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Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology

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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 Nacktkarst is (german.) see exposed karst.?

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

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What is Karstbase?



Browse Speleogenesis Issues:

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 feeding (Keyword) returned 70 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 61 to 70 of 70
Spatial distribution of soda straws growth rates of the Coufin Cave (Vercors, France), 2010,
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Perrette Y. , Jaillet S.

The Choranche Cave system (Vercors, France) is an excellent locality for measuring the growth rates of large numbers soda straws. This is especially the case for the Coufin Cave, as enlargement of the cave entrance in 1875 led to a change in stalactite color from brown to white, thus providing a reliable chronomarker. The date of this brown-to-white calcite transition has been confirmed by lamina counting. We measured and georeferenced the growth-lengths of 306 soda straws in a 1m2 area of the roof of the Coufin Cave entrance chamber. Because of the very slow and sometimes inexistent water feeding of those stalactites, hydrochemistry analysis were not achieved and drop rate effect on growth were neglected; this study is based on a geomorphological and geostatistical work. By measuring a large number of soda straws in a very small area for which most of the parameters affecting stalactite growth could be considered uniform, and because flow rates are very slow (frequencies are always superior to 1 drop per half hour), we could ascribe differences in growth rates to variations in the global increase of water flow through the unsaturated matrix. Statistical and geostatistical analyses of the measurements showed that this set of similarly shaped stalactites actually consisted of three Gaussian populations with different mean growth rates: fast growth rate (FGR- mean of 0.92 mm.y-1), medium growth rate (MGR- mean of 0.47 mm.y-1) and low growth rate (LGR- 0.09 mm.y-1). Plotting the lengths and spatial distribution of the 20 longest FGR soda straws revealed that there is a rough pattern to the water flow through the cave roof. Even if no direction is statisticaly different from others, the observed directional pattern is consistent with local and regional tectonic observations. Plots of the spatial distribution of the soda straws show that FGR soda straws follow lines of regional geological stress, whereas MGR and LGR soda straws are more dispersed.

Speleogenesis in highly geodynamic contexts: The quaternary evolution of Monte Corchia multi-level karst system (Alpi Apuane, Italy), 2011,
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Piccini, Leonardo

The Mt. Corchia karst system is one of the most important and famous caves in the World. Different from many other large caves, here the geological structure has had only a minor role on the vertical, multi-level pattern of the cave. A detailed geomorphic and morphometric analysis of the cave and a preliminary study of cave sediments, along with new datings of speleothems, allow us now to depict the multistage evolution of this cave, which produced at least three major paleo-phreatic levels related to different base-level stages. The analysis of the directions of cave passages shows that the three main phases have different orientations, which can be attributed to the different surface morphology during speleogenesis in former times.

Chronological constraints and geomorphic features suggest that the upper part of Mt. Corchia Cave developed during the end of Pliocene in a stage of favourable climatic conditions and with a moderate tectonic uplift-rate. The morphological features and the nature of sediments in the upper paleo-phreatic level at 1350–1450 m above present sea level (apsl) imply the occurrence of a wide allogenic catchment area. This drainage pattern persisted also in the following stage, during a significant but slow lowering of the base level, which allowed the formation and the intense vadose rearrangement of the epi-phreatic network around 1100–1250 m apsl. An uplift stage in the Early Pleistocene caused the capture of the basins and the loss of allogenic feeding. A third epi-phreatic level was formed at around 900 m (apsl) when the catchment area was reduced to the present extent of carbonate rock, more than 1 Ma ago. The recent evolution is due to rapid uplift and to the progressive incision of surrounding basins, which led to the lowering of the local base level and to a readjustment of the cave system in order to adapt to a new equilibrium with the present elevation of the springs.

Fish remains in cave deposits; how did they get there, 2011,
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Russ H. , Jones A. K. G.

Fish bones are commonly found in cave deposits. How they got there is an interesting question, and one that has, until recently, been largely overlooked. Previous interpretations of fish remains in caves have centred around their exploitation by humans, but there might be a number of other factors involved. These include natural events (such as flooding) or non-human agents of accumulation such as birds, bears, wolves or otters. Whereas there has been considerable research on some of these animals in relation to the economic importance of the fish they consume (e.g. bears and salmon), it is of little value to archaeologists attempting to determine which animals might have eaten the fish, as they do not record the body parts eaten, or the condition of specimens that survive digestion and are deposited in faeces. Controlled feeding experiments can help with interpretation, but these can be difficult logistically. Two experiments involving the Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo) and the brown bear (Ursus arctos) and their potential taphonomic signatures are briefly described. Overall, fish remains are a valuable source of information about past human ecology, but there is still a considerable amount of research to be done before they can be interpreted fully.

Notes on feeding and reproduction of the threatened phreatic fish Stygichthys typhlops Brittan & Bhlke, 1965 (Characiformes: Characidae) from eastern Brazil, 2013,
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Simoes Luiza B, Rantin Bianca, Bichuette Maria E

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Frumkin Amos


The city of Jerusalem, Israel, is growing for ~4,000 years on karst terrain. Lacking closed depressions, surface topography seems fluvial, but karst is well demonstrated by speleology and subsurface hydrology. Several caves in the city were truncated by construction works, including an 800 m long river cave (longest limestone river cave in Israel), and a 200 × 140 × 90 m isolated chamber cave (largest chamber cave in Israel). Caves are being discovered at a growing rate, as construction works dig deeper into the subsurface in the crowded city. Some of them are eventually destroyed by the construction works; only presently accessible caves are discussed here. The hydrogeology and hydrochemistry of the Gihon, Jerusalem’s main karst spring, was studied in order to understand its behavior, as well as urbanization effects on karst groundwater resources. High-resolution monitoring of the spring discharge, temperature and electrical conductivity, as well as chemical and bacterial analysis demonstrate a rapid response of the spring to rainfall events and human impact. A complex karst system is inferred, including conduit flow, fissure flow and diffuse flow. Electrical conductivity is high compared to nearby springs located at the town margins, indicating considerable urban pollution in the Gihon area. The previously cited pulsating nature of the spring does not exist today. This phenomenon may have ceased due to additional water sources from urban leakage and irrigation feeding the spring. The urbanization of the recharge area thus affects the spring water dramatically, both chemically and hydrologically.

Geochemistry and isotope geochemistry of the Monfalcone thermal waters (northern Italy): inference on the deep geothermal reservoir, 2013,
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Petrini R. , Italiano F. , Ponton M. , Slejko F. F. , Aviani U. , Zini L.

Geochemical investigations were carried out to define the origin of the low- to moderate-temperature thermal waters feeding the Monfalcone springs in northern Italy. Chemical data indicate that waters approach the composition of seawater. Mixing processes with cold low-salinity waters are highlighted. The δ18O and δD values are in the range −5.0 to −6.4 ‰, and −33 to −40 ‰, respectively, suggesting the dilution of the saline reservoir by karst-type freshwaters. A surplus of Ca2+ and Sr2+ ions with respect to a conservative mixing is ascribed to diagenetic reactions of the thermal waters with Cretaceous carbonates at depth. The measured Sr isotopic composition (87Sr/86Sr ratio) ranges between 0.70803 and 0.70814; after correction for the surplus Sr, a 87Sr/86Sr ratio indicating Miocene paleo-seawater is obtained. The dissolved gases indicate long-lasting gas–water interactions with a deep-originated gas phase of crustal origin, dominated by CO2 and marked by a water TDIC isotopic composition in the range −5.9 to−8.8 and helium signature with 0.08 < R/Ra < 0.27, which is a typical range for the crust. A possible scenario for the Monfalcone thermal reservoir consists of Miocene marine paleowaters which infiltrated through the karstic voids formed within the prevalently Cretaceous carbonates during the upper Eocene emersion of the platform, and which were entrapped by the progressive burial by terrigenous sediments.

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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.

The mineral springs of the Scrajo spa (Sorrento peninsula, Italy): a case of natural seawater intrusion, 2013,
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Corniello A. , Trifuoggi M. , Ruggieri G.

This paper deals with the mineral springs feeding the Scrajo spa in the Sorrento peninsula southeast of Naples, approximately 6 km from Castellammare di Stabia, another spa location. The Scrajo mineral water is sulphureous, salt-bromine-iodic and CO2-rich. The two hydromineral areas fall within the groundwater basin of Mt. Faito formed chiefly by limestones. Due to the high permeability of the limestones, there is considerable rainwater infiltration which recharges a basal fresh groundwater resting on denser seawater. This groundwater body feeds the mineral springs of the Scrajo spa, the springs of Castellammare di Stabia and some submarine springs. All the data gathered for the Scrajo springs led to propose the following mineralisation scheme: (1) The basal fresh groundwater of Mt. Faito (on underlying seawater) receives endogenous contributions of CO2 and H2S which cause a ‘‘natural’’ seawater intrusion within the fresh groundwater; (2) The upwelling of gases would appear to occur via the major faults which bound Sorrento peninsula to the NW; (3) During the year, the chemistry of the springs changes according to different degrees of seawater intrusion: the minimum occurs in June and the maximum in November. The close interaction between the sea and the Scrajo’s mineral waters (but also those of Castellammare di Stabia) highlights their particular vulnerability not only to overextraction of groundwater but also to climate change. Finally, a hypothesis is presented to explain the connection between the mineral waters rich in CO2 and H2S and the concentration of karst phenomena observed in the Scrajo area.

An approach for collection of nearfield groundwater samples in submerged limestone caverns, 2013,
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Mills Aaron L. , Tysall Terrence N. , Herman Janet S.

Walls of submerged caves feeding Florida springs are often lined with a heavy mat of filamentous bacteria, many of which are able to oxidize reduced sulfur in groundwater migrating from the porous bedrock into the cave conduit. To determine changes in water chemistry as water passes through the microbial mat, a simple device made from standard well screen and sealed with a rubber stopper and controllable vents was installed in a hole drilled in the wall of the cave passage. The sampler was sealed in place with marine epoxy. we measured anions in water from the sampler and from the water-filled conduit taken just outside the sampler. Most anions measured viz., Cl, NO3, and PO43−, increased slightly between the matrix and conduit waters. However, traces of sulfide were measured in the water from the rock matrix, but not in the conduit. SO4 2−concentrations in the conduit were about twice that measured in the water from the sampler, about 22 and 11 mg SO42− L−1, respectively, providing further evidence that sulfur oxidation is an important process in the bacterial mats attached to the limestone surfaces in these caves. An additional use of the sampling device is to measure discharge from the local bedrock into the cave conduit.

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.

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