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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 capacity, total is the maximum rate of yield of a well [16].?

Checkout all 2699 terms in the KarstBase Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms


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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 cupola (Keyword) returned 42 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 31 to 42 of 42
Preservation and burial of ancient karst., 2013,
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Osborne, R. A. L.

Ancient karst features can be preserved by burial, filling, or by occurring in areas with extremely slow denudation. Although the terms ‘paleokarst’, ‘relict karst’,‘buried karst’, and ‘fossil karst’ have caused much confusion, paleokarst, buried karst, and relict karst can be defined in terms useful to karst geomorphologists and cave scientists. The term ‘fossil karst’ is best abandoned. Burial and paleokarstification are not necessarily the end of karst. Ancient features may be exhumed and reactivated. Karst ends with denudation at the Earth’s surface. Unroofed caves are a particular feature of karst denudation. Most ancient karst features may be preserved by filling, burial, and exhumation. In unusual conditions, karst features have survived at the surface since the Mesozoic. Burial, exhumation, and slow denudation may not be sufficient for extreme survival; relative vertical movement may be required. As caves and many other karst landforms are negative features, they are prone to filling by a range of materials, making cave sediments and paleokarst deposits quite diverse. Whole karst landscapes can be buried and evidence of burial can be recorded in the diagenesis of sediments. Although filled and unfilled caves can survive shallow burial, deep burial can crush caves, forming crackle breccia. Exhumation can occur from the surface following uplift or from below following hypogene speleogenesis. Preservation, burial, and exhumation of ancient karst have two unexpected consequences. Caves can be older than the landscapes in which they occur and stalagmites can be the longest surviving karst features


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.


Hypogene speleogenesis in Italy, 2013,
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Menichetti, M.

Through more than one century of speleological research in Italy, many hypogenic limestone caves have been explored, mapped and studied. These caves are characterized by a variety of patterns and morphological sizes including three-dimensional maze sys-tems and deep shafts, with both active endogenic CO2 and H2S vents.
An integrate approach taking in account geological, hydrological and geochemical set-tings permit to recognize the main hypogenic speleogenetic process. The H2S oxidation to sulfuric acid, by oxygen-rich groundwaters as well as in the atmosphere is actually the main active hypogenic cave-forming processes. Both phreatic and vadose corrosion reactions involve chemotropic microbial activity, with sulfur-redox bacterial communi-ties that generate sulfuric acid as metabolic product. The bedrock corrosion produce sulfate ions in the phreatic zone and gypsum replacement in the limestone walls of the vadose sectors of the caves. The caves are characterized by both fossil and active pas-sages in which water rich in H2S as well as endogenic CO2 plays a determinant role in speleogenesis. Although sulfuric acid-related speleogenesis typically produces gypsum deposits, in caves where the karstification processes are driven by subterranean CO2 sources, voids and speleothems are the only final products.
In Italy all the end-members of the karst processes can be found, from solution caves to outcrop of carbonate travertine. The hypogenic caves are concentrated for largest and both fossils and active systems in the Tuscany, Umbria, Marche and Latium regions (Menichetti, 2009). These consist of few tens of kilometers of solutional passages with galleries and shafts, which are characterized by large rooms, cupola and blind pits, anas-tomotic passages, bubble trails roof pendants, knife edges, and phreatic passages. Ac-tive smaller karst systems are known in Southern Italy in Apulia, Campania and Sicily, related to the geothermal anomaly associated with CO2 and H2S vents.


THE CAVES IN THE UNDERGROUND QUARRIES OF MON CALVO DASTI PIEDMONT (ITALY), 2013,
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Vigna Bartolomeo, De Waele Jo, Banzato Cinzia

Many quarries for the extraction of gypsum are located in the hills of the Monferrato area (central eastern Piedmont). Close to the village of Moncalvo, Asti Province, a subterranean quarry of more than 20 km long is present. During the excavations a fracture from which water gushed at a pressure of 3 atm has been intercepted in 2005. The underground works have been suspended immediately and, after only a few hours a water flow comprised between 3000 and 4000 Ls-1 has flooded the quarry tunnels filling a volume of over 60,000 m3. After more than one month of pumping the flooded areas have been made accessible again, revealing a thin rock diaphragm that separated the quarry tunnel from a natural cave, which failed under the high hydraulic pressure. Through this small gap it has been possible to access an extensive karst network that previously was completely submerged. During the following quarry operations a second natural cave has been encountered, belonging to the same system but physically divided from the first cave by some metres of sediments. The total development of this cave system is around 1 km. The exploration of these caves has allowed to gather an interesting set of observations that have contributed to elaborating a speleogenetic model. The first information regards the impressive

amount of snottites present along the walls of the caves, and the overall thickness of gypsum rock subdued to weathering, reaching up to 30 cm. There are many morphologies that clearly demonstrate the caves being formed in phreatic conditions, such as pendants and corrosion cupola, but also flat corrosion bevels and V-shaped cross-sections, further evidences of formation in saturate conditions. The stratigraphic asset of the area surely has played a fundamental role in the formation of these karst systems. From bottom to top there is a thick shale sequence, and a thin discontinuous and extremely well karstified marly limestone bed that seemed to have enhanced the hydrological flow in the above lying gypsum beds. The principal cave systems are formed in between the first and second bed of gypsum, along a shaly finely stratified interbed rich in organic material. On the floor of the main passage there are many rather small subvertical conduits that develop up to the underlying limestone bed thus favoring the upward movement of water and the dissolution of the gypsum rocks. The subterranean excavations also have intercepted other caves, most of them of much smaller size, often reaching some cubic metres in size and partially filled with large gypsum crystals, grown by the continuous but slow feeding of slightly supersaturated waters.


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.


CONDENSATION CORROSION: MEASUREMENTS AND GEOMORPHIC EVIDENCE IN THE FRASASSI CAVES, 2014,
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Galdenzi S. , Jones D. , Macalady J.

The condensation of acidic waters on subaerial carbonate surfaces (condensation corrosion) can be an important speleogenetic agent under certain conditions (Cigna and Forti, 1986; Sarbu and Lascu, 1997). Specific morphologies associated with condensation corrosion include notches, niches, cupolas, megascallops and domes (Audra, 2009), and have been recognized in many caves from different regions of the world and from different geologic settings. Condensation corrosion can be particularly important in thermal caves, where temperature differences facilitate air convection and water condensation, as well as in sulphidic caves, where degassing and subsequent oxidation of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas provides a ready source of acidity to the subaerial cave environment.
In pioneering studies on the formation of sulphidic caves, condensation corrosion via H2S degassing and oxidation to sulphuric acid was considered the primary mechanism for speleogenesis (Principi, 1931; Egemeier, 1981). However, recent research has cast doubt on the importance of subaerial H2S oxidation for sulphidic cave formation (Engel et al., 2004). In the Frasassi cave system, Italy, morphological evidence for both subaerial and subaqueous limestone dissolution has been extensively documented (Galdenzi, 1990; Galdenzi and Maruoka, 2003). In particular, corrosion above the water table has resulted in the formation of massive gypsum deposits as well as specific passage morphologies. Measured rates by Galdenzi et al. (1997) corroborated morphological evidence that condensation corrosion is important at least under certain conditions. Therefore, in order to better define the role of subaerial processes in the Frasassi cave system, we quantified sulphide flux to the cave atmosphere in the modern cave environment, and documented morphological evidence for subaerial corrosion in the past


HYPOGENE VS EPIGENE CAVES: THE SULFUR AND OXYGEN ISOTOPE FINGERPRINT, 2014,
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Onac, B. P.

The classical epigene speleogenetic model in which CO2 is considered the main source of acidity has been challenged over the last three decades by observations that revealed cave passages unrelated to groundwater drainage routes and surface topography. Most of these passages show unusual morphologies, such are cupolas, floor feeders (i.e., inlets for deep-seated fluids), and huge irregular-shaped rooms that terminate abruptly, and often a rich and diverse mineral association. A hypogenetic speleogenetic pathway was proposed for this group of caves.
The presence of abundant gypsum deposits in caves with one or more of the passage morphologies listed above, have prompted scientists to suggest a new theory (i.e., sulfuric acid speleogenesis, SAS) of cave development. In the hypogenic SAS model, the source of acidity is the sulfuric acid produced by oxidation of H2S (originating from sulfate reduction or petroleum reservoirs) near or at the water table, where it dissolves the limestone bedrock and precipitates extensive gypsum deposits. SAS is now thoroughly documented from numerous caves around the world, with the best examples coming from the Guadalupe Mountains (NM), Frasassi caves (Italy), selected caves in France, Cueva de Villa Luz (Mexico), and Cerna Valley (SW Romania).
To date, discrimination between epigene and hypogene speleogenetic pathways is made using cave morphology criteria, exotic mineral assemblages, and the predominantly negative δ34S values for the cave sulfates. This presentation highlights the role sulfur and oxygen stable isotope analyses have in discriminating between epigene and hypogene caves.
Based on a number of case studies in caves of the Cerna Valley (Romania), we found that relatively S-depleted isotopic composition of cave minerals alone does not provide enough information to clearly distinguish SAS from other complex speleogenetic pathways. In fact, δ34S values of SAS by-products depend not only on the source of the S, but also on the completeness of S redox reactions. Therefore, similar studies to this are needed to precisely diagnose SAS and to provide information on the S cycle in a given karst system.
Integrating cave mineralogy, passage morphology, and geochemical studies may shed light on the interpretation of polygenetic caves, offering clues to processes, mechanisms, and parameters involved in their genesis (sulfate-dominated).


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 role of condensation in the evolution of dissolutional forms in gypsum caves: Study case in the karst of Sorbas (SE Spain), 2014,
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Gazquez F. , Calaforra J. M. , Forti P. , Waele J. D. , Sanna L.

The karst of Sorbas (SE Spain) is one of the most important gypsum areas worldwide. Its underground karst network comprises over 100 km of cave passages. Rounded smooth forms, condensation cupola and pendant-like features appear on the ceiling of the shallower passages as a result of gypsum dissolution by condensation water. Meanwhile, gypsum speleothems formed by capillarity, evaporation and aerosol deposition such as coralloids, gypsum crusts and rims are frequently observed closer to the passages floors. The role of condensation-dissolution mechanisms in the evolution of geomorphological features observed in the upper cave levels has been studied by means of long-term Micro-Erosion Meter (MEM) measurements, direct collection and analysis of condensation waters, and micrometeorological monitoring. Monitoring of erosion at different heights on gypsum walls of the Cueva del Agua reveals that the gypsum surface retreated up to 0.033 mm yr- 1 in MEM stations located in the higher parts of the cave walls. The surface retreat was negligible at the lowest sites, suggesting higher dissolution rates close to the cave ceiling, where warmer and moister air flows. Monitoring of microclimatic parameters and direct measurements of condensation water were performed in the Covadura Cave system in order to estimate seasonal patterns of condensation. Direct measurements of condensation water dripping from a metal plate placed in the central part of the El Bosque Gallery of Covadura Cave indicate that condensation takes place mainly between July and November in coincidence with rainless periods. The estimated gypsum surface lowering due to this condensation water is 0.0026 mm yr- 1. Microclimatic monitoring in the same area shows differences in air temperature and humidity of the lower parts of the galleries (colder and drier) with respect to the cave ceiling (warmer and wetter). This thermal sedimentation controls the intensity of the condensation-evaporation mechanisms at different heights in the cave.


The role of condensation in the evolution of dissolutional forms in gypsum caves: Study case in the karst of Sorbas (SE Spain), 2015,
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Gazquez Fernando, Calaforra José Maria, Forti Paolo, De Waele Jo, Sanna Laura

The karst of Sorbas (SE Spain) is one of the most important gypsum areas worldwide. Its underground karst network comprises over 100 km of cave passages. Rounded smooth forms, condensation cupola and pendant-like features appear on the ceiling of the shallower passages as a result of gypsum dissolution by condensation water. Meanwhile, gypsum speleothems formed by capillarity, evaporation and aerosol deposition such as coralloids, gypsum crusts and rims are frequently observed closer to the passage floors. The role of condensation–dissolution mechanisms in the evolution of geomorphological features observed in the upper cave levels has been studied by means of long-term micro-erosion meter (MEM) measurements, direct collection and analysis of condensation waters, and micrometeorological monitoring. Monitoring of erosion at different heights on gypsum walls of the Cueva del Agua reveals that the gypsum surface retreated up to 0.033 mm yr−1 in MEM stations located in the higher parts of the cave walls. The surface retreat was negligible at the lowest sites, suggesting higher dissolution rates close to the cave ceiling, where warmer and moister air flows. Monitoring of microclimatic parameters and direct measurements of condensation water were performed in the Covadura Cave system in order to estimate seasonal patterns of condensation. Direct measurements of condensation water dripping from a metal plate placed in the central part of the El Bosque Gallery of Covadura Cave indicate that condensation takes place mainly between July and November in coincidence with rainless periods. The estimated gypsum surface lowering due to this condensation water is 0.0026 mm yr−1. Microclimatic monitoring in the same area shows differences in air temperature and humidity of the lower parts of the galleries (colder and drier) with respect to the cave ceiling (warmer and wetter). This thermal sedimentation controls the intensity of the condensation–evaporation mechanisms at different heights in the cave.


Long-term erosion rate measurements in gypsum caves of Sorbas (SE Spain) by the Micro-Erosion Meter method, 2015,
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Sanna Laura, De Waele Jo, Calaforra José Maria, Forti Paolo

The present work deals with the results of long-term micro-erosion measurements in the most important gypsum cave of Spain, the Cueva del Agua (Sorbas, Almeria, SE Spain). Nineteen MEM stations were positioned in 1992 in a wide range of morphological and environmental settings (gypsum floors and walls, carbonate speleothems, dry conduits and vadose passages) inside and outside the cave, on gypsum and carbonate bedrocks and exposed to variable degree of humidity, different air flowand hydrodynamic conditions. Four different sets of stations have been investigated: (1) the main cave entrance (Las Viñicas spring); (2) the main river passage; (3) the abandoned Laboratory tunnel; and (4) the external gypsum surface. Data over a period of about 18 years are available. The average lowering rates vary from 0.014 to 0.016 mm yr−1 near the main entrance and in the Laboratory tunnel, to 0.022 mm −1 on gypsum floors and 0.028 mm yr−1 on carbonate flowstones. 

The denudation data from the external gypsum stations are quite regular with a rate of 0.170 mm yr−1. The observations allowed the collecting of important information concerning the feeding of the karst aquifer not only by infiltrating rainwater, but under present climate conditions also by water condensation of moist air flow. This contribution to the overall karst processes in the Cueva del Agua basin represents over 20% of the total chemical dissolution of the karst area and more than 50% of the speleogenetically removed gypsum in the cave system, thus representing all but a secondary role in speleogenesis. Condensation–corrosion is most active along the medium walls, being slower at the roof and almost absent close to the floor. This creates typical corrosion morphologies such as cupola, while gypsum flowers develop where evaporation dominates. This approach also shows quantitatively the morphological implications of condensation–corrosion processes in gypsum karst systems in arid zones, responsible for an average surface lowering of 0.047 mm yr−1, while mechanical erosion produces a lowering of 0.123 mm yr−1.


Hypogene speleogenesis in dolomite host rock by CO2-rich fluids, Kozak Cave (southern Austria), 2015,
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A growing number of studies suggest that cave formation by deep-seated groundwater  (hypogene) is a more common process of subsurface water-rock interaction than previously  thought. Fossil hypogene caves are identified by a characteristic suite of morphological  features on different spatial scales. In addition, mineral deposits (speleothems) may provide  clues about the chemical composition of the paleowater, which range from CO2-rich to  sulfuric acid-bearing waters. This is one of the first studies to examine hypogene cave  formation in dolomite. Kozak Cave is a fossil cave near the Periadriatic Lineament, an area  known for its abundance of CO2-rich springs. The cave displays a number of macro-, mesoand  micromorphological elements found also in other hypogene caves hosted in limestone,  marble or gypsum, including cupolas, cusps, Laughöhle-type chambers and notches. The  existance of cupolas and cusps suggests a thermal gradient capable of sustaining free  convection during a first phase of speleogenesis, while triangular cross sections (Laughöhle  morphology) indicate subsequent density-driven convection close to the paleowater table Notches mark the final emergence of the cave due to continued rock uplift and valley  incision. Very narrow shafts near the end of the cave may be part of the initial feeder system,  but an epigene (vadose) overprint cannot be ruled out. Vadose speleothems indicate that the  phreatic phase ended at least about half a million years ago. Drill cores show no evidence of  carbon or oxygen isotope alteration of the wall rock. This is in contrast to similar studies in  limestone caves, and highlights the need for further wall-rock studies of caves hosted in  limestone and dolomite


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