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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 grid north is the direction of a north-south grid line on a map. except for the north-south grid line through the point of origin of the grid, it will differ slightly from true north [25].?

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.
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 rise (Keyword) returned 489 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 451 to 465 of 489
Morphology and geology of an interior layered deposit in the western Tithonium Chasma, Mars, 2013,
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Baioni, Davide

This paper describes a morphologic and morphometric survey of a 3.1 km-high, domeshaped upland in western Tithonium Chasma (TC) which coincides with areas containing abundant surface signatures of the sulphate mineral kiersite, as identified by the OMEGA image spectrometer. The morphologic features of the dome were investigated through an integrated analysis of the available Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), Mars Orbiter Camera, and Context Camera data, while the morphometric characteristics of the structure were measured using a topographic map (25-m contour interval) built from high-resolution stereo camera (HRSC) and Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data.
The dome displays surface features that were apparently formed by liquid water probably released from melting ice. These features include karst landforms as well as erosive and depositional landforms. The surface of the dome has few impact craters, which suggests a relatively young age for the dome. Layers in the dome appear laterally continuous and are visibly dipping toward the slopes in some places.
The mineralogical and structural characteristics of the dome suggest that it was emplaced as a diapir, similar to the dome structure located in the eastern part of TC, and to many salt diapirs on Earth.


Morphology and geology of an interior layered deposit in the western Tithonium Chasma, Mars, 2013,
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Baioni, Davide

This paper describes a morphologic and morphometric survey of a 3.1 km-high, domeshaped upland in western Tithonium Chasma (TC) which coincides with areas containing abundant surface signatures of the sulphate mineral kiersite, as identified by the OMEGA image spectrometer. The morphologic features of the dome were investigated through an integrated analysis of the available Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), Mars Orbiter Camera, and Context Camera data, while the morphometric characteristics of the structure were measured using a topographic map (25-m contour interval) built from high-resolution stereo camera (HRSC) and Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data.

The dome displays surface features that were apparently formed by liquid water probably released from melting ice. These features include karst landforms as well as erosive and depositional landforms. The surface of the dome has few impact craters, which suggests a relatively young age for the dome. Layers in the dome appear laterally continuous and are visibly dipping toward the slopes in some places.

The mineralogical and structural characteristics of the dome suggest that it was emplaced as a diapir, similar to the dome structure located in the eastern part of TC, and to many salt diapirs on Earth.


Karst Memores Aboye and Beneath the See: Marseilles and Its Continental Shelf During the Cosquer Cave Occupation, 2013,
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Collinagirard, Jacques

In the south of France, the Cosquer Cave with its famous prehistoric paintings is located in  a karstic area located between Marseilles and Cassis. This emerged and submerged karst is  typical ofkarstic coasts submerged after the Late-Glacial Maximum. Ail the forms observed  in the hinterland can be observed directly by scuba divers and indirectly on bathymetrie  charts: lapiaz, karstic archs, sinkholes, uvala and polje. The emerged and submerged landscapes  are mainly the heritage of specifie lithological conditions (Urgonian limestones) and  tectonic conditions (vertical faulting network leading to coastal eollapse in theMediterranean  Sea). üther elements of this submerged Iandscape are given by the traces of the last sea  level rise (palaeo-shorelines and erosion platforms and notehes). AIl the area between  Marseilles and La Ciotat is now established as the Calanques National Park, inc1uding the  Cosquer Cave with its upper Palaeolithic rock art paintings, which adds an international  archaeological interest to this exceptional natural area


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.


SALT KARST AND COLLAPSE STRUCTURES IN THE ANADARKO BASIN OF OKLAHOMA AND TEXAS, 2013,
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Johnson, K. S.

Permian bedded salt is widespread in the Anadarko Basin of western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, where partial or total dissolution of the shallowest salt in some areas has resulted in subsidence and/or collapse of overlying strata. Groundwater has locally dissolved these salts at depths of 10–250 m. The distribution (presence or absence) of salt-bearing units, typically 80–150 m thick, is confirmed by interpretation of geophysical logs of many petroleum tests and a few scattered cores. Salt dissolution by ground water is referred to as “salt karst.”Chaotic structures, collapse features, breccia pipes, and other evidence of disturbed bedding are present in Permian, Cretaceous, and Tertiary strata that overly areas of salt karst. The dip of Permian and post-Permian strata in the region normally is less than one degree, mainly towards the axis of the Anadarko Basin. Where strata locally dip in various directions at angles of 5–25 degrees or more, and underlying salt units show clear evidence of dissolution, these chaotic dips must result (mostly, if not totally) from subsidence and collapse into underlying salt-dissolution cavities.Gypsum karst and resultant collapse of overlying strata have been proposed in many parts of the Anadarko Basin. However, the gypsum beds typically are only 1–6 m thick and more than 100 m deep, and cannot contribute to disruption of outcropping strata—except where they are within 10–20 m of the surface.Typical areas of disturbed bedding comprise several hectares, or more, with outcrops of moderately dipping strata—as though large blocks of rock have foundered and subsided into large underground cavities. Other examples of disturbed bedding are small-diameter breccia pipes, or chimneys, that extend vertically up from salt-karst cavities, through several hundred meters of overlying strata. The best evidence of these chimneys are collapsed blocks of Cretaceous strata, chaotically dropped some 50 m, or more, that are now juxtaposed against various Permian formations on the north flank of the Anadarko Basin. Any study of surface or shallow-subsurface geology in the Anadarko Basin must consider the influence of subsurface salt karst on the structure and distribution of overlying rocks


GYPSUM KARST CAUSES RELOCATION OF PROPOSED CEDAR RIDGE DAM, THROCKMORTON COUNTY, TEXAS, 2013,
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Johnson K. S. , Wilkerson J. M.

Cedar Ridge Dam and Reservoir will be built to supply water for the city of Abilene, Texas. The original damsite (CR) was to be located on Clear Fork of Brazos River in Throckmorton County, but initial coring of the damsite encountered unsuspected gypsum beds in the Permian-age Jagger Bend/Valera Formation. Gypsum is a highly soluble rock that typically contains karst features, and its presence in a dam foundation or impoundment area could allow water to escape from the reservoir. A decision was made to look at potential sites farther upstream (to the southwest), where west-dipping gypsum beds would be deeper underground and karst problems would be minimized or eliminated.The first phase of the relocation was a comprehensive field study of Clear Fork Valley, upstream of the original damsite, to identify gypsum outcrops; gypsum was exposed at only one location, just above damsite CR. The second phase of the study was examination of nearly 100 petroleum-test geophysical logs to identify, correlate, and map the subsurface gypsum and associated rock layers upstream of the original damsite. The gypsiferous sequence is 30–45 m thick, and consists of 8 gypsum beds, mostly 1–3 m thick, interbedded with red-brown and gray shale units 1–10 m thick. Gypsum beds comprise 25–30% of the gypsiferous sequence. Gypsum beds dip uniformly to the west at about 7 m/km (about 0.4 degrees), and thus the uppermost gypsum is at least 23 m beneath the newly proposed damsite (A), about 8 km to the southwest.Subsequent coring and other studies of the new damsite A confirm that gypsum beds are 23 m beneath the newly proposed dam. There is no evidence of solution channels or other karst features beneath this site, and thus there is little likelihood of water loss from the reservoir at the new site due to gypsum karst.


VARIATIONS IN EVAPORITE KARST IN THE HOLBROOK BASIN, ARIZONA, 2013,
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Neal J. T. , Johnson K. S. , Lindberg P.

At least six distinct forms of evaporite karst occur in the Holbrook Basin•depending considerably on overburden and/or bedrock type. Early Permian evaporites in the 300-m-thick Corduroy Member of the Schnebly Hill Formation include halite, sylvite, and anhydrite at depths of 215-250 m. Karst features result from collapse of overlying Permian and Triassic strata into underlying salt-dissolution cavities. Evaporite karst occurs primarily along the 100+ km-long dissolution front on the southwestern edge of the basin, and is characterized by numerous sinkholes and depressions generally coincident with the axis of the Holbrook Anticline•in reality a dissolution-collapse monocline. “The Sinks” comprise ~ 300 individual sinks up to 200 m across and 50 m deep, the main karst features along the dissolution front. Westerly along the dissolution front, fewer discrete sinkholes occur, and several breccia pipes are believed to be forming. Numerous pull-apart fissures, graben-sinks, sinkholes, and broad collapse depressions also occur.A newly recognized subsidence/collapse area of some 16 km2 occurs in the western part of the basin, northward from the extension of the Holbrook “anticline.” The Chimney Canyon area is some 12 km east of McCauley Sinks, a postulated breccia pipe exemplified in, and possibly manifested in at least four other closed depressions. Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) data of one depression shows active subsidence of ~4 cm/yr.Karst formation is ongoing, as shown by repeated drainage of Dry and Twin Lakes into newly opened fissures and sinkholes. These two playa lakes were enlarged and modified in recent years into evaporation 2impoundments for effluent discharge from a nearby pulp mill. Four major drainage events occurred within these playa reservoirs during the past 45 years, collectively losing more than 1.23 x107 m3 (10,000 acre-feet) of water and playa sediment. Drainage occurs through piping into bedrock joints in Triassic Moenkopi Formation (sandstone) in the bottom and along the margins of these playas. Effluent discharge has been discontinued into these playas, although recurring precipitation can fill the basins.


Hypogenic Karstification and Conduit System Controlling by Tectonic Pattern in Foundation Rocks of the Salman Farsi Dam in South-Western Iran, 2013,
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Koleini M. , Van Rooy J. L. , Bumby A.

The Salman Farsi dam project is constructed on the Ghareh Agahaj River about 140km south of Shiraz city in the Zagros Mountains of southwestern Iran. This tectonic province of southwestern Iran is characterized by a simple folded sedimentary sequence. The dam foundation rocks compose of the Asmari Formation of Oligo-miocene and generally comprise of a variety of karstified carbonate rocks varying from strong to weak rocks. Most of the rocks exposed at the dam site show a primary porosity due to incomplete diagenetic recrystallization and compaction. In addition to these primary dispositions to weathering, layering conditions (frequency and orientation of bedding) and the subvertical tectonic discontinuities channeled preferably the infiltrating by deep-sited hydrothermal solutions. Consequently the porosity results to be enlarged by dissolution and the rocks are expected to be karstified and to develop cavities in correspondence of bedding, major joint planes and fault zones. This kind of karsts is named hypogenic karsts which associated to the ascendant warm solutions. Field observations indicate strong karstification and vuggy intercalations especially in the middle part of the Asmari succession. The biggest karst in the dam axis which identified by speleological investigations is Golshany Cave with volume of about 150,000 m3. The tendency of the Asmari limestone for strong dissolution can alert about the seepage from the reservoir and area of the dam locality


Hypogenic Karstification and Conduit System Controlling by Tectonic Pattern in Foundation Rocks of the Salman Farsi Dam in South-Western Iran, 2013,
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Koleini Mehran, Van Rooy Jan Louis, Bumby Adam

The Salman Farsi dam project is constructed on the Ghareh Agahaj River about 140km south of Shiraz city in the Zagros Mountains of southwestern Iran. This tectonic province of southwestern Iran is characterized by a simple folded sedimentary sequence. The dam foundation rocks compose of the Asmari Formation of Oligo-miocene and generally comprise of a variety of karstified carbonate rocks varying from strong to weak rocks. Most of the rocks exposed at the dam site show a primary porosity due to incomplete diagenetic recrystallization and compaction. In addition to these primary dispositions to weathering, layering conditions (frequency and orientation of bedding) and the subvertical tectonic discontinuities channeled preferably the infiltrating by deep-sited hydrothermal solutions. Consequently the porosity results to be enlarged by dissolution and the rocks are expected to be karstified and to develop cavities in correspondence of bedding, major joint planes and fault zones. This kind of karsts is named hypogenic karsts which associated to the ascendant warm solutions. Field observations indicate strong karstification and vuggy intercalations especially in the middle part of the Asmari succession. The biggest karst in the dam axis which identified by speleological investigations is Golshany Cave with volume of about 150,000 m3. The tendency of the Asmari limestone for strong dissolution can alert about the seepage from the reservoir and area of the dam locality.


Do carbonate karst terrains affect the global carbon cycle?, 2013,
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Martin Jonathan B. , Brown Amy, Ezell John

Carbonate minerals comprise the largest reservoir of carbon in the earth’s lithosphere, but they are generally assumed to have no net impact on the global carbon cycle if rapid dissolution and precipitation reactions represent equal sources and sinks of atmospheric carbon. Observations of both terrestrial and marine carbonate systems indicate that carbonate minerals may simultaneously dissolve and precipitate within different portions of individual hydrologic systems. In all cases reported here, the dissolution and precipitation reactions are related to primary production, which fixes atmospheric CO2 as organic carbon, and the subsequent remineralization in watersheds of the organic carbon to dissolved CO2. Deposition of carbonate minerals in the ocean represents a flux of CO2 to the atmosphere. The dissolution of oceanic carbonate minerals can act either as a sink for atmospheric CO2 if dissolved by carbonic acid, or as a source of CO2 if dissolved through sulfide oxidation at the freshwater-saltwater boundary. Since dissolution and precipitation of carbonate minerals depend on ecological processes, changes in these processes due to shifts in rainfall patterns, earth surface temperatures, and sea level should also alter the potential magnitudes of sources and sinks for atmospheric CO2 from carbonate terrains, providing feedbacks to the global carbon cycle that differ from modern feedbacks.


Hypogenic Karstification and Conduit System Controlling by Tectonic Pattern in Foundation Rocks of the Salman Farsi Dam in South-Western Iran, 2013,
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Koleini M. , Louis J. , Rooy V. , Bumby A.

The Salman Farsi dam project is constructed on the Ghareh Agahaj River about 140km south of Shiraz city in the Zagros Mountains of southwestern Iran. This tectonic province of southwestern Iran is characterized by a simple folded sedimentary sequence. The dam foundation rocks compose of the Asmari Formation of Oligo-miocene and generally comprise of a variety of karstified carbonate rocks varying from strong to weak rocks. Most of the rocks exposed at the dam site show a primary porosity due to incomplete diagenetic recrystallization and compaction. In addition to these primary dispositions to weathering, layering conditions (frequency and orientation of bedding) and the subvertical tectonic discontinuities channeled preferably the infiltrating by deep-sited hydrothermal solutions. Consequently the porosity results to be enlarged by dissolution and the rocks are expected to be karstified and to develop cavities in correspondence of bedding, major joint planes and fault zones. This kind of karsts is named hypogenic karsts which associated to the ascendant warm solutions. Field observations indicate strong karstification and vuggy intercalations especially in the middle part of the Asmari succession. The biggest karst in the dam axis which identified by speleological investigations is Golshany Cave with volume of about 150,000 m3. The tendency of the Asmari limestone for strong dissolution can alert about the seepage from the reservoir and area of the dam locality


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.


Karst Memories Above and Beneath the See: Marseilles and Continental Shelf During the Cosquer Cave Occupation, 2014,
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Collinagirard, Jacques

In the south of France, the Cosquer Cave with its famous prehistoric paintings is located in a karstic area located between Marseilles and Cassis. This emerged and submerged karst is typical of karstic coasts submerged after the Late-Glacial Maximum. Ail the forms observed in the hinterland can be observed directly by scuba divers and indirectly on bathymetrie charts: lapiaz, karstic archs, sinkholes, uvala and polje. The emerged and submerged landscapes are mainly the heritage of specifie lithological conditions (Urgonian limestones) and tectonic conditions (vertical faulting network leading to coastal eollapse in theMediterranean Sea). üther elements of this submerged Iandscape are given by the traces of the last sea level rise (palaeo-shorelines and erosion platforms and notehes). AIl the area between Marseilles and La Ciotat is now established as the Calanques National Park, inc1uding the Cosquer Cave with its upper Palaeolithic rock art paintings, which adds an international archaeological interest to this exceptional natural area.


The weathered Carboniferous limestone at Bullslaughter Bay, South Wales: the first example of ghost-rock recorded in the British Isles, 2014,
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Rowberry Matt D. , Battiauqueney Yvonne, Walsh Peter, Blazejowski Blazej, Boutroumazeilles Viviane, Trentesaux Alain, Krizova Lenka, Griffiths Hywel

The Carboniferous Limestone at Bullslaughter Bay hosts some of the most notable examples of deep weathering in  the British Isles as well as two members of an enigmatic suite of breccias known as the Gash Breccias. The weathered limestone has  been investigated thoroughly in order to identify the process responsible for the weathering. In this paper it is demonstrated that the  weathering is isovolumetric but the weathering profile is not characterised by a vertical gradient and its depth suggests that meteoric  waters did not contribute significantly to the weathering process. The weathered limestone has lost significant amounts of calcium and  parts are virtually decalcified. It is seen that the dominant primary minerals of illite and quartz have been preserved while secondary  clay minerals are generally absent. The weathered limestone cannot be a saprolite sensu stricto as it has been subjected to only restricted  chemical processes. It is, therefore, interpreted as a “ghost-rock”. This type of weathering results from chemical dissolution by slow  moving waters in the saturated zone. It is suggested that the weathering may have taken place during periods of emergence in the  Carboniferous, at the same time as the cyclothem tops were exposed to subaerial modification, as evidenced by omission surfaces and  palaeokarstic solution features. This is the first time that ghost-rock weathering has been reported from the British Isles.


BAHAMIAN CAVES AND BLUE HOLES: EXQUISITELY PRESERVED FOSSIL ASSEMBLAGES AND TAPHONOMIC INFLUENCES, 2014,
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Albury N. A. , Mylroie J. E.

In The Bahamas, caves and blue holes provide clues to the geologic and climatic history of archipelago but are now emerging as windows into the ecological and cultural past of islands. Cave environments in The Bahamas alternate cyclically between vadose and phreatic conditions with sea-level change, thereby providing unique but ephemeral fossil capture and preservation conditions.

A diverse assemblage of fossil plants and animals from Sawmill Sink, an inland blue hole on Abaco Island in the northern Bahamas, has revealed a prehistoric terrestrial ecosystem with exquisitely preserved fossil assemblages that result from an unusual depositional setting. The entrance is situated in the pine forest and opens into a flooded collapse chamber that intersects horizontal conduits at depths to 54 meters. The deepest passages are filled with sea water up to an anoxic mixing zone at depths of 14 to 9 meters and into the upper surface fresh-water layer. The collapse chamber is partially filled with a large talus pile that coincides with an anoxic halocline and direct sunlight for much of the day.

During glacioeustatic sea-level lowstands in the late Pleistocene, Sawmill Sink was a dry cave, providing roosting sites for bats and owls. Accumulations of bones deposited in depths of 25 to 30 meters were subsequently preserved by sea-level rise in the Holocene. The owl roost deposits are dominated by birds but also include numerous small vertebrate species that were actively transported by owls to the roost sites.

As sea levels rose in the Holocene, Sawmill Sink became a traditional passive pitfall trap. Significant quantities of surface derived organic material collected on the upper regions of the talus at the halocline where decaying plant material produced a dense layer of peat within an anoxic mixing zone enriched with hydrogen sulfide. Vertebrate species that drowned were entombed in the peat, where conditions inhibited large scavengers, microbial decomposition, and mechanical disarticulation, contributing to the superb preserva­tion of the fossil assemblage in the upper regions of the talus.


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