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Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

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. ...

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. ...

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 effective size is the 90%-retained size of a sediment as determined from a grain-size analysis; therefore, 10% of the sediment is finer and 90% coarser [6].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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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
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Your search for calcite raft (Keyword) returned 12 results for the whole karstbase:
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

Unusual speleothems resembling giant mushrooms occur in Cueva Grande de Santa
Catalina, Cuba. Although these mineral buildups are considered a natural heritage, their
composition and formation mechanism remain poorly understood. Here we characterize
their morphology and mineralogy and present a model for their genesis. We propose that
the mushrooms, which are mainly comprised of calcite and aragonite, formed during four
different phases within an evolving cave environment. The stipe of the mushroom is an
assemblage of three well-known speleothems: a stalagmite surrounded by calcite rafts
that were subsequently encrusted by cave clouds (mammillaries). More peculiar is the
cap of the mushroom, which is morphologically similar to cerebroid stromatolites and
thrombolites of microbial origin occurring in marine environments. Scanning electron
microscopy (SEM) investigations of this last unit revealed the presence of fossilized
extracellular polymeric substances (EPS)—the constituents of biofilms and microbial
mats. These organic microstructures are mineralized with Ca-carbonate, suggesting that
the mushroom cap formed through a microbially-influenced mineralization process. The
existence of cerebroid Ca-carbonate buildups forming in dark caves (i.e., in the absence
of phototrophs) has interesting implications for the study of fossil microbialites preserved
in ancient rocks, which are today considered as one of the earliest evidence for life on
Earth.


DETRITAL ORIGIN OF A SEDIMENTARY FILL, LECHUGUILLA CAVE, GUADALUPE MOUNTAINS, NEW MEXICO, 2000, Foos Am, Sasowsky Id, Larock Ej, Kambesis Pn,
Lechuguilla Cave is a hypogene cave formed by oxidation of ascending hydrogen sulfide from the Delaware Basin. A unique sediment deposit with characteristics suggesting derivation from the land surface, some 285 m above, was investigated. At this location, the observed stratigraphy (oldest to youngest) was: bedrock floor (limestone), cave clouds (secondary calcite), calcite-cemented silstone, finely laminated clay, and calcite rafts. Grain-size analysis indicates that the laminated clay deposits are composed of 59-82% clay-size minerals. The major minerals of the clay were determined by X-ray diffraction analysis and consist of interstratified illite-smectite, kaolinite, illite, goethite, and quartz. Scanning electron microscopy observations show that most of the clay deposit is composed of densely packed irregular-shaped clay-size flakes. One sample from the top of the deposit was detrital, containing well-rounded, silt-size particles. Surface soils are probably the source of the clay minerals. The small amount of sand- and silt-size particles suggests that detrital particles were transported in suspension. The lack of endellite and alunite is evidence that the clays were emplaced after the sulfuric-acid dissolution stage of cave formation. Fossil evidence also suggests a previously existing link to the surface

Screening for culturable microorganisms from cave environments (Slovenia), 2002, Mulec Janez, Zalar Polona, Zupan Hajna Nadja , Rupnik Maja

Various microenvironments in three different caves were screened for the presence of indigenous culturable microorganisms: extremely weathered limestone in Pečina v Borštu and Martinska jama, cave silver and calcite rafts on the surface of subterranean ponds in Pečina v Borštu and calcite moonmilk speleotheme in Snežna jama of Raduha mountain. The counts of viable cells collected are supplemented with laboratory data necessary to establish genus or wider taxonomic group level identity of isolates. Besides other bacterial and fungal groups flourescent pseudomonads are prevailing among isolates.


An environmental model of fluvial tufas in the monsoonal tropics, Barkly karst, northern Australia, 2006, Carthew Kd, Taylor Mp, Drysdale Rn,
Spring-fed streams that deposit tufa (ambient temperature freshwater calcium carbonate deposits) in the tropics of northern Australia are influenced strongly by perennially warm water temperatures, high evaporation rates, and monsoon driven high-magnitude floods. This paper presents an environmental model that will aid interpretation of fossil fluvial tufas throughout monsoonal Australia. In the Barkly karst, northern Australia, tufas form in dam, cascade and pool/waterhole geomorphic environments. Each environment is represented in the morphostratigraphical record by a specific combination of tufa geomorphic units and facies associations. A diverse array of tufa facies is present, including microphytic, larval, calcite raft, macrophytic and allochthonous types. Preservation of particular Barkly karst tufa facies is thought to reflect the strength of monsoonal floods. A strong monsoon is represented by an abundance of flood indicators such as the allochthonous phytoclastic, lithoclastic and intraclastic tufa facies. Conversely, evidence of weak monsoons or a prolonged absence of floods may include oncoids, calcite rafts and thick accumulations of fine carbonate sediments. The history of the Australian monsoon is not fully understood. However, fossil tufa deposits, which record terrestrial climate information, have been preserved throughout northern Australia and hold great potential for reconstructing the region's climate history. Fossil tufa sequences at two Barkly karst sites have been interpreted using the new model. It can be applied to other Barkly karst fossil tufas as well as those in similar environments elsewhere in the world. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Biotic versus abiotic calcite formation on prehistoric cave paintings: the Arcy-sur-Cure 'Grande Grotte' (Yonne, France) case, 2007, Chalmin E, D'orlye F, Zinger L, Charlet L, Geremia Ra, Orial G, Menu M, Baffier D, Reiche I,
The Grande Grotte' cave at Arcy-sur-Cure (Yonne, France) with its prehistoric paintings shows important calcite concretions. Two types of calcite have been observed on the wall: translucent yellowish layers and opaque white or grey layers that completely obstruct the paintings. Other calcite types are present in the lakes of the cave (floating calcite rafts at the surface of the lake and soft calcite at the bottom of the lake). The morphology of the different calcites was observed at different scales by optical microscopy with normal and polarized light, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The elemental composition was measured by using particle-induced X-ray emission (micro-PIXE) and the structure by X-ray diffraction (XRD), infrared (FT-IR) and Raman spectroscopy. The bacterial diversity and its role in calcite formation were assessed by culture and 16S-SSCP in order to distinguish and to assess various abiotic and biotic formation mechanisms. The investigation of calcite characteristics enables conclusions on the formation mechanism and on a biotic or abiotic origin of the calcites. The change of calcite types on the walls reveals changes of the environmental cave parameters. In addition, interactions of calcites with the prehistoric paint layer could be evaluated

Kryogene Karbonate im Hhleneis der Eisriesenwelt, 2008, Sptl, C.
Progressive freezing of calcium- and bicarbonate- bearing cave waters can give rise to high supersaturation and the subsequent precipitation of microscopic calcite crystals and aggregates thereof. These particles are disseminated in the ice of ice caves and may later be concentrated by sublimation or melting of ice to form thin carbonate beds in layered ice (cryogenic carbonates). Such white to light brown, silty to fine sandy layers occur in the rear of the ice-bearing part of the Eisriesenwelt cave (Werfen, Salzburg) and were previously regarded as finely disintegrated limestone powder derived from the cave ceiling. Studies using scanning electron microscopy show that this material consists of 30-200 ?m aggregates of euhedral crystals, which, according to powder Xray diffraction analyses, are near-stoichiometric low-Mg calcite. The crystal aggregates commonly show a conspicuous flat top and resemble larger floating calcite rafts known from calcite-precipitating pools in ice-free caves. There are gradual transitions between these aggregates and skeletal crystal aggregates and (hemi)spherulitic forms, respectively. The small particle size and the skeletal crystal habit strongly argue in favour of rapid crystal growth during freezing of shallow puddles of icy water. This interpretation is corroborated by the highly positive C isotope values, which, in conjunction with the O isotope data, prove the cryogenic origin of these carbonates. The proportion of detrital contamination is very low. This study is the first report of fine-grained cryogenic speleothems in an eastalpine cave. It is supposed that such sediments are more wide spread and thicker layers may represent important paleoenvironmental marker horizons.

Present-day sedimentary facies in the coastal karst caves of Mallorca island (western Mediterranean), 2009, Forns J. J. , Gins J. , And Grcia F.
In spite of the increasing number of papers on cave sediments published during the last few decades, no one has focused from a sedimentological point of view on the processes that take place specifically within the coastal karst areas of carbonate islands. The objective of the present investigations is to deal with the sedimentary processes that take place inside two littoral caves of Mallorca (western Mediterranean), characterizing the different facies existing in the particular geological, geochemical, and hydrological setting that represents this very specific cave sedimentary environment. The recent exploration of extensive underwater galleries and chambers into some outstanding coastal caves of the island, has permitted the recognition of important accumulations of present-day sedimentary infillings in their drowned passages. Both the Pirata-Pont- Piqueta cave system and the Cova de sa Gleda have floors covered by muddy and/or sandy sediments which, in a wide sense, fit into two well-differentiated categories. On one hand we have allochthonous reddish mud sediments (mainly siliciclastic) and on the other hand autochthonous yellowish carbonate mud or sands. The mixing of both materials is also frequent as well as the accumulation of large blocks and debris due to the breakdown of roof and cave walls. A series of 21 manual cores was obtainedby scuba-divers in both caves, in order to collect the full thickness of sedimentary fill. Soil samples at the entrance of the two caves, as well as rock samples of the walls of both sites, were also obtained for a later comparison. Several sedimentary facies can be distinguished, which include coarse-grained deposits (entrance facies and breakdown blocks), fine-grained siliceous sediments (silts and muddy deposits with very variable organic matter content), carbonate deposits composed of calcite raft accumulations and/ or weathering-released limestone grains, and mixed facies including diverse proportions of the other sediment types. There are also some relict deposits composed of siliceous red silts, which are affected by polygonal desiccation cracks. In all the cases, the siliciclastic elements (quartz and feldspars, mainly) are related to rain events supplying dust of Saharan origin. The deposits and facies described herein correspond to different sedimentary environments that can be individualized inside the caves (collapse entrances, breakdown chambers, fully drowned passages and chambers, pools with free water surface), and reflect very specific hydrological, geochemical, and mechanical processes related to the coastal nature of the studied karst caves.

HYPOGENE SPELEOGENESIS AND SPELEOTHEMS OF SIMA DE LA HIGUERA CAVE (MURCIA, SOUTH-EASTERN SPAIN), 2013, Gá, Zquez Fernando Calaforra José, Marí, A

 

Sima de la Higuera Cave (Pliego, south-eastern Spain) has been recently adapted for speleological use. Nevertheless, knowledge of the hypogenic origin of this cavity is still quite limited. The peculiar genetic mechanisms could provide added value if the cave is exploited for speleotourism. By studying geomorphological features and speleothem characteristics, it has been possible to deduce the predominant speleogenetic mechanism (whether hypogenic or epigenic) that controlled the evolution of this cave. The hypogenic mechanism that gave rise to this cavity was associated with upflow of CO2-rich hydrothermal fluid from depth, and was unconnected to meteoric water seepage. In this paper we describe some of the geomorphological evidence and unusual speleothems in Sima de la Higuera Cave. Large scallops are found on the upper level (-74 m); these are related to the mechanism of hypogenic speleogenesis and generally indicate the direction of ascending flow. There are also corrosion crusts made of micritic calcite. In addition, bubble trails related to bubbles of rising CO2 have been identified. Centimetric calcite spar speleothems frequently fill fractures in the host rock. Other typical hypogenic speleothems occur in this cave, including calcite raft cones, folia, cave clouds, tower coral and calcite raft deposits, all suggesting the influence of thermal water during the cave’s formation. Furthermore, the first reported occurrence of calcite raft double-tower cones has been described in this cave; their origin is linked to water table oscillations in Paradise Chamber (-82 m). At the deepest level (-110 m), Mn-Fe oxyhydroxides occur as a black coating totally covering the cave walls, usually over subaerial “boxwork” formations. The wide variety of speleothems unconnected to meteoric water seepage make Sima de la Higuera Cave one of the most unusual hypogenic caves in Spain.


Genesis of folia in a non-thermal epigenic cave (Matanzas, Cuba), 2014, D’angeli Ilenia Maria, De Waele Jo, Melendres Osmany Ceballo, Tisato Nicola, Sauro Francesco, Gonzales Esteban Ruben Grau, Bernasconi Stefano M. , Torriani Stefano, Bontognali Tomaso R. R.

Folia are an unusual speleothem type resembling inverted cups or bracket fungi. The mechanism of folia formation is not fully understood and is the subject of an ongoing debate. This study focuses on an occurrence of folia present in Santa Catalina Cave, a non-thermal epigenic cave located close to Matanzas (Cuba). The sedimentology, morphology, petrology, permeability and geochemistry of these folia have been studied to gain new insight on the processes leading to their development. It is concluded that folia in Santa Catalina Cave formed at the top of a fluctuating water body, through CO2-degassing or evaporation, which may have been enhanced by the proximity to cave entrances. Two observations strongly support our conclusions. (1) When compared to other subaqueous speleothem (e.g. cave clouds) present in the same rooms, folia occur exclusively within a limited vertical interval that likely represents an ancient water level. Folia occur together with calcite rafts and tower cones that developed, respectively, on top of and below the water level. This suggests that a fluctuating interface is required for folia formation. (2) The measured permeability of the folia is too high to trap gas bubbles. Thus, in contrast to what has been proposed in other studies, trapped bubbles of CO2 cannot be invoked as the key factor determining the genesis and morphology of folia in this subaqueous environment


Sulphuric acid speleogenesis and landscape evolution: Montecchio cave, Albegna river valley (Southern Tuscany, Italy), 2014, Piccini L. : Dewaele J. , Galli E. , Polyak V. J. , Bernasconi S. M. , Asmerom Y.

Montecchio cave (Grosseto province, Tuscany, Italy) opens at 320 m asl, in a small outcrop of Jurassic limestone (Calcare Massiccio Fm.), close to the Albegna river. This area is characterised by the presence of several thermal springs and the outcropping of travertine deposits at different altitudes. The Montecchio cave, with passage length development of over 1700 m, is characterised by the presence of several sub-horizontal passages and many medium- and small-scale morphologies indicative of sulphuric acid speleogenesis (SAS). The thermal aquifer is intercepted at a depth of about 100 m below the entrance: the water temperature exceeds 30 °C and sulphate content is over 1300mg l−1. The cave hosts large gypsumdeposits from40 to 100mbelowthe entrance that are by-products of the reaction between sulphuric acid and the carbonate host rock. The lower part of the cave hosts over 1 m thick calcite cave raft deposits, which are evidence of long-standing, probably thermal, water in an evaporative environment related to significant air currents. Sulphur isotopes of gypsumhave negative δ34S values (from−28.3 to−24.2‰), typical of SAS. Calcite cave rafts and speleogenetic gypsumboth yield young U/Th ages varying from68.5 ka to 2 ka BP, indicating a rapid phase of dewatering followed by gypsumprecipitation in aerate environment. This fastwater table lowering is related to a rapid incision of the nearby Albegna river, andwas followed by a 20–30mfluctuation of the thermalwater table, as recorded in the calcite raft deposits and gypsum crusts.


Genesis of folia in a non-thermal epigenic cave (Matanzas, Cuba), 2015, D'angeli Ilenia Maria, De Waele Jo, Ceballo Melendres Osmany, Tisato Nicola, Sauro Francesco, Grau Gonzalez Esteban Ruben, Bernasconi Stefano, Torriani Stefano, Bontognali Tomaso Renzo Rezio

Folia are an unusual speleothem type resembling inverted cups or bracket fungi. Themechanismof folia formation is not fully understood and is the subject of an ongoing debate. This study focuses on an occurrence of folia present in Santa Catalina Cave, a non-thermal epigenic cave located close to Matanzas (Cuba). The sedimentology, morphology, petrology, permeability and geochemistry of these folia have been studied to gain new insight on the processes leading to their development. It is concluded that folia in Santa Catalina Cave formed at the top of a fluctuating water body, through CO2-degassing or evaporation, which may have been enhanced by the proximity to cave entrances. Two observations strongly support our conclusions. (1) When compared to other subaqueous speleothems (e.g. cave clouds) present in the same rooms, folia occur exclusively within a limited vertical interval that likely represents an ancient water level. Folia occur together with calcite rafts and tower cones that developed, respectively, on top of and below the water level. This suggests that a fluctuating interface is required for folia formation. (2) The measured permeability of the folia is too high to trap gas bubbles. Thus, in contrast to what has been proposed in other studies, trapped bubbles of CO2 cannot be invoked as the key factor determining the genesis and morphology of folia in this subaqueous environment.


Sulphuric acid speleogenesis and landscape evolution: Montecchio cave, Albegna river valley (Southern Tuscany, Italy), 2015, Piccini Leonardo, De Waele Jo, Galli Ermanno, Polyak Victor J. , Bernasconi Stefano M. Asmerom Yemane

Montecchio cave (Grosseto province, Tuscany, Italy) opens at 320 m asl, in a small outcrop of Jurassic limestone (Calcare Massiccio Fm.), close to the Albegna river. This area is characterised by the presence of several thermal springs and the outcropping of travertine deposits at different altitudes. The Montecchio cave, with passage length development of over 1700 m, is characterised by the presence of several sub-horizontal passages and many medium- and small-scale morphologies indicative of sulphuric acid speleogenesis (SAS). The thermal aquifer is intercepted at a depth of about 100 m below the entrance: the water temperature exceeds 30 °C and sulphate content is over 1300 mg l−1. The cave hosts large gypsumdeposits from40 to 100mbelowthe entrance that are by-products of the reaction between sulphuric acid and the carbonate host rock. The lower part of the cave hosts over 1 m thick calcite cave raft deposits, which are evidence of long-standing, probably thermal, water in an evaporative environment related to significant air currents.

Sulphur isotopes of gypsum have negative δ34S values (from−28.3 to−24.2‰), typical of SAS. Calcite cave rafts and speleogenetic gypsumboth yield young U/Th ages varying from68.5 ka to 2 ka BP, indicating a rapid phase of dewatering followed by gypsum precipitation in aerate environment. This fastwater table lowering is related to a rapid incision of the nearby Albegna river, and was followed by a 20–30 m fluctuation of the thermal water table, as recorded in the calcite raft deposits and gypsum crusts.


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