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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 ground-water artery is a tubular body of permeable water-filled material surrounded by confining beds [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 criteria (Keyword) returned 72 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 61 to 72 of 72
Karst features of the south-west part of the Piedmont Crimea from the standpoint of the theory of hypogene speleogenesis, 2009,
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Klimchouk A. B. , Amelichev G. N. , Tymkhina E. I.

The intense development of the theory and criteria of identification of hypogenic speleogenesis during last few years has stimulated re-interpretation of karst phenomena in many regions of the world. Recent research strongly suggest that solution features in the Piedmont Range of the Crimean Mountains, previously believed as being the result of epigenic karstification, were in fact formed in hypogenic environment due to ascending transverse flow in a stratified artesian system. Tectonically, the Piedmont Range of Crimea is an edge of the Scythian Plate, uplifted and partially eroded along the regional fault separating the plate from the folded region of the Mountain Crimea. The Cretaceous and Paleogene sequence is dipping 5 to 20o to north and north-west, where it plunges beneath the Neogene cover. It is exposed within the Piedmont Range as a series of distinct cuestas generally faced to south-east. Karst features are represented by 26 caves and abundant and diverse solution forms at the cuesta escarps. Most of karst features develop in two distinct limestone units of Paleocene (Danian) and Eocene but some are present in the underlying Maastrichtian unit of Cretaceous. There are strong and systematic evidences that the caves have hypogenic origin and that most of solution features at the escarps are remnants of morphologies of hypogenically karstified fractures, which walls are now exposed due to the block-fall retreat of the escarps. The features in various beds demonstrate strong lithostratigraphic control in their distribution and are vertically stacked into transverse complexes. Caves are fracturecontrolled, linear, or crude maze clusters, demonstrating the complete suit of morphologies indicative of hypogenic origin. Isolated cavities, expressed in the contemporary escarps as grottos and niches, as well as zones of spongework porosity, developed where laterally conductive beds of higher initial porosity were crossed by vertical fractures that once conducted rising fluids from a regional flow system.

The Piedmont Range of Crimea was a part of the Plain Crimea artesian basin during the post-Eocene time till the late Pliocene. Uplift and initial erosional entrenchment in the middle through late Pliocene caused the pattern of tectonically and geomorphologically guided zones of upward cross-formational discharge and hypogenic speleogenesis to establish. Further valley entrenchment in the region during Pleistocene shaped up the modern cuesta-like relief and drained the Cretaceous-Paleogene sequence. Hypogenically karstified fractures and caves, which are sub-parallel to valleys, provide zones of structural weakness along which blocks fall at the cuesta escarps exposing relict hypogenic morphologies.

The Piedmont Crimea Range, with its perfect and extensive exposures of the hypogenically karstified sequence, provides outstanding possibilities for studying patterns and morphologies of hypogenic speleogenesis, which is important for understanding its hydrogeological functioning and roles in the reservoir formation, especially in implication to the adjacent Plain Crimea artesian basin.


Stochastic modeling of surface stream flow at different time scales: Sangsoorakh karst basin, Iran, 2010,
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Ghanbarpour M. R. , Abbaspour K. C. , Jalalvand G. , And Moghaddam G. A.
Karstic watersheds are one of the most important areas for water supply. Because the role of groundwater contribution to surface water flow in karst watersheds is not well understood, the commonly used hydrologic models in most regular basins do not provide satisfactory estimates of runoff in karstic regions. This paper uses time-series analysis to model karstic flow in the Sangsoorakh karst drainage basin in the Karkheh subbasin of southwest Iran. The comparison of model forecasting performance was conducted based upon graphical and numerical criteria. The results indicate that autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) models perform better than deseasonalized autoregressive moving average (DARMA) models for weekly, monthly and bimonthly flow forecasting applications in the study area.

On the essence of karst, 2010,
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Klimchouk, O. B. , Andreychouk, V. N.

The long-lasting uncertainty with the central for karstology notion of karst hinders synthesis of knowledge and the development of a theoretical basis of this scientific discipline. This paper analyses the essence of karst, based on generalization of the modern ideas about regularities of the origin and evolution of conduit permeability in soluble rocks, viewed in the light of ideas of synergetics and non-equilibrium thermodynamics of I.P.Prigogine regarding self-organization in open systems and formation of ordered dissipative structures.

The presence of soluble rocks in the sedimentary environment determines a phenomena of self-organization of the flow structure, which brings the water-rock system into a new capacity-state, namely karstic. The property of self-organization of this geosystem realizes via specific (speleogenetic) mechanism of permeability development, which action radically changes (organizes in a special manner) the structure and functioning of the flow system.

The mechanism of self-organization of flow and of the formation of the karst geosystem (speleogenesis) includes: 1) early speleogenesis, positive feedback between flow and the rate of enlargement of initial flow paths (revealing of proto-conduits), 2) speleogenetic initiation: a cascade breakthroughs of proto-conduits to the condition of rapid dissolution kinetics, with accelerated growth of initiated conduits, hydrodynamic competition, respective destabilization and reorganization of the flow pattern and change in boundary conditions, and, 3) speleogenetic development: stabilization of the system at dynamic equilibrium at the expense of increased energy exchange with the environment, and further growth of conduits. As a result of this specific evolution the geosystem acquires new, karstic, capacity and more complex of organization, with the establishment of one more level of permeability, the most contrast one.

The notion of karst is derived from the essence of progressive evolution of the geosystem containing permeable soluble rocks, driven by water exchange and speleogenetic mechanism of self-organization of the permeability structure. Regressive evolution of the karst geosystem includes processes of gravitational destruction and various accumulations, which lead to fragmentation and demolition of relict structures of karst permeability. Based on this new approach to definition of the notion of karst, criteria of distinction between proper karst and similar but not identical phenomena (merokarst, pseudokarst) are discussed.


Kijik-Koba Cave: geological and geomorphological conditions and genesis, 2011,
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Amelichev G. N.

The paper presents preliminary results of geological/geomorphological and speleogenetic study of Kijik-Koba Cave located in the Dolgorukovsky massif of the Mountain Crimea. The hypogene origin is demonstrated of karst features in the block of the Orlinaya Mount on the north of the massif. Litho-stratigraphic and hydrogeological characteristics are given of the rock sequence that hosted a pressure water system. Morphology of the Kijik-Koba Cave and surrounding clusters of hypogene features is described.Mechanisms of confined circulation in the block of the Orlinaya Mount and its speleogenetic consequences are revealed. It is noted that the situations of rising flow from deeper aquifers into shallower ones, expressed in the morphology of hypogene caves,are common along the course of Zuya River valley from the mountainous part to the piedmont part of the region. Criteria for prediction of hypogene karst are also outlined.


Karst and artificial recharge: Theoretical and practical problems: A preliminary approach to artificial recharge assessment, 2011,
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Daher Walid, Pistre Severin, Kneppers Angeline, Bakalowicz Michel, Najem Wajdi

Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) is an emerging sustainable technique that has already generated successful results and is expected to solve many water resource problems, especially in semi-arid and arid zones. It is of great interest for karst aquifers that currently supply 20–25% of the world’s potable water, particularly in Mediterranean countries. However, the high heterogeneity in karst aquifers is too complex to be able to locate and describe them simply via field observations. Hence, as compared to projects in porous media, MAR is still marginal in karst aquifers.
Accordingly, the present work presents a conceptual methodology for Aquifer Rechargeability Assessment in Karst – referred to as ARAK. The methodology was developed noting that artificial recharge in karst aquifers is considered an improbable challenge to solve since karst conduits may drain off recharge water without any significant storage, or recharge water may not be able to infiltrate. The aim of the ARAK method is to determine the ability of a given karst aquifer to be artificially recharged and managed, and the best sites for implementing artificial recharge from the surface. ARAK is based on multi-criteria indexation analysis modeled on karst vulnerability assessment methods. ARAK depends on four independent criteria, i.e. Epikarst, Rock, Infiltration and Karst. After dividing the karst domain into grids, these criteria are indexed using geological and topographic maps refined by field observations. ARAK applies a linear formula that computes the intrinsic rechargeability index based on the indexed map for every criterion, coupled with its attributed weighting rate. This index indicates the aptitude for recharging a given karst aquifer, as determined by studying its probability first on a regional scale for the whole karst aquifer, and then by characterizing the most favorable sites. Subsequently, for the selected sites, a technical and economic feasibility factor is applied, weighted by the difficulties that could occur when trying to undertake a recharge operation at a selected site from the surface. Each site is finally rated by its rechargeability index – the product of two factors, the intrinsic rechargeability and the feasibility index. ARAK was applied to the region of Damour, Lebanon, on the Mediterranean coast where uncontrolled exploitation of public and private wells led to its partial salinization by seawater. A MAR system in Damour region represents an interesting solution to cope with salinization and the insufficiency of the resource


PaPRIKa: a method for estimating karst resource and source vulnerabilityapplication to the Ouysse karst system (southwest France) , 2011,
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Kavouri Konstantina, Plagnes Valerie, Tremoulet Joel, Dorfliger Nathalie, Rejiba Faycal, Marchet Pierre

The intrinsic vulnerability mapping method, PaPRIKa, is proposed as a common basis for karst groundwater protection in France. PaPRIKa is a specialized method for studying karst aquifers, derived from updating the RISKE and EPIK methods. Both the structure and functioning of karst aquifers are considered in order to develop a resource and source-vulnerability mapping method. PaPRIKa means Protection of aquifers from the assessment of four criteria: P for protection (considering the most protective aspects among parameters related to soil cover, unsaturated zone and epikarst behavior), R for rock type, I for infiltration and Ka for karstification degree. The Ouysse karst system, located in the Causses area in southwest France, is one of the nine pilot sites where this method was tested and standardized. The specificities of the Ouysse system such as the size of the catchment area, the spatial variability of the karst network development, the thick infiltration zone and the system’s dual character (both karst and non-karst areas), have provided a valuable field of application. The vulnerability of the resource was assessed for the entire catchment area, while source-orientated cartography was attempted for the catchment areas of the three different capture works used for drinking water.


CLASSIFICACI MORFOGENTICA DE LES CAVITATS CRSTIQUES DE LES ILLES BALEARS, 2011,
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Gins J. , Gins A.

A typological classification of the caves and shafts in the Balearic Islands is presented in this paper, with the aim of update the knowledge on the morphogenetics of endokarst in the archipelago and incorporating the explorations and discoveries carried out during the last decades. After a brief overview about the classificatory attempts of subterranean cavities in our islands, a systematization on the basis of hydrogeological and speleogenetic criteria is proposed, establishing four main categories as follows: 1) vertical shafts in the vadose zone, 2) caves of the vadose zone, 3) inland phreatic caves, and 4) caves of the littoral fringe. Within these categories, up to ten cavity types corresponding to well-differentiated genetic modalities are distinguished, together with five additional subtypes that designate specific morphological singularities branching from a given typology. The geographical distribution of the diverse cave types in the different karst regions of the archipelago is analyzed, being worth to mention the richness and variety of subterranean forms in the mountain karst of Serra de Tramuntana, in Mallorca island, as well as the abundant and variegated littoral caves occurring in the Upper Miocene postorogenic carbonates of Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera islands. The hypogene speleogenetic processes recently documented in the karst areas of southern Mallorca contribute to supply new insights on the high diversity of subterranean environments represented in the Balearic archipelago


Volcanic caves: priorities for conserving the Azorean endemic troglobiont species, 2012,
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Borges Paulo A. V. Prof. , Cardoso Pedro, Amorim Isabel R. , Pereira Fernando, Constncia Joo P. , Nunes Joo C. , Barcelos Paulo, Costa Paulino, Gabriel Rosalina, Dapkeviciu Maria L.

Azorean lava-tubes and volcanic pits adequately sampled for arthropod fauna were evaluated for species diversity and rarity. An iterative partial multiple regression analysis was performed to produce a multi-criteria index (Importance Value for Cave Conservation, IV-CC) incorporating arthropod species diversity indices but also including indices qualifying cave geological and management features (e.g., the diversity of geological structures, threats, accessibility). Additionally, we calculated complementarity solutions (irreplaceability and Fraction-of-Spare measures) for each cave with different targets per species, i.e., the minimum number of caves needed for each species to be represented either once or twice. Our results clearly show that to preserve all troglobiont arthropods endemic to the Azores, it is crucial to protect several caves per island. As many as 10 and 15 caves are needed to include one or two occurrences, respectively, per species.


Groundwater recharge and exploitative potential zone mapping using GIS and GOD techniques, 2012,
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Huang C. C. , Yeh H. F. , Lin H. I. , Lee S. T. , Hsu K. C. , Lee C. H.

Two-thirds of the total area of Taiwan is mountainous terrain, which is the main groundwater recharge source of the plains region. This study assesses groundwater recharge and exploitative potential zone in the central division of the mountain areas of Taiwan (the middle reaches of the Jhuoshuei River Basin). Basic information from remote sensing and a satellite phantom is collected to set up the basic data maps using elevation, Formosa-II images, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, drainage distribution, slope, aspect ratio, lineament distribution, and land cover. A geographical information system is used to integrate five contributing factors, namely lithology, land cover/land use, drainage, slope, and lineaments. The criteria for the recharge potential assessment are established to demarcate the potential groundwater recharge zone. Finally, the GOD rating system is adopted to evaluate the potential exploitation zone. Three main parameters are considered: the groundwater occurrence, the lithology of the overlying layers, and the depth to groundwater. The results show that the middle reaches of the Chenyuland River have large potential exploitation zones due to its high rainfall recharge capacity. Regions west of the Jhuoshuei River and the downstream regions of the Chingshui River are medium potential exploitation zones because of their high infiltration rates and shallow groundwater levels


Geomorphogenesis of astructural slopes of the Inner Range of the Mountainous Crimea: the role of hypogenic karst in the formation and retreat of cliffs, 2012,
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Tymokhina . . , Klimchouk A. B. , Amelichev G. M.

In geomorphogenesis of the fore-mountain region, a leading role is played by the processes of dismemberment of «shielding» limestone layers of the monoclinal stratified structure, and slope processes in the intervals of rocky limestone utcrops. Their main pre-condition for the latter is hypogene karst development which preceded the modern relief and controlled its formation. Karstified fracture-karst zones, 100 to 400 m wide, in the Cretaceous-Paleogene strata controlled the entrenchment of valleys in the limestone layers. The basic elements of hypogenic karst structures, which forms their spatial framework, are subvertical
fracture-karst conduits (karst «rifts»). Dissection of limestone layers along vertical fracture-karst rift conduits initially set the cliff-like shape of valleys slopes, and presence of such rift conduits in the rear of cliffs of already incised valleys determines the mechanisms of cliff retreat, with the maintenance of verticality, and controls position and configuration of segments of cliffs. A dominant slope process in the intervals of limestones is block toppling, whereas blocks become separated mainly along remaining
fracture-karst conduits in rearward parts of cliffs. Hypogenic sculptural morphology is displayed in the exposed walls of the fracture-karst conduits, which determines the originality and nomenclature of morphology of limestone cliffs of the Inner Range. In those areas of slopes where position of cliffs has stabilized for considerable time due to absence of new lines of block detachment in the rear, weathering becomes a significant process in the morphogenesis of surfaces. Slopes lose their verticality and acquire
the smoothed rims. Specific hypogenic sculptural morphology of cliffs is being destroyed on such slopes. The finding about control of slope processes in limestones by hypogenic fracture-karst structures gives new important criteria for the slope condition assessment and prognosis of hazardous collapses and rockfalls in the limits of the Internal Range 


Layer-bounding surfaces in stalagmites as keys to better paleoclimatological histories and chronologies, 2013,
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Railsback L. B. , Akers P. D. , Wang L. , Holdridge G. A. , Riavo Voarintsoa N.

Petrographic recognition of layer-bounding surfaces in stalagmites offers an important tool in constructing paleoclimate records. Previous petrographic efforts have examined thickness of layers (a possible proxy for annual rainfall) and alternation of layers in couplets (a possible indicator of seasonality). Layer-bounding surfaces, in contrast, delimit series of layers and represent periods of non-deposition, either because of exceptionally wet or exceptionally dry conditions.

Two types of layer-bounding surfaces can be recognized according to explicitly defined petrographic criteria. Type E layer-bounding surfaces are surfaces at which layers have been truncated or eroded at the crest of a stalagmite. Keys to their recognition include irregular termination of layers otherwise present on the stalagmite’s flank, dissolutional cavities, and coatings of non-carbonate detrital materials. Type E surfaces are interpreted to represent wet periods during which drip water became so undersaturated as to dissolve pre-existing stalagmite layers, and thus they necessarily represent hiatuses in the stalagmite record. Type L layer-bounding surfaces are surfaces below which layers become thinner upward and/or layers have lesser lateral extent upward, so that the stalagmite’s layer-specific width decreases. They are thus surfaces of lessened deposition and are interpreted to represent drier conditions in which drip rate slowed so much that little deposition occurred. A Type L surface may, but does not necessarily, represent a hiatus in deposition. However, radiometric age data show that Type L surfaces commonly represent significant hiatuses.

These surfaces are significant to paleoclimate research both for their implications regarding climate change (exceptionally wet or dry conditions) and in construction of chronologies in which other data, such as stable isotope ratios, are placed. With regard to climate change, recognition of these surfaces provides paleoclimatological information that can complement or even substitute for geochemical proxies. With regard to chronologies, recognition of layer- bounding surfaces allows correct placement of hiatuses in chronologies and thus correct placement of geochemical data in time series. Attention to changing thickness of annual layers and thus to accumulation rate can also refine a chronology. A chronology constructed with attention to layer-bounding surfaces and to changing layer thickness is much more accurate than a chronology in which hiatuses are not recognized at such surfaces.


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).


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