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Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology

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Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

Klimchouk on 26 Mar, 2012
Dear Colleagues, This is to draw your attention to several recent publications added to KarstBase, relevant to hypogenic karst/speleogenesis: Corrosion of limestone tablets in sulfidic ground-water: measurements and speleogenetic implications Galdenzi,

The deepest terrestrial animal

Klimchouk on 23 Feb, 2012
A recent publication of Spanish researchers describes the biology of Krubera Cave, including the deepest terrestrial animal ever found: Jordana, Rafael; Baquero, Enrique; Reboleira, Sofía and Sendra, Alberto. ...

Caves - landscapes without light

akop on 05 Feb, 2012
Exhibition dedicated to caves is taking place in the Vienna Natural History Museum   The exhibition at the Natural History Museum presents the surprising variety of caves and cave formations such as stalactites and various crystals. ...

Did you know?

That stomatal transpiration is the transpiration by escape of water through pores (stomata) of leaves [16].?

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;
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Your search for europe (Keyword) returned 239 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 226 to 239 of 239
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Day Mick, Reeder Phil

Lead ores were mined extensively in the Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin during the middle of the XIXth century, when the Upper Mississippi Valley Lead District was one of the major lead-producing regions in the world. Much of the ore was removed from caves that were initially entered directly from the surface or later intersected by vertical shafts or near-horizontal adits. Lead ore mining began around 1815, and was most prevalent between 1825 and 1870, with peak production in the 1840s and an almost uninterrupted decline in production after 1850. Ores were extracted from at least ten prominent mine caves in dolostones in the Platteville and Galena Formations South of the Wisconsin River, and the mine caves in total represent perhaps 50% of the local cave population. Among the more significant lead mine caves are the St. John Mine (Snake Cave), Dudley Cave, the Arthur and Company Mine Cave, the Brown and Turley Mine and the Atkinson Mine Cave. Caves North of the Wisconsin River in the Prairie du Chien Formation dolostones apparently yielded insignificant volumes of ore. Mining has altered the original caves considerably, and there remains considerable evidence of the mining, including excavated and modified passages up to 15 meters wide with rooms and pillars, drill holes and mining tools. Outside the caves there are extensive spoil piles, together with the remains of ore smelters and abandoned settlements. Although none of the lead mine caves remain active industrially, they remain import- ant in several contexts: they provide information about regional speleogenesis; they played a pivotal role in early European and African American settlement of Wisconsin; they were economically of great significance during the XIXth century; and they are important now as bat hibernacula, as caving sites and in regional tourism.

Deep hydrogeology: a discussion of issues and research needs, 2013,
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Tsang Chinfu, Niemi Auli

In this essay, “deep hydrogeology” is somewhat arbitrarily defined as hydrogeology in the subsurface deeper than 1 km, below which the effect of residual permeability at high stresses becomes evident (Neuzil 2003; Rutqvist and Stephansson 2003; Liu et al. 2009). Studies have shown that meteoric fluids are present in the earth’s crust from land surface to at least a depth of 10–15 km (Kozlowsky 1987; Taylor Jr 1990; Zharikov et al. 2003; Ge et al. 2003). At such depths, interaction with surface water and surface events over time periods of 100 or 1,000 years may be minimal, except in areas of very deep mining activities or where deep convection is enhanced by active magmatism. Deep drilling to several kilometers in depth is often done for petroleum and geothermal reservoir exploration and exploitation. The focus of such activities is reservoir identification, capacity evaluation, and fluid and heat extractability. However, it is largely an open area of research to understand the state, structure and evolution of deep hydrogeology over time scales of tens of thousands of years or more, especially in areas lacking petroleum and geothermal resources. Interest in attaining such an understanding has emerged from the need for long-term predictions related to nuclear waste disposal and from recognition of the role that hydrogeology may play in seismicity, orogenesis and various geological processes, as well as in global fluid and chemical cycles. A number of wide-ranging questions may be asked regarding deep hydrogeology, several of which are as follows: What are the current and past states of fluid pressure, temperature and chemical composition in deep formations? How does fluid transport mass and heat? What are the fluid sources and driving mechanisms? What are the magnitude and distribution of porosity and permeability? What are the occurrence and characteristics of large-scale flow, including thermally and chemically driven convection systems? What is the nature of local anomalous fluid pressures and what are their implications? The purpose of this essay is to discuss key issues and research needs in deep hydrogeology. It is based on a workshop on the subject held at Uppsala University in Sweden, with participants from 11 countries, including the USA, Russia, Japan and a number of European countries (Tsang et al. 2012). The following discussion will be divided into sections on permeability structures, driving forces, coupled processes, borehole testing and data analysis, followed by a few concluding remarks.

Rana iberica (Boulenger, 1879) goes underground: subterranean habitat usage and new insights on natural history, 2013,
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Gonalo M. Rosa, Andreia Penado

Reports of amphibians exploiting subterranean habitats are common, with salamanders being the most frequent and studied inhabitants. Anurans can occasionally be observed in caves and other subterranean habitats, but in contrast to salamanders, breeding had never been reported in a cave or similar subterranean habitat in Western Europe. Based on observations during visits to a drainage gallery in Serra da Estrela, Portugal, from May 2010 to December 2012, here we document: (i) first report of Rana iberica reproduction in cave-like habitat, representing the fourth report of an anuran for the Palearctic ecozone; (ii) oophagic habits of the tadpoles of Ranaiberica; and (iii) Salamandra salamandra predation on Rana iberica larvae. These observations, particularly of Rana iberica, highlight our lack of knowledge of subterranean ecosystems in the Iberian Peninsula.

Seismic study of the low-permeability volume in southern France karst systems, 2013,
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Galibert P. Y. , Valois R. , Mendes M. , Gurin R.

Locating groundwater in deep-seated karst aquifers is inherently difficult. With seismic methods, we studied the upper epikarst and the underneath low-permeability volume (LPV) of several karst systems located in the southern Quercy and Larzac regions of France and found that refraction tomography was effective only in the epikarst and not in the LPV. We evaluated a 3D case study using a combination of surface records and downhole receivers to overcome this limitation. This 3D approach unveiled a set of elongated furrows at the base of the epikarst and identified heterogeneities deep inside the LPV that may represent high-permeability preferred pathways for water inside the karst. To achieve the same result when no borehole was available, we studied seismic amplitudes of the wavefield, recognizing that wave-induced fluid flow in low-permeability carbonates is a driving mechanism of seismic attenuation. We developed a workflow describing the heterogeneity of the LPV with spectral attributes derived from surface-consistent decomposition principles, and we validated its effectiveness at benchmark locations. We applied this workflow to the 3D study and found a low-amplitude signal area at depth; we interpreted this anomaly as a water-saturated body perched above the aquifer.

Early results of micro-deformation measurements in Magdalena Jama (Slovenia) by a vertical static pendulum, 2013,
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Kalenda Pavel, Neumann Libor, Šebela Stanka

Vertical static pendulums have been installed in mines or caves in Central Europe since 2007. Two­dimensional optical measurement of the tilt of a rock mass and continuous fully digital on­line evaluation of results makes possible the detection of a small tilt of the surroundings with a resolution of tens of nanoradians or the deformation of the surroundings in the horizontal plane with resolution of hundreds of nanometres. The paper describes the measurement device and the first results of the measurements in Magdalena Jama, which is part of the Postojna Cave System (Slovenia). The correlation of deformation between distant stations shows the existence of stress variations that are not only of local origin (high floods, local seismicity, and aseismic deformations). The stress field has a wider, and not only regional, character with effects that can be observed very far from the origin.

Subterranean aquatic planarians of Sardinia, with a discussion on the penial flagellum and the bursal canal sphincter in the genus Dendrocoelum (Platyhelminthes, Tricladida, Dendrocoelidae), 2013,
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Stocchino G. A. , Sluys R. , Marcia P. , Manconi R.

The paper provides the first detailed account on the taxonomic richness of the subterranean freshwater triclads from Sardinia, including the description of four new species for the genera Dendrocoelum and Phagocata. New records for Dugesia benazzii, Dugesia sp., Crenobia alpina, and Phagocata sp. are also reported. The three new species of Dendrocoelum are the first reported for the island of Sardinia. These species display a bursal canal sphincter and a large adenodactyl with a characteristic anatomy with a zone of fine circular muscle fibers running through the mesenchyme of its papilla. A detailed analysis of the structure of the penial flagellum in the genus Dendrocoelum highlighted six main conditions, some of which have not been previously reported, in regard to the histology of the tip of the penis papilla and the extent of its inversion. The new species of Phagocata represents the first species recorded from Italy and the first anophtalmous species reported from Europe.

The process of ghost-rock karstification and its role in the formation of caves, 2014,
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Dubois C. , Quinif Y. , Baele J. M. , Barriquand L. , Bini A. , Bruxelles L. , Dandurand G. , Havron C. , Kaufmann O. , Lans B. , Maire R. , Martin J. , Rodet J. , Rowberry M. D. , Tognini P. , Vergari A. ,

This paper presents an extensive review of the process of ghost-rock karstification and highlights its role in the formation of cave systems. The process integrates chemical weathering and mechanical erosion and extends a number of existing theories pertaining to continental landscape development. It is a two stage process that differs in many respects from the traditional single-stage process of karstification by total removal. The first stage is characterised by chemical dissolution and removal of the soluble species. It requires low hydrodynamic energy and creates a ghost-rock feature filled with residual alterite. The second stage is characterised by mechanical erosion of the undissolved particles. It requires high hydrodynamic energy and it is only then that open galleries are created. The transition from the first stage to the second is driven by the amount of energy within the thermodynamic system. The process is illustrated by detailed field observations and the results of the laboratory analyses of samples taken from the karstotype area around Soignies in southern Belgium. Thereafter, a series of case studies provide a synthesis of field observations and laboratory analyses from across western Europe. These studies come from geologically distinct parts of Belgium, France, Italy, and United Kingdom. The process of ghost-rock karstification challenges a number of axioms associated the process of karstification by total removal. On the basis of the evidence presented it is argued that it is no longer acceptable to use karst morphologies as a basis with which to infer specific karstogenetic processes and it is no longer necessary for a karst system to relate to base level as ghost-rock karstification proceeds along transmissive pathways in the rock. There is also some evidence to suggest that ghost-rock karstification may be superseded by karstification by total removal, and vice versa, according to the amount of energy within the thermodynamic system. The proposed chemical weathering and subsequent mechanical erosion of limestone suggests that the development of karst terrain is related far more closely to the geomorphological development of aluminosilicate and siliceous terrains than is generally supposed. It is now necessary to reconsider the origin of many karst systems in light of the outlined process of ghost-rock karstification.

Radon, carbon dioxide and fault displacements in central Europe related to the Tohoku Earthquake, 2014,
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Briestensky Milos, Thinova Lenka, Praksova Renata, Stemberk Josef, Rowberry Matt D. , Knejflova Zuzana

Tectonic instability may be measured directly using extensometers installed across active faults or it may be indicated by anomalous natural gas concentrations in the vicinity of active faults. This paper presents the results of fault displacement monitoring at two sites in the Bohemian Massif and Western Carpathians. These data have been supplemented by radon monitoring in Mladec Caves and by carbon dioxide monitoring in Zbrasov Aragonite Caves. A significant period of tectonic instability is indicated by changes in the fault displacement trends and by anomalous radon and carbon dioxide concentrations. This was recorded around the time of the catastrophic MW = 9.0 Tohoku Earthquake which hit eastern Japan on 11 March 2011. It is tentatively suggested that the Tohoku Earthquake in the Pacific Ocean and the unusual geodynamic activity recorded in the Bohemian Massif and Western Carpathians both reflect contemporaneous global tectonic changes.

Molecular analyses of microbial abundance and diversity in the water column of anchialine caves in Mallorca, Spain., 2014,
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Menning D. M. , Boop L. M. , Graham E. D. , Garey J. R.

Water column samples from the island of Mallorca, Spain were collected from one site in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (Vallgornera) and three sites (Llac Martel, Llac Negre, and Llac de les Delícies) in Coves del Drac (Drac). Vallgornera is located on the southern coast of Mallorca approximately 57 km southwest of Coves del Drac. Drac is Europe's most visited tourist cave, whereas Vallgornera is closed to the public. Water samples were analyzed for water chemistry using spectrophotometric methods, by quantitative PCR for estimated total abundance of microbial communities, and by length heterogeneity PCR for species richness and relative species abundance of Archaea, Bacteria, and microbial eukaryotes. Estimated total abundance was multiplied by relative species abundance to determine the absolute species abundance. All sites were compared to determine spatial distributions of the microbial communities and to determine water column physical and chemical gradients. Water quality and community structure data indicate that both Drac Delícies and Drac Negre have distinct biogeochemical gradients. These sites have communities that are similar to Vallgornera but distinct from Drac Martel, only a few hundred meters away. Drac Martel is accessible to the general public and had the most dissimilar microbial community of all the sites. Similarities among communities at sites in Drac and Vallgornera suggest that these two spatially separated systems are operating under similar ecological constraints.

A new threat to groundwater ecosystems: first occurrences of the invasive crayfish Procambarus clarkii (Girard, 1852) in European caves., 2014,
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Mazza G. , Reboleira A. S. P. S. , Gonc¸alves F. , Aquiloni L. , Inghilesi A. F. , Spigoli D. , Stoch F. , Taiti S. , Gherardi F. , Tricarico E.

The American red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, is today the alien species most widespread in European water bodies. This invasive crayfish was found for the first time in some caves of Europe, specifically in Portugal and Italy. The presence of P. clarkii in caves is noteworthy, representing a new threat for the groundwater ecosystems due to the possible negative impacts on the native communities.

The use of damaged speleothems and in situ fault displacement monitoring to characterise active tectonic structures: an example from Zapadni Cave, Czech Republic , 2014,
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Briestensky Milos, Stemberk Josef, Rowberry Matt D. ,

The EU-TecNet fault displacement monitoring network records three-dimensional displacements across specifically selected tectonic structures within the crystalline basement of central Europe. This paper presents a study of recent and active tectonics at Západní Cave in northern Bohemia (Czech Republic). It extends previous geological research by measuring speleothem damage in the cave and monitoring displacements across two fault structures situated within the Lusatian Thrust Zone. The speleothem damage reflects strike-slip displacement trends: the WSW-ENE striking fault is associated with dextral strike-slip displacement while the NNW-SSE striking fault is associated with sinistral strike-slip displacement. These measurements demonstrate that the compressive stress σ1 is located in the NW or SE quadrant while the tensile stress σ3 is oriented perpendicular to σ1, i.e. in the NE or SW quadrant. The in situ fault displacement monitoring has confirmed that movements along the WSW-ENE striking fault reflect dextral strike-slip while movements along the NNW-SSE striking fault reflect sinistral strike-slip. In addition, however, monitoring across the NNW-SSE striking fault has demonstrated relative vertical uplift of the eastern block and, therefore, this fault is characterised by oblique movement trends. The fault displacement monitoring has also shown notable periods of increased geodynamic activity, referred to as pressure pulses, in 2008, 2010-2011, and 2012. The fact that the measured speleothem damage and the results of fault displacement monitoring correspond closely confirms the notion that, at this site, the compressive stress σ1 persists in the NW or SE quadrant. The presented results offer an insight into the periodicity of pressure pulses, demonstrate the need for protracted monitoring periods in order to better understanding geodynamic processes, and show that it is possible to characterise the displacements that occur across individual faults in a way that cannot be accomplished from geodetic measurements obtained by Global Navigation Satellite Systems.

Airborne microorganisms in Lascaux Cave (France), 2014,
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Lascaux Cave in France contains valuable Palaeolithic paintings. The importance of the paintings, one of the finest examples of European rock art paintings, was recognized shortly after their discovery in 1940. In the 60’s of the past century the cave received a huge number of visitors and suffered a microbial crisis due to the impact of massive tourism and the previous adaptation works carried out to facilitate visits. In 1963, the cave was closed due to the damage produced by visitors’ breath, lighting and algal growth on the paintings. In 2001, an outbreak of the fungus Fusarium solani covered the walls and sediments. Later, black stains, produced by the growth of the fungus Ochroconis lascauxensis, appeared on the walls. In 2006, the extensive black stains constituted the third major microbial crisis. In an attempt to know the dispersion of microorganisms inside the cave, aerobiological and microclimate studies were carried out in two different seasons, when a climate system for preventing condensation of water vapor on the walls was active (September 2010) or inactive (February 2010). The data showed that in September the convection currents created by the climate system evacuated the airborne microorganisms whereas in February they remained in suspension which explained the high concentrations of bacteria and fungi found in the air. This double aerobiological and microclimate study inLascauxCave can help to understand the dispersion of microorganisms and to adopt measures for a correct cave management.

Origin of the palaeokarst in Miocene evaporites on the SW periphery of the Eastern European Platform in the light of palynological studies – a case study of the Zoloushka Cave, Bukovina, Western Ukraine, 2014,
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The Zoloushka Cave belongs to a group of the largest gypsum caves in Western Ukraine (Bukovina region), developed in the middle Miocene (upper Badenian) evaporite series (Tyras Formation) on the SW periphery of the East European Platform. It is developed in the lower part of the evaporite series composed of gypsum, which is covered by a carbonate layer (Ratyn Limestone). The uneven upper surface of the gypsum at the contact with the limestone, the frequent occurrence of palaeokarst forms, and the presence of karstified fissures filled with allochthonous material indicate a sedimentation break between the gypsum and the overlying limestone. To support this thesis and to add new data on the age and palaeoenvironmental conditions of palaeokarst formation in the Bukovina region, palynological studies were carried out on material from the Zoloushka Cave. Palynofacies, sporomorphs and dinoflagellate cysts were studied. In total, over 70 sporomorph taxa and over 25 dinoflagellate cyst taxa have been identified in four samples collected from the filling of the palaeokarstic forms in the cave. The results of the analysis of sporomorphs and dinoflagellate cysts point to the formation of the palaeokarst during the sedimentation break that took place at the end of the late Badenian evaporitic cycle in the Western Ukraine region. The subsequent marine transgression led to the filling of the karst forms in gypsum with chemogenic carbonate material, precipitated from marine water (draperies) and with fine-grained, clastic material (pockets and fissures).


Sulfuric acid speleogenesis (SAS) close to the water table: Examples from southern France, Austria, and Sicily, 2015,
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Caves formed by rising sulfuric waters have been described from all over the world in a wide variety of climate  settings, from arid regions to mid-latitude and alpine areas. H2S is generally formed at depth by reduction of  sulfates in the presence of hydrocarbons and is transported in solution through the deep aquifers. In tectonically  disturbed areas major fractures eventually allow these H2S-bearing fluids to rise to the surface where oxidation  processes can become active producing sulfuric acid. This extremely strong acid reacts with the carbonate  bedrock creating caves, some of which are among the largest and most spectacular in the world. Production of  sulfuric acid mostly occurs at or close to the water table but also in subaerial conditions in moisture films and  droplets in the cave environment. These caves are generated at or immediately above the water table, where  condensation–corrosion processes are dominant, creating a set of characteristic meso- and micromorphologies.  Due to their close connection to the base level, these caves can also precisely record past hydrological and  geomorphological settings. Certain authigenic cave minerals, produced during the sulfuric acid speleogenesis  (SAS) phase, allow determination of the exact timing of speleogenesis. This paper deals with the morphological,  geochemical and mineralogical description of four very typical sulfuric acid water table caves in Europe: the  Grotte du Chat in the southern French Alps, the Acqua Fitusa Cave in Sicily (Italy), and the Bad Deutsch Altenburg  and Kraushöhle caves in Austria

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