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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 half-blind valley is blind valley in which the stream overflows in floodtime when the swallow hole can not accept all the water [10].?

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


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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for site (Keyword) returned 1057 results for the whole karstbase:
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The use of damaged speleothems and in situ fault displacement monitoring to characterise active tectonic structures: an example from Zapadni Cave, Czech Republic , 2014,
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Briestensky Milos, Stemberk Josef, Rowberry Matt D. ,

The EU-TecNet fault displacement monitoring network records three-dimensional displacements across specifically selected tectonic structures within the crystalline basement of central Europe. This paper presents a study of recent and active tectonics at Západní Cave in northern Bohemia (Czech Republic). It extends previous geological research by measuring speleothem damage in the cave and monitoring displacements across two fault structures situated within the Lusatian Thrust Zone. The speleothem damage reflects strike-slip displacement trends: the WSW-ENE striking fault is associated with dextral strike-slip displacement while the NNW-SSE striking fault is associated with sinistral strike-slip displacement. These measurements demonstrate that the compressive stress σ1 is located in the NW or SE quadrant while the tensile stress σ3 is oriented perpendicular to σ1, i.e. in the NE or SW quadrant. The in situ fault displacement monitoring has confirmed that movements along the WSW-ENE striking fault reflect dextral strike-slip while movements along the NNW-SSE striking fault reflect sinistral strike-slip. In addition, however, monitoring across the NNW-SSE striking fault has demonstrated relative vertical uplift of the eastern block and, therefore, this fault is characterised by oblique movement trends. The fault displacement monitoring has also shown notable periods of increased geodynamic activity, referred to as pressure pulses, in 2008, 2010-2011, and 2012. The fact that the measured speleothem damage and the results of fault displacement monitoring correspond closely confirms the notion that, at this site, the compressive stress σ1 persists in the NW or SE quadrant. The presented results offer an insight into the periodicity of pressure pulses, demonstrate the need for protracted monitoring periods in order to better understanding geodynamic processes, and show that it is possible to characterise the displacements that occur across individual faults in a way that cannot be accomplished from geodetic measurements obtained by Global Navigation Satellite Systems.


Evaluation of the US DOE’s conceptual model of hydrothermal activity at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, 2014,
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A unique conceptual model describing the conductive heating of rocks in the thick unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada by a silicic pluton emplaced several kilometers away is accepted by the US Department of Energy (DOE) as an explanation of the elevated depositional temperatures measured in fluid inclusions in secondary fluorite and calcite. Acceptance of this model allowed the DOE to keep from considering hydrothermal activity in the performance assessment of the proposed high-level nuclear waste disposal facility. The evaluation presented in this paper shows that no computational modeling results have yet produced a satisfactory match with the empirical benchmark data, specifically with age and fluid inclusion data that indicate high temperatures (up to ca. 80 _C) in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain. Auxiliary sub-models complementing the DOE model, as well as observations at a natural analog site, have also been evaluated. Summarily, the model cannot be considered as validated. Due to the lack of validation, the reliance on this model must be discontinued and the appropriateness of decisions which rely on this model must be re-evaluated.A unique conceptual model describing the conductive heating of rocks in the thick unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada by a silicic pluton emplaced several kilometers away is accepted by the US Department of Energy (DOE) as an explanation of the elevated depositional temperatures measured in fluid inclusions in secondary fluorite and calcite. Acceptance of this model allowed the DOE to keep from considering hydrothermal activity in the performance assessment of the proposed high-level nuclear waste disposal facility. The evaluation presented in this paper shows that no computational modeling results have yet produced a satisfactory match with the empirical benchmark data, specifically with age and fluid inclusion data that indicate high temperatures (up to ca. 80 _C) in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain. Auxiliary sub-models complementing the DOE model, as well as observations at a natural analog site, have also been evaluated. Summarily, the model cannot be considered as validated. Due to the lack of validation, the reliance on this model must be discontinued and the appropriateness of decisions which rely on this model must be re-evaluated.


Hydrogeological and Environmental Investigations in Karst Systems, 2014,
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Karst is the result of climatic and geohydrological processes, mainly in carbonate and evaporite rocks, during geological periods of Earth history. Dissolution of these rock formations over time has generated karst aquifers and environments of significant water and mineral resources. In addition, beautiful landscapes have been created which constitute natural parks, geosites, and caves. Due to their origin and nature, karstified areas require investigation with special techniques and methodology. International collaboration and discussions on advances in karst research are necessary to promote Karst Science. The International Symposium on Karst Aquifers is one of the worldwide events held periodically to specifically address karst environments. The symposium constitutes an ongoing international forum for scientific discussion on the progress made in research in karst environments. The first and second symposiums were organized in Nerja (near Malaga, Spain), in 1999 and 2002; the third and fourth symposiums were held in Malaga city in 2006 and 2010. The 5th International Symposium on Karst Aquifers (ISKA5) occurred in Malaga on during October 14–16, 2014. It was organized by the Centre of Hydrogeology University of Málaga (CEHIUMA) and the Spanish Geological Survey (IGME), in cooperation with UNESCO and the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) Karst Commission. More than 100 contributions were received from 30 countries on five continents. Presentations made during the symposium and published in this book are a compendium of 70 of these manuscripts. Papers submitted by April 2014, were peer-reviewed and subsequently accepted by the Scientific Committee. Contributions are grouped into five sections:

• Methods Utilized to Study Karst Aquifers.

• Karst Hydrogeology.

• Mining and Engineering in Karst media.

• Karst Cavities.

• Karst Geomorphology and Landscape.

A large part of the contributions, 30 %, is related to Methods Utilized to Study Karst Aquifers. Several issues are addressed: methods for groundwater recharge assessment, dye tracer and stable isotope applications, analysis of hydrodynamic data and hydrochemistry, among others. Most contributions, 40 %, however, are on Karst Hydrogeology. These are primarily in connection with various topics such as numerical modeling in karst, floods, karst groundwater flow, protection of karst aquifers or pollution, and vulnerability in karst. Five percent of the published papers deal with Mining and Engineering in Karst Media. These papers are about tunnels, hydrogeological risks, and karst risk assessment in mining and civil engineering. Another section concerning Karst Cavities encompasses 15 % of the contributions. These chapters deal with corrosion and speleogenetic processes, speleothems, CO2 sources, the global carbon cycle in endokarst, and the study of past climate. Karst Geomorphology and Landscape constitutes the remaining 10 % of the contributions. These papers are related to karst features, wetlands, hypogene speleogenesis, geodiversity, and karstic geosites. The results of project work performed by karst specialists worldwide are described in the book. Included in it are experiences from pilot sites, methodologies, monitoring, and data analyses in various climatic, geological, and hydrogeological contexts. Material presented may be utilized for activities such as teaching and technical-professional applications particularly as they apply to the increasingly multidisciplinary nature of karst studies. Information provided may also be useful to decisions makers in making critical decisions regarding development in karst regions. Scientists and engineers and many of the lay public interested in karst environments will benefit from the contents


Bacterial migration through low-permeability fault zones in compartmentalised aquifer systems: a case study in Southern Italy., 2014,
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The aim of this study was to experimentally verify the significance of microbial transport through low-permeability fault zones in a compartmentalised carbonate aquifer system in Southern Italy.

The temporal variability of microbial communities in two springs fed by the same aquifer system, but discharging up- and down-gradient of two low-permeability fault zones, was analysed using a 16S rDNA polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE)-based approach. At both springs, a remarkable temporal variation in PCR-DGGE profiles was detected throughout the observation period. When comparing the PCR-DGGE profiles of the two springs, a synchronous evolution over time was observed. Moreover, the per cent of PCR-DGGE bands common to both springs progressively increased from early (23%) to late recharge (70%), only to decrease once more in late recession (33%). Considering the results of the hydrogeological and isotopic investigations and EC measurements, the results of biomolecular analyses demonstrate that, at the study site, compartments straddling the analysed fault zones have microbial interconnections, despite the existence of low-permeability fault cores.


Speleothem and biofilm formation in a granite/dolerite cave, Northern Sweden., 2014,
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Tjuv-Antes grotta (Tjuv-Ante's Cave) located in northern Sweden is a round-abraded sea cave ('tunnel cave'), about 30 m in length, formed by rock-water abrasion in a dolerite dyke in granite gneiss. Abundant speleothems are restricted to the inner, mafic parts of the cave and absent on granite parts. The speleothems are of two types: cylindrical (coralloid, popcorn-like), and flowstone (thin crusts). Coralloids correspond to terrestrial stromatolite speleothems in which layers of light calcite alternate with dark, silica-rich laminae. The dark laminae are also enriched in carbon and contain incorporated remains of microorganisms. Two types of microbial communities can be distinguished associated with the speleothems: an Actinobacteria-like biofilm and a fungal community. Actinobacteria seem to play an important role in the formation of speleothem while the fungal community acts as both a constructive and a destructive agent. A modern biofilm dominated by Actinobacteria is present in the speleothem-free parts of the dolerite and located in cave ceiling cracks. These biofilms may represent sites of early speleothem formation. Because of its unusual position in between two types of host rock, Tjuv-Ante's Cave represents a unique environment in which to study differences in microbe-rock interactions and speleothem genesis between the granite and dolerite host rock. Our study shows that the mafic rock is superior to the granite in hosting a microbial community and to support formation of speleothems.


The show cave of Diros vs. wild caves of Peloponnese, Greece - distribution patterns of Cyanobacteria, 2014,
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The karst cave ‘Vlychada’of Diros, one of the oldest show caves in Peloponnese, sustains extended phototrophic biofilms on various substrata – on rocks inside the cave including speleothems, and especially near the artificial lighting installation (‘Lampenflora’). After a survey of the main abiotic parameters (Photosynthetically Active Radiation -PAR, Temperature -T, Relative Humidity -RH, Carbon Dioxide -CO2) three clusters of sampling sites were revealed according to Principal Component Analysis (PCA): i) the water gallery section predominately influenced by CO2, ii) the dry passages influenced by RH and PAR, and iii) the area by the cave exit at the dry section influenced by temperature. The collected samples from the water gallery section and the dry passages of the cave revealed a total of 43 taxa of Cyanobacteria, with the unicellular/colonial forms being the most abundant. The applied non-metric Multi-dimensional Scaling Ordination (nMDS) of the cumulative species composition showed a clear distinction between the water gallery section and the dry passages of the cave. Further comparison with previous data from other wild caves of Peloponnese (‘Kastria’, ‘Francthi’, and ‘Selinitsa’) was conducted revealing a distinction between the show cave and the wild ones. Apart from the human impact on cave ecosystems – through aesthetic alteration (‘greening’) of cave decorations by the ‘Lampenflora’, and by the cleaning treatments and restoration projects on the speleothems – identification of the organisms constituting the ‘Lampenflora’ might provide taxonomically and ecologically significant taxa.


Limestone weathering rates accelerated by micron-scale grain detachment, 2014,
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The weathering of carbonate rocks plays a critical role in the evolution of landscapes, the erosion of buildings and monuments, and the global-scale shifting of carbon from the atmosphere to the ocean. Chemical dissolution is often assumed to govern the rates of weathering of carbonate rocks, although some studies have suggested that mechanical erosion could also play an important role. Quantifying the rates of the different processes has proved challenging, in part due to the high degree of variability encountered across different scales in both field and laboratory conditions. To constrain the rates and mechanisms controlling long-term limestone weathering, we analyze a lidar scan of the Western Wall, a Roman-period edifice located in Jerusalem. We find that extreme erosion rates in fine-grained micritic limestone blocks are as much as two orders of magnitude higher than the average rates estimated for coarse-grained limestone blocks at the same site. Atomic force microscope imaging of dissolving micritic limestone suggests that these elevated reaction rates are likely to be the result of rapid dissolution along micron-scale grain boundaries, followed by mechanical detachment of tiny particles from the surface. Our analysis indicates that such grain detachment could be the dominant erosional mode for fine-grained carbonate rocks in many regions on Earth.


The formation of the pinnacle karst in Pleistocene aeolian calcarenites (Tamala Limestone) in southwestern Australia, 2015,
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A spectacular pinnacle karst in the southwestern coastal part of Western Australia consists of dense fields of thousands of pinnacles up to 5 m high, 2 m wide and 0.5–5 m apart, particularly well exposed in Nambung National Park. The pinnacles have formed in the Pleistocene Tamala Limestone, which comprises cyclic sequences of aeolian calcarenite, calcrete/microbialite and palaeosol. The morphology of the pinnacles varies according to the lithology in which they have formed: typically conical in aeolianite and cylindrical in microbialite. Detailed mapping and mineralogical, chemical and isotopic analyses were used to constrain the origin of the pinnacles, which are residual features resulting mainly from solutional widening and coalescence of solution pipeswithin the Tamala Limestone. The pinnacles are generally joined at the base, and the stratigraphy exposed in their sides is often continuous between adjacent pinnacles. Some pinnacles are cemented infills of solution pipes, but solution still contributed to their origin by removing the surrounding material. Although a number of pinnacles contain calcified plant roots, trees were not a major factor in their formation. Pinnacle karst in older, better-cemented limestones elsewhere in theworld is similar inmorphology and origin to the Nambung pinnacles, but is mainly influenced by joints and fractures (not evident at Nambung). The extensive dissolution associatedwith pinnacle formation at Nambung resulted in a large amount of insoluble quartz residue, which was redeposited to often bury the pinnacles. This period of karstification occurred at aroundMIS 5e, and therewas an earlier, less intense period of pinnacle development duringMIS 10–11. Both periods of pinnacle formation probably occurred during the higher rainfall periods that characterise the transition from interglacial to glacial episodes in southern Australia; the extensive karstification around MIS 5e indicates that the climate was particularly humid in southwestern Australia at this time.


Hypogene Sulfuric Acid Speleogenesis and rare sulfate minerals in Baume Galini`ere Cave (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France). Record of uplift, correlative cover retreat and valley dissection, 2015,
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Audra Philippe, Gґazquez Fernando, Rull Fernando, Bigot Jeanyves, Camus Hubert

The oxidation of hydrocarbons and sulfide sources (H2S, pyrite) produces sulfuric acid that strongly reacts with bedrock, causing limestone dissolution and complex interactions with other minerals from the bedrock or from cave fillings, mainly clays. This type of cave development, known as Sulfuric Acid Speleogenesis (SAS), is a subcategory of hypogene speleogenesis, where aggressive water rises from depth. It also produces uncommon minerals, mainly sulfates, the typical byproducts of SAS. Baume Galinière is located in Southern France, in the Vaucluse spring watershed. This small maze cave displays characteristic SAS features such as corrosion notches, calcite geodes, iron crusts, and various sulfate minerals. Sulfur isotopes of SAS byproducts (jarosite and gypsum) clearly show they derive from pyrite oxidation. Using XRD and micro-Raman spectroscopy, thirteen minerals were identified, including elemental sulfur, calcite, quartz, pyrite, goethite, gypsum, fibroferrite, plus all of the six members of the jarosite subgroup (jarosite, argentojarosite, ammoniojarosite, hydroniumjarosite, natrojarosite, plumbojarosite). The Baume Galinière deposits are the first documented cave occurrence of argentojarosite and the second known occurrence of plumbojarosite, hydronium jarosite, ammoniojarosite, and fibroferrite. In the Vaucluse watershed, there were numerous upwellings of deep water along major faults, located at the contact of the karstic aquifer and the overlying impervious covers. The mixing of deep and meteoric waters at shallow depths caused pyrite depositions in numerous caves, including Baume Galinière. Sulfuric acid speleogenesis occurred later after base-level drop, when the cave was under shallow phreatic conditions then in the vadose zone, with oxidation of pyrites generating sulfuric acid. Attenuated oxidation is still occurring through condensation of moisture from incoming air. Baume Galinière Cave records the position of the semi-impervious paleo-cover and documents its retreat in relationship to valley incision caused by uplift and tilting of the Vaucluse block during the Neogene.


Hypogene Sulfuric Acid Speleogenesis and rare sulfate minerals in Baume Galinière Cave (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France). Record .., 2015,
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Audra P. , Gázquez F. , Rull F. , Bigot J. Y. , Camus H.

The oxidation of hydrocarbons and sulfide sources (H2S, pyrite) produces sulfuric acid that strongly reacts with bedrock, causing limestone dissolution and complex interactions with other minerals from the bedrock or from cave fillings, mainly clays. This type of cave development, known as Sulfuric Acid Speleogenesis (SAS), is a subcategory of hypogene speleogenesis, where aggressive water rises from depth. It also produces uncommon minerals, mainly sulfates, the typical byproducts of SAS. Baume Galinière is located in Southern France, in the Vaucluse spring watershed. This small maze cave displays characteristic SAS features such as corrosion notches, calcite geodes, iron crusts, and various sulfate minerals. Sulfur isotopes of SAS byproducts (jarosite and gypsum) clearly show they derive from pyrite oxidation. Using XRD and micro-Raman spectroscopy, thirteen minerals were identified, including elemental sulfur, calcite, quartz, pyrite, goethite, gypsum, and fibroferrite, plus all of the six members of the jarosite subgroup (jarosite, argentojarosite, ammoniojarosite, hydroniumjarosite, natrojarosite, plumbojarosite). The Baume Galinière deposits are the first documented cave occurrence of argentojarosite and the second known occurrence of plumbojarosite, hydronium jarosite, ammoniojarosite, and fibroferrite. In the Vaucluse watershed, there were numerous upwellings of deep water along major faults, located at the contact of the karstic aquifer and the overlying impervious covers. The mixing of deep and meteoric waters at shallow depths caused pyrite depositions in numerous caves, including Baume Galinière. Sulfuric Acid Speleogenesis occurred later after base-level drop, when the cave was under shallow phreatic conditions then in the vadose zone, with oxidation of pyrites generating sulfuric acid. Attenuated oxidation is still occurring through condensation of moisture from incoming air. Baume Galinière Cave records the position of the semi-impervious paleo-cover and documents its retreat in relationship to valley incision caused by uplift and tilting of the Vaucluse block during the Neogene.


The influence of light attenuation on the biogeomorphology of a marine karst cave: A case study of Puerto Princesa Underground River, Palawan, the Philippines, 2015,
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Coombes Martin A. , La Marca Emanuela C. , Naylor Larissa A. , Piccini Leonardo, De Waele Jo, Sauro Francesco

Karst caves are unique biogeomorphological systems. Cave walls offer habitat for microorganisms which in-turn have a geomorphological role via their involvement in rock weathering, erosion and mineralisation. The attenuation of light with distance into caves is known to affect ecology, but the implications of this for biogeomorphological processes and forms have seldom been examined. Here we describe a semi-quantitative microscopy study comparing the extent, structure, and thickness of biocover and depth of endolithic penetration for samples of rock from the Puerto Princesa Underground River system in Palawan, the Philippines, which is a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Organic growth at the entrance of the cave was abundant (100% occurrence) and complex, dominated by phototrophic organisms (green microalgae, diatoms, cyanobacteria, mosses and lichens). Thickness of this layer was 0.28 ± 0.18 mm with active endolith penetration into the limestone (mean depth = 0.13 ± 0.03 mm). In contrast, phototrophs were rare 50 m into the cave and biofilm cover was significantly thinner (0.01 ± 0.01 mm, p b 0.000) and spatially patchy (33% occurrence). Endolithic penetration here was also shallower (b0.01mm, p b 0.000) and non-uniform. Biofilm was found 250 m into the cave, but with a complete absence of phototrophs and no evidence of endolithic bioerosion.

We attribute these findings to light-induced stress gradients, showing that the influence of light on phototroph abundance has knock-on consequences for the development of limestone morphological features. In marine caves this includes notches, which were most well-developed at the sheltered cave entrance of our study site, and for which variability in formation rates between locations is currently poorly understood.


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

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


Quaternary faulting in the Tatra Mountains, evidence from cave morphology and fault-slip analysis, 2015,
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Szczygieł Jacek

Tectonically deformed cave passages in the Tatra Mts (Central Western Carpathians) indicate some fault activity during the Quaternary. Displacements occur in the youngest passages of the caves indicating (based on previous U-series dating of speleothems) an Eemian or younger age for those faults, and so one tectonic stage. On the basis of stress analysis and geomorphological observations, two different mechanisms are proposed as responsible for the development of these displacements. The first mechanism concerns faults that are located above the valley bottom and at a short distance from the surface, with fault planes oriented sub-parallel to the slopes. The radial, horizontal extension and vertical σ1 which is identical with gravity, indicate that these faults are the result of gravity sliding probably caused by relaxation after incision of valleys, and not directly from tectonic activity. The second mechanism is tilting of the Tatra Mts. The faults operated under WNW-ESE oriented extension with σ1 plunging steeply toward the west. Such a stress field led to normal dip-slip or oblique-slip displacements. The faults are located under the valley bottom and/or opposite or oblique to the slopes. The process involved the pre-existing weakest planes in the rock complex: (i) in massive limestone mostly faults and fractures, (ii) in thin-bedded limestone mostly inter-bedding planes. Thin-bedded limestones dipping steeply to the south are of particular interest. Tilting toward the N caused the hanging walls to move under the massif and not toward the valley, proving that the cause of these movements was tectonic activity and not gravity.


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.


Evaluating temporal changes in hydraulic conductivities near karst-terrain dams: Dokan Dam (Kurdistan-Iraq) , 2015,
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Dafny Elad, Tawfeeq Kochar Jamal, Ghabraie Kazem

Dam sites provide an outstanding opportunity to explore dynamic changes in the groundwater flow regime because of the high hydraulic gradient rapidly induced in their surroundings. This paper investigates the temporal changes of the hydraulic conductivities of the rocks and engineered structures via a thorough analysis of hydrological data collected at the Dokam Dam, Iraq, and a numerical model that simulates the Darcian component of the seepage. Analysis of the data indicates increased seepage with time and suggests that the hydraulic conductivity of the rocks increased as the conductivity of the grout curtain decreased. Conductivity changes on the order of 10−8 m/s, in a 20-yr period were quantified using the numerical analysis. It is postulated that the changes in hydraulic properties in the vicinity of Dokan Dam are due to suspension of fine materials, interbedded in small fissures in the rocks, and re-settlement of these materials along the curtain. Consequently, the importance of the grout curtain to minimize the downstream seepage, not only as a result of the conductivity contrast with the rocks, but also as a barrier to suspended clay sediments, is demonstrated. The numerical analysis also helped us to estimate the proportion of the disconnected karstic conduit flow to the overall flow.


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