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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 homogeneous fluid is a fluid that occurs in a single phase [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;
See all featured articles from other geoscience journals

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Your search for lake (Keyword) returned 308 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 286 to 300 of 308
The Prehistoric Cave Art and Archaeology of Dunbar Cave, Montgomery County, Tennessee, 2012,
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Simek J. F. , Blankenship S. A. , Cressler A. , Douglas J. C. , Wallace A. , Weinand D. , Welborn H.


Dunbar Cave in Montgomery County, Tennessee has been used by people in a great variety of ways. This paper reports on prehistoric uses of the cave, which were quite varied. The vestibule of the cave, which is today protected by a concrete slab installed during the cave’s days as an historic tourist showplace, saw extensive and very long term occupation. Diagnostic artifacts span the period from Late Paleo-Indian (ca.10,000-years ago) to the Mississippian, and include Archaic (10,000 to 3,000-years ago) and Woodland (3,000–1,000-years ago) cultural materials. These include a paleoindian Beaver Lake Point, Kirk cluster points, Little River types, Ledbetter types, numerous straight-stemmed point types, Hamilton and Madison projectile points. Woodland period ceramics comprise various limestone tempered forms, all in low quantities, and cord-marked limestone tempered wares in the uppermost Woodland layers. Shell-tempered ceramics bear witness to a rich Mississippian presence at the top of the deposit. Given this chronological span, the Dunbar Cave sequence is as complete as any in eastern North America. However, problems with previous excavation strategies make much of the existing archaeological record difficult to interpret. We present a new series of radiocarbon age determinations that show both the great time depth of the vestibule deposits and the problems with their integrity. There was also extensive prehistoric use of Dunbar Cave’s dark zone, including mineral extraction, and ritual interment of the dead. Most importantly, thirty-five petroglyphs and pictographs were made on the cave walls, most probably during the Mississippian period. These include geometric shapes, abstract compositions, and human figures including a mythological hero warrior known from other examples of Mississippian iconography. Dunbar may also have seen ritual visitation very early, i.e., during the Archaic period (ca. 5,000-years ago), entailing the placement of offerings in the cave’s interior waters.

Response of the Karst Phreatic Zone to Flood Events in a Major River (Bohemian Karst, Czech Republic) and its Implications for Cave Genesis, 2012,
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Vysok H. , Bruthans J. , k K. , Mls J.

Hydraulic and hydrochemical relationships between a medium gradient river and a karst aquifer were studied by water level and temperature logging combined with water geochemistry and d13C. The cave lakes are separated from the river by a floodplain up to 150 m wide formed by a gravel and sand layer up to 13 m thick covered with finegrained floodplain sediments. During minor discharge peaks (water level in the river , 1.5 m above the normal river stage), a water level oscillation in the cave lakes situated 40 to 190 m away from river is induced by the river level oscillation, but the river water does not enter any of the lakes. The groundwater chemistry in the cave lakes differs from that of the river water. Low bicarbonate content and high d13C values indicate that some of cave lakes’ waters have undergone CO2 degassing and calcite precipitation. During a major flood (recurrence interval . 100 years, level rising 7 m above the normal stage), the river water rapidly flooded the caves through openings in the river canyon (floodflow injection), while those connected to the river via alluvium only were flooded by an elevated groundwater stage, and the resulting water level rise was only about 50 percent of the river level increase. A simple hydraulic model was successfully used to simulate and explain the water table oscillations in the cave lakes. Flood-flow injection has recently been substantially reduced by low-permeability, fine-grained late Holocene fluvial sediments that cap coarse gravels in the river floodplain. Fast speleogenesis by flood injection would be expected in periods when the river canyon was bare or filled by gravel alone (glacial periods, transition to Holocene). Ice jams causing local increases in the river level are recognized as one of factors that can be important in speleogenesis.

Quaternary alluvial sinkholes: Record of environmental conditions of karst development, examples from the Ebro Basin, Spain , 2012,
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Soriano M. A. , Luzon A. , Yuste A. , Pocovı, A. , Perez A. , Simon J. L. , Gil H.

The central Ebro Basin is an exceptional region for studying karstification through time and under different environmental conditions, as sinkholes have been developing since the Early Pleistocene. Knowledge of active sinkholes is complemented with research on paleosinkholes and contemporary deposits. Sedimentological, mineralogical, geomorphological and structural approaches permit interpretation of the natural environmental conditions that favored karst in the past and the main genetic mechanisms involved. The sedimentary features of Pleistocene terraces indicate that they were deposited by a gravel braided fluvial system characterized by higher water and sediment availability than today, probably related to meltwater flows coming from glaciated source areas, mainly in the Pyrenees. Genesis of paleosinkholes was mainly linked to this high water supply. Some of them acted as small lakes where fine sediments are exceptionally well conserved to give clues about environmental conditions. The neoformation of palygorskite and sepiolite suggests arid to semiarid climatic conditions, in agreement with the idea of cold glacial episodes. During Pleistocene times, development of sinkholes was influenced by tectonics. Currently, the genesis and evolution of numerous sinkholes are also influenced by water supplies from human activities such as irrigation or urbanization, sharply changing the nearly steady state exhibited in the past

Five Blues Lake National Park, Belize: a cautionary management tale, 2012,
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Day M. , Reynolds B. ,

Karst is inherently dynamic, and this may be manifest in unexpected ways, which may have major implications for management of protected areas, where changes may have major impacts on visitor numbers and revenue streams. In Five Blues Lake National Park, Belize, the principal visitor focus is Five Blues Lake itself. An anomalous feature with characteristics of a karst window or cenote but in the setting of a polje or ponor lake, Five Blues has both surface and underground drainage components. Establishment of the national park proceeded under the impression that the lake was a permanent feature, but over July 20 to 25, 2006, the lake drained rapidly underground. Without the lake, visitor numbers and park revenues declined, and the park was all but abandoned. The lake refilled in 2007, but visitor numbers continue to lag. Management and promotion of hydrologic features within protected areas needs to take such possibilities into account, emphasizing variability and change and avoiding a focus on conditions that may not prevail at any given time.

Environmental Hydrogeological Study of Louros watershed, Epirus, Greece, 2012,
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Konstantina Katsanou

The present study aims to describe and characterize the Ionian zone karst formation concerning the karstification grade of carbonate formations and the development of aquifers, through the hydrogeological study of Louros River drainage basin, considering hydrological, hydrogeological and meteorological data, as well as major, trace element, rare earth element and isotope concentrations. It also aims to investigate basic karst properties such as storativity, homogeneity, infiltration coefficients and the parameters of the Louros basin hydrological balance.

To accomplish this aim daily discharge measurements obtained from Public Power Corporation at the Pantanassa station during the years 1956-1957, along with random discharge measurements from 15 springs along the basin performed by IGME between the years 1979-1989, daily meteorological data from 18 stations and 18 sets of potentiometric surface measurements from 38 sites were compiled. Additionally, chemical analyses on major and trace element concentrations of 42 rock samples and of five sets of water samples from 64 sampling sites, along with fourteen sets of successive periods in order to study the seasonal variation in the chemical composition of 11 springs and REE concentrations of 116 water samples. Moreover isotope ratios from 129 rain samples collected at five different altitudes, 331 samples of surface and groundwater samples, radon measurements on 21 groundwater samples and microbiological on 46 samples of surface and groundwater were evaluated. Daily runoff and random spring discharge missing data were completed applying the SAC-SMA and MODKARST simulation algorithms and the values of these parameters for the duration of the research (2008-2010) were predicted. The accuracy of the predicted values was tested applying statistical methods but also against observed values from in situ measurements performed during the same period (2008-2010).

Louros River drainage basin is located at the southern part of Epirus and covers an area of 953 km2. It is elongated and together with the adjacent basin of River Arachthos they constitute the major hydrographic systems discharging in the Amvrakikos Gulf. The main morphological features of the basin are elongated mountain ranges and narrow valleys, which are the result of tectonic and other geological processes mainly controlled by the limestone-“flysch” alternations. The length of the river’s major channel, which is parallel to the major folding direction (NNW-SSE), is 73.5 km. The mountainous part of the hydrogeological basin covers an area of 400 km2 and its endpoint was set at the Pantanassa station, where discharge measurements are performed. The underground limits of the basin coincides with the surface one, defined by the flysch outcrops at the western margin of the Ziros-Zalongo fault zone to the South, the application of isotope determinations and hydraulic load distribution maps at the North and East.

Geologically, Louros River drainage basin is composed of the Ionian zone formations. Triassic evaporites constitute the base of the zone overlain by a thick sequence of carbonate and clastic sedimentary rocks deposited from the Late Triassic to the Upper Eocene. In more detail, from base to top, the lithostratigraphical column of the zone includes dolomite and dolomitic limestone, Pantokrator limestone, Ammonitico Rosso, Posidonia Shales, Vigla limestone, Upper Senonian limestone, Palaeocene-Eocene limestone and Oligocene “flysch”. The major tectonic features of the regions are folds with their axes trending SW-NE at the northern part and NNW-SSE to NNE-SSW southern of the Mousiotitsa-Episkopiko-Petrovouni fault system and the strike-slip fault systems of Ziros and Petousi.

The evaluation of the daily meteorological data revealed that December is the most humid month of the year followed by January, whereas July and August are the driest months. Approximately 40-45% of the annual precipitation is distributed during the winter time and 30% during autumn. The mean annual precipitation ranges from 897.4 to 2051.8 mm and the precipitation altitude relationship suggests an increased precipitation with altitude at a rate of 84 mm/100 m. The maximum temperature is recorded during August and it may reach 40°C and the minimum during January. The temperature variation with the altitude is calculated at 0.61°C/100 m. The maximum solarity time is 377.8 h, recorded during July at the Arta station. December displays the highest relative humidity with a value of 84.2% recorded again at the Arta station. The highest wind velocity values are recorded at the Preveza station and similar velocities are also recorded at the Ioannina station. The real evapotranspiration in Louros drainage basin ranges between 27-39%. The potential evapotranspiration was calculated from the Ioannina station meteorological data, which are considered more representative for Louros basin, at 785.8 mm of precipitation according to Thornthwaite and at 722.0 mm according to Penman-Monteith.

According to the SAC-SMA algorithm the total discharge (surficial and underground) for the years 2008-2010 ranges between 61-73% of the total precipitation. The algorithm simulates the vertical percolation of rainwater in both unsaturated and saturated zones taking into account 15 parameters including the tension water capacity of the unsaturated zone, the maximum water storage capacity of both unsaturated and saturated zones, the water amount escaping into deeper horizons and not recorded at the basin’s outlet, the percentage of impermeable ground which is responsible for instant runoff, etc. These parameters are correlated to the hydrograph and are recalculated according to it. Two interesting aspects were pointed out from the discharge measurements and the algorithm application. The first is related to the maximum amount of free water, which can be stored at the basic flow of the karstic system, which is very high for the whole basin, reaching 1200 mm of precipitation and the second is the amount of water filtered to the deeper horizons, which reaches 0.098.

The discharge of individual karstic units was simulated applying the specialized MODKARST code. The code, which transforms precipitation to discharge resolving mathematical equations of non-linear flow using the mass and energy balance, successfully completed the time series of available data of spring discharge measurements for the period between the years 2008-2010.

Additionally, a number of useful parameters including spring recharge, delay period between precipitation and discharge, the storage capacity of the discharge area were also calculated by the MODKARST code. These data enabled the calculation of the annual infiltration coefficient for each one of the 15 springs and for the whole basin; the latter was found to range between 38-50% of annual precipitation. The total supply area was estimated approximately at 395 km2, which is consistent with the area of Louros hydrogeological basin calculated from hydrogeological data.

The 18 sets of water table measurements, each one corresponding to a different period, revealed that the aquifers of the intermediate part of Louros basin, which are developed in Quaternary alluvial sediments, are laterally connected to the carbonate formations of the individual karstic spring units, forming a common aquifer with a common water table.

Groundwater flow follows a general N-S direction from the topographic highs to the coastal area with local minor shifts to NE-SW and NW-SE directions. The artificial lake at the position of the Public Power Corporation’s Dam at the south of the region is directly connected to the aquifer and plays an important role in water-level variation. The water table contours display a higher gradient to the southern part due to the decreased hydraulic conductivity of the limestones close to Agios Georgios village. The decreased hydraulic conductivity is believed to be the reason for the development of the homonymous spring although the hydraulic load distributions suggest the extension of the aquifer to the south and a relation to the water level in Ziros Lake, boreholes and the Priala springs. The hydraulic gradient in the broader region ranges between 4-16‰. The absolute water level variation between dry and humid season ranges from 2 m at the South to 15-20 m to the North with an average of 9 m.

The hydrological balance of Louros River mountainous basin according to the aforementioned data is calculated as follows: The total precipitation between the years 2008-2010 ranged between 5.67E+08-9.8E+08 m3 and the discharge at Pantanassa site between 3.47E+08-6.83E+08 m3. The real evapotransiration ranged between 29-39% of the precipitation. The total discharge (runoff and groundwater) accounted for 61-73% of the precipitation, whereas the basic flow due to the percolation ranged between 34-38%. Considering a mean water level variation of 9 m, between the dry and humid season, the water amount constituting the local storage is 2025Ε+07 m3.

Statistical evaluation on spring discharge data and the recession curves analysis revealed three distinct levels with diverse karstic weathering along Louros basin coinciding to the upper, intermediate and low flow of Louros River, respectively. The developed karstic units are generally complex but simple individual units develop as well. The response of spring discharge to the stored water amounts is immediate but with relatively large duration suggesting the storage of large quantities of water and a well-developed system of karstic conduits, which however has not yet met its complete evolution. The karst spring’s units are homogeneous and each one is distinguished from different recession coefficients.

The three levels of flow are also distinguished from the duration curves, which point to individual units upstream, complex units receiving and transmitting water to the adjacent ones in the middle part and complex that only receive water from the upper. This distinguishment is also enhanced by the groundwater’s major ion concentrations, which reveal Ca-HCO3 water-type upstream, along with the isotopic composition at the same part. The prevalent Ca-HCO3-Cl-SO4 water-type in the middle part, the Na-Ca-Cl-SO4 water-type downstream and isotope variation confirms this distinguishment. Moreover, REE variation is also consistent with the three levels. The assumption of relatively large stored water reserves, which contribute to analogous “memory” of spring karstic units, as pointed out by autocorreletion functions is enhanced from SAC-SMA algorithm which premises an increased capacity at the lower zone of basic flow, as well as from the hydrochemical and isotopic composition of groundwater. Monitoring of the seasonal variation in groundwater composition revealed minor variations of hydrochemical parameters and remarkably stable isotopic composition. Both aspects can be explained by the existence of a considerable water body acting as a retarder to external changes.

The crosscorrelation functions suggest a well-developed karstic system, which however has not yet reached its complete maturity also confirmed from field observations. The same conclusion is extracted from the homogeneous evolution at the interval of each karstic unit as demonstrated from recession curves on spring hydrographs.

The results from hydrochemical analyses also revealed the effect of evaporitic minerals and phosphate-rich rocks in groundwater composition and confirmed the hydraulic relationships between surface and groundwater.

The study of the isotopic composition also contributed to exclude the potential connection between the Ioannina and Louros basins, confirmed the meteoric origin of groundwater and revealed the effect of seawater in the chemical composition of few sampling sites.

The microbiological research only revealed minor incidents of contamination and significant attenuation of microorganisms during periods of high discharge.

Caecidotea insula, A New Species of Subterranean Asellid from Lake Eries South Bass Island, Ohio (Crustacea: Isopoda: Asellidae), 2013,
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Lewis, J. J.

Three species of obligate subterranean asellids were previously known from Ohio, all assigned to the stygia Group of the genus Caecidotea: C. stygia, C. filicispeluncae, and C. rotunda. Caecidotea insula, n. sp., is described here from two caves on South Bass Island, Ottawa County, Ohio. This island is only 7 km from the Canadian border. The new species is assigned to an assemblage proposed here as the forbesi Group, which includes the epigean species C. forbesi, C. racovitzai, C. attenuata, and C. obtusa. Evidence suggests that C. insula evolved as the result of a groundwater invasion by ancestral C. forbesi during the late Pleistocene.

Deglaciation of the eastern Cumbria glaciokarst, northwest England, as determined by cosmogenic nuclide (10Be) surface exposure dating, and the pattern and significance of subsequent environmental changes, 2013,
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Wilson P. , Lord T. , Rods .

Four erratic boulders of Shap granite on the limestone terrain of eastern Cumbria have yielded cosmogenic nuclide (10Be) surface exposure ages that indicate the area was deglaciated c.17 ka ago. This timing is in accord with other ages pertaining to the loss of glacial ice cover in the Yorkshire Dales and north Lancashire, to the south, and the Lake District, to the west, and constrains the resumption of landscape (re)colonization and surface and sub-surface karstic processes. Marked shifts in climate are known to have occurred since deglaciation and combined with human impacts on the landscape the glaciokarst has experienced a complex pattern of environmental changes. Understanding these changes and their effects is crucial if the 'post-glacial' evolution of the glaciokarst is to be deciphered.

Hypogenic origin of Provalata Cave, Republic of Macedonia: a distinct case of successive thermal carbonic and sulfuric acid speleogenesis, 2013,
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Temovski Marjan, Audra Philippe, Mihevc Andrej, Spangenberg Jorge E. , Polyak Victor, Mcintosh William, Bigot Jeanyves.

Provalata Cave (Republic of Macedonia) is a small but remarkable hypogenic cave, developed in Cambrian marbles by successive thermal carbonic and sulfuric acid speleogenesis. The cave has a thick partly corroded calcite crust, abundant gypsum deposits, with cupolas, ceiling and wall channels, feeders and replacement pockets as some of the most characteristic morphological features. Distribution of morphology and deposits suggest a hypogenic origin in two distinct speleogenetic phases: the first by thermal CO2 rich waters, the second by sulfuric acid dissolution, which were separated by complete infilling of cave passages with pyroclastic-derived clays. In the first phase of speleogenesis, cave passages were formed by dissolution along fractures due to cooling of rising carbonated thermal waters. These phreatic morphologies were later covered with a thick calcite crust deposited in a shallow phreatic environment. In Early Pleistocene the cave was completely filled with clays due to deposition of pyroclastic rocks in a lacustrine environment in the nearby Mariovo Basin. Mariovo Lake sediments were later incised by the Buturica River, which cut down into Cambrian marbles, creating its superimposed valley. Incision lowered the water table and allowed removal of the clay deposits in Provalata Cave. The second phase of speleogenesis started after introduction of H2S associated with rising thermal waters. Oxidation produced sulfuric acid, which rapidly dissolved first calcite crust, then marble host rock. Condensation-corrosion by sulfuric vapors replaced carbonate rock with gypsum producing replacement pockets as well as second generation of pockets and cupolas. The contact of sulfuric acid with the clay deposits formed alunite, jarosite, and natroalunite. 40Ar/39Ar dating gave maximum ages of 1.6 Ma (alunite) and 1.46 Ma (jarosite) for this last stage of speleogenesis, thus making it the second 40Ar/39Ar dating of a sulfuric cave in Europe (after Kraushöhle in Austria), and the first dated cave in the Republic of Macedonia.

Thermal-karst modeling for an action plan to sustain the water characteristics of Heviz-lake, 2013,
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Tth Gyorgy, Viszkok Janos, Gal Nra E.

Thermal-karst modeling for an action plan to sustain the water characteristics of Hvz-lake, 2013,
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Tth G. , Viszkok J. , Gl N. E.

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Dragoun J. Ž, á, K K. Vejlupek J. Filippi M. Novotný, J. Dobeš, P.


The Na Javorce Cave is located in the Bohemian Karst, Czech Republic, near the Karlštejn castle, about 25 km SW of Prague. The cave was discovered as a result of extensive exploration including cave digging and widely employed capping of narrow sections. Exploration in the cave has already lasted 20 years. The cave is fitted with several hundred meters of fixed and rope ladders and several small fixed bridges across intra-cave chasms. Access to the remote parts of the cave is difficult because of long narrow crawl passages and deep and narrow vertical sections. The Na Javorce Cave became the deepest cave discovered to date in Bohemia with the discovery of its deepest part containing a lake in 2010. The cave was formed in vertically dipping layers of Lower Devonian limestone; it is 1,723 m long and 129 m deep, of which 9 m is permanently flooded (data as of December 2012). The cave is polygenetic, with several clearly separable evolutionary stages. Cavities discovered to date were mostly formed along the tectonic structures of two main systems. One of these systems is represented by vertical faults of generally N-S strike, which are frequently accompanied by vein hydrothermal calcite with crystal cavities. The second fault system is represented by moderately inclined faults (dip 27 to 45°, dip direction to the W). Smaller tube-like passages of phreatic morphology connect the larger cavities developed along the two above-mentioned systems. The fluid inclusion data obtained for calcite developed along both fault systems in combination with C and O stable isotope studies indicate that the hydrothermal calcite was deposited from moderately saline fluids (0.5 to 8.7 wt. % NaCl equiv.) in the temperature range from 58 to 98 °C. The fluids were NaCl-type basinal fluids, probably derived from the deeper clastic horizons of the Barrandian sedimentary sequence. The age of the hydrothermal processes is unknown; geologically it is delimited by the Permian and Paleogene. The hydrothermal cavities are small compared to cavities formed during the later stages of karstification. The majority of the known cavities were probably formed by corrosion by floodwater derived from an adjacent river. This process was initiated during the Late Oligocene to Early Miocene, as was confirmed by typical assemblage of heavy minerals identical in the surface river sediments and in clastic cave sediments. The morphology of most cavities is phreatic or epiphreatic, with only local development of leveled roof sections (“Laugdecken”). The phreatic evolution of the cave is probably continuing into the present in its deepest permanently flooded part, which exhibits a water level close to that of the adjacent Berounka River. Nevertheless, the chemistry of the cave lake differs from that of the river water. The cave hosts all the usual types of cave decoration (including locally abundant erratics). The most interesting speleothem type is cryogenic cave carbonate, which was formed during freezing of water in relation to the presence of permafrost during the Glacial period. The occurrence of cryogenic cave carbonate here indicates that the permafrost of the Last Glacial period penetrated to a depth of at least 65 m below the surface.

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Ford Derek


The Northwest Territories of Canada are ~1.2 million km2 in area and appear to contain a greater extent and diversity of karst landforms than has been described in any other region of the Arctic or sub-Arctic. The Mackenzie River drains most of the area. West of the River, the Mackenzie Mountains contain spectacular highland karsts such as Nahanni (Lat. 62° N) and Canol Road (Lat. 65° N) that the author has described at previous International Speleological Congresses. This paper summarizes samples of the mountain and lowland karst between Lats. 64–67° N that are located east of the River. The Franklin Mountains there are east-facing cuestas created by over-thrusting from the west. Maximum elevations are ~1,000 m a.s.l., diminishing eastwards where the cuestas are replaced by undeformed plateaus of dolomite at 300–400 m asl that overlook Great Bear Lake. In contrast to the Mackenzie Mountains (which are generally higher) all of this terrain was covered repeatedly by Laurentide Continental glacier ice flowing from the east and southeast. The thickness of the last ice sheet was >1,200 m. It receded c.10,000 years ago. Today permafrost is mapped as “widespread but discontinuous” below 350 m a.s.l. throughout the region, and “continuous” above that elevation. The vegetation is mixed taiga and wetlands at lower elevations, becoming tundra higher up. Access is via Norman Wells (population 1,200), a river port at 65° 37’N, 126° 48’W, 67 m a.s.l.: its mean annual temperature is -6.4 °C (January mean -20 °C, July +14 °C) and average precipitation is ~330 mm.y-1, 40 % falling as snow. In the eastern extremities a glacial spillway divides the largest dolomite plateau into “Mahony Dome” and “Tunago Dome”. The former (~800 km2) has a central alvar draining peripherally into lakes with overflow sinkholes, turloughs, dessicated turloughs, and stream sinks, all developed post-glacially in regular karst hydrologic sequences. Tunago Dome is similar in extent but was reduced to scablands by a sub-glacial mega-flood from the Great Bear basin; it is a mixture of remnant mesas with epikarst, and wetlands with turloughs in flood scours. Both domes are largely holokarstic, draining chiefly to springs at 160–180 m a.s.l. in the spillway. The eastern limit of overthrusting is marked by narrow ridges created by late-glacial hydration of anhydrite at shallow depth in interbedded dolostones and sulphate rocks. Individual ridges are up to 60 km long, 500–1,000 m wide, 50–250 m in height. They impound Lac Belot (300 km2), Tunago Lake (120 km2) and many lesser lakes, all of which are drained underground through them. In the main overthrust structures, the Norman Range (Franklin Mountains) is oriented parallel with the direction of Laurentide ice flow. It displays strongly scoured morphology with elongate sinkholes on its carbonate benches. In contrast, the Bear Rock Range is oriented across the ice flow, has multiple cuestas, is deeply furrowed and holokarstic but preserves pinnacle karst on higher ground due to karst-induced polar thermal (frozen-down) conditions at the glacier base there.

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Ford Derek


Marl lakes are those accumulating fine-grained bottom sediments that include at least 15% CaCO3. They are found worldwide. The most visually attractive, however, have higher proportions of CaCO3, with crystallites precipitating in the water to give it a rich and opaque duck-egg blue colouration. From the literature, such lakes are largely limited to recently glaciated carbonate rock terrains. Most are also shallow, with much or all of the water column being in the photic zone. Little Limestone Lake, (Lat. 53°47’N, Long. 99°19’W in the province of Manitoba) is the finest example that the author has seen. It stands out sharply from neighbouring lakes in summertime colour satellite imagery due to the intensity and uniformity of its colour. The lake occupies a shallow glacial trough scoured in a plain of flat-lying cyclothem dolomites. It is ~12 km long, 1–5 km wide, rarely >7 m deep. Including bordering wetlands, it occupies ~45 % of the area of an elongated, narrow topographic basin. Recharge is through impoverished boreal forest with little soil cover; it discharges chiefly as springs and seeps along and below the shore. Mean annual temperature is ~0 °C, and precipitation is ~475 mm.y1. Previous studies of springs in the surrounding region showed ground waters to be simple bicarbonate composition, with TDS = 230–300 mg.l-1 (Ca 40–60 mg.l-1, Mg 30–40 mg.l-1). Grab sampling at 27 sites throughout the lake found the waters de-gassed to 125–135 mg.l-1, placing them in the mid-range of one hundred marl lakes investigated in more detail in the British Isles. Ca was reduced to 25–30 mg.l-1, while Mg was stable at 30–40 mg.l-1. There were 2–3 mg.l-1 of free CO3 in two fully analysed samples, indicating that plankton photosynthesis might be occurring. However, samples of the bottom marl were predominantly inorganic in their composition. Little Limestone Lake is visually spectacular because it is almost entirely groundwater-fed, with a ratio of recharge area to lake area that is low. It has no large, chemically equilibrated, surface streams entering it. In contrast, the dozens of nearby lakes (similar, larger or smaller in size) are regularly flushed by channelled storm water and, although they also produce some carbonate marl, cannot maintain high densities of crystallites in suspension. Little Limestone Lake was placed under legislated protection as a provincial park in June 2011.

Die Erdflle von Layla und Al-Kharj Einblicke in die Karst-Hydrogeologie des oberen Jura von Saudi-Arabien, 2013,
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Schleusener Florian, Kempe Stephan, Dirks Heiko, Rausch Randolf, Gbel Patricia

Until the end of the 20th century, the sinkhole lakes of Layla and Al-Kharj formed oases in central Saudi Arabia. They were fed by ascending groundwater from the karstified Upper Jurassic anhydrites of the Arab and Hith formations. Morphologic features of a cave near Al-Kharj and hydraulic heads in wells of the Layla region show that the karstification of the anhydrites was hypogene. The karstification led to zones of collapse in the overlying Cretaceous sediments. Because of the exploitation of the underlying aquifer, the sinkhole-lakes dried up, exposing worldwide singular sublacustrine gypsum tufas on their walls. The gypsum tufas and widespread gypsum crusts in the vicinity of the sinkholes reflect the former ascent of the sulphate enriched groundwater.

Karst rivers particularity: an example from Dinaric karst (Croatia/Bosnia and Herzegovina), 2013,
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Bonacci O. , Zeljkovic I. , Galic A.

The very complex system of sinking, losing and underground transboundary Karst rivers, lakes and aquifers in the central part of the deep and bare Dinaric karst in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina is analysed. The groundwater and surface water are hydraulically connected through numerous karst forms which facilitate the exchange of water between the surface and subsurface. A complex underground conduit system is an inherent characteristic karst system analysed. Groundwater and surface water exchange with both adjacent and distant aquifers through underground routes or inflows from surface streams and artificial reservoirs. Because of a complex surface and underground karst features, which strongly influenced its hydrological and hydrogeological regime, the main open stream flow, with a longitude of about 106 km, undergoes eight name changes. In this paper, it is noted as ‘‘the eight-name river’’. In fact, it represents one river with losing, sinking and underground stream sections. Different surface and underground karst forms play crucial roles in the way the water flowing over the surface and on the underground sections of its catchment. The analysed area is full of varied and often spectacular surface landforms, including for example the Blue and Red Lakes and the Kravice Waterfall. The analyses made in the paper show the existence of a decreasing trend of mean annual discharges on the eight-name river, which can cause numerous problems in the regional water resource management of this transboundary river and catchment.

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