the water runoff. Here we present the hydrologic induced deformations as observed by tiltmeter and GPS. After heavy rain events we record rapid deformations both by tiltmeters and GPS corresponding to the rainfall duration. In the following days a slow geodetic motion recovers the accumulated deformation with a distinctive pattern both in tilt and GPS data, which correlates with the runoff of the karstic aquifer. The purpose of this research is to open a new multidisciplinary frontier between geodetic and karstic systems studies to improve the knowledge of the underground fluid flow circulation in karstic areas. Furthermore a better characterization of the hydrologic effects on GPS and tilt observations will have the benefit that these signals can be corrected when the focus of the study is to recover the tectonic deformation.


Morphological and biological features of underwater caves Tarzanka (Tarhankut Peninsula, Maliy Atlesh), 2011,
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Kovtun O. A. , Pronin K. K.

Based on the performed examination and topographic survey of the underwater karst-abrasion cave Tarzanka on Minor Atlesh (Western Crimea), its morphological description is given for the first time. Features of biology and ecology of inhabitants of this cavity were studied. A new for the Black Sea species of coelenterates – actinia Sagartia elegans (Dalyell, 1848), and a very rare for the Black Sea species of crustaceans – shrimp (Lysmata seticaudata) and mysid (Hemimisis serrata), registered in the Red Data Book of Ukraine, were found in a cave. It was shown that the cave is a permanent habitat for protected species of fishes – goldsinny-wrasse (Ctenolabrus rupestris), Bucchich`s goby (Gobius bucchichi), brown meagre (Sciaena umbra), shore clingfish (Lepadogaster lepadogaster) and crabs - Eriphia verrucosa, Pachygrapsus marmoratus and Pilumnus hirtellus. In a distant tunnel of the cave an interesting group of actinia (Actinia equina) of red colour morphs was found. It is considered that this cave could recently be a place for reproduction of a monk seal that lived in this area (Monachus monachus).


The Dead Sea sinkhole hazard: Geophysical assessment of salt dissolution and collapse, 2011,
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Frumkin Amos, Ezersky Michael, Alzoubi Abdallah, Akkawi Emad, Abueladas Abdelrahman

A geophysical approach is presented for analyzing processes of subsurface salt dissolution and associated sinkhole hazard along the Dead Sea. The implemented methods include Seismic Refraction (SRFR), Transient Electromagnetic Method (TEM), Electric Resistivity Tomography (ERT), and Ground Penetration Radar (GPR). The combination of these methods allows the delineation of the salt layer boundaries, estimating its porosity distribution, finding cavities within the salt layer, and identifying deformations in the overlying sediments. This approach is shown to be useful for anticipating the occurrence of specific sinkholes, as demonstrated on both shores of the Dead Sea. These sinkholes are observed mainly along the edge of a salt layer deposited during the latest Pleistocene, when Lake Lisan receded to later become the Dead Sea. This salt layer is dissolved by aggressive water flowing from adjacent and underlying aquifers which drain to the Dead Sea. Sinkhole formation is accelerating today due to the rapid fall of the Dead Sea levels during the last 30 years, caused by anthropogenic use of its water.


Speleothems in the dry Cave Parts of the Gamslcher-Kolowrat Cave, Untersberg near Salzburg (Austria), 2011,
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Bieniok Anna, Zagler Georg, Brendel Uwe, Neubauer Franz

New, remarkably dry parts of the Gamslöcher-Kolowrat Cave at 728 to 853 m depth have been explored in the Untersberg near Salzburg in Austria. This region is called the Desert, its greatest cavity is called the White Hall. The new cave part is characterized by various white speleothems. The predominant ones are snow-like calcite powder with an extremely low density, and fine gypsum needles. Gypsum also occurs in the form of balls stuck to vertical walls. In addition, fluorescent hydromagnesite crusts, Mg5(CO3)4(OH)2·4H2O, as well as the sodium sulfate mineral mirabilite were identified in this part of the cave. Mirabilite and gypsum needles differ from the gypsum balls in their isotopic sulfur signature (δ34S of -16.9‰ and -18.4‰ vs. +2.9‰). The unusually low sulfur isotopic compositional values are tentatively explained by a source of bacteriogenetic sulfur from sulfides.


CLASSIFICACI MORFOGENTICA DE LES CAVITATS CRSTIQUES DE LES ILLES BALEARS, 2011,
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Gins J. , Gins A.

A typological classification of the caves and shafts in the Balearic Islands is presented in this paper, with the aim of update the knowledge on the morphogenetics of endokarst in the archipelago and incorporating the explorations and discoveries carried out during the last decades. After a brief overview about the classificatory attempts of subterranean cavities in our islands, a systematization on the basis of hydrogeological and speleogenetic criteria is proposed, establishing four main categories as follows: 1) vertical shafts in the vadose zone, 2) caves of the vadose zone, 3) inland phreatic caves, and 4) caves of the littoral fringe. Within these categories, up to ten cavity types corresponding to well-differentiated genetic modalities are distinguished, together with five additional subtypes that designate specific morphological singularities branching from a given typology. The geographical distribution of the diverse cave types in the different karst regions of the archipelago is analyzed, being worth to mention the richness and variety of subterranean forms in the mountain karst of Serra de Tramuntana, in Mallorca island, as well as the abundant and variegated littoral caves occurring in the Upper Miocene postorogenic carbonates of Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera islands. The hypogene speleogenetic processes recently documented in the karst areas of southern Mallorca contribute to supply new insights on the high diversity of subterranean environments represented in the Balearic archipelago


Cosmogenic Isotope Dating of Cave Sediments, 2012,
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Granger Darryl E. , Fabel Derek

The decay of cosmic ray-induced 26Al and 10Be in quartz sediments allows the calculation of sediment emplacement ages back to about five million years. Two examples are given: Mammoth Cave (Kentucky) and Atapuerca Cave (Spain). The sediments in the Mammoth Cave System were an integral part of how the cave was formed. The sediments reveal the evolution of the cave system, and how cave development is tightly coupled to river incision and aggradation. In this case, Mammoth Cave was ideal because it was a water-table cave that carried quartz from local bedrock. In contrast, Atapuerca is a sedimentary infill where sediment (and animals) fell into a preexisting cavity. Such cave infills are the norm in archaeology and paleoanthropology because they collect bones and artifacts over long periods of time. In this case, the cosmogenic nuclides dated the sedimentary infill rather than the cave itself.


DIAGNOSTIC PLOTS APPLIED TO PUMPING TESTS IN KARST SYSTEMS, 2012,
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MarÉ, Chal Jeanchristophe, Ladouche Bernard, Dewandel Benot, Fleury Perrine, DÖ, Rfliger Nathalie

Pumping tests conducted on wells intersecting karst heterogeneities such as the conduit network are difficult to interpret. Nevertheless, this case can be solved by assimilating the horizontal karst conduit to a finite conductivity vertical fracture. In this case, several flow patterns corresponding to the respective contributions of karst subsystems (fractured matrix, small conduits, and main karst drainage network) can be identified on the diagnostic plot of the drawdown derivative. This is illustrated on two examples from Mediterranean karst systems in southern France. A pumping test on a well intersecting the main karst drainage network of the Cent-Fonts karst system shows (i) a preliminary contribution of the karst conduit storage capacity followed by (ii) linear flows into the fractured matrix. A pumping test on a well intersecting a small karst conduit of the Corbières karst system shows the existence of (i) bi-linear flow within both the karst conduit and the fractured matrix at early times, followed by (ii) radial flows within the fractured matrix and (iii) finally the contribution of a major karst cavity. The use of diagnostic plots allows identifying the various flow regimes during pumping tests, corresponding to the response of the individual karst aquifer subsystems. This is helpful for improving the understanding of the structure of the karst aquifer and flow exchanges between subsystems.


Geochemical evolution of groundwater in the unsaturated zone of a karstic massif, using the PCO2SIc relationship, 2012,
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Peyraube N. , Lastennet R. , Denis A.

In karstic environments, groundwater is strongly influenced by CO2 partial pressure variations of air present in the infiltration zone of these aquifers. In order to characterize the geochemical changes in groundwater as it moves through the infiltration zone, we monitored various rising springs in the perched karstic aquifer of Cussac (Dordogne, France), and measured the CO2 partial pressure in air of a nearby cavity (the Cussac Cave) for 24 months. Our method is based on the relationship between the saturation index with respect to calcite (SIc) and the CO2 partial pressure at atmospheric equilibrium with water. We distinguished a value for this last parameter when water is at equilibrium with respect to calcite (SIc = 0) called saturation CO2 partial pressure. The use of this parameter can provide information on flow conditions and relationships between water, air, and rock. Cussac aquifer is a suitable area to apply these methods because of its small size, numerous springs, and a cave that provides data for CO2 partial pressure condition inside the massif. Results show that most of the calcium-carbonate mineralization is acquired in the epikarst followed by a precipitation phase in the upper part of the infiltration zone. Groundwater reaches the saturated zone with some degree of saturation depending on CO2 partial pressure variations in air inside the massif.


Aragonite and calcite geodes from Botovskaya Cave, 2012,
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Bazarova E. P. , Osintsev A. V.

The article describes unusual secondary mineral formation found in Botovskaya Cave in Eastern Siberia, which are geodes, lined byaragonite and, in some cases, by calcite. Two assumptions of the geode formation are put forward: 1) at the expense of draining solutions that erode loose sediments and fill formed cavities, where then mineral crystallization occurs; 2) at the expense of dissolution of the central body of concretions formed earlier, followed by precipitation of aragonite and calcite in the cavity formed. Later on, the geodes were uncovered during erosion of large volumes of sediments by water flows. Due to peculiar features of their morphology and genesis, these formations can be regarded as a new type of speleothems.


Analysis of the capabilities of low frequency ground penetrating radar for cavities detection in rough terrain conditions: The case of Divača cave, Slovenia , 2012,
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Gosar, Andrej

High frequency ground penetrating radar (GPR) is usually applied for cavities detection in a shallow subsurface of karst areas to prevent geotechnical hazards. For specific projects, such as tunnel construction, it is important to detect also larger voids at medium depth range. However, dimensions of classical rigid low frequency antennas seriously limit their applicability in a rough terrain with dense vegetation commonly encountered in a karst. In this study recently developed 50 MHz antennas designed in a tube form were tested to detect cave gallery at the depth between 12 m and 60 m. The Divaca cave was selected because of a wide range of depths under the surface, possibility of unknown galleries in the vicinity and a rough terrain surface typical for Slovenian karst. Seven GPR profiles were measured across the main gallery of the cave and additional four profiles NE of the cave entrance where no galleries are known. Different acquisition and processing parameters were analysed together with the data resolution issues. The main gallery of the cave was clearly imaged in the part where the roof of the gallery is located at the depth from 10 m to 30 m. The width of the open space is mainly around 10 m. Applied system was not able to detect the gallery in the part where it is located deeper than 40 m, but several shallower cavities were discovered which were unknown before. The most important result is that the profiles acquired NE of the cave entrance revealed very clearly the existence of an unknown gallery which is located at the depth between 15 m and 22 m and represents the continuation of the Divaca cave. Access to this gallery is blocked by the sediment fill in the entrance shaft of the cave. The results of the study are important also for future infrastructure projects which will involve construction of tunnels through karstified limestone and for speleological investigations to direct the research efforts.


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