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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 hardpan is this develops when there are secondary calcium carbonate cementations in the lower part of the soil profile [16]. synonym: mortar bed. see also caliche; havara; nari.?

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


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KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
See all featured articles
Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
See all featured articles from other geoscience journals

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Your search for surface (Keyword) returned 1554 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1531 to 1545 of 1554
Incipient vertical traction carpets within collapsed sinkhole fills, 2014,
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Small vertically oriented traction carpets are reported from the collapsed sandy fills of 100 m deep Devonian limestone sinkholes underlying the Lower Cretaceous Athabasca oil sands deposit in north-eastern Alberta, Western Canada. Dissolution of 100 m of underlying halite salt beds caused cataclysmic collapse of the sinkhole floors and water saturated sinkhole sand fills to descend very rapidly. Turbulent currents flushed upper sinkhole fills of friable sandstone blocks and disaggregated sand and quartz pebble for tens of metres. Laminar deposits with inverse grading accumulated as many as six to eight curvilinear entrained pebble streaks, 10 to 30 cm long, vertically impinged against the sides of descending collapse blocks. These deposits were initiated as vertically oriented early stage traction carpets that interlocked fine sand grains and inversely graded overlying pebbles entrained below the dilute overlying turbulent flows. Vortexes that flushed these sinkhole fills and induced these depositional processes may have lasted only seconds before the very rapid descents abruptly halted. Some of the fabrics were suspended vertically in-place and preserved from unlocking and obliteration. These small fabrics provide insight into the instability and ephemeral character of the transition from strong gravity-driven grain falls to very early stages of traction carpet formation. These short-lived deposits of very thin sand layers resulted from sufficient incipient frictional freezing that grain interlocking overcame, however briefly, the strong gravity drives of the vertical falls that would have otherwise dispersed grains and obliterated any organized fabric patterns. Tenuous frictionally locked grains were also suspended at the centres of hyperbolic grain fall flows that briefly developed between turbulent flow eddies, some of which were fortuitously preserved. Some of these suspended grain locking zones passed downward onto the relatively more stable surfaces of the rapidly descending block surfaces. The morphogenesis of these early stage traction carpets differ from more fully developed deposits elsewhere because of their short-lived transport, dynamic instability and vertical orientation.


Hydrogeological Characteristics of Carbonate Formations of the Cuddapah Basin, India, 2014,
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Farooq Ahmad Dar

Karst hydrogeology is an important field of earth sciences as the aquifers in carbonate formations represent vital resource of groundwater that feeds a large part of the world population particularly in semi-arid climates. These unique aquifers posses peculiar characteristics developed by dissolutional activities of water. Karst aquifers possess a typical hydrogeological setup from surface to subsurface. The aquifers are governed by slow groundwater flow in matrix porosity, a medium to fast flow in fractures and rapid flow in conduits and channels. This large variability in their properties makes the prediction and modeling of flow and transport very cumbersome and data demanding. The aquifers are vulnerable to contamination as the pollutants reach the aquifer very fast with little or no attenuation. The geomorphological and hydrogeological properties in these aquifers demand specific techniques for their study. The carbonate aquifers of the semi-arid Cuddapah basin were characterized based on geomorphological, hydrogeological and hydrochemical investigations. All the formations are highly karstified possessing one of the longest and deepest caves of India and few springs along with unique surface features. Karstification is still in progress but at deeper levels indicated by growing speleothems of different architectural size. Model of karstification indicates that lowering of base level of erosion resulted in the dissolution of deeper parts of the limestone as represented by paleo-phreatic conduits in the region. Moist conditions of the past were responsible for the karst development which has been minimized due to the onset of monsoon conditions. Karst has developed at various elevations representing the past base levels in the region.

The recharge processes in these aquifers are complex due to climatic and karst specificities. Point recharge is the major contributor which enters the aquifer as allogenic water. It replenishes the groundwater very rapidly. Diffuse recharge travels through soil and epikarst zone. Average annual recharge of semi-arid Narji limestone aquifer is 29% of the rainfall which occurs during 5-7 rain events in the year.

The hydrogeochemical characteristic of karst aquifers is quite varaible. A significant difference is observed in hydrochemistry. High concentrations of SO42-, Cl-, NO3- suggests the anthropogenic source particularly from agriculture. Local Meteoric Water Line of δ2H and δ18O isotopes of rain and groundwater shows a slope of 7.02. Groundwater isotope data shows more depletion in heavy isotopes -a result of high evaporation of the area. Groundwater samples show a trend with a slope of 4 and 3.1 for δ2H and δ18O respectively. Groundwater during dry months gets more fractionated due to higher temperature and little rainfall. The irrigated water becomes more enriched and then recharges the aquifer as depleted irrigation return flow. The isotopes show large variation in spring water. Few springs are diffuse or mixed type and not purely of conduit type in the area. Tracer results indicate that the tracer output at the sampling location depends on the hydrogeological setup and the nature of karstification.

The study has significantly dealt with in disclosing the typical characteristics of such aquifer systems and bringing out a reliable as well as detailed assessment of various recharges to the system. The groundwater chemistry has been elaborated to establish the nature of possible hydrochemical processes responsible for water chemistry variation in semi-arid karst aquifer. Such study has thrown light on the aquifers that are on one hand very important from social and strategic point of view and on the hand were left unattended from the detailed scientific studies.


Hydrogeology of northern Sierra de Chiapas, Mexico: A conceptual model based on a geochemical characterization of sulfide-rich karst brackish springs, 2014,
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Conspicuous sulfide-rich karst springs flow from Cretaceous carbonates in northern Sierra de Chiapas, Mexico. This is a geologically complex, tropical karst area. The physical, geologic, hydrologic and chemical attributes of these springs were determined and integrated into a conceptual hydrogeologic model. A meteoric source and a recharge elevation below 1500 m are estimated from the spring water isotopic signature regardless of their chemical composition. Brackish spring water flows at a maximum depth of 2000 m, as inferred from similar chemical attributes to the produced water from a nearby oil well. Oil reservoirs may be found at depths below 2000 m. Three subsurface environments or aquifers are identified based on the B, Li+, K+ and SiO2 concentrations, spring water temperatures, and CO2 pressures. There is mixing between these aquifers. The aquifer designated Local is shallow and contains potable water vulnerable to pollution. The aquifer named Northern receives some brackish produced water. The composition of the Southern aquifer is influenced by halite dissolution enhanced at fault detachment surfaces. Epigenic speleogenesis is associated with the Local springs. In contrast, hypogenic speleogenesis is associated with the brackish sulfidic springs from the Northern and the Southern environments.


Occurrence of diagenetic alunites within karst cavity infill of the Dammam Formation, Ahmadi, Kuwait: an indicator of hydrocarbon gas seeps, 2014,
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Alunite minerals occur as white powdery lumps  and laminated coloured deposits within cavity and solution  channel infill of the palaeokarst zone of the Upper Eocene  Dammam Formation. This formation is exposed in a quarry  located on the Al Ahmadi ridge within the Greater Burgan oil  field in southern Kuwait. Field occurrences and sedimentary  structures of the alunite deposits were described. Collected  samples were petrographically described, and their mineralogy  and geochemistry were determined using X-ray diffraction  and X-ray fluorescence, respectively. Microfabrics were investigated  using SEM, revealing that they are primarily composed  of fibrous alunogen (hydrous aluminium sulphate) and  pseudo-cubical K-alunite (hydrous potassium aluminium sulphate).  Their mode of occurrence suggests a hypogenetic  origin, where sulphide gases associated with hydrocarbon  gases reacted with an Al-rich solution leached from clay  minerals and feldspars of the cavity-fill muddy sand sediments.  The hydrocarbon gases may have seeped from subsurface  petroliferous formations within the Greater Burgan oil  field along vertical fractures. This study suggests that these  acidic seeps may have played a role in the development of the  palaeokarst zone of the Dammam Formation.


Stable isotope data as constraints on models for the origin of coralloid and massive speleothems: The interplay of substrate, water supply, degassing, and evaporation, 2015,
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Caddeo Guglielmo A. , Railsback L. Bruce, Dewaele Jo, Frau Franco

Many speleothems can be assigned to one of two morphological groups: massive speleothems, which consist of compact bulks of material, and coralloids, which are domal to digitate in form. Faster growth on protrusions of the substrate occurs in the typical growth layers of coralloids (where those layers are termed “coralloid accretions”), but it is not observed in the typical layers of massive speleothems, which in contrast tend to smoothen the speleothem surface (and can therefore be defined as "smoothing accretions"). The different growth rates on different areas of the substrate are explainable by various mechanisms of CaCO3 deposition (e.g., differential aerosol deposition, differential CO2 and/or H2O loss from a capillary film of solution, deposition in subaqueous environments). To identify the causes of formation of coralloids rather than massive speleothems, this article provides data about d13C and d18O at coeval points of both smoothing and coralloid accretions, examining the relationship between isotopic composition and the substrate morphology. In subaerial speleothems, data show an enrichment in heavy isotopes both along the direction of water flow and toward the protrusions. The first effect is due to H2O evaporation and CO2 degassing during a gravity-driven flow of water (gravity stage) and is observed in smoothing accretions; the second effect is due to evaporation and degassing during water movement by capillary action from recesses to prominences (capillary stage) and is observed in subaerial coralloids. Both effects coexist in smoothing accretions interspersed among coralloid ones (intermediate stage). Thus this study supports the origin of subaerial coralloids from dominantly capillary water and disproves their origin by deposition of aerosol from the cave air. On the other hand, subaqueous coralloids seem to form by a differential mass-transfer from a still bulk of water towards different zones of the substrate along diffusion flux vectors of nutrients perpendicular to the isodepleted surfaces. Finally, this isotopic method has proved useful to investigate the controls on speleothem morphology and to obtain additional insights on the evolution of aqueous solutions inside caves.


Stable isotope data as constraints on models for the origin of coralloid and massive speleothems: The interplay of substrate, water supply, degassing, and evaporation, 2015,
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Many speleothems can be assigned to one of two morphological groups: massive speleothems, which consist of compact bulks of material, and coralloids, which are domal to digitate in form. Faster growth on protrusions of the substrate occurs in the typical growth layers of coralloids (where those layers are termed “coralloid accretions”), but it is not observed in the typical layers of massive speleothems, which in contrast tend to smoothen the speleothem surface (and can therefore be defined as "smoothing accretions"). The different growth rates on different areas of the substrate are explainable by various mechanisms of CaCO3 deposition (e.g., differential aerosol deposition, differential CO2 and/or H2O loss from a capillary film of solution, deposition in subaqueous environments). To identify the causes of formation of coralloids rather than massive speleothems, this article provides data about d13C and d18O at coeval points of both smoothing and coralloid accretions, examining the relationship between isotopic composition and the substrate morphology. In subaerial speleothems, data show an enrichment in heavy isotopes both along the direction of water flow and toward the protrusions. The first effect is due to H2O evaporation and CO2 degassing during a gravity-driven flow of water (gravity stage) and is observed in smoothing accretions; the second effect is due to evaporation and degassing during water movement by capillary action from recesses to prominences (capillary stage) and is observed in subaerial coralloids. Both effects coexist in smoothing accretions interspersed among coralloid ones (intermediate stage). Thus this study supports the origin of subaerial coralloids from dominantly capillary water and disproves their origin by deposition of aerosol from the cave air. On the other hand, subaqueous coralloids seem to form by a differential mass-transfer from a still bulk of water towards different zones of the substrate along diffusion flux vectors of nutrients perpendicular to the isodepleted surfaces. Finally, this isotopic method has proved useful to investigate the controls on speleothem morphology and to obtain additional insights on the evolution of aqueous solutions inside caves.


Caves in the Buda Mountains, 2015,
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LeélŐssy, Szabolcs

On the territory of Budapest, there are about 170 caves: mainly in the Rózsadomb (Rose Hill) area. The total known length of these caves (in the city) is more than 52 km. The caves of Budapest are hypogene (thermal karstic) caves, dissolved by mixing corrosion of ascending waters along tectonic joints. Therefore, the cave passages are totally independent of surface morphology, and there are no fluviatile sediments in the caves. The origin of the caves can be reconstructed from the careful reconstruction of underground circulation routes. The caves are characterized by varied morphological features: spherical cavities along corridors of various size, the walls and floors, sometimes even the ceilings, of which are well decorated with mineral precipitations (calcite, aragonite and gypsum, a total of almost 20 minerals), the most common being botryoids, but dripstones are also common. The cave passages are mainly formed in the Eocene Szépvölgy Limestone Formation, but the upper part is often in Eocene-Oligocene Buda Marl. The deepest horizon is sometimes in the Triassic limestone (Mátyáshegy Formation). Based on U-series dating of their minerals, the Buda caves are very young (between 0.5 and 1 Ma).


Tectonic control of cave development: a case study of the Bystra Valley in the Tatra Mts., 2015,
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Szczygieł Jacek, Gaidzik Krzysztof, Kicińska Ditta

Tectonic research and morphological observations were carried out in six caves (Kalacka, Goryczkowa, Kasprowa Niżna, Kasprowa Średnia, Kasprowa Wyżnia and Magurska) in the Bystra Valley, in the Tatra Mountains. There are three cave levels, with the youngest active and the other two inactive, reflecting development partly under epiphreatic and partly under phreatic conditions. These studies demonstrate strong control of the cave pattern by tectonic features, including faults and related fractures that originated or were rejuvenated during uplift, lasting from the Late Miocene. In a few local cases, the cave passages are guided by the combined influence of bedding, joints and fractures in the hinge zone of a chevron anticline. That these cave passages are guided by tectonic structures, irrespective of lithological differences, indicates that these proto-conduits were formed by "tectonic inception”. Differences in the cave pattern between the phreatic and epiphreatic zones at a given cave level may be a result of massif relaxation. Below the bottom of the valley, the effect of stress on the rock mass is related to the regional stress field and only individual faults extend below the bottom of the valley. Thus in the phreatic zone, the flow is focused and a single conduit becomes enlarged. The local extension is more intense in the epiphreatic zone above the valley floor and more fractures have been sufficiently extended to allow water to flow. The water migrates along a network of fissures and a maze could be forming. Neotectonic displacements (of up to 15 cm), which are more recent than the passages, were also identified in the caves. Neotectonic activity is no longer believed to have as great an impact on cave morphology as previously was thought. Those faults with displacements of several metres, described as younger than the cave by other authors, should be reclassified as older faults, the surfaces of which have been exposed by speleogenesis. The possible presence of neotectonic faults with greater displacements is not excluded, but they would have had a much greater morphological impact than the observed features suggest.


Evaporite karst in three interior layered deposits in Iani Chaos, Mars, 2015,
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This paper describe the karst landforms observed in three interior layered deposits located in Iani Chaos, a large depression located in the equatorial region of Mars, characterised by spectral signatures of monohydrated and polyhydrated sulfate such as kieserite and gypsum. A morphological and morphometric survey of the ILD surface morphologies through an integrated analysis of the available Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) highlighted the presence of depressions of various shapes and sizes. These Martian landforms interpreted as doline of polygenetic origin resemble similarly karst landforms that can be observed both in different karst terrains on Earth and in other regions of Mars. The karst landforms observed suggest a climatic change and the presence of liquid water, probably due to ice melting, in the late Amazonian age.


CO2 emission response to different water conditions under simulated karst environment, 2015,
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Habitat degradation has been proven to result associated with drought in karst region in south China. However, how this drought condition relates to CO2 efflux is not clear. In this study, we designed a simulated epikarst water–rock (limestone)–soil–plant columns, under varying water levels (treatment), and monitored CO2 concentration and efflux in soil in different seasons during 2011. The results showed that increased soil water greatly enhanced CO2 concentrations. With which treatment with epikarst water (WEW) had higher CO2 concentration than without epikarst water (WOEW). This was particularly high in low soil water treatment and during high temperature in the summer season. Under 30–40 % relative soil water content (RSWC), CO2 concentration in WEW treatment was 1.44 times of WOEW; however, under 90–100 % RSWC, this value was smaller. Comparatively, soil surface CO2 efflux (soil respiration) was 1.29–1.94 lmol m-2 s-1 in WEW and 1.35–2.04 lmol m-2 s-1 in WOEW treatment, respectively. CO2 efflux increased with increasing RSWC, but it was not as sensitive to epikarst water supply as CO2 concentration. WEW tended to weakly influence CO2 efflux under very dry or very wet soil condition and under low temperature. High CO2 efflux in WEW occurred under 50–80 % RSWC during summer. Both CO2 concentrations and CO2 efflux were very sensitive to temperature increase. As a result, at degraded karst environment, increased temperature may enhance CO2 concentration and CO2 emission; meanwhile, the loss of epikarst and soil water deficiency may decrease soil CO2 concentration and CO2 emission, which in turn may decrease karst corrosion.


Stable isotope data as constraints on models for the origin of coralloid and massive speleothems: The interplay of substrate, water supply, degassing, and evaporation, 2015,
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Caddeo Guglielmo Angelo, Railsback Loren Bruce, De Waele Jo, Frau Franco

Many speleothems can be assigned to one of two morphological groups: massive speleothems, which consist of compact bulks of material, and coralloids, which are domal to digitate in form. Faster growth on protrusions of the substrate occurs in the typical growth layers of coralloids (where those layers are termed “coralloid accretions”),

but it is not observed in the typical layers of massive speleothems, which in contrast tend to smoothen the speleothem surface (and can therefore be defined as “smoothing accretions”). The different growth rates on different areas of the substrate are explainable by various mechanisms of CaCO3 deposition (e.g., differential aerosol deposition, differential CO2 and/or H2O loss fromacapillary filmof solution, deposition in subaqueous environments).

To identify the causes of formation of coralloids rather than massive speleothems, this article provides data about δ13C and δ18O at coeval points of both smoothing and coralloid accretions, examining the relationship between isotopic composition and the substratemorphology. In subaerial speleothems, data showenrichment in heavy isotopes both along the direction of water flow and toward the protrusions. The first effect is due to H2O evaporation and CO2 degassing during a gravity-driven flow of water (gravity stage) and is observed in smoothing accretions; the second effect is due to evaporation and degassing duringwatermovement by capillary action from recesses to prominences (capillary stage) and is observed in subaerial coralloids. Both effects coexist in smoothing accretions interspersed among coralloid ones (intermediate stage). Thus this study supports the origin of subaerial coralloids from dominantly capillary water and disproves their origin by deposition of aerosol fromthe cave air. On the other hand, subaqueous coralloids seem to form by a differential mass-transfer from a still bulk of water toward different zones of the substrate along diffusion flux vectors of nutrients perpendicular to the iso-depleted surfaces. Finally, this isotopic method has proved useful to investigate the controls on speleothem morphology and to obtain additional insights on the evolution of aqueous solutions inside caves.


The role of condensation in the evolution of dissolutional forms in gypsum caves: Study case in the karst of Sorbas (SE Spain), 2015,
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Gazquez Fernando, Calaforra José Maria, Forti Paolo, De Waele Jo, Sanna Laura

The karst of Sorbas (SE Spain) is one of the most important gypsum areas worldwide. Its underground karst network comprises over 100 km of cave passages. Rounded smooth forms, condensation cupola and pendant-like features appear on the ceiling of the shallower passages as a result of gypsum dissolution by condensation water. Meanwhile, gypsum speleothems formed by capillarity, evaporation and aerosol deposition such as coralloids, gypsum crusts and rims are frequently observed closer to the passage floors. The role of condensation–dissolution mechanisms in the evolution of geomorphological features observed in the upper cave levels has been studied by means of long-term micro-erosion meter (MEM) measurements, direct collection and analysis of condensation waters, and micrometeorological monitoring. Monitoring of erosion at different heights on gypsum walls of the Cueva del Agua reveals that the gypsum surface retreated up to 0.033 mm yr−1 in MEM stations located in the higher parts of the cave walls. The surface retreat was negligible at the lowest sites, suggesting higher dissolution rates close to the cave ceiling, where warmer and moister air flows. Monitoring of microclimatic parameters and direct measurements of condensation water were performed in the Covadura Cave system in order to estimate seasonal patterns of condensation. Direct measurements of condensation water dripping from a metal plate placed in the central part of the El Bosque Gallery of Covadura Cave indicate that condensation takes place mainly between July and November in coincidence with rainless periods. The estimated gypsum surface lowering due to this condensation water is 0.0026 mm yr−1. Microclimatic monitoring in the same area shows differences in air temperature and humidity of the lower parts of the galleries (colder and drier) with respect to the cave ceiling (warmer and wetter). This thermal sedimentation controls the intensity of the condensation–evaporation mechanisms at different heights in the cave.


Long-term erosion rate measurements in gypsum caves of Sorbas (SE Spain) by the Micro-Erosion Meter method, 2015,
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Sanna Laura, De Waele Jo, Calaforra José Maria, Forti Paolo

The present work deals with the results of long-term micro-erosion measurements in the most important gypsum cave of Spain, the Cueva del Agua (Sorbas, Almeria, SE Spain). Nineteen MEM stations were positioned in 1992 in a wide range of morphological and environmental settings (gypsum floors and walls, carbonate speleothems, dry conduits and vadose passages) inside and outside the cave, on gypsum and carbonate bedrocks and exposed to variable degree of humidity, different air flowand hydrodynamic conditions. Four different sets of stations have been investigated: (1) the main cave entrance (Las Viñicas spring); (2) the main river passage; (3) the abandoned Laboratory tunnel; and (4) the external gypsum surface. Data over a period of about 18 years are available. The average lowering rates vary from 0.014 to 0.016 mm yr−1 near the main entrance and in the Laboratory tunnel, to 0.022 mm −1 on gypsum floors and 0.028 mm yr−1 on carbonate flowstones. 

The denudation data from the external gypsum stations are quite regular with a rate of 0.170 mm yr−1. The observations allowed the collecting of important information concerning the feeding of the karst aquifer not only by infiltrating rainwater, but under present climate conditions also by water condensation of moist air flow. This contribution to the overall karst processes in the Cueva del Agua basin represents over 20% of the total chemical dissolution of the karst area and more than 50% of the speleogenetically removed gypsum in the cave system, thus representing all but a secondary role in speleogenesis. Condensation–corrosion is most active along the medium walls, being slower at the roof and almost absent close to the floor. This creates typical corrosion morphologies such as cupola, while gypsum flowers develop where evaporation dominates. This approach also shows quantitatively the morphological implications of condensation–corrosion processes in gypsum karst systems in arid zones, responsible for an average surface lowering of 0.047 mm yr−1, while mechanical erosion produces a lowering of 0.123 mm yr−1.


Quaternary faulting in the Tatra Mountains, evidence from cave morphology and fault-slip analysis, 2015,
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Szczygieł Jacek

Tectonically deformed cave passages in the Tatra Mts (Central Western Carpathians) indicate some fault activity during the Quaternary. Displacements occur in the youngest passages of the caves indicating (based on previous U-series dating of speleothems) an Eemian or younger age for those faults, and so one tectonic stage. On the basis of stress analysis and geomorphological observations, two different mechanisms are proposed as responsible for the development of these displacements. The first mechanism concerns faults that are located above the valley bottom and at a short distance from the surface, with fault planes oriented sub-parallel to the slopes. The radial, horizontal extension and vertical σ1 which is identical with gravity, indicate that these faults are the result of gravity sliding probably caused by relaxation after incision of valleys, and not directly from tectonic activity. The second mechanism is tilting of the Tatra Mts. The faults operated under WNW-ESE oriented extension with σ1 plunging steeply toward the west. Such a stress field led to normal dip-slip or oblique-slip displacements. The faults are located under the valley bottom and/or opposite or oblique to the slopes. The process involved the pre-existing weakest planes in the rock complex: (i) in massive limestone mostly faults and fractures, (ii) in thin-bedded limestone mostly inter-bedding planes. Thin-bedded limestones dipping steeply to the south are of particular interest. Tilting toward the N caused the hanging walls to move under the massif and not toward the valley, proving that the cause of these movements was tectonic activity and not gravity.


International Conference on Groundwater in Karst, Programme and Abstracts, 2015, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, 2015,
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Carbonate rocks present a particular challenge to hydrogeologists as the major groundwater flux is through an integrated network of dissolutionally enlarged channels that discharge via discrete springs. The channels span a very wide aperture range: the smallest are little more than micro-fractures or pathways through the rock matrix but at the other end of the spectrum (and commonly in the same rock mass) channels may grow to dimensions where they can be explored by humans and are called caves. Groundwater transmission through the smaller channels that are commonly intersected by boreholes is very slow and has often been analysed using equivalent porous media models although the limitations of such models are increasingly recognised. At the other end of the spectrum (and commonly in the same rock mass) flow through the larger conduits is analogous to ‘a surface stream with a roof’ and may be amenable to analysis by models devised for urban pipe networks. Regrettably, hydrogeologists have too often focussed on the extreme ends of the spectrum, with those carbonates possessing large and spectacular landforms regarded as “karst” whereas carbonates with little surface expression commonly, but incorrectly labelled as “non-karstic”. This can lead to failures in resource management. Britain is remarkable for the variety of carbonate rocks that crop out in a small geographical area. They range in age and type from Quaternary freshwater carbonates, through Cenozoic, Mesozoic and Paleozoic limestones and dolostones, to Proterozoic metacarbonates. All near surface British carbonates are soluble and groundwater is commonly discharged from them at springs fed by dissolutionally enlarged conduits, thereby meeting one internationally accepted definition of karst. Hence, it is very appropriate that Britain, and Birmingham as Britain's second largest city, hosts this International Conference on Groundwater in Karst. The meeting will consider the full range of carbonate groundwater systems and will also have an interdisciplinary approach to understanding karst in its fullest sense.


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