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Speleology in Kazakhstan

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

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

Klimchouk on 26 Mar, 2012
Dear Colleagues, This is to draw your attention to several recent publications added to KarstBase, relevant to hypogenic karst/speleogenesis: Corrosion of limestone tablets in sulfidic ground-water: measurements and speleogenetic implications Galdenzi,

The deepest terrestrial animal

Klimchouk on 23 Feb, 2012
A recent publication of Spanish researchers describes the biology of Krubera Cave, including the deepest terrestrial animal ever found: Jordana, Rafael; Baquero, Enrique; Reboleira, Sofía and Sendra, Alberto. ...

Caves - landscapes without light

akop on 05 Feb, 2012
Exhibition dedicated to caves is taking place in the Vienna Natural History Museum   The exhibition at the Natural History Museum presents the surprising variety of caves and cave formations such as stalactites and various crystals. ...

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That karst vert is see subsoil karst.?

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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 cave atmosphere (Keyword) returned 39 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 39
Cave Microclimate: A Note on Moisture, 1969, Wigley, T. M.

The moisture budget of a cave atmosphere is examined quantitatively. The results indicate that caves can be divided into two distinct classes depending on whether the cave atmosphere is or is not saturated. A further consequence of the theory is that greater climate fluctuations are to be expected in caves in which unsaturated conditions prevail. This generalisation may have significance in studies of cavern breakdown and in ecological studies in caves.


Carbon Dioxide in the Cave Atmosphere [Bungonia, Australia], 1977, James Julia M.

Evaluation of Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen Data in Cave Atmospheres using the Gibbs Triangle and the Cave Air Index, 1982, Halbert, Erik J. M.

Water Vapour determines the volume percentage of component gases in cave atmospheres. This is particularly significant in foul air caves where carbon dioxide and oxygen concentrations are measured and used to diagnose foul air types. The variation in atmospheric composition brought about by systematic change in carbon dioxide and oxygen levels is examined and shown on the Gibbs triangle. The current three foul air types are readily identifiable in this visualisation of data, and the boundaries of these types are mapped. Further, these diverse data can be combined into a Cave Air Index by which foul air atmospheres may be assigned to type in a rapid and objective manner. The use of these concepts in evaluation of published data on Wellington and Bungonia Caves and with mine and soil data is shown.


Carbon dioxide in cave atmospheres. New results in Belgium and comparison with some other countries, 1985, Ek N. , Gewelt M.

Condensation Corrosion in Movile Cave, Romania, 1997, Sarbu, S. M. , Lascu, C.
Condensation corrosion is the dissolution of carbonate by acidic vapors condensing above the water table. This process is rarely noted and receives little attention in the mainstream cave literature. The oolitic limestone walls in Movile Caves upper dry passages are severely altered by a selective corrosion mechanism. Temperature differences between the water in the lower passages and the walls in the upper passages and high concentrations of CO2 in the cave atmosphere create favorable conditions for condensation corrosion to take place. Carbon and oxygen stable isotope data support the hypothesis that condensation corrosion is the major mechanism currently affecting the morphology of Movile Caves upper dry level.

An Investigation of the Climate, Carbon Dioxide and Dust in Jenolan Caves, N.S.W., PhD Thesis, 1997, Michie, Neville

Pressure of use of Jenolan Caves as a tourist spectacle has raised concerns about the wellbeing of the caves, so three related physical subjects were reviewed and investigated; the cave microclimate, the carbon dioxide in the cave atmosphere and dustfall in the caves. The microclimate has been shown to be dominated by several physical processes: in the absence of air movement, conduction and radiation dominate; in association with air movement, convective coupled heat and mass transfer tends to dominate energy flows. A new approach using boundary conditions and qualitative characteristics of transient fronts enables accurate measurement and analysis of energy, heat and mass transfer. This technique avoids the dimensionless number and transfer coefficient methods and is not geometrically sensitive. Conditions in caves are also determined by the capillary processes of water in cave walls. Air movement in caves depends on surface weather conditions and special problems of surface weather observation arise. A series of experiments were undertaken to evaluate the cave and surface processes. The physical processes that collect, transport and release dust were measured and described. Dust in the caves was shown to be carried from the surface, mainly by visitors. The concept of the Personal Dust Ooud is developed and experimental measurements and analysis show that this process is a major threat to the caves. New techniques of measurement are described. An accurate physiological model has been developed which predicts most of the carbon dioxide measured in Jenolan Caves, derived mainly from visitors on the cave tours. This model, developed from previously published human physiological information also predicts the production of heat and water vapour by cave tourists. The effects of carbon dioxide on cave conditions has been investigated. Details of a two year program of measurements in the caves are given. The generalised approach and methods are applicable to other caves, mines and buildings.


Seasonal Effects on the Geochemical Evolution of the Logsdon River, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky., 1998, Anthony, Darlene M. , Ms

The following research describes the collection and evaluation of geochemical data from the Logsdon River, an open-flow conduit that drains a portion of the Turnhole Spring drainage basin within the Mammoth Cave karst aquifer of south-central Kentucky. This spatial survey of nearly 10 km of continuous base-level conduit included seasonal sampling of carbon dioxide partial pressures (PCO2), dissolved ions, and saturation indices for calcite (SIcal). The highest PCO2 are found at the upstream site closest to the Sinkhole Plain recharge area, which creates undersaturated conditions. Rapid outgassing of CO2 into the cave atmosphere creates oversaturated conditions for several thousand meters. This change in chemistry results in the accumulation of travertine in these areas. A boost in PCO2 roughly half-way through the flow path returns the water to slightly undersaturated conditions. The most likely source for additional CO2 is in-cave organic decay, as the boost also occurs during winter months when microbial activity in the soil is at a minimum. A general decline in Ca2+, Mg2+, and HCO3- concentrations occurred over the distance through the Logsdon River conduit. This decline may reflect a diluting of water by localized inputs from the Mammoth Cave Plateau and precipitation of travertine along the flow path. Although values for all parameters are greater in summer than winter, the trend in evolution is similar for both seasonal extremes.
The nature of the transition from summer to winter conditions in the aquifer was investigated by way of an intensive study of the geochemistry at the Logsdon River monitoring well. The relationship between conductivity (spC) and pH was evaluated during both seasons in an attempt to predict the activity of hydrogen for any given water sample, based on continuous spC measurements at the well. Data collected during the 1997-98 seasonal transitions supported a single, nonlinear regression equation that may represent two distinct seasonal regimes.


The potential corrosion of speleothems by condensation water , 1998, Linhua Song, Jingrong Yang, Laihong Wang

Because of the development of tourist activities and facilities in show caves, the closed system of the caves has been changed into complicated open system. The visitor flow and the high energy of landscape lights give a great deal of thermoenergy to the show cave system, which makes the temperature rise and reduces the humidity very fast. After the visitors leave and the lights are switched off, the temperature goes down and humidity increases even up to saturation, condensation takes place. The humidity of Yaolin cave reaches 97%-100% throughout the year. The visitors give average CO2 content of 13000-15000 ppm by breathing and one visitor breathes 40 litre of CO2 per hour. The visitors strongly influence the CO2 content of the cave atmosphere.


Cueva de Villa Luz, Tabasco, Mexico: Reconnaissance Study of an Active Sulfur Spring Cave and Ecosystem, 1999, Hose, L. D. , Pisarowicz, J. A.
Cueva de Villa Luz (a.k.a. Cueva de las Sardinas) in Tabasco, Mexico, is a stream cave with over a dozen H2S-rich springs rising from the floor. Oxidation of the H2S in the stream results in abundant, suspended elemental sulfur in the stream, which is white and nearly opaque. Hydrogen sulfide concentrations in the cave atmosphere fluctuate rapidly and often exceed U.S. government tolerance levels. Pulses of elevated carbon monoxide and depleted oxygen levels also occasionally enter the cave. Active speleogenesis occurs in this cave, which is forming in a small block of Lower Cretaceous limestone adjacent to a fault. Atmospheric hydrogen sulfide combines with oxygen and water to form sulfuric acid, probably through both biotic and abiotic reactions. The sulfuric acid dissolves the limestone bedrock and forms gypsum, which is readily removed by active stream flow. In addition, carbon dioxide from the reaction as well as the spring water and cave atmosphere combines with water. The resultant carbonic acid also dissolves the limestone bedrock. A robust and diverse ecosystem thrives within the cave. Abundant, chemoautotrophic microbial colonies are ubiquitous and apparently act as the primary producers to the caves ecosystem. Microbial veils resembling soda straw stalactites, draperies, and u-loops suspended from the ceiling and walls of the cave produce drops of sulfuric acid with pH values of <0.5-3.0 0.1. Copious macroscopic invertebrates, particularly midges and spiders, eat the microbes or the organisms that graze on the microbes. A remarkably dense population of fish, Poecilia mexicana, fill most of the stream. The fish mostly eat bacteria and midges. Participants in an ancient, indigenous Zoque ceremony annually harvest the fish in the spring to provide food during the dry season.

Geochemistry of Carlsbad Cavern Pool Waters, Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico, 2000, Forbes, J. R.
Water samples collected from 13 pools in Carlsbad Cavern were analyzed to determine the concentrations of major ions. Air temperature, relative humidity, and carbon dioxide concentration of the cave atmosphere were also measured. Large differences in water quality exist among different cave pools, with some pools containing very fresh water, while others are brackish, with total dissolved solids concentrations up to 5000 mg/L. Brackish water pools appear to be associated with those portions of the cave where evaporation rates are high and/or soluble minerals are present. Geochemical speciation modeling showed that some pools are close to saturation with respect to the common cave minerals aragonite, calcite, gypsum, and hydromagnesite. A tracer test was performed using a non-toxic bromide salt to estimate the leakage rates of selected pools. Pool volumes calculated based on dilution of the bromide tracer were up to 550 m. The tracer test results were used to calculate mean residence times for the water in each pool. Calculated mean residence times based on bromide tracer loss rates ranged from less than a year for Rookery Pool and Devils Spring to 16 years for Lake of the Clouds. Calculated pool leakage rates ranged from 2 L/day to over 100 L/day. The pools with the highest leakage rates appear to be Rookery Pool, Green Lake, and Lake of the Clouds. The long residence times indicated by the tracer tests suggest that the pools evaporate more water than they leak. However, evaporation should result in an accumulation of dissolved chloride and other solutes in the pools, which for most pools does not appear to be the case. Taken together, these observations suggest that the pools are recharged primarily by infrequent precipitation events, separated by long periods of slow evaporation and minimal leakage.

Microbiology and geochemistry in a hydrogen-sulphide-rich karst environment, 2000, Hose Louise D. , Palmer Arthur N. , Palmer Margaret V. , Northup Diana E. , Boston Penelope J. , Duchene Harvey R. ,
Cueva de Villa Luz, a hypogenic cave in Tabasco, Mexico, offers a remarkable opportunity to observe chemotrophic microbial interactions within a karst environment. The cave water and atmosphere are both rich in hydrogen sulphide. Measured H2S levels in the cave atmosphere reach 210 ppm, and SO2 commonly exceeds 35 ppm. These gases, plus oxygen from the cave air, are absorbed by freshwater that accumulates on cave walls from infiltration and condensation. Oxidation of sulphur and hydrogen sulphide forms concentrated sulphuric acid. Drip waters contain mean pH values of 1.4, with minimum values as low as 0.1.The cave is fed by at least 26 groundwater inlets with a combined flow of 200-300 l/s. Inlet waters fall into two categories: those with high H2S content (300-500 mg/l), mean PCO2=0.03-0.1 atm, and no measurable O2; and those with less than 0.1 mg/l H2S, mean PCO2=0.02 atm, and modest O2 content (up to 4.3 mg/l). Both water types have a similar source, as shown by their dissolved solid content. However, the oxygenated water has been exposed to aerated conditions upstream from the inlets so that original H2S has been largely lost due to outgassing and oxidation to sulphate, increasing the sulphate concentration by about 4%. Chemical modelling of the water shows that it can be produced by the dissolution of common sulphate, carbonate, and chloride minerals.Redox reactions in the cave appear to be microbially mediated. Sequence analysis of small subunit (16S) ribosomal RNA genes of 19 bacterial clones from microbial colonies associated with water drips revealed that 18 were most similar to three Thiobacilli spp., a genus that often obtains its energy from the oxidation of sulphur compounds. The other clone was most similar to Acidimicrobium ferrooxidans, a moderately thermophilic, mineral-sulphide-oxidizing bacterium. Oxidation of hydrogen sulphide to sulphuric acid, and hence the cave enlargement, is probably enhanced by these bacteria.Two cave-enlarging processes were identified. (1) Sulphuric acid derived from oxidation of the hydrogen sulphide converts subaerial limestone surfaces to gypsum. The gypsum falls into the cave stream and is dissolved. (2) Strongly acidic droplets form on the gypsum and on microbial filaments, dissolving limestone where they drip onto the cave floors.The source of the H2S in the spring waters has not been positively identified. The Villahermosa petroleum basin within 50 km to the northwest, or the El Chichon volcano [small tilde]50 km to the west, may serve as source areas for the rising water. Depletion of 34S values (-11.7[per mille sign] for sulphur stabilized from H2S in the cave atmosphere), along with the hydrochemistry of the spring waters, favour a basinal source

On feasibility of condensation corrosion in caves (Comment to the paper: ''Hypogenic caves in Provence (France): Specific features and sediments'' by Ph. Audra, J.Y. Bigot and L. Mocochain), 2003, Dreybrodt, W.

In Fig. 6 of this paper the authors suggest how condensation corrosion could shape ceiling cupolas. Hot water containing high concentration of carbon dioxide rises to a lake filling the lower part of the cave room. Degassing of CO2 creates a CO2-containing atmosphere, which is heated by the warmer water below and becomes saturated with vapor, which condenses to the cooler wall of the cave, dissolves limestone and flows back to the lake.
If this process would continue in time it would be perfect to shape large cupolas. However, it does not because condensation stops when the temperature of the cave walls approaches that of the heated air. The reason is that condensation of water at the cave wall releases heat of condensation of 2.45 kJoule/g. This corresponds to an energy flux of 28 Watt/square-meter if a film of 1 mm depth would condensate to the wall in one day. In addition there is also a flux of heat from the warm air to the cave wall. Since the thermal conductivity of limestone (1.3 Watt/m°K) and its thermal diffusivity (5.6 x 10-7 m2/s) are low this heat cannot be rapidly transported into the bedrock, and consequently the temperature of the cave wall rises. Therefore the amount of condensation is reduced. 

One further comment should be given. There have been attempts to measure the effect of condensation corrosion by suspending gypsum plates freely in the air and determining weight loss after a defined time. For the reasons stated above the heat of condensation and the heat flux from the air raise the temperature of such samples much quicker than that of the cave walls. Reliable measurements can only be performed when such samples are fixed to the cave walls by using a high thermal conductivity glue.

A further suggestion to prove condensed water on cave walls is to take samples and analyse them for Ca-concentration and 13 carbon isotopic ratio. Since CO2 comes from the atmosphere exclusively should be below or close to zero, and Ca-concentration should be about 0.6 mmol/liter, when the pCO2 of the cave atmosphere is atmospheric.


Rates of condensation corrosion in speleothems of semi-arid northeastern Brazil, 2004, Auler A. S. , Smart P. L.

Condensation corrosion is a little studied, but important dissolutional process that occurs within caves in many karst settings around the world (for a review see Dublyansky and Dublyansky, 2000). Condensation corrosion occurs when air equilibrates with the cave atmosphere, becomes acidic and dissolves the bedrock and speleothems. It is a later vadose process that apparently depends on air circulation patterns, number of entrances and general configuration (vertical range, presence of ponded water, passage shape, etc) of the cave. Both bedrock and speleothems can be affected by the process, resulting in weathered outer surfaces. Condensation corrosion in speleogenesis has been regarded as responsible for dissolutional modification during later stages of cave development of coastal (Tarhule-Lips and Ford, 1998) and hypogenic caves (Hill, 1987; Palmer and Palmer, 2000).
Condensation corrosion is a little studied, but important dissolutional process that occurs within caves in many karst settings around the world (for a review see Dublyansky and Dublyansky, 2000). Condensation corrosion occurs when air equilibrates with the cave atmosphere, becomes acidic and dissolves the bedrock and speleothems. It is a later vadose process that apparently depends on air circulation patterns, number of entrances and general configuration (vertical range, presence of ponded water, passage shape, etc) of the cave. Both bedrock and speleothems can be affected by the process, resulting in weathered outer surfaces. Condensation corrosion in speleogenesis has been regarded as responsible for dissolutional modification during later stages of cave development of coastal (Tarhule-Lips and Ford, 1998) and hypogenic caves (Hill, 1987; Palmer and Palmer, 2000).
The Campo Formoso Karst area of northeastern Brazil holds very extensive cave systems, such as Southern Hemisphere’s longest cave, the 97 km long Toca da Boa Vista. These caves show remarkable features of condensation corrosion such as cupolas, weathered cave walls yielding dolomitic sand, “air scallops” and corroded speleothems. Weathering rinds up to 5 cm thick occur in both dolomite bedrock and speleothem surfaces. Unlike the dolomite, speleothems usually do not disintegrate but change to a milky white opaque porous calcite that is in marked contrast with the fresh crystalline calcite. The area is presently under semi-arid climate and the cave atmosphere is characterised by high internal temperatures (2729 °C) and low relative humidity (mean of 73% for sites away from entrances).
Despite being such a widespread process, rates of condensation corrosion have so far been reported only from caves in the coastal area of the Caribbean (Tarhule-Lips and Ford, 1998). In this study, rates of condensation corrosion in speleothems were derived by determining thickness of weathering rind and age of last unaltered calcite. These rates represent minimum rates because speleothem growth ceased later than age obtained, and also condensation corrosion may not be continuous in time. Due to variable thickness of weathering layer (usually thicker at the top and thinner at sides of stalagmites), maximum and minimum thickness were obtained for each sample. Dating was performed through the alpha spectrometric U-series method in the first unaltered calcite layer beyond the weathering rim. 
The rates obtained vary over two orders of magnitude. They appear to be highly site specific, and are probably heavily dependent on the local atmospheric conditions, although more sampling is needed to confirm this relationship. The data shows that rates are dependent primarily on thickness measured, as range of ages is quite small. Tarhule-Lips and Ford (1998), in the very different littoral caves of the Caribbean, have estimated condensation corrosion rates based on experiments using gypsum tablets. Their reported mean value of 24 mm/ka, much higher than observed in the Campo Formoso caves, suggest that the process may be episodic in the area, not occurring during speleothem growth phases associated with wetter periods.
Although the rates reported by Tarhule-Lips and Ford (1998) indicate that condensation corrosion may actually enlarge cave passages in the normal (10 4 – 10 6 ka) time range of speleogenesis, in the Campo Formoso caves the process appears to play a minor speleogenetic role, being responsible for later modification of cave walls and speleothems.


Clouds in caves, 2004, Badino, G.

This paper considers the different processes that can create vapour pressure above the equilibrium in the cave atmosphere: ascending air parcels, pressure drop behind bottlenecks, mixing of saturated air parcels at different temperatures and water flow fragmentation. These processes are essentially the same as those leading to clouds forming in the open atmosphere, always connected with air movements.
The difference of adiabatic lapse rates of water and moist air creates temperature imbalance between the flowing fluids in deep underground systems, leading to thermal and water exchanges, in which water flow globally subtracts energy from the system.
The high purity of caves atmospheres tends to delay condensation. Condensation is concentrated where airflows are in close contact to the cave wall. The rate of aggressive water condensation on the walls is comparable to the external rain and can play a leading role in Speleogenesis.


Microbial contributions to cave formation: New insights into sulfuric acid speleogenesis, 2004, Engel As, Stern La, Bennett Pc,
The sulfuric acid speleogenesis (SAS) model was introduced in the early 1970s from observations of Lower Kane Cave, Wyoming, and was proposed as a cave-enlargement process due to primarily H2S autoxidation to sulfuric acid and subaerial replacement of carbonate by gypsum. Here we present a reexamination of the SAS type locality in which we make use of uniquely applied geochemical and microbiological methods. Little H2S escapes to the cave atmosphere, or is lost by abiotic autoxidation, and instead the primary H2S loss mechanism is by subaqueous sulfur-oxidizing bacterial communities that consume H2S. Filamentous 'Epsilonproteobacteria' and Gammaproteobacteria, characterized by fluorescence in situ hybridization, colonize carbonate surfaces and generate sulfuric acid as a metabolic byproduct. The bacteria focus carbonate dissolution by locally depressing pH, compared to bulk cave waters near equilibrium or slightly supersaturated with calcite. These findings show that SAS occurs in subaqueous environments and potentially at much greater phreatic depths in carbonate aquifers, thereby offering new insights into the microbial roles in subsurface karstification

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