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Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 11 Jul, 2012
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 Also we have forum there. ...

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. ...

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That capacity, infiltration is the maximum rate at which a soil can absorb precipitation for given conditions [16].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
Engineering challenges in Karst, Stevanović, Zoran; Milanović, Petar
See all featured articles
Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Geochemical and mineralogical fingerprints to distinguish the exploited ferruginous mineralisations of Grotta della Monaca (Calabria, Italy), Dimuccio, L.A.; Rodrigues, N.; Larocca, F.; Pratas, J.; Amado, A.M.; Batista de Carvalho, L.A.
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
See all featured articles from other geoscience journals

Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals

Journal of Hydrology
Hiller, Thomas; Kaufmann, Georg; Romanov, Douchko, , Karstification beneath dam-sites: From conceptual models to realistic scenarios
Journal of Hydrology Elsevier Vol. 398 Issue 10 202 211
Dam-sites and reservoirs located above soluble rock are often damaged by increased leakage through the sub-surface within the life-time of the structure. The high hydraulic gradients driving the water through the fracture and fissure system of the bedrock have a strong impact on the aquifer evolution. The increased permeability, if not prevented, leads to an imminent danger of high leakage rates (breakthrough) as well. As a result, the structural safety of the dam-site itself is at risk. Past experience has shown that this may have large environmental and economical consequences. For a better understanding of the evolution of karst aquifer systems in the vicinity of dam-sites, a three-dimensional conceptual model is presented. We show the evolution of the karst aquifer for simple three-dimensional dam-site setups. Keeping the symmetry and simplicity of the models we can relate our results to the two- and one-dimensional scenarios presented in the past. Implementing a statistical fracture network and topographic information to this basic setup we show that these complex three-dimensional properties of the real aquifers, have a significant influence on the karstification, and cannot always be addressed by two -and one-dimensional models. Research highlights - Three-dimensional karst evolution modeling of dam-sites. - Relating the 3D models to former 2D and 1D models. - Implementation of statistical fracture network and topography.
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Chemical Geology
Wynn, Jonathan G.; Sumrall, Jonathan B.; Onac, Bogdan P., , Sulfur isotopic composition and the source of dissolved sulfur species in thermo-mineral springs of the Cerna Valley, Romania
Chemical Geology Elsevier Vol. 271 Issue 10 31 43
Documenting the source and processes controlling dissolved sulfur (S) mineralization in thermo-mineral waters of the Cerna Valley, Romania is important to understanding speleogenesis in this karst region, in addition to understanding hydrogeological controls, therapeutic qualities and sustainability of the region's historic spas. Stable S and carbon (C) isotopic results reported here elucidate controls on redox processes, the source of dissolved S mineralization, and sulfur-bearing mineral precipitation in this unique karst hydrothermal system. At reservoir temperatures that occur in the Cerna Valley aquifers, it is likely that thermochemical sulfate reduction (TSR) is the dominant S reduction pathway. However the apparent isotope enrichment that we observed between coexisting dissolved sulfate and sulfide is higher than normally associated with TSR—a fact that likely reflects rapid redox cycling at low grade hydrothermal temperatures. δ13C values of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) are consistent with TSR using methane as an electron donor. δ34S values of total dissolved S (sum of sulfide and sulfate) in all springs sampled and particularly in those for which closed-system conditions can be demonstrated, is greater than + 16‰, consistently pointing to dissolved S that derives from marine-derived sulfate mineral sources. To this combined S–C isotope data set, we apply a model of Rayleigh distillation which describes exponentially increasing δ34S values of a diminishing sulfate reservoir during TSR, and linearly decreasing δ13C values of DIC indicating mixing of C from the electron donor involved in TSR. Comparison of our results to this model shows two distinct stages of TSR during transport of fresh water from karst aquifers towards the local geothermal anomaly. In an up-gradient group of springs and wells, incomplete TSR progress that is limited by energy from electron donors is evident from: low concentrations of dissolved sulfide with low δ34S values (as low as − 21.9‰), a large balance of remaining as SO42− similar in isotopic composition to its source ( + 17.4‰), and δ13C values showing little methane-derived DIC. Conversely, in a downstream group of springs and wells, excess concentration of methane provides abundant energy for near-complete TSR, and this near complete reaction progress is evident from: high δ34S values of remaining SO42− (up to + 71.8‰), high dissolved sulfide concentrations (> 32 mg/L as S2−) with δ34S values that take on the approximate isotopic signature of the total dissolved S (mean + 17.4‰), and low δ13C values of additional DIC derived from methane (as low as − 30‰). Thus the unique hydrogeology of the Cerna Valley allows the observation of two end-members of TSR (energy- and sulfate-limited) demonstrating wide boundary conditions of stable isotopic composition of dissolved S and C produced by TSR in a single natural system.
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Journal of Hydrology
Moore, Paul J.; Martin, Jonathan B.; Screaton, Elizabeth J.; Neuhoff, Philip S., , Conduit enlargement in an eogenetic karst aquifer
Journal of Hydrology Elsevier Vol. 393 Issue 10 143 155
Most concepts of conduit development have focused on telogenetic karst aquifers, where low matrix permeability focuses flow and dissolution along joints, fractures, and bedding planes. However, conduits also exist in eogenetic karst aquifers, despite high matrix permeability which accounts for a significant component of flow. This study investigates dissolution within a 6-km long conduit system in the eogenetic Upper Floridan aquifer of north-central Florida that begins with a continuous source of allogenic recharge at the Santa Fe River Sink and discharges from a first-magnitude spring at the Santa Fe River Rise. Three sources of water to the conduit include the allogenic recharge, diffuse recharge through epikarst, and mineralized water upwelling from depth. Results of sampling and inverse modeling using PHREEQC suggest that dissolution within the conduit is episodic, occurring only during 30% of 16 sampling times between March 2003 and April 2007. During low flow conditions, carbonate saturated water flows from the matrix to the conduit, restricting contact between undersaturated allogenic water with the conduit wall. When gradients reverse during high flow conditions, undersaturated allogenic recharge enters the matrix. During these limited periods, estimates of dissolution within the conduit suggest wall retreat averages about 4 × 10−6 m/day, in agreement with upper estimates of maximum wall retreat for telogenetic karst. Because dissolution is episodic, time-averaged dissolution rates in the sink-rise system results in a wall retreat rate of about 7 × 10−7 m/day, which is at the lower end of wall retreat for telogenetic karst. Because of the high permeability matrix, conduits in eogenetic karst thus enlarge not just at the walls of fractures or pre-existing conduits such as those in telogenetic karst, but also may produce a friable halo surrounding the conduits that may be removed by additional mechanical processes. These observations stress the importance of matrix permeability in eogenetic karst and suggest new concepts may be necessary to describe how conduits develop within these porous rocks.
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Journal of Hydrology
Bailly-Comte, Vincent; Martin, Jonathan B.; Jourde, Hervé; Screaton, Elizabeth J.; Pistre, Séverin; Langston, Abigail, , Water exchange and pressure transfer between conduits and matrix and their influence on hydrodynamics of two karst aquifers with sinking streams
Journal of Hydrology Elsevier Vol. 386 Issue 10 55 66
Karst aquifers are heterogeneous media where conduits usually drain water from lower permeability volumes (matrix and fractures). For more than a century, various approaches have used flood recession curves, which integrate all hydrodynamic processes in a karst aquifer, to infer physical properties of the movement and storage of groundwater. These investigations typically only consider flow to the conduits and thus have lacked quantitative observations of how pressure transfer and water exchange between matrix and conduit during flooding could influence recession curves. We present analyses of simultaneous discharge and water level time series of two distinctly different karst systems, one with low porosity and permeability matrix rocks in southern France, and one with high porosity and permeability matrix rocks in north-central Florida (USA). We apply simple mathematical models of flood recession using time series representations of recharge, storage, and discharge processes in the karst aquifer. We show that karst spring hydrographs can be interpreted according to pressure transfer between two distinct components of the aquifer, conduit and matrix porosity, which induce two distinct responses at the spring. Water exchange between conduits and matrix porosity successively control the flow regime at the spring. This exchange is governed by hydraulic head differences between conduits and matrix, head gradients within conduits, and the contrast of permeability between conduits and matrix. These observations have consequences for physical interpretations of recession curves and modeling of karst spring flows, particularly for the relative magnitudes of base flow and quick flow from karst springs. Finally, these results suggest that similar analyses of recession curves can be applied to karst aquifers with distinct physical characteristics utilizing well and spring hydrograph data, but information must be known about the hydrodynamics and physical properties of the aquifer before the results can be correctly interpreted.
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Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Szymczak, Piotr; Ladd, Anthony J.C., , The initial stages of cave formation: Beyond the one-dimensional paradigm
Earth and Planetary Science Letters Elsevier Vol. 301 Issue 10 424 432
The solutional origin of limestone caves was recognized over a century ago, but the short penetration length of an undersaturated solution made it seem impossible for long conduits to develop. This is contradicted by field observations, where extended conduits, sometimes several kilometers long, are found in karst environments. However, a sharp drop in the dissolution rate of CaCO3 near saturation provides a mechanism for much deeper penetration of reactant. The notion of a “kinetic trigger” – a sudden change in rate constant over a narrow concentration range – has become a widely accepted paradigm in speleogenesis modeling. However, it is based on one-dimensional models for the fluid and solute transport inside the fracture, assuming that the dissolution front is planar in the direction perpendicular to the flow. Here we show that this assumption is incorrect; a planar dissolution front in an entirely uniform fracture is unstable to infinitesimal perturbations and inevitably breaks up into highly localized regions of dissolution. This provides an alternative mechanism for cave formation, even in the absence of a kinetic trigger. Our results suggest that there is an inherent wavelength to the erosion pattern in dissolving fractures, which depends on the reaction rate and flow rate, but is independent of the initial roughness. In contrast to one-dimensional models, two-dimensional simulations indicate that there is only a weak dependence of the breakthrough time on kinetic order; localization of the flow tends to keep the undersaturation in the dissolution front above the threshold for non-linear kinetics. Research Highlights - A kinetic trigger is not a prerequisite for limestone cave formation. - The added spatial dimension has a larger impact on breakthrough times than a kinetic trigger. - Planar dissolution front in a fracture is unstable to infinitesimal perturbations. - The most unstable wavelength depends on reaction kinetics and flow rate. - The instability leads to the formation of rapidly advancing, wormhole-like channels.
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Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Mariani, S.; Mainiero, M.; Barchi, M.; van der Borg, K.; Vonhof, H.; Montanari, A., , Use of speleologic data to evaluate Holocene uplifting and tilting: An example from the Frasassi anticline (northeastern Apennines, Italy)
Earth and Planetary Science Letters Elsevier Vol. 257 Issue 1 313 328
Deep inside the Frasassi cave complex in the foreland fold and thrust belt of the northeastern Apennines (central Italy), the remains of hundreds of eels (Anguilla anguilla) are found scattered on the shores of phreatic lakes up to 5 m above the water table. These sub-fossil eels, and the speleothemic calcite encrusting some of them, offer the rare opportunity for radiocarbon dating leading to a geochronologic scale for the shorelines, which record the lowering of the water table and the uplifting of the Frasassi area through the Holocene. The lakes' margins are contoured by white microcrystalline calcite rinds, which also record the progressive lowering of the water table. Detailed surveying revealed that these rinds are no longer horizontal, but slightly tilted toward ENE. Thus these rinds record a recent history not only of uplifting, but also of tectonic tilting of this region. The results of our analyses indicate that the Apennine area around Frasassi has been rising, for the past 8000 years, at a mean rate of 0.6 mm/yr, which is consistent with uplifting rates estimated from the step topography arrangement of interglacial fluvial terraces for the whole Quaternary period in this region. This work demonstrates how an interdisciplinary approach to speleologic research can provide a significant contribution to active tectonic studies.
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Journal of Hydrology
Maurice, L.; Atkinson, T.C.; Williams, A.T.; Barker, J.A.; Farrant, A.R., , Catchment scale tracer testing from karstic features in a porous limestone
Journal of Hydrology Vol. 389 Issue 10 31 41
Tracer testing was undertaken from sinking streams feeding the Chalk, a porous limestone aquifer characterised by frequent small-scale surface karst features. The objective was to investigate the nature and extent of sub-surface karstic development in the aquifer. Previous tracer testing has demonstrated rapid flow combined with low attenuation of tracer. In this study, at two sites rapid groundwater flow was combined with very high attenuation and at two other sites no tracer was detected at springs within the likely catchment area of the stream sinks tested, suggesting that tracer was totally attenuated along the flowpath. It is proposed that the networks beneath stream sinks in the Chalk and other mildly karstic aquifers distribute recharge into multiple enlarged fractures that divide and become smaller at each division whereas the networks around springs have a predominantly tributary topology that concentrates flow into a few relatively large cavities, a morphology with similarities to that of the early stages of karstification. Tracer attenuation is controlled by the degree to which the two networks are directly connected. In the first state, there is no direct linkage and flow between the two networks is via primary fractures in which tracer attenuation is extreme. The second state is at a percolation threshold in which a single direct link joins the two networks. A very small proportion of tracer reaches the spring rapidly but overall attenuation is very high. In the third state, the recharge and discharge networks are integrated therefore a large fraction of tracer reaches the spring and peak concentrations are relatively high. Despite the large number of stream sinks that recharge the Chalk aquifer, these results suggest that sub-surface conduit development may not always be continuous, with flow down smaller fissures and fractures causing high attenuation of solutes and particulates providing a degree of protection to groundwater outlets that is not seen in more highly karstic aquifers. Bacteriophage tracers that can be detected at very large dilutions (1015) are recommended for investigating groundwater pathways where attenuation may be high.
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Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Refsnider, Kurt A. , , Dramatic increase in late Cenozoic alpine erosion rates recorded by cave sediment in the southern Rocky Mountains
Earth and Planetary Science Letters Elsevier Vol. 297 Issue 10 505 511
Apparent increases in sedimentation rates during the past 5 Ma have been inferred at sites around the globe to document increased terrestrial erosion rates, but direct erosion rate records spanning this period are sparse. Modern and paleo-erosion rates for a small alpine catchment (3108 m above sea level) in the Southern Rocky Mountains are measured using the cosmogenic radionuclides (CRNs) 10Be and 26Al in cave sediment, bedrock on the overlying landscape surface, and coarse bedload in a modern fluvial drainage. The unique setting of the Marble Mountain cave system allows the inherited erosion rates to be interpreted as basin-averaged erosion rates, resulting in the first CRN-based erosion rate record from the Rocky Mountains spanning 5 Myr. Pliocene erosion rates, derived from the oldest cave sample (4.9 ± 0.4 Ma), for the landscape above the cave are 4.9 ± 1.1 m Myr− 1. Mid Pleistocene erosion rates are nearly an order of magnitude higher (33.1 ± 2.7 to 41.3 ± 3.9 m Myr− 1), and modern erosion rates are similar; due to the effects of snow shielding, these erosion rate estimates are likely higher than actual rates by 10–15%. The most likely explanation for this dramatic increase in erosion rates, which likely occurred shortly before 1.2 Ma, is an increase in the effectiveness of periglacial weathering processes at high elevations related to a cooler and wetter climate during the Pleistocene, providing support for the hypothesis that changes in late Cenozoic climate are responsible for increased continental erosion.
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Journal of Hydrology
Mudarra, M.; Andreo, B., , Relative importance of the saturated and the unsaturated zones in the hydrogeological functioning of karst aquifers: The case of Alta Cadena (Southern Spain)
Journal of Hydrology Elsevier Vol. 397 Issue 10 263 280
From analysis of the hydrodynamic and hydrochemical responses of karst springs, it is possible to know the behaviour of the aquifers they drain. This manuscript aims to contribute to the characterization of infiltration process, and to determine the relative importance of the saturated zone and of the unsaturated zone in the hydrogeological functioning of carbonate aquifers, using natural hydrochemical tracers. Thus, chemical components together with temperature and electrical conductivity (both punctual and continuous records) have been monitored in three springs which drain Alta Cadena carbonate aquifer, Southern Spain. An evaluation of the percentage of the electrical conductivity frequency peaks determined for each of the three springs is linked to the chemical parameters that comprise the conductivity signal. One of these springs responds rapidly to precipitation (conduit flow system), due to the existence of a high degree of karstification in the unsaturated zone and in the saturated zone, both of which play a similar role in the functioning of the spring. Another spring responds to precipitation with small increases in water flow, somewhat lagged, because the aquifer has a low degree of karstification, even in the unsaturated zone, which seems to influence its functioning more strongly than does the saturated zone. The third spring drains a sector of the aquifer with a moderately developed degree of karstification, one that is intermediate between the other two, in which both the unsaturated zone and the saturated zone participate in the functioning of the spring, but with the latter zone having a stronger influence. These three springs show different hydrogeological functioning although they are in similar geological and climatic contexts, which show the heterogeneity of karst media and the importance of an adequate investigation for groundwater management and protection in karst areas. Research highlights - From analysis of the hydrodynamic and hydrochemical responses of karst springs. - Characterization of the relative importance of the saturated (SZ) and unsaturated (NSZ) zones - Villanueva del Rosario: NSZ and SZ play similar roles in the functioning of the system. ► Pita: NSZ seems to affect its functioning more than SZ. - Parroso: NSZ and SZ participate in the functioning of the system, but SZ is more active.
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Journal of Hydrology
Dafny, Elad; Burg, Avi; Gvirtzman, Haim , , Effects of Karst and geological structure on groundwater flow: The case of Yarqon-Taninim Aquifer, Israel
Journal of Hydrology Elsevier Vol. 389 Issue 10 260 275
This study demonstrates the significant influences of the geological structure (especially folding and lithology) and the karst system on groundwater flow regime. Folds divert groundwater flow from the general hydraulic gradient; marly layers sustain several perched sub-aquifers above the regional aquifer; and karstification increases the hydraulic conductivity by several orders of magnitude. These phenomena are quantitatively demonstrated within the Yarqon-Taninim (YT) basin, Israel, which is a complex groundwater system, combining several (extremely) opposite characteristics: humid and arid recharge zones, phreatic and confined parts, shallow and deep sub-aquifers, stratified and relatively-homogeneous sub-basins, saline and fresh water bodies, as well as stagnant and fast-flowing groundwater regions. We have introduced a 3D geological-based grid for the basin (for the first time). It was implemented into a numerical code (FEFLOW), which was used thereafter to analyze quantitatively the flow regime, the groundwater mass balance, and the aquifer hydraulic properties. We present up to date conceptual understanding and numerical modeling of the YT flow field, especially at its mountainous parts. Based on the calibration procedure and the sensitivity analyses, we obtained the best-fitted hydraulic conductivity values for the aquifer mesh. The general phenomenon observed is that as groundwater flow quantity increases, the hydraulic conductivity also increases. We interpret this result by the karstification mechanism (including paleo-karst). Thus, where groundwater flow-lines converge and where groundwater discharge amount increases, the karstification process intensifies and permeability increases. Consequently, at the mountainous region, along the syncline axes, where groundwater flow-lines converge, higher conductivities are found. Modeling results also exhibit that at the lowland confined area, the geological structure does not play a major role in directing groundwater flow. Rather, the flow field is controlled by the well-developed karst system and the relatively homogenous carbonate section. It is hypothesizes that the extensive karstification took place at the Messinian Salinity Crises, 5.5 Ma, during which groundwater heads as well as sea level were lowered by several 100 m.
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Journal of Geophysical Research
Szymczak, P.; Ladd, A.J.C., , Wormhole formation in dissolving fractures
Journal of Geophysical Research Issue 10 0
We investigate the dissolution of artificial fractures with three-dimensional, pore-scale numerical simulations. The fluid velocity in the fracture space was determined from a lattice-Boltzmann method, and a stochastic solver was used for the transport of dissolved species. Numerical simulations were used to study conditions under which long conduits (wormholes) form in an initially rough but spatially homogeneous fracture. The effects of flow rate, mineral dissolution rate and geometrical properties of the fracture were investigated, and the optimal conditions for wormhole formation determined.
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Quaternary Science Reviews
Vaks, Anton; Bar-Matthews, Miryam; Matthews, Alan; Ayalon, Avner; Frumkin, Amos, , Middle-Late Quaternary paleoclimate of northern margins of the Saharan-Arabian Desert: reconstruction from speleothems of Negev Desert, Israel
Quaternary Science Reviews Elseiver Vol. 29 Issue 10 2647 2662
Speleothems in arid and hyper-arid areas of Negev Desert, Israel, are used in paleoclimate reconstruction of northern margins of Saharan-Arabian Desert, focused on the following objectives: 1) precise U–Th dating of the timing of speleothem growth as an indicator of periods of humid climate, i.e. positive effective precipitation; 2) the origin of rainfall using the speleothem δ18O and changes in spatial pattern of speleothem deposition and speleothem thickness along a north–south transect; 3) changes of vegetation cover based on speleothem δ13C variations. During the last 350 ka major humid periods, referred to herein as Negev Humid Periods (NHP), occurred in the central and southern Negev Desert at 350–310 ka (NHP-4), 310–290 ka (NHP-3), 220–190 ka (NHP-2), and 142–109 ka (NHP-1). NHP-4, NHP-2 and NHP-1 are interglacial events, whereas NHP-3 is associated with a glacial period. During NHP-1, 2 and 3 the thickness and volume of the speleothems decrease from the north to the south, and in the most southern part of the region only a very thin flowstone layer formed during NHP-1, with no speleothem deposition occurring during NHP-2 and 3. These data imply that the Eastern Mediterranean Sea was the major source of the rainfall in northern and central Negev. More negative speleothem δ18O values, relative to central parts of Israel (Soreq Cave) are attributed to Rayleigh distillation because of the increasing distance from the Mediterranean Sea. Speleothem deposition during the NHP-4 in the southern Negev was more intensive than in most of the central Negev, suggesting the prominence of the tropical rain source. Decrease in speleothem δ13C during NHP events indicates growth of the vegetation cover. Nevertheless, the ranges of δ13C values show that the vegetation remained semi-desert C4 type throughout the NHPs, with an additional significant carbon fraction coming from the host rock and the atmosphere. These observations, together with small thickness of the speleothem layers, favor that NHP events consisted of clusters of very short humid episodes interspersed with long droughts. NHP events were contemporaneous with climate periods with monsoon index of ≥51 (cal/cm2 × day) and with the formation of sapropel layers in the Mediterranean Sea. Such simultaneous intensification of the monsoon and Atlantic-Mediterranean cyclones is probably related to the weakening of the high pressure cell above sub-tropical Atlantic Ocean, which enabled more rainfall to penetrate into the Saharan-Arabian Desert from the north and south. The contemporaneous occurrence of the NHP events and the increased monsoon rainfall could have opened migration corridors, creating climatic “windows of opportunity” for dispersals of hominids and animals out of the African continent.
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Carbonates and Evaporites
Fornós, J.J.; Merino, A.; Ginés, J.; Ginés, A.; Gràcia, F., , Solutional features and cave deposits related to hypogene speleogenetic processes in a littoral cave of Mallorca Island (western Mediterranean)
Carbonates and Evaporites Vol. 26 Issue 10 69 81
The Cova des Pas de Vallgornera, located in the southern part of Mallorca Island (western Mediterranean) and developed in Upper Miocene reefal carbonate limestones, is an exceptional coastal cave because of its particular morphological features and the presence of deposits with uncommon mineralogies. Littoral mixing dissolution processes represent the most important speleogenetic mechanism to be considered in the eogenetic karst platform, where it develops; nevertheless, part of the cave consists of an extensive network of galleries that show morpho-sedimentary features pointing up to a possible participation of hypogene speleogenesis. The morphological assemblage of the cave illustrates besides the typical coastal karstification, a noticeable meteoric water recharge along with a possible deep recharge of hypogenic character. Features consisting in upwards solutional channels are abundant, including a complete morphologic suite of rising flow supporting the involvement of hypogene speleogenetic processes. Furthermore, the presence of vents and some related speleothems, such as crusts and cave rims, together with Mn and Fe-rich deposits hosting several minerals not observed until present in other caves of the region must be highlighted. Given the monotonous surface geology around the cave, it is suspected that ascending Sr, Ba, Mn, and Al-rich hypogene solutions may have reacted with the host rock to form this unique mineral assemblage. These deep-seated speleogenetic and mineralogical phenomena could be associated with the feeble geothermal anomalies existing currently in the Llucmajor platform, related to SW–NE faults which delimitate the subsidence basin existing in the southern end of Mallorca Island.
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White, W., , Spring Geochemistry
Groundwater Hydrology of Springs. Engineering, Theory, Management, and Sustainability Elsevier Issue 10 231 268
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Journal of Cosmology
Boston, Penelope J. , , Location, Location, Location! Lava Caves on Mars for Habitat, Resources, and the Search for Life
Journal of Cosmology Vol. 12 Issue 10 3957 3979
Over the course of humanity's history as a species, the use of caves, rock shelters, and other natural geological features has played an important role in our survival and cultural development. We suggest that the use of such natural features in future human exploration of Mars and Earth's moon could be a timely and practical solution to a number of potential dilemmas presented by the extreme and challenging nature of the environments on these bodies. Lava tubes, other caves, cavities, and canyon overhangs that are being identified on other planets are sites of intense scientific interest for geology, atmospheric climate records, and potentially biology. They may offer easier subsurface access for direct exploration and drilling, and could provide extractable minerals, gases, and ices. In the past few years, examples of such structures on Mars, the Moon, and potentially other bodies have increasingly come to light. Thus, the real estate is out there waiting for us to modify it for our exploration missions. The present Martian surface environment is extremely cold, dry, chemically active, and high in both ultraviolet and ionizing radiation. Galactic Cosmic Radiation (GCR) and episodic waves of high energy particles from solar proton events (SPE) necessitate the provision of robust radiation protection for habitats, workspaces, vehicles, and personal space suits. The mass penalty of providing this is a major driver in our consideration of the use of natural rock mass for radiation protection for habitats and workspaces, arguably the most massive components of an integrated human exploration equipment suite. Planetary protection considerations emerging from recent studies advocate a localization and zoning of degrees of human impact, much like that being implemented in the Antarctic as Special Regions. Containment of the primary human habitation and work activities within the confines of a subsurface habitat are highly consistent with these new approaches to Planetary Protection forward contamination. To begin to think about caves in the extraterrestrial exploration context, we have developed the notion of a complete, functioning subsurface habitat system. A suite of relatively low technology modifications to caves to improve habitability and safety are suggested. This system can integrate a spectrum of missions from both robotic precursors to human expeditionary missions and ultimately colonization.
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