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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 rational formula is an equation relating runoff intensity and area to a runoff coefficient [16].?

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


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KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
See all featured articles
Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for media (Keyword) returned 338 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 331 to 338 of 338
On the applicability of geomechanical models for carbonate rock masses interested by karst processes, 2015,
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Rock mass classification and geomechanical models have a particular importance for carbonate rocks, due to their peculiar fabric, variability of the main features, and scarce availability of experimental data. Carbonates are particularly sensitive to syn-depositional and post-depositional diagenesis, including dissolution and karstification processes, cementation, recrystallisation, dolomitisation and replacement by other minerals. At the same time, as most of sedimentary rocks, they are typically stratified, laminated, folded, faulted and fractured. The strength and deformability of carbonate rock masses are, therefore, significantly affected by the discontinuities, as well as by their pattern and orientation with respect to the in situ stresses. Further, discontinuities generally cause a distribution of stresses in the rock mass remarkably different from those determined by the classical elastic or elasto-plastic theories for homogeneous continua. Goal of this work is the description of the difficulties in elaborating geomechanical models to depict the stress–strain behavior of karstified carbonate rock masses. Due to such difficulties, a high degree of uncertainty is also present in the selection of the most proper approach, the discontinuum one or the equivalent continuum, and in the numerical model to be used within a specific engineering application as well. The high uncertainty might cause wrong assessments as concerns the geological hazards, the design costs, and the most proper remediation works. Even though recent developments in the application of numerical modeling methods allow to simulate quite well several types of jointed rock masses, as concerns carbonate rock masses many problems in representing their complex geometry in the simulation models still remain, due to peculiarity of the structural elements, and the presence of karst features. In the common practice, the improper use of the geomechanical models comes from a superficial geological study, or from the lack of reliable geological and structural data that, as a consequence, bring to erroneous evaluations of the influence of the geological-structural features on the in situ stress state and the stress–strain rock mass behavior.


Stable isotope data as constraints on models for the origin of coralloid and massive speleothems: The interplay of substrate, water supply, degassing, and evaporation, 2015,
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Caddeo Guglielmo Angelo, Railsback Loren Bruce, De Waele Jo, Frau Franco

Many speleothems can be assigned to one of two morphological groups: massive speleothems, which consist of compact bulks of material, and coralloids, which are domal to digitate in form. Faster growth on protrusions of the substrate occurs in the typical growth layers of coralloids (where those layers are termed “coralloid accretions”),

but it is not observed in the typical layers of massive speleothems, which in contrast tend to smoothen the speleothem surface (and can therefore be defined as “smoothing accretions”). The different growth rates on different areas of the substrate are explainable by various mechanisms of CaCO3 deposition (e.g., differential aerosol deposition, differential CO2 and/or H2O loss fromacapillary filmof solution, deposition in subaqueous environments).

To identify the causes of formation of coralloids rather than massive speleothems, this article provides data about δ13C and δ18O at coeval points of both smoothing and coralloid accretions, examining the relationship between isotopic composition and the substratemorphology. In subaerial speleothems, data showenrichment in heavy isotopes both along the direction of water flow and toward the protrusions. The first effect is due to H2O evaporation and CO2 degassing during a gravity-driven flow of water (gravity stage) and is observed in smoothing accretions; the second effect is due to evaporation and degassing duringwatermovement by capillary action from recesses to prominences (capillary stage) and is observed in subaerial coralloids. Both effects coexist in smoothing accretions interspersed among coralloid ones (intermediate stage). Thus this study supports the origin of subaerial coralloids from dominantly capillary water and disproves their origin by deposition of aerosol fromthe cave air. On the other hand, subaqueous coralloids seem to form by a differential mass-transfer from a still bulk of water toward different zones of the substrate along diffusion flux vectors of nutrients perpendicular to the iso-depleted surfaces. Finally, this isotopic method has proved useful to investigate the controls on speleothem morphology and to obtain additional insights on the evolution of aqueous solutions inside caves.


International Conference on Groundwater in Karst, Programme and Abstracts, 2015, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, 2015,
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Carbonate rocks present a particular challenge to hydrogeologists as the major groundwater flux is through an integrated network of dissolutionally enlarged channels that discharge via discrete springs. The channels span a very wide aperture range: the smallest are little more than micro-fractures or pathways through the rock matrix but at the other end of the spectrum (and commonly in the same rock mass) channels may grow to dimensions where they can be explored by humans and are called caves. Groundwater transmission through the smaller channels that are commonly intersected by boreholes is very slow and has often been analysed using equivalent porous media models although the limitations of such models are increasingly recognised. At the other end of the spectrum (and commonly in the same rock mass) flow through the larger conduits is analogous to ‘a surface stream with a roof’ and may be amenable to analysis by models devised for urban pipe networks. Regrettably, hydrogeologists have too often focussed on the extreme ends of the spectrum, with those carbonates possessing large and spectacular landforms regarded as “karst” whereas carbonates with little surface expression commonly, but incorrectly labelled as “non-karstic”. This can lead to failures in resource management. Britain is remarkable for the variety of carbonate rocks that crop out in a small geographical area. They range in age and type from Quaternary freshwater carbonates, through Cenozoic, Mesozoic and Paleozoic limestones and dolostones, to Proterozoic metacarbonates. All near surface British carbonates are soluble and groundwater is commonly discharged from them at springs fed by dissolutionally enlarged conduits, thereby meeting one internationally accepted definition of karst. Hence, it is very appropriate that Britain, and Birmingham as Britain's second largest city, hosts this International Conference on Groundwater in Karst. The meeting will consider the full range of carbonate groundwater systems and will also have an interdisciplinary approach to understanding karst in its fullest sense.


Quantitative hermeneutics: Counting forestructures on a path from W. M. Davis to the concept of multiple-permeability karst aquifers., 2015,
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Hermeneutics is the theory of interpretation. One of its major components is recognizing prejudgments, or forestructures, that we bring to our objects of study. In this paper, we construct a historical narrative of the evolution of thinking about the role of caves in relation to groundwater flow in limestone, and we tabulate forestructures as they appear in the story. This account consists of three overlapping time periods: the before and after of an incident that repelled hydrogeologists and students of karst from each other in the middle of the 20th century; a period, up to around the turn of this century, when karst science and mainstream hydrogeology were on different tracks; and a period of convergence, now intertwining, beginning roughly in the last quarter of the 20th century. Two influential players in our story are M.K. Hubbert, whose introduction of the Eulerian perspective of flow was a force for divergence, and R.M. Garrels, whose founding of the field of sedimentary geochemistry was a force for convergence. Other key players include F.T. Mackenzie, J.E. Mylroie, V.T. Stringfield, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bermuda Biological Station, and the Gerace Research Center in the Bahamas, along with the historical accounts of W.B. White. Our narrative ends with the broader acceptance of the concept of multiple-permeability karst aquifers. We flag in our construction a total of 43 forestructures distributed amongst the categories of hermeneutic theory: 14 in the category of preconceptions; 9 in goals; 14 in tools such as skills; and 6 in tools such as institutions. These counts are an example of the concept of social construction of statistics, and we discuss the implications in terms of the huge number of potential combinations of forestructures that could shape alternative historical narratives of this subject over this time frame.


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.


Sulfuric acid speleogenesis (SAS) close to the water table: Examples from southern France, Austria, and Sicily, 2015,
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Caves formed by rising sulfuric waters have been described from all over the world in a wide variety of climate  settings, from arid regions to mid-latitude and alpine areas. H2S is generally formed at depth by reduction of  sulfates in the presence of hydrocarbons and is transported in solution through the deep aquifers. In tectonically  disturbed areas major fractures eventually allow these H2S-bearing fluids to rise to the surface where oxidation  processes can become active producing sulfuric acid. This extremely strong acid reacts with the carbonate  bedrock creating caves, some of which are among the largest and most spectacular in the world. Production of  sulfuric acid mostly occurs at or close to the water table but also in subaerial conditions in moisture films and  droplets in the cave environment. These caves are generated at or immediately above the water table, where  condensation–corrosion processes are dominant, creating a set of characteristic meso- and micromorphologies.  Due to their close connection to the base level, these caves can also precisely record past hydrological and  geomorphological settings. Certain authigenic cave minerals, produced during the sulfuric acid speleogenesis  (SAS) phase, allow determination of the exact timing of speleogenesis. This paper deals with the morphological,  geochemical and mineralogical description of four very typical sulfuric acid water table caves in Europe: the  Grotte du Chat in the southern French Alps, the Acqua Fitusa Cave in Sicily (Italy), and the Bad Deutsch Altenburg  and Kraushöhle caves in Austria


Engineering challenges in Karst, 2015,
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Anisotropy and heterogeneity of karstified rocks make them the most problematic media for various interventions which are needed in engineering practice. The long history of attempts to adapt karstic nature to human needs started with the utilization of karstic aquifers: tapping large springs, transferring their waters to the long distances, improving minimal flows or capturing fresh water in coastal areas. During the 20th century the number of other challenges such as building dam and reservoirs, and constructing roads and railways, bridges, tunnels, new settlements open a new era in engineering works but also in collecting new knowledge and experience for the karstology and hydrogeology sciences. Today, almost no engineering projects can be implemented without a proper environmental impact assessment, which establishes a better balance between human and ecological needs. 


Karst environment, 2016,
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Culver D. C.

Karst environments can be grouped into three broad categories, based on their vertical position in the landscape. There are surface habitats, ones exposed to light; there are shallow subterranean (aphotic) habitats oft en with small to intermediate sized spaces; there are deep subterranean habitats (caves) with large sized spaces. Faunal records are most complete for caves, and on a global basis, more than 10,000 species are limited to this habitat. Hundreds of other species, especially bats, depend on caves for some part of their life cycle. A large, but most unknown number of species are limited to shallow subterranean habitats in karst, such as epikarst and the milieu souterrain superficiel. Species in both these categories of habitats typically show a number of morphological adaptations for life in darkness, including loss of eyes and pigment, and elaboration of extra-optic sensory structures. Surface habitats, such as sinkholes, karst springs, thin soils, and rock faces, are habitats, but not always recognized as karst habitats. Both aphotic karst habitats and twilight habitats (such as open air pits) may serve as important temporary refuges for organisms avoiding temperature extremes on the surface.


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