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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 water-table divide is see divide.?

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 geomicrobiology (Keyword) returned 38 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 31 to 38 of 38
Impacts of Alterations of Organic Inputs on the Bacterial Community within the sediments of Wind Cave, South Dakota, USA, 2009,
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Chelius M. K. , Beresford G. , Horton H. , Quirk M. , Selby G. , Simpson R. T. , Horrocks R. , Moore J. C.

Père Noël cave climatology (air and water temperature, PCO2), hydrology (drip rate, conductivity) and geochemistry of water and calcite deposits (δ18O, δ13C, Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca) where studied to better interpret stable isotopic and trace element variations of speleothems. Results of an automated monitoring station and of manual sampling between 1991 and 1998 have demonstrated the highly seasonal signal of drip rate, its control by water excess and rainfall, and, at a shorter scale to air pressure changes. The modern calcite deposit study suggests a relationship between cave calcite isotopic composition (δ18O and δ13C) and drip rate likely due to variations in degree of isotopic equilibrium during calcite precipitation. δ18O and δ13C of the calcite are therefore, through drip rate, linked to water recharge. Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios of Père Noël cave calcite, depend closely on the residence time of the water, and therefore are also linked to drip rate and therefore to water recharge. This crossed link of δ18O and δ13C as of Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca to water recharge may explain the very similar variations of these four parameters along the longitudinal axis of a Holocene stalagmite, but it may also be the consequence of kinetic effects during calcite precipitation as suggested by similar variations of the four parameters along a single layer of the Holocene stalagmite.


Microbial Communities and Associated Mineral Fabrics in Altamira Cave, Spain., 2009,
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Cuezva S. , Sanchezmoral S. , Saizjimenez C. , Caaveras J. C.

Evidences of microbial colonizations were observed in Altamira Cave, Spain. These consisted of distinct small coloured colonies, both on walls and ceiling, mainly located in the area near the cave entrance, which progressed until reaching the Polychromes Hall. The colonizations were characterized by a high morphological and microstructural variability and related to biomineralization processes. Two main types of CaCO3 deposits were related to the colonies: rosette- or nest-like aggregates of rhombohedral calcite crystals, and spheroid to hemispheroid CaCO3 elements. Colonies distribution seems to be controlled by microenvironmental conditions inside the cavity. The areas of the cave showing higher temperature, relative humidity, and CO2 concentration fluctuations presented a minor biomineralization capability.


Location, Location, Location! Lava Caves on Mars for Habitat, Resources, and the Search for Life, 2010,
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Boston, Penelope J.

Over the course of humanity's history as a species, the use of caves, rock shelters, and other natural geological features has played an important role in our survival and cultural development. We suggest that the use of such natural features in future human exploration of Mars and Earth's moon could be a timely and practical solution to a number of potential dilemmas presented by the extreme and challenging nature of the environments on these bodies. Lava tubes, other caves, cavities, and canyon overhangs that are being identified on other planets are sites of intense scientific interest for geology, atmospheric climate records, and potentially biology. They may offer easier subsurface access for direct exploration and drilling, and could provide extractable minerals, gases, and ices. In the past few years, examples of such structures on Mars, the Moon, and potentially other bodies have increasingly come to light. Thus, the real estate is out there waiting for us to modify it for our exploration missions. The present Martian surface environment is extremely cold, dry, chemically active, and high in both ultraviolet and ionizing radiation. Galactic Cosmic Radiation (GCR) and episodic waves of high energy particles from solar proton events (SPE) necessitate the provision of robust radiation protection for habitats, workspaces, vehicles, and personal space suits. The mass penalty of providing this is a major driver in our consideration of the use of natural rock mass for radiation protection for habitats and workspaces, arguably the most massive components of an integrated human exploration equipment suite. Planetary protection considerations emerging from recent studies advocate a localization and zoning of degrees of human impact, much like that being implemented in the Antarctic as Special Regions. Containment of the primary human habitation and work activities within the confines of a subsurface habitat are highly consistent with these new approaches to Planetary Protection forward contamination. To begin to think about caves in the extraterrestrial exploration context, we have developed the notion of a complete, functioning subsurface habitat system. A suite of relatively low technology modifications to caves to improve habitability and safety are suggested. This system can integrate a spectrum of missions from both robotic precursors to human expeditionary missions and ultimately colonization.


Iron Oxide and Calcite Associated with Leptothrix sp. Biofilms within an Estavelle in the Upper Floridan Aquifer, 2011,
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Florea Lee J. , Stinson Chasity L. , Brewer Josh, Fowler Rick, Kearns B Joe, Greco Anthony M.

In Thornton’s Cave, an estavelle in west-central Florida, SEM, EDS, and XRD data reveal biofilms that are predominantly comprised of FeOOH-encrusted hollow sheaths that are overgrown and intercalated with calcite. Fragments of this crystalline biofilm adhere to the walls and ceiling as water levels vary within the cave. Those on the wall have a ‘cornflake’ appearance and those affixed to the ceiling hang as fibrous membranes. PCR of DNA in the active biofilm, combined with morphologic data from the tubes in SEM micrographs, point to Leptothrix sp., a common Fe-oxidizing bacteria, as the primary organism in the biofilm. Recent discoveries of ‘rusticles’ in other Florida caves suggest that Fe-oxidizing bacteria may reside elsewhere in Florida groundwater and may play a role in the mobility of trace metals in the Upper Florida aquifer.
SEM micrographs from two marble tablets submerged for five months, one exposed to microbial activity and a second isolated from microbial action, revealed no visible etchings or borings and very limited loss of mass. EDS data from the electron micrographs of the unfiltered tablet document the same FeOOH-encrusted hollow sheaths and similar deposits of calcite as seen in the ‘cornflakes’. These results, combined with water chemistry data imply that the biofilm may focus or even promote calcite precipitation during low-water level conditions when CO2 degasses from the cave pools.


Sulfuric Acid Caves, 2012,
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Palmer A, Hill C.

Most caves owe their origin to carbonic acid generated in the soil. In contrast, sulfuric acid caves are produced by the oxidation of sulfides beneath the surface. Although sulfuric acid caves are relatively few, they include some large and well-known examples, such as Carlsbad Cavern, New Mexico. They also provide evidence for a variety of deep-seated processes that are important to petroleum geology, ore geology, tectonic history, and the nascent field of karst geomicrobiology.


Karst Geomorphology: Sulfur Karst Processes, 2013,
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Hose, L. D.

Recognition and understanding of the important role of sulfur redox processes in developing karst has grown over the last25 years with the discovery of remarkable sulfur-rich caves worldwide and advances in geomicrobiology. Recent work hasshown that microbes interact with hydrocarbons, calcium sulfate bedrock, magmatic fluids, and sulfide ore minerals toreduce gypsum/anhydrite to calcite, produce hydrogen sulfide and sulfuric acid, convert limestone to gypsum, in crease porosity in carbonate bedrocks, precipitate massive sulfur, and deposit Mississippi Valley-Type (MVT) ores. These processesare most active in the shallow phreatic and vadose-phreatic subsurface, where transitions between aerobic and anaerobicconditions exist.


Insights into Cave Architecture and the Role of Bacterial Biofilm, 2013,
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Caves offer a stable and protected environment from harsh and changing outside conditions. They lend living proof of the presence of minute life forms that delve deep within the earth’s crust where the possibility of life seems impossible. Devoid of all light sources and lacking the most common source of energy supplied through photosynthesis, the mysterious microbial kingdom in caves are consequently dependent upon alternative sources of energy derived from the surrounding atmosphere, minerals and rocks. There are a number of features that can be observed within a cave that may serve as evidence of microbial activity, for example, formation of biofilms comprised of multiple layers of microbial communities held together by protective gel-like polymers which form complex structures. Different bacterial biofilms can develop on the walls of the cave which can be visually distinguished by their colorations. Moreover, the pH generated by the metabolism of bacterial biofilm on the cave environment can lead to precipitation or dissolution of minerals in caves. Caves also offer an excellent scenario for studying biomineralization processes. The findings on the association of bacteria with secondary minerals as mentioned in this review will help to expand the existing knowledge in geomicrobiology and specifically on the influence of microorganisms in the formation of cave deposits. This paper reviews the current state of knowledge of biospeleology of caves and the associated bacterial biofilms. Recommendations for future research are mentioned to encourage a drift from qualitative studies to more experimental studies.


Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, 2015,
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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

Helictites—an enigmatic type of mineral structure occurring in some caves—differ from classical speleothems as they develop with orientations that defy gravity. While theories for helictite formation have been forwarded, their genesis remains equivocal. Here, we show that a remarkable suite of helictites occurring in Asperge Cave (France) are formed by biologically-mediated processes, rather than abiotic processes as had hitherto been proposed. Morphological and petro-physical properties are inconsistent with mineral precipitation under purely physico-chemical control.

Instead, microanalysis and molecular-biological investigation reveals the presence of a prokaryotic biofilm intimately associated with the mineral structures. We propose that microbially-influenced mineralization proceeds within a gliding biofilm which serves as a nucleation site for CaCO3, and where chemotaxis influences the trajectory of mineral growth, determining the macroscopic morphology of the speleothems. The influence of biofilms may explain the occurrence of similar speleothems in other caves worldwide, and sheds light on novel biomineralization processes.


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