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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 soil-moisture suction is the negative pore pressure exerted by capillary forces [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 link (Keyword) returned 247 results for the whole karstbase:
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PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS ON HYPOGENE MORPHOLOGY IN TOCA DA BOA VISTA E TOCA DA BARRIGUDA CAVES, NORTHEASTERN BRAZIL, 2014,
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Borges S. , Casarin C. , Menezes C. , Srivastava N. , Silva R. , Bezerra F. , Auler A.

The Toca da Boa Vista and Barriguda caves are located in Northeastern Brazil. They occur in the Neoproterozoic carbonates (limestones and dolomites) of the Salitre Formation, located at Irecê Basin. This set of rocks occurs within the São Francisco Craton, a region that was not affected by the Brasiliano-Pan-African orogeny (Pedreira et al., 1987). The caves occur at a dis­tance of approximately 300 m apart and there is a possibility of a link between them, but so far this has not been proven. Toca da Boa Vista has about 108 km of mapped passages and is therefore the largest cave in South America. Toca da Barriguda is smaller and has about 32 km of mapped galleries.

The architecture of the Toca da Boa Vista and Barriguda caves present both a 2D network and spongework type (Auler, 2009). The control of the conduits is related to faults, fractures and axial planes of antiforms. The general configuration of the caves seems to follow the Pacuí riverbed that has its channel located about 1km southeast. The origin of these hypogenic caves was first postulated by Auler & Smart (2004), who described some hypogenic features and reported a acid source (H2S) coming from existing pyrite in carbonates to explain the corrosion and dissolution of carbonate rocks. Klimchouk (2009) wrote about the need to investigate deeper this issue. He drew attention to the apparent feeders presence coming from the lower aquifer as well as to the importance of determi­nation of the source of acidity, since the amount of pyrite present doesn’t seem to be significant for the origin and development of the caves by hypogenic speleogenesis.

Although the origin and development of the caves are still under discussion, abundant hypogenic forms are present. Feeders, rising wall channels, half ceiling tubes, half wall tubes, ceiling cupolas, convection cupolas and wall niches are the major forms found. The linear geometry of caves suggests that they have a structural control. In addition, cavities generated at Toca da Boa Vista and Barriguda caves seem to follow the same stratigraphic level, as well as existing permeable structures such as fractures, faults and axial planes of antiforms. The process of ascending flow through these structures has resulted in the opening of the cavities by hypogenic dissolution as well as the collapse of blocks caused by the lack of sustainability of the layers generated by the voids left by the dis­solution. Outlets that would flow to levels above were not found. The origin and evolution of the cave system, however, needs further investigation.


RESERVOIR CHARACTERISTICS OF THE COMPLEX KARST OF THE LLUCMAJOR PLATFORM, MALLORCA ISLAND (SPAIN): TOOL FOR HYDROCARBON RESERVOIR APPRAISAL, 2014,
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Lapointe, P. A.

The development of porosity in carbonate platforms takes many forms. Dissolution porosity as a result of karst processes is unique as it produces organized porosity and permeability over a variety of scales, and can do so in very short periods of time, geologically speaking. Karst developed in the Miocene formations of the Mallorca Island exhibits a complexity that seems to be very similar to the Kashagan or Aktote (Kazakhstan) or Kharyaga (CIS) karst reservoirs architecture characterized by different phases of island karst (mixing water) type with caves of different sizes and sponge karst, reworked and partly filled by paleosoils related to plateau karst developed during major sea level drops and finally hydro- (geo)-thermal processes. The Miocene rocks of the Llucmajor platform in the southwest of Mallorca island exhibit the three main types of karst developments that occurred through time, linked or not to glacio-eustatic changes: -1 Island karst (the flank-margin model); -2 Meteoric karst; -3 Hydrothermal karst/ These developments allow defining the so-called Complex Karst. Each of the terms is identified by specific overprints found in drilled wells (logs and cores) or on outcrops. The outcrops and subcrops of Mallorca Island represent an excellent analogue for understanding the complexity of the past carbonate platforms which are hydrocarbon targets for the industry


Speleothems in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera: their distribution and characteristics within an extensive coastal cave from the eogenetic karst of southern Mallorca (Western Mediterranean)., 2014,
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Merino A. , Ginés J. , Tuccimei P. , Soligo M. , Fornós J. J.

The abundance and variety of speleothems are undoubtedly among the remarkable features of Cova des Pas de Vallgornera, the longest cave system in Mallorca Island developed in the eogenetic karst of its southern coast. Due to the monotonous carbonate lithology of the area, most of the speleothems are composed of calcite and in a few cases aragonite, although other minerals are also represented (e.g., gypsum, celestine, barite.). However, in spite of the rather common mineralogy of the speleothems, its distribution results strongly mediated by the lithologic and textural variability linked to the architecture of the Upper Miocene reefal rocks. Apart from a vast majority of speleothem typologies that are ubiquitous all along the cave system, some particular types are restricted to specific sections of the cave. In its landward inner passages, formed in the low permeability back reef facies, a great variety of speleothems associated to perched freshwater accumulations stands out, as well as some non frequent crystallizations like for example cave rims. On the other hand, the seaward part of the cave (developed in the very porous reef front facies) hosts conspicuous phreatic overgrowths on speleothems (POS), which are discussed to show their applications to constrain sea level changes. The factors controlling the distribution of speleothems found in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera are discussed along the paper, focusing the attention on the lithologic, hydrogeologic and speleogenetic conditionings; at the same time some uncommon speleothems, not found in any other cave in Mallorca, are also documented from this locality. Finally, a cognizant endeavour has been undertaken to illustrate with photographs the most remarkable speleothem types represented in the cave.


Linking mineral deposits to speleogenetic processes in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (Mallorca, Spain)., 2014,
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Onac B. P. , Fornós J. J. , Merino A. , Ginés J. , Diehl J.

Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (CPV) is the premier cave of the Balearic Archipelago. Over 74 km of passages develop within two carbonate lithofacies (reef front and back reef), which ultimately control the patterns of the cave and to some degree its mineral infilling. The diversity of speleothem-forming minerals is four times greater around or within hypogene-related features (vents, rims, cupolas), compared to any other vadose passages in the cave. The mineralogy of speleothems (crusts, nodules, crystals, earthy masses) associated with hypogene features in the seaward upper maze of Sector F is characterized by the presence of aragonite, ankerite, huntite, clay minerals, and quartz. In the Tragus and Nord sectors, however, the dominant mineral is dolomite, along with aragonite, celestine, huntite, clay minerals, and quartz. Calcite is by far the most ubiquitous mineral throughout the cave. Detailed macroscopic and scanning electron microanalysis and imaging have permitted the investigation of textural relationships between the minerals associated with vents, rims, and vent’s roof and walls. These studies along with morphological and stable isotope analyses confirm that not all minerals are connected with a hypogene stage in the cave evolution, and furthermore, none of them appears to be sulfuric acid by-products. Instead, the mineral assemblages documented in speleothems from CPV clearly support at least three speleogenetic pathways, namely seacoast mixing, ascending of warm groundwaters, and meteoric recharge (vadose). Thus, cave minerals in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera hold the keys to reconstruction and understanding of processes and conditions under which they precipitated, allowing to establish their relationship with various speleogenetic pathways


The mineralogical study of the Grotta Inferiore di Sant’Angelo (southern Italy), 2014,
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Catalano M. , Bloise A. , Miriello D. , Apollaro C. , Critelli T. , Muto F. , Cazzanelli E. , Barrese E.

In the present work, thirteen samples collected from the Grotta Inferiore di Sant’Angelo near the town of Cassano allo Jonio (Calabria region, southern Italy) were analyzed for their mineralogy. The Grotta Inferiore di Sant’Angelo is made up of subhorizontal, interlinked galleries between 400 and 450 meters above sea level. The floor is littered with deposits such as bat-guano, gypsum, and many speleothems that also cover the walls. The samples were identified and characterized by X-ray powder diffraction, scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectrometer, microthermometry, and micro-Raman spectroscopy. The ten primary minerals identified in this study belong to six different groups: carbonate, sulfate, apatite, oxide and hydroxide, halide, and silicate. Clay minerals and eight other detrital minerals were also found: enstatite, rutile, magnesite, pyrite, chrysotile, quartz, dolomite, and chlorite. Characterization of cave minerals could be useful to improve the knowledge of the relation between them and the lithology of the host rocks


Depth and timing of calcite spar and “spar cave” genesis: Implications for landscape evolution studies, 2015,
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Calcite spar (crystals >1 cm in diameter) are common in limestone and dolostone terrains. In the Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico and west Texas, calcite spar is abundant and lines small geode-like caves. Determining the depth and timing of formation of these large scalenohedral calcite crystals is critical in linking the growth of spar with landscape evolution. In this study, we show that large euhedral calcite crystals precipitate deep in the phreatic zone (400–800 m) in these small geode-like caves (spar caves), and we propose both are the result of properties of supercritical CO2 at that depth. U-Pb dating of spar crystals shows that they formed primarily between 36 and 28 Ma. The 87Sr/86Sr values of the euhedral calcite spar show that the spar has a signifi cantly higher 87Sr/86Sr (0.710–0.716) than the host Permian limestone (0.706–0.709). This indicates the spar formed from waters that are mixed with, or formed entirely from, a source other than the surrounding bedrock aquifer, and this is consistent with hypogene speleogenesis at signifi cant depth. In addition, we conducted highly precise measurements of the variation in nonradiogenic isotopes of strontium, 88Sr/86Sr, expressed as 88Sr, the variation of which has previously been shown to depend on temperature of precipitation. Our preliminary 88Sr results from the spar calcite are consistent with formation at 50–70 °C. Our fi rst U-Pb results show that the spar was precipitated during the beginning of Basin and Range tectonism in a late Eocene to early Oligocene episode, which was coeval with two major magmatic periods at 36–33 Ma and 32–28 Ma. A novel speleogenetic process that includes both the dissolution of the spar caves and precipitation of the spar by the same speleogenetic event is proposed and supports the formation of the spar at 400–800 m depth, where the transition from supercritical to subcritical CO2 drives both dissolution of limestone during the main speleogenetic event and precipitation of calcite at the terminal phase of speleogenesis. We suggest that CO2 is derived from contemporaneous igneous activity. This proposed model suggests that calcite spar can be used for reconstruction of landscape evolution


Hydrothermal speleogenesis in carbonates and metasomatic silicites induced by subvolcanic intrusions: a case study from the Štiavnické vrchy Mountains, Slovakia, 2015,
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Several caves of hydrothermal origin in crystalline limestones and metasomatic silicites were investigated in the central zone of the Štiavnica stratovolcano, Štiavnické vrchy Mountains, central Slovakia. Evidence of hydrothermal origin includes irregular spherical cave morphology sculptured by ascending thermal water, occurrence of large calcite crystals and hydrothermal alteration of host rocks, including hydrothermal clays. The early phases of speleogenesis in the crystalline limestone near Sklené Teplice Spa were caused by post-magmatic dissolution linked either to the emplacement of subvolcanic granodiorite intrusions during Late Badenian time or to the spatially associated Late Sarmatian epithermal system. Speleogenesis in metasomatic silicites in the Šobov area is related to hydrothermal processes associated with the pre-caldera stage of the Štiavnica stratovolcano in Late Badenian. Both localities are remarkable examples of hydrothermal speleogenesis associated with Miocene volcanic and magmatic activity in the Western Carpathians


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