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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 hydrogeologic is those factors that deal with subsurface waters and related geologic aspects of surface waters.?

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.
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Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for circulation (Keyword) returned 184 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 31 to 45 of 184
Is it appropriate to apply porous media groundwater circulation models to karstic aquifers?, 1995,
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Huntoon P. W.

Un aquifre gypseux de haute montagne : mesures physico-chimiques et traage dans la valle de Gbroulaz (Vanoise, France), 1996,
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Dzikowski M. , Nicoud G. , Arfib B. , Paillet A. , Rovera G.
During the high flow period of summer 1995, conductivity and temperature were periodically measured in two losses and five springs along a gypsum and anhydrite outcrop in the Gbroulaz valley. These experiments together with a water chemical analysis and an artificial tracer test have highlighted two kinds of flows through the evaporitic formations. The springs are characterised by a rapid flow directly influenced by the infiltration of melt water in a surficial karst. A slower flow shows a deeper circulation through a saturated and fissured milieu. So, in a high mountainous area, the gypsum layer shows a surficial karst over a fissured aquifer. This interpretation allows us to explain the stability of the physico-chemical parameters for the springs, which are not influenced by karstic flow conditions.

Grottes hydrothermales dans le nord-ouest de la Namibie : splogense et implications dans le dveloppement des karsts en climat aride, 1996,
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Martini J. E. J. , Marais J. C. E.
The authors investigated ten caves in Western Namibia, which is characterised by a semi- to hyper-arid climate. They seem to have formed in the past under hydrothermal conditions, which are evidenced by circular embayments, ceiling alveoles, avens, deposits of dog-tooth calcite and barite. The latter has been observed in one cave only. Fluid inclusions in calcite and barite indicate very low salinity and temperatures generally below + 70? C. It is proposed that the caves formed by mixing of hydrothermal solutions of deep origin with more surficial ground water in the vicinity of karst springs. Such ground water circulation patterns, close to the water-table, are suggested in several cases by the horizontal extension in caves, forming definite levels of passage networks cutting across the country rock stratigraphy. The alveolar avens developed upwards from these horizontal passages and seem to have formed subaerally by water evaporation from warm pools at the bottom, with condensation and corrosion above, against cooler rock. The suggested genetic processes are in agreement with models proposed by other authors. It is suggested that in arid climates, conditions are more favourable for development of this type of deep karst water circulation than under wetter conditions. It could possibly even be the predominant process of speleogenesis in very arid conditions. By extension, this concept - mixing of water of deep origin, not necessarily significantly hydrothermal with surficial ground water - could explain the peculiar nature of most of the Namibian caves. The latter are typically characterised by the development of very large chambers and phreatic networks, but with restricted extension and not forming well integrated systems.

Breakdown development in cover beds, and landscape features induced by intrastratal gypsum karst., 1996,
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Andrejchuk Vjacheslav, Klimchouk Alexander
Intrastratal karst is by far the predominant gypsum karst type. Its development may begin in deep-seated settings within rocks already buried by younger strata, and it proceeds increasingly rapidly as uplift brings gypsum sequences into progressively shallower positions. Such development commonly occurs under confined (artesian) hydrogeological conditions, that subsequently change to open conditions (phreatic-water table-vadose). The general evolutionary line of intrastratal karst is typified by progressive emergence of a sequence into a shallower position, activation of groundwater circulation and development of cave systems within karst units, commencement of gravitational breakdown and its upward propagation through overlying beds, and development of a karst landscape. These processes and phenomena progress through the directed evolution of karst types as follows: deep-seated intrastratal karst (1K) to subjacent 1K to entrenched 1K to denuded karst. One of the main characteristics of intrastratal karst is that it induces gravitational breakdown in cover beds. With the aid of processes other then simple breakdown, such effects may propagate upwards and may, or may not, reach the surface, depending upon the thickness and structure of the overburden. A karst landscape evolves when such features reach the surface. This paper considers the conditions and mechanisms of such development.

Speleogenesis in Gypsum., 1996,
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Klimchouk Alexander
Satisfactory explanation of the origin and development of caves (speleogenesis) is a core problem of karst studies. Karst evolves as a circulation system, organised and interconnected through a conduit structure. Such a system may include superficial inputs and outputs, expressed as or related to karst landforms. However, there may be no such components if the system is represented entirely by conduits as in the case with deep-seated intrastratal karst. The main differences between speleogenesis in gypsum and in carbonate rocks lie in the chemistry and kinetics of their dissolution, in some of the lithological or structural peculiarities of the respective rocks and formations, and in their hydrogeological characteristics. The present chapter considers how these factors influence cave origin and development.

Evaporites, brines and base metals: What is an evaporite? Defining the rock matrix, 1996,
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Warren J. K. ,
This paper, the first of three reviews on the evaporite-base-metal association, defines the characteristic features of evaporites in surface and subsurface settings. An evaporite is a rock that was originally precipitated from a saturated surface or near-surface brine in hydrological systems driven by solar evaporation. Evaporite minerals, especially the sulfates such as anhydrite and gypsum, are commonly found near base-metal deposits. Primary evaporites are defined as those salts formed directly via solar evaporation of hypersaline waters at the earth's surface. They include beds of evaporitic carbonates (laminites, pisolites, tepees, stromatolites and other organic rich sediment), bottom nucleated salts (e.g. chevron halite and swallow-tail gypsum crusts), and mechanically reworked salts (such as rafts, cumulates, cross-bedded gypsarenites, turbidites, gypsolites and halolites). Secondary evaporites encompass the diagenetically altered evaporite salts, such as sabkha anhydrites, syndepositional halite and gypsum karst, anhydritic gypsum ghosts, and more enigmatic burial associations such as mosaic halite and limpid dolomite, and nodular anhydrite formed during deep burial. The latter group, the burial salts, were precipitated under the higher temperatures of burial and form subsurface cements and replacements often in a non-evaporite matrix. Typically they formed from subsurface brines derived by dissolution of an adjacent evaporitic bed. Because of their proximity to 'true' evaporite beds, most authors consider them a form of 'true' evaporite. Under the classification of this paper they are a burial form of secondary evaporites. Tertiary evaporites form in the subsurface from saturated brines created by partial bed dissolution during re-entry into the zone of active phreatic circulation. The process is often driven by basin uplift and erosion. They include fibrous halite and gypsum often in shale hosts, as well as alabastrine gypsum and porphyroblastic gypsum crystals in an anhydritic host. In addition to these 'true' evaporites, there is another group of salts composed of CaSO4 or halite. These are the hydrothermal salts. Hydrothermal salts, especially hydrothermal anhydrite, form by the subsurface cooling or mixing of CaSO4- saturated hydrothermal waters or by the ejection of hot hydrothermal water into a standing body of seawater or brine. Hydrothermal salts are poorly studied but often intimately intermixed with sulfides in areas of base-metal accumulations such as the Kuroko ores in Japan or the exhalative brine deeps in the Red Sea. In ancient sediments and metasediments, especially in hydrothermally influenced active rifts and compressional belts, the distinction of this group of salts from 'true' evaporites is difficult and at times impossible. After a discussion of hydrologies and 'the evaporite that was' in the second review, modes and associations of the hydrothermal salts will be discussed more fully in the third review

Geochemistry of submarine warm springs in the limestone cavern of Grotta Azzurra, Capo Palinuro, Italy: evidence for mixing-zone dolomitisation, 1996,
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Stuben Doris, Sedwick Peter, Colantoni Paolo,
Subtidal springs in and around the submarine limestone cavern of Grotta Azzurra, at Capo Palinuro, Italy, discharge fluids which are warm (-, Na and Mg2, and enriched in Si, alkalinity, Ca2, Sr2, Mn, NH4, PO43- and H2S, relative to surrounding seawater. The compositions of the warm fluid samples collected in and around the cave define mixing lines which suggest dilution of a single thermal fluid (T >= 23[deg]C) by cool overlying seawater (T= 17-17.6[deg]C). The chemical data suggest that the proposed thermal fluid contains two components, one derived from seawater ( 10%). Excess Si, alkalinity, Ca2, Sr2 and Mn relative to seawater are likely derived from the groundwater component or dissolution/hydrothermal alteration of the host rocks. Magnesium has been removed from the seawater component in exchange for Ca2, due to dolomitisation of the limestone and/or hydrothermal alteration reactions. Saturation-state calculations suggest that the vented fluids are near saturation with respect to calcite and supersaturated with respect to dolomite. This and the presence of dolomite in the host rocks and cave-floor sediments suggest that 'mixing-zone' dolomitisation of the limestones is occurring, perhaps kinetically assisted by elevated temperature and/or bacterial mediation in the reducing subseafloor zone. One possible 'end-member' condition is considered for the thermal fluid -- zero-Mg -- which suggests an end-member temperature of 50.5[deg]C and a fluid composition derived from ~ 38% seawater and ~ 62% groundwater. The heat source for the circulating fluids is uncertain, but may involve warm underlying igneous rocks or heating via the geothermal gradient. A continuous in-situ record of vent-fluid temperature, salinity, pH and O2 concentration collected within the cavern is consistent with our interpretation of the fluid origin, and suggests that tidal forcing affects circulation and venting of the warm fluids

Large-basin groundwater circulation and paleo-reconstruction of circulation leading to uranium mineralization in Grand Canyon breccia pipes, Arisona., 1996,
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Huntoon P. W.

Structure et comportement hydraulique des aquifers karstiques, DSc thesis, 1996,
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Jeannin, P. Y.

This thesis aims to provide a better knowledge of karst flow systems, from a functional point of view (behaviour with time), as well as from a structural one (behaviour in space). The first part of the thesis deals with the hydrodynamic behaviour of karst systems, and the second part with the geometry of karstic networks, which is a strong conditioning factor for the hydrodynamic behaviour.
Many models have been developed in the past for describing the hydrodynamic behaviour of karst hydrogeological systems. They usually aim to provide a tool to extrapolate, in time and/or space, some characteristics of the flow fields, which can only be measured at a few points. Such models often provide a new understanding of the systems, beyond what can be observed directly in the field. Only special field measurements can verify such hypotheses based on numerical models. This is an significant part of this work. For this purpose, two experimental sites have been equipped and measured: Bure site or Milandrine, Ajoie, Switzerland, and Holloch site, Muotathal, Schwyz, Switzerland. These sites gave us this opportunity of simultaneously observe hydrodynamic parameters within the conduit network and, in drillholes, the "low permeability volumes" (LPV) surrounding the conduits.
These observations clearly show the existence of a flow circulation across the low permeability volumes. This flow may represent about 50% of the infiltrated water in the Bure test-field. The epikarst appears to play an important role into the allotment of the infiltrated waters: Part of the infiltrated water is stored at the bottom of the epikarst and slowly flows through the low permeability volumes (LPV) contributing to base flow. When infiltration is significant enough the other part of the water exceeds the storage capacity and flows quickly into the conduit network (quick flow).
For the phreatic zone, observations and models show that the following scheme is adequate to describe the flow behaviour: a network of high permeability conduits, of tow volume, leading to the spring, is surrounded by a large volume of low permeability fissured rock (LPV), which is hydraulically connected to the conduits. Due to the strong difference in hydraulic conductivity between conduits and LPV, hydraulic heads and their variations in time and space are strongly heterogeneous. This makes the use of piezometric maps in karst very questionable.
Flow in LPV can be considered as similar to flow in fractured rocks (laminar flow within joints and joints intersections). At a catchment scale, they can be effectively considered as an equivalent porous media with a hydraulic conductivity of about 10-6 to 10-7 m/s.
Flow in conduits is turbulent and loss of head has to be calculated with appropriate formulas, if wanting any quantitative results. Our observations permitted us to determine the turbulent hydraulic conductivity of some simple karst conduits (k', turbulent flow), which ranges from 0.2 to 11 m/s. Examples also show that the structure of the conduit network plays a significant role on the spatial distribution of hydraulic heads. Particularity hydraulic transmissivity of the aquifer varies with respect to hydrological conditions, because of the presence of overflow conduits located within the epiphreatic zone. This makes the relation between head and discharge not quadratic as would be expected from a (too) simple model (with only one single conduit). The model applied to the downstream part of Holloch is a good illustration of this phenomena.
The flow velocity strongly varies along the length of karst conduits, as shown by tracer experiments. Also, changes in the conduit cross-section produce changes in the (tow velocity profile. Such heterogeneous flow-field plays a significant role in the shape of the breakthrough curves of tracer experiments. It is empirically demonstrated that conduit enlargements induce retardation of the breakthrough curve. If there are several enlargements one after the other, an increase of the apparent dispersivity will result, although no diffusion with the rock matrix or immobile water is present. This produces a scale effect (increase of the apparent dispersivity with observation scale). Such observations can easily be simulated by deterministic and/or black box models.
The structure of karst conduit networks, especially within the phreatic zone, plays an important role not only on the spatial distribution of the hydraulic heads in the conduits themselves, but in the LPV as well. Study of the network geometry is therefore useful for assessing the shape of the flow systems. We further suggest that any hydrogeological study aiming to assess the major characteristics of a flow system should start with a preliminary estimation of the conduit network geometry. Theories and examples presented show that the geometry of karst conduits mainly depends on boundary conditions and the permeability field at the initial stage of the karst genesis. The most significant boundary conditions are: the geometry of the impervious boundaries, infiltration and exfiltration conditions (spring). The initial permeability field is mainly determined by discontinuities (fractures and bedding planes). Today's knowledge allows us to approximate the geometry of a karst network by studying these parameters (impervious boundaries, infiltration, exfiltration, discontinuity field). Analogs and recently developed numerical models help to qualitatively evaluate the sensitivity of the geometry to these parameters. Within the near future, new numerical tools will be developed and will help more closely to address this difficult problem. This development will only be possible if speleological networks can be sufficiently explored and used to calibrate models. Images provided by speleologists to date are and will for a long time be the only data which can adequately portray the conduit networks in karst systems. This is helpful to hydrogeologists. The reason that we present the example of the Lake Thun karst system is that it illustrates the geometry of such conduits networks. Unfortunately, these networks are three-dimensional and their visualisation on paper (2 dimensions) is very restrictive, when compared to more effective 3-D views we can create with computers. As an alternative to deterministic models of speleogenesis, fractal and/or random walk models could be employed.


Karsts et palokarsts du bassin de Mialet (Bordure cvenole, Gard) : formation et volution dun karst dmantel, 1997,
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Bruxelles, Laurent
The Mialet basin is a limestone massif of 62 km2 on the edge of the Cevennes Mountains, made of 400 m of limestones and dolomites. Two allochtonous rivers (Gardons) cross and dissect it. Many caves are to be found at each level and their formation cannot be explained with today's topography. Surface karstic features (dolines) are rare but karstic fillings and many speleothems can be observed on the surface. These deposits are former karst (paleokarst) cut by rivers incision. Recent karstic systems are organized differently but new subterranean circulations sometimes flow in old galleries and declog them.

Evaporite karst of northern lower Michigan, 1997,
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Black Tj,
Michigan has three main zones of evaporite karst: collapse breccia in Late Silurian deposits of the Mackinac Straits region; breccia, collapse sinks, and mega-block collapse in Middle Devonian deposits of Northern Lower Michigan, which overlaps the preceding area; and areas of soil swallows in sinks of Mississippian deposits between Turner and Alabaster in Arenac and Iosco counties, and near Grand Rapids in Kent County. The author has focused his study on evaporite karst of the Middle Devonian deposits. The Middle Devonian deposits are the Detroit River Group: a series consisting of limestone, dolomite, shale, salt, gypsum and anhydrite. The group occurs from subcrop, near the surface, to nearly 1400 feet deep from the northern tip of the Southern Peninsula to the south edge of the ''solution front'' Glacial drift is from zero to 350 feet thick. Oil and gas exploration has encountered some significant lost-circulation zones throughout the area. Drilling without fluid returns, casing seal failures, and lost holes are strong risks in some parts of the region. Lost fluid returns near the top of the group in nearby areas indicate some karst development shortly after deposition. Large and irregular lost-circulation zones, linear and patch trends of large sink holes, and 0.25 mile wide blocks of down-dropped land in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan were caused by surface- and ground-water movement along faults into the Detroit River Group. Glaciation has removed some evidence of the karst area at the surface. Sinkhole development, collapse valleys, and swallows developed since retreat of the glacier reveal an active solution front in the Detroit River Group

Sea water intrusion in coastal karst springs: Example of the Blaz spring (Croatia), 1997,
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Bonacci O, Rojebonacci T,
Brackish karst springs are common along every karstic sea shore consisting of limestone and dolomite. On the Croatian sea coast there are more than 300 permanent or temporary brackish karst springs. From the standpoint of water supply, the problem of karst spring water salinization is quite significant because large quantities of high quality fresh water are not available to be used either as drinking water or for industrial and agricultural purposes. The salinity of brackish karst springs situated along the Adriatic coast varies from 10 to more than 18 000 mg Cl 1(-1) with an unfavourable distribution during the year. In the wet winter period, when water quantities in the region are abundant, the salinity is exceedingly low. In the warm and dry summer period the chloride concentration is high. At that season, when a shortage of flesh water in the region occurs, especially due to tourism, karst spring water is so salty that it cannot be used at all. The mechanism of sea water intrusion is relatively well known but the problem of karst springs desalinization has not been solved in practice. The Ghyben-Herzberg relationship is formulated exclusively on the basis of hydrostatic equilibrium, and its use under dynamic conditions is limited. The dynamics of fresh water circulation towards karst spring exits are very specific for each individual spring. Using numerous hydrological, hydrometric, hydrogeological and speleological investigations of the brackish Blaz (Croatia) karst spring, this paper gives the plausible position and dimensions of the main karst conduits through which sea water penetrates into the spring exit

Groundwater circulation and geochemistry of a karstified bank-marginal fracture system, South Andros Island, Bahamas, 1997,
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Whitaker Fiona F. , Smart Peter L. ,
On the east coast of South Andros Island, Bahamas, a major bank-marginal fracture system characterised by vertically extensive cavern systems (blue holes) is developed sub-parallel to the steep-sided deep-water re-entrant of the Tongue of the Ocean. In addition to providing a discharge route for meteoric, mixed and geochemically evolved saline groundwaters, a strong local circulation occurs along the fracture system. This generates enhanced vertical mixing within voids of the fracture system, evidenced by the increasing mixing zone thickness, and the thinning and increasing salinity of brackish lens waters from north to south along the fracture system. Furthermore, tidally driven pumping of groundwaters occurs between the fracture and adjacent carbonate aquifer affecting a zone up to 200 m either side of the fracture.The resultant mixing of groundwaters of contrasting salinity and within and along the fracture system and with the surrounding aquifer waters, together with bacterial oxidation of organic matter, generates significant potential for locally enhanced diagenesis. Undersaturation with respect to calcite within the fresh (or brackish)-salt water mixing zone is observed in the fracture system and predicted in the adjacent aquifer, while mixing between the brackish fracture lens and surrounding high fresh waters causes dissolution of aragonite but not calcite. The latter gives rise to considerable secondary porosity development, because active tidal pumping ensures continued renewal of dissolutional potential. This is evidenced by calcium and strontium enrichment in the brackish lens which indicates porosity generation by aragonite dissolution at a maximum rate of 0.35% ka-1, up to twice the average estimated for the fresh water lens. In contrast saline groundwaters are depleted in calcium relative to open ocean waters suggesting the formation of calcite cements.The development of a major laterally continuous cavernous fracture zone along the margin of the carbonate platform permits enhanced groundwater flow and mixing which may result in generation of a diagenetic `halo' at a scale larger than that generally recognised around syn-sedimentary fractures in fossil carbonates. This may be characterised by increased secondary porosity where a relative fall in sea-level results in exposure and formation of a meteoric groundwater system, or cementation by `marine' calcite both below this meteoric system, and where the bank surface is flooded by seawater

Endokarst processes in the Alburni massif (Campania, southern Italy): evolution of ponors and hydrogeological implications, 1997,
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Santangelo N. , Santo A. ,
The Alburni carbonatic massif located within the southern Apennines chain, represents one of the most important Italian karstic areas. Within an area of about 280 square kilometres more than 200 caves are known and many important basal springs are present. This paper concerns ponor systems which are among the best developed endokarst morphologies in the area. In particular it deals with their morphological evolution and with their role in the underground hydrological circulation of the massif. The ponors can be defined as ''contact ponors'' since their entrances are always located at the contact between permeable carbonatic rocks and impermeable flysch formations. Two categories of ponors are present, active and inactive ones, latter due to erosion and lowering of the boundary between impermeable and permeable deposits. The ponors are located on the Alburni highland at a mean altitude of 1100 metres and they transfer water collected by catchment basin laying on flysch deposits down to the main basal springs, the altitudes of which range from 250 to 70 metres a.s.l. The structural setting of the massif strongly influences both the main directions along which the caves develop and the underground hydric circulation flows. Surface and underground morphostructural data have been compared, showing a general agreement, with frequency peaks at the N50 degrees and N140 degrees directions, though the underground data also outline the existence of a more ancient N90 degrees trend. As shown by speleological survey and tracing tests, the underground drainage is strongly influenced by the presence of karstic channels, and its preferential flow direction points towards the southern sector of the massif, according to the general dipping of the strata

The role of speleogenesis in the Miocene gypsum in the Western Ukraine in groundwater circulation in the multi-storey artesian system, 1997,
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Klimchouk A. B.

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