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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. ...

Did you know?

That infrared light is light not visible to the human eye, with wavelengths longer than those of visible red light and shorter than those of radio waves [23].?

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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 criteria (Keyword) returned 72 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 72
Remarks on the significance of experiences in karst geodynamics., 1964, Renault Philippe
Distinction is made between the experiment which "demonstrates" having an argumentative value; and the experiment which "questions" nature by isolating one factor and by determining the mode of its action. The concept of experiment in geology and in geodynamics and the distinctions between geodynamics and geophysics are discussed. Karstic geodynamics considers the action of fluids; mainly liquids; on a soluble rock. It is a science bordering the different branches of geochemistry, hydrology, the mechanics of rocks, and geophysics. Researches in karstic geodynamics are based upon measurements obtained through field surveys, or upon the utilization of a subterranean laboratory. However, in the laboratory this hardly surpasses the stage of experimental demonstration. A series of simple experiments are enumerated to exemplify the above statement, like the one where the attack of a diluted acid on a soluble rock is utilized, in order to enable us to classify the major problems encountered in karstic corrosion. The last chapter discusses the bicarbonate equilibriums of Ca-CO2. Experiment furnishes the empiric criterion on which scientific theory is founded. Each discipline has its own methodology dependent on the object under study having experimental criteria of different nature. This is particularly true in case of such distant phenomena which no longer have a common ground with human dimensions like space for astronomy or time for geology. In such cases the possibilities of "instrumental" experimentations are very limited. After a brief recollection of the principles of experimental procedure and the history of the experiments attempted by geodynamicians (tectonics, geomorphology, etc.) we will analyze several methods of investigation and by relying exactly on the example of karstic corrosion we shall determine those which have a value for the science of karstology.

Remarks on the species Asellus cavaticus Leydig (Hypogean Isopod Crustacea) and description of new sebspecies., 1966, Henry Jean Paul
In Europe, Asellus cavaticus Leydig until 1963 was the only species known of a phyletic line that extended from Britain to Austria. Until the works of Racovitza in 1919 all the Asellus of the underground world were reported to this species, first known subterranean Asellus. The taxonomic criteria of Racovitza allowed to determine many subspecies. Later on Chappuis refuses to give names to the different encountered forms. Taking as type forms the individuals of the grotte de Sainte-Reine (Meurthe-et-Moselle), considered very similar to the original type forms, we think to be able to define a new subspecies puteanus for the Asellus of a well in Beaujolais. This form differs from cavaticus f. typ. for the form of the male copulation organ, the male pleopod and the number of spines on the dactlya and pereiopodes. A more detailed description of the subspecies valdensis Chappuis is given based on specimens from a cave of the Plateau of Crmieu (Isre).

Chronology of the Black Sea over the last 25,000 years, 1972, Degens Et, Ross Da,
Deep-water sediments of the Black Sea deposited during Late Pleistocene and Holocene time are distinguished by three sedimentary units: (1) a microlaminated coccolith ooze mainly consisting of Emiliania huxleyi; (2) a sapropel; and (3) a banded lutite. The base of the first unit lies at 3,000 years B.P., that of the second at 7,000 years B.P., and that of the third at least at about 25,000 years B.P. Fossils and geochemical criteria are used to decipher the environmental events of this time period. Beginning with the base of the section dated at about 25,000 years B.P. we witness the final stage of metamorphosis from anoxic marine to oxic freshwater conditions. By the time this stage ended, about 22,000 years B.P., the Black Sea had become a truly freshwater habitat. The lake phase lasted about 12,000 to 13,000 years. Sedimentation rates were in the order of 1 m/103 years, but began to decrease as sea level rose during the last 5,000 years of this phase (9,000-15,000 years B.P.). Starting at about 9,000 years B.P. and continuing to 7,000 years B.P., Mediterranean waters occasionally spilled over the Bosporus as a consequence of ice retreat and sea level rise. This marked the beginning of a gradual shift from freshwater to marine, and from well aerated to stagnant conditions. At about 7,000 years B.P. when deposition of unit 2 started, the H2S zone was well established. Sedimentation rates dropped to 10 cm/103 years. Environmental conditions similar to those of today finally became established around 3,000 years B.P., almost exactly the time when Jason and the Argonauts sailed through the Bosporus in search of the Golden Fleece

Evaluation Criteria for the Cave and Karst heritage of Australia - Report of the Australian Speleological Federation - National Heritage Assessment Study (1977), 1977, Davey, A. G. (ed)

Protection and management of natural heritage features such as karst landforms requires considered evaluation of the relative significance of individual features. The grounds for significance depend on the perspective taken. Aesthetic, educational, scientific and recreational values are all relevant and must each be given explicit recognition. Karst landforms are often considered primarily from a scientific perspective. The criteria used for evaluation of such natural heritage features for conservation and management purposes need to reflect this full range of values. This means that karst sites may have significance from one or more of these perspectives, as examples of natural features or landscapes, as examples of cultural features or landscapes or as the site of recreation opportunities. Some such sites will be identified as significant because they are representative of their class (irrespective of the relative importance of classes); others will be judged as significant because they are outstanding places of general interest.

Carbonate rocks in the Black Sea basin: indicators for shallow water and subaerial exposure during Miocene--Pliocene time, 1979, Stoffers P. , Muller G. ,
Drilling in the Black Sea in general revealed three types of sediments: terrigenous, chemical, and biogenic. Terrigenous muds predominate in the Pleistocene whereas chemical sediments are abundant in the lower Pleistocene--Pliocene to Late Miocene sedimentary section. Biogenic constituents play a minor role only. The chemical sediments include calcite (lake chalk), Mg-calcite, aragonite, siderite and dolomite. Among these, the dolomites of Pliocene to Late Miocene age are most interesting. They were encountered in the two drill sites close to the Bosporus drilled in 2115 to 1750 m water depth, respectively. The dolomites show a great variety of criteria (e.g. intraclasts, algae mats, crusts, pellets, oolites), indicating a shallow water environment with occasional subaerial exposure and supratidal evaporitic conditions. The formation of these shallow water carbonates in the Black Sea is supposed to correlate with the Messinian salinity crisis in the Mediterranean

A Study of the conceptual criteria held by Cavers for the Perception of Danger, 1982, Champion A.

Cave to Surface Communications, 1985, Allum, Ron

The reasons for needing a cave to surface communication system are many, including safety, search and rescue, surveying, science, exploration and commentary. Ideally a unit should be lightweight, portable, robust, easy to operate, have adequate range and be able to communicate speech intelligibly in both directions. The unit described here was designed specifically for use on the 1983 Cocklebiddy Cave expedition. When considering design parameters for a communication system there are many limitations, but in a cave as large as Cocklebiddy these can be less of a restriction. The unit as used does not meet all of the above criteria as an ideal system for all caves, but it worked well in Cocklebiddy Cave, conveying our speech intelligibly with tolerable noise and interference levels.

Pile foundation problems in Kuala Lumpur Limestone, Malaysia, 1987, Bergado Dt, Selvanayagam An,
The geology and karstic nature of the Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) limestone are described in relation to pile foundation problems of heavily loaded structures. The presence of cavities, pinnacles, cantilever slabs, floating slabs and pockets of soft silty clay and loose sand in the underlying limestone bedrock presents formidable challenges to foundation engineers. Other problems include insufficient seating and damage to pile tips due to irregular and sloping bedrock surfaces. There is also the added difficulty of detecting the location and extent of cavities. Empirical design methods and local construction techniques have been successfully used such as: (i) bridging limestone cavities and slabs by filling with concrete, (ii) utilizing numerous small diameter high yield stress piles to distribute the loads and to withstand high driving stresses, (iii) filling cavities with concrete, and (iv) using micropiles to redistribute the loads. Two case histories are presented, consisting of an access ramp and a tall building. In each of these case histories, the soil investigation methods, the pile bearing capacity calculations, the selection of pile types, the pile load tests, the pile driving criteria, and construction problems are outlined and discussed. The pile foundation used consisted of H-section, high yield stress, 355 x 368 mm, driven steel piles with capacities of 750 kN to 1280 kN for the access ramp structures and the same H-section steel piles with pile capacities of 965 kN to 1070 kN for the tall building

A ground water monitoring study was conducted for the triazine herbicide simazine at 11 sites in the United States. The study used carefully selected, small-scale sites (average size: about 33 acres) with documented product use and sensitive hydrogeological settings. The sites selected were Tulare County, California (two sites); Fresno County, California; Sussex County, Delaware; Hardee and Palm Beach counties, Florida; Winnebago County, Illinois; Jackson County, Indiana; Van Buren and Berrien counties, Michigan; and Jefferson County, West Virginia. These sites satisfied the following criteria: a history of simazine use, including the year prior to the start of the study; permeable soil and vadose zone; shallow depth to water; no restrictive soil layers above the water table; and gentle slopes not exceeding 2 percent. A variety of crop types, climates, and irrigation practices were included. Monitoring well clusters (shallow and deep) were installed at each site except in California and West Virginia, where only shallow wells were installed. Simazine was monitored at these sites at quarterly intervals for a two-year period during 1986-1988. The results of the study showed that out of 153 samples analyzed, 45 samples showed simazine detections. A substantial majority of the detections (32 out of 45) occurred in Tulare, Fresno, and Jefferson counties. The detections in these areas were attributed to mechanisms other than leaching, such as drainage wells, karst areas, surface water recharge, or point source problems. An additional 11 detections in Van Buren County were apparently due to an unknown upgradient source. Only one detection (in Palm Beach County, Florida) near the screening level of 0.1 ppb was attributed to possible leaching. The results of this investigation support the hypothesis that simazine does not leach significantly under field use conditions

Emplacement and preservation of vertebrates in caves and fissures, 1994, Simms Michael J. ,
The sediments filling underground cavities and open fissures represent a major source of fossil vertebrate remains. The significance of such sites is disproportionate to the relatively small volume of sediment which they contain, and arises from the enhanced preservation, compared with surface sites, of both bones and sediments and the operation of one or more concentrative processes. Isolation of vertebrate material from temperature and humidity changes, scavenging and soil organisms greatly increases their preservation potential. Three main types of concentrative mechanism can be recognized: where the animals lived and died in that environment (biotic autochthonous); where the animal remains were transported into that environment by some biotic agency, such as a predator (biotic allochthonouns); and where the animal remains were introduced into that environment as a result of some abiotic process, such as flooding (abiotic allochthonous). The precise mechanism operating in a particular case may be deduced from a consideration of faunal composition, taphonomic criteria and geomorphological and sedimentological contexts, with each concentrative process being characterized by a distinctive combination of these

Standardization of Criteria of Establishment of Vulnerability to Pollution Maps. Preliminary Documentary Study. Report R37928, Bureau de Recherche Geologiques et Minieres, 1994, Lallemandbarres A.

A tentative classification of paleoweathering formations based on geomorphological criteria, 1996, Battiauqueney Y,
A geomorphological classification is proposed that emphasizes the usefulness of paleoweathering records in any reconstruction of past landscapes. Four main paleoweathering records are recognized: 1. Paleoweathering formations buried beneath a sedimentary or volcanic cover. Most of them are saprolites, sometimes with preserved overlying soils. Ages range from Archean to late Cenozoic times; 2. Paleoweathering formations trapped in karst: some of them have buried pre-existent karst landforms, others have developed simultaneously with the subjacent karst; 3. Relict paleoweathering formations: although inherited, they belong to the present landscape. Some of them are indurated (duricrusts, silcretes, ferricretes,...); others are not and owe their preservation to a stable morphotectonic environment; 4. Polyphased weathering mantles: weathering has taken place in changing geochemical conditions. After examples of each type are provided, the paper considers the relations between chemical weathering and landform development. The climatic significance of paleoweathering formations is discussed. Some remote morphogenic systems have no present equivalent. It is doubtful that chemical weathering alone might lead to widespread planation surfaces. Moreover, classical theories based on sea-level and rivers as the main factors of erosion are not really adequate to explain the observed landscapes

Dated co-occurrence of Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus from Tham Khuyen Cave, Vietnam, 1996, Ciochon R, Long Vt, Larick R, Gonzalez L, Grun R, Devos J, Yonge C, Taylor L, Yoshida H, Reagan M,
Tham Khuyen Cave (Lang Son Province, northern Vietnam) is one of the more significant sites to yield fossil vertebrates In east Asia, During the mid-1960s, excavation in a suite of deposits produced important hominoid dental remains of middle Pleistocene age, We undertake more rigorous analyses of these sediments to understand the fluvial dynamics of Pleistocene cave infilling as they determine how skeletal elements accumulate within Tham Khuyen and other east Asian sites, Uranium/thorium series analysis of speleothems brackets the Pleistocene chronology for breaching, infilling, and exhuming the regional paleokarst, Clast analysis indicates sedimentary constituents, Including hominoid teeth and cranial fragments, accumulated from very short distances and under low fluvial energy, Electron spin resonance analysis of vertebrate tooth enamel and sediments shows that the main fossil-bearing suite (S1-S3) was deposited about 475 thousand years ago, Among the hominoid teeth excavated from S1-S3, some represent Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus blacki, Criteria are defined to differentiate these teeth from more numerous Pongo pygmaeus elements, The dated cooccurrence of Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus blacki at Tham Khuyen helps to establish the long co-existence of these two species throughout east Asia during the Early and Middle Pleistocene

Lanthanide-labeled clay: A new method for tracing sediment transport in karst, 1998, Mahler B. J. , Bennett P. C. , Zimmerman M. ,
Mobile sediment is a fundamental yet poorly characterized aspect of mass transport through karst aquifers. Here the development and field testing of an extremely sensitive particle tracer that may be used to characterize sediment transport in karst aquifers is described. The tracer consists of micron-size montmorillonite particles homoionized to the lanthanide form; after injection and retrieval from a ground water system, the lanthanide ions are chemically stripped from the clay and quantified by high performance liquid chromatography, The tracer meets the following desired criteria: low detection limit; a number of differentiable signatures; inexpensive production and quantification using standard methods; no environmental risks; and hydrodynamic properties similar to the in situ sediment it is designed to trace. The tracer was tested in laboratory batch experiments and field tested in both surface water and ground water systems. In surface water, arrival times of the tracer were similar to those of a conservative water tracer, although a significant amount of material was lost due to settling. Two tracer tests were undertaken in a karst aquifer under different flow conditions. Under normal flow conditions, the time of arrival and peak concentration of the tracer were similar to or preceded that of a conservative water tracer. Under low flow conditions, the particle tracer was not detected, suggesting that in low flow the sediment settles out of suspension and goes into storage

Contribution to knowledge of gypsum karstology, PhD thesis, 1998, Calaforra Chordi, J. M.

The objective of this study was not to establish a definitive judgement regarding a topic for which very little previous information was available, but rather to open new routes for research into karst by means of a particularized analysis of some of the factors involved in the speleogenesis of gypsiferous materials. The main obstacle to the attainment of this goal has been the scientific community's lack of interest in karst in gypsum, particularly in our country, until the nineteen eighties. To overcome this neglect it was decided, in my opinion quite correctly, to extend the bounds of the study as far as possible, so that the information obtained from the contrast found between the most important worldwide zones of karst in gypsum could be applied to the gypsiferous karst in our country, and in particular, to the most significant, the karst in gypsum of Sorbas.
This is the justification for the numerous references in the text to the gypsiferous karst and cavities in gypsum that are most relevant in Spain (Sorbas, Gobantes, Vallada, Archidona, Estremera, Baena, the Ebro Basin, Estella, Beuda, Borreda, etc.) and also to the best-known gypsiferous karsts worldwide (Podolia, Secchia, Venna del Gesso Romagnolo, Sicily and New Mexico). By means of these comparisons, the initial lack of information has been overcome.
The study is based on three central tenets, which are interrelated and make up the first three chapters of this report. The first consideration was to attempt to characterize the particular typology of gypsiferous karst from the geological (both stratigraphic and structural) point of view. This chapter also provides an introduction to each of the gypsiferous karsts examined. The second chapter is dedicated to the geomorphology of gypsiferous karst, under both superficial and subterranean aspects. It is important to note that the study of a gypsiferous karst from the speleological point of view is something that may seem somewhat unusual; however, this is one of the points of principle of this paper, the attempt to recover the true meaning of a word that has historically been unfairly condemned by a large part of the Spanish scientific community. Thirdly, a detailed study has been made of the hydrochemistry of the most important gypsiferous karsts in our region, together with the presentation of a specific analytical methodology for the treatment of the hydrochemical data applicable to the gypsiferous karst.
Geological characterization of gypsum karst
In the characterization of karst in gypsum, the intention was to cover virtually all the possibilities from the stratigraphic and structural standpoints. Thus, there is a description of widely varying gypsiferous karsts, made up of Triassic to Miocene materials, some with a complex tectonic configuration and others hardly affected by folding. The gypsiferous karsts described, and their most significant geological characteristics, are as follows:
Karst in gypsum at Sorbas (Almeria): composed of Miocene gypsiferous levels with the essential characteristic of very continuous marly interstrata between the layers of gypsum, which decisively affect the speleogenesis of the area. The gypsum layers have an average thickness of about 10 m and, together with the fracturing in the zone, determine the development of the gypsiferous cavities. These are mainly selenitic gypsum - occasionally with a crystal size of over 2 m - and their texture also has a geomorphologic and hydrogeologic influence. This area is little affected by folding and so the tectonic influence of speleogenesis is reduced to the configuration of the fracturing.
The Triassic of Antequera (Malaga): this is, fundamentally, the gypsiferous outcrop at Gobantes-Meliones, originating in the Triassic and located within the well-known "Trias" of Antequera. It is made up of very chaotic gypsiferous materials containing a large quantity of heterometric blocks of varied composition; the formation may be defined as a Miocene olitostromic gypsiferous breccia that is affected by important diapiric phenomena. The presence of hypersoluble salts at depth is significant in the modification of the hydrochemical characteristics of the water and in the speleogenetic development of the karst.
The Triassic of Vallada (Valencia): Triassic materials outcrop in the Vallada area; these mainly correspond to the K5 and K4 formations of the Valencia Group, massive gypsum and gypsiferous clays. The influence of dolomitic intercalations in the sequence is crucial to the speleogenesis of the area and this, together with intense tectonic activity, has led to the development in this sector of the deepest gypsiferous cavity in the world: the "Tunel dels Sumidors". As in the above case, the presence of hypersoluble salts at depth and the varied lithology influence the variations in the hydrodynamics and hydrochemistry of the gypsiferous aquifer.
Other Spanish gypsum karsts: this heading covers a group of gypsiferous areas and cavities of significant interest from the speleogenetic standpoint. They include the area of Estremera (Madrid), with Miocene gypsiferous clays and massive gypsum arranged along a large horizontal layer; this has produced the development of the only gypsiferous cavity in Spain with maze configuration, the Pedro Fernandez cave. The study of this cave has important hydrogeological implications with respect to speleogenesis in gypsum in phreatic conditions. The Baena (Cordoba) sector, in terms of its lithology, is comparable to the "Trias de Antequera". Here, the cavities developed in gypsiferous conglomerates, following structural discontinuities have enabled contact between carbonate and gypsiferous levels, and so we may speak of a mixed karstification: a karst in calcareous rocks and gypsum. The karst of Archidona (Malaga) is similar to that of the Gobantes-Meliones group and is significant because of the geomorphologic evolution of the karst, which is related to the diapiric ascent of the area and the formation of karstic ravines. The karst in the Miocene and Oligocene gypsum of the Ebro Basin (Zaragoza), has been taken as a characteristic example of a gypsiferous karst developed under an alluvial cover, with the corresponding geomorphological implications in the evolution of the surface landforms. In the gypsiferous area of Borreda (Barcelona), the presence of anhydritic levels in the sequence might have influenced the speleogenesis of its cavities. The cavity of La Mosquera, in Beuda (Girona), developed in massive Paleogene gypsum. This is the only Spanish example of a phreatic gypsiferous cavity developed in saccaroid gypsum, which is related to the particular subterranean morphology discovered. Finally, this group includes other Spanish gypsiferous outcrops visited during the preparation of this report, the references to which may be found in the relevant chapters.
Karst in gypsum in Europe and America: In order to complete the study of karst in gypsum, and with the idea of using all the available data on the karstology of gypsiferous materials for comparative studies of data for our country, a complementary activity was to define the most significant geological characteristics of the most important gypsiferous karsts in the world. An outstanding example is the gypsiferous karst at Podolia (Ukraine), developed in microcrystalline Miocene gypsum which has undergone block tectonics related to the collapse of the Precarpatic foredeep. This gypsum provides interesting data on speleogenesis in gypsiferous materials, as its evolution is related to the confining of the only gypsiferous stratum (of 10 to 20 m depth) producing interconnected labyrinthine galleries of over 100 km in length. Another well-known karst in gypsum is the one located at "Venna del Gesso Romagnolo" (Italy), in the Bologna region, with a lithology that is very similar to that which developed at Sorbas, but with the difference that it underwent more intense tectonics with folding and fracturing of the Tertiary sediments of the Po basin. In the same Italian province, in "L'alta Val di Sec-chia", there are outcrops of karstified Triassic materials which correspond to the formation of Burano, composed of gypsum and anhydrite with hypersoluble salts at depth and very notable diapiric phenomena. The study of this area has been used for a comparative analysis - geomorphology and hydrogeochemistry - with the Spanish gypsiferous karsts developed in Triassic levels. The third Italian gypsiferous karst to be considered is the one developed in Sicily, which has extensive Messinian outcrops of microcrystalline and selenitic gypsum as well as a great variety of lithologic types within the gypsiferous sequence, which we term the "gessoso solfifera" sequence. This gypsiferous karst is especially interesting from the geomorphologic standpoint due to the great quantity and variety of present superficial karstic forms. This has also served as a guide for the study of Spanish gypsiferous karsts. Finally, considering the relation between climatology and the development of karstic forms, we have also studied the karst in gypsum in New Mexico, where there is an extensive outcrop of Permian gypsum, both micro and macrocrystalline, situated on a large platform almost unaffected by deformation, and where the conditions of aridity are very similar to those found in the gypsiferous karst of Sorbas.
Geomorphological characterization of gypsum karst
From the geomorphological standpoint, the intention is to give an overview of the great variety of karstic forms developed in gypsum, traditionally considered less important than those developed in carbonate areas. This report shows this is not the case.
The theory of Convergence of Forms has been shown to be an efficient tool for the study of the morphology of karst in gypsum. Here, its principles have been used to provide genetic explanations for various gypsiferous forms derived from carbonate studies, and for the reverse case. In fact, studying a karst in gypsum is like having available a geomorphological laboratory where not only are the processes faster but they are also applicable to the karstology of carbonate rocks.
A large number of minor karstic forms (Karren) have been identified. The most important factors conditioning their formation are the texture of the rock, climatology and the presence of overlying deposits. The first, particularly, is largely responsible for determining the abundance of certain forms with respect to others. Thus, Rillenkarren, Trittkarren and small "kamenitzas" are more frequently found in microcrystalline and sandstone gypsum (for example, karst in gypsum in Sicily (Italy) and Va-llada (Valencia, Spain). Others seem to be more exclusive to selenitic gypsum, such as exfoliation microkarren, or are closely related to the climatology of the area (Spitzkarren develops from the alteration of gypsum in semiarid conditions). Others are related either to the presence of developed soil cover (Rundkarren, using Convergence of Forms), or to their specific situation (candelas and Wallkarren around dolines and sinkholes) or to the microtexture of the gypsum and the orientation of the 010 and 111 crystalline planes and twinning planes for the development of nanokarren.
The tumuli are the most peculiar forms of the Sorbas karst in gypsum, though they have also been identified in other gypsiferous karsts (Bolonia, New Mexico, Vallada, etc.). These are subcircular domes of the most superficial layer of the gypsum. Their formation has been related to processes of precipitation-solution and of capillary movement through the gypsiferous matrix. Their extensive development is largely determined by the climatology of the area and by the structural organization. It is therefore clear that the best examples are found in the karst of Sorbas due to the abrupt changes in temperature and humidity that occur in a semiarid climate, and because of the horizontality of the gypsiferous sequence.
Karst in gypsum and its larger exokarstic forms, apart from being climatically determined, also depend on the structural state and lithological determinants of the area. Thus, it is possible to differentiate between gypsiferous karsts where the lithology, together with erosive breakup, is more important (Sorbas and New Mexico) and others where confining hydraulic conditions persist (Estremera and Podolia). In other cases, tectonics has played a significant modelling role, and there is a clear possibility of an inversion of the relief (Bolonia or Sicily) or of the effect of diapiric processes (Secchia, Vallada, Antequera). The typological diversity of the dolines is obviously also related to these premisses. Another example is the relation existing between carbonate precipitation and gypsum solution, as evidenced in contrasting examples (Bolonia versus Sorbas).
Subterranean karstic forms have been examined from a double perspective: the morphology of the passages and the mineralization within the cavities. With respect to the former, a noteworthy example is the interstratification karst of Sorbas, where subterranean channels have developed during two well-differentiated phases, the phreatic and the vadose. The first was responsible for the formation of the small proto-galleries, currently relicts that are observable as false dome channels in the bottom of the gypsiferous strata. The second, with an erosive character, enabled the breakup of the marly interstrata and the formation of the large galleries found today. Other aspects considered include the speleogenetic influence of the presence of calcareous intercalations in the gypsiferous sequence (Vallada karst), gypsiferous agglomerates (Baena karst), anhydrite (Rotgers karst), suffusion processes (Sorbas karst) and the importance of condensation.
Spelothemes in gypsiferous cavities have been approached with special concern for gypsiferous speleothemes, in particular those which, due to their genetic peculiarity or to the lack of previous knowledge about them, are most significant. Among these are gypsum balls, with phenomena of solution, detritic filling, capillarity and evaporation; gypsum hole stalagmites, where the precipitation-solution of the gypsum controlling the formation of the central orifice is related to the previous deposit of carbonate speleothemes; gypsum trays that mark the levels of maximum evaporation; gypsum dust, determined by abrupt changes in temperature and humidity in areas near the exterior of gypsiferous cavities. All of these are characteristic of, and practically exclusive to, gypsiferous karsts in semiarid ztenes such as Sorbas and New Mexico.
Karst in gypsum has been morphologically classified with reference to the previously-mentioned criteria: the presence and typology of epigean karstic forms, both macro and microform; the typology of hypogean karstic forms (passages) and the type of speleothemes within the cavities (gypsiferous or carbonate). All these variables are clearly influenced by climatology, and so a study of the geomorphology of gypsiferous karst is seen to be an efficient tool for the analysis of the paleoclimatology of an area.
Hydrogeochemical characterization of gypsum karst
The hydrogeochemical characterization of karst in gypsum was approached in two stages. The first one was intended to establish themodels to be applied to the hydrochemistry approach, while the second provided various examples of hydrochemical studies carried out in gypsiferous karsts.
The theoretical framework which has been shown to be most accurate with respect to the formulation of chemical equilibria in water related to gypsiferous karst is the Virial Theory and the Pitzer equations.
For this study, we used a simplification of these equations as far as the second virial coefficient by means of a simple, polynomial variation to obtain the equilibrium state of the water with respect to the gypsum, for an ionic strength value greater than 0.1 m and temperatures of between 0.5 and 40 "C. This was the case of the gypsiferous karsts found to be related to hypersaline water at depth (Vallada, Gobantes-Meliones, Poiano). In the remaining situations, where the ionic strength was below 0.1 m, only the theory of ionic matching was used.
The hydrochemical study of the gypsiferous karst of Gobantes-Meliones (Malaga) led to the hypothesis of the possible influence of hypersaline water on karstification in gypsum. Using theoretical examples of the mixing of water derived both from hypersaline water and from water related only to the gypsiferous karst, it was shown that above a percentage content of 0.1:0.9 of saline and sulphated water, the mixture is subsaturated with respect to gypsum and other minerals. On reaching percentages greater than 0.5:0.5, values of oversaturation are again found. This could mean that the contact between sulphated and hypersaline water is a karstification zone in gypsum at depth.
In the gypsiferous karst at Salinas-Fuente Camacho (Granada), a study has been made of the hydrochemical influence of dolomitic levels in the sequence by means of the analysis of the hydrochemical routes between hydraulically-connected points. The generic case of mass transfer in this gypsiferous aquifer implies a precipitation of calcite which is in-congruent with dolomitic solution, proving that the process of dedolomitization in gypsiferous aquifers with an abundance of dolomitic rocks can be an effective process. In situations of high salinity, with contributions of hypersaline water, the process may be inverted, such as occurs in coastal carbonate aquifers influenced by the fresh-saltwater interface.
The gypsiferous aquifer of Sorbas-Tabernas (Almeria) provides the best case of karstification in gypsum in Spain; the hydrochemical study carried out has been used as an example of karstification in gypsum completely uninfluenced by sodium-chloride facies. It is shown, from the hydrochemical similarities between the different sectors, that the uniformity of the flow from the system main spring (Los Molinos) responds to the delayed hydraulic input through the overlying post-evaporitic materials and to the pelitic intercalations of the gypsiferous sequence. The aquifer is partially semiconfined, a situation which is comparable to the onset of the karstification stage, while the area of the Sorbas karst, strictly speaking, bears no hydriaulic relation to the rest of the system, behaving like a free aquifer intrinsically related to the epikarstic zone. This fact is demonstrated by the hydrochemical differences between the main spring and those related to gypsiferous cavities.
Apart from the general study of the Sorbas-Tabemas aquifer, a study was also made of the hydrochemical-time variations within cavities, and in particular within the Cueva del Agua, where it is possible to observe particular processes affecting karstification in gypsum, such as the precipitation of carbonates on the floor of the cavity which produce, in that area, a greater solution of gypsum (the phenomenon of hyperkarstification). Furthermore, the temporal evolution of the chemistry of the cavity, along 800 m of subterranean flow through its interior, shows the existence of inertial sectors where the variations were less abrupt. Only in the case of particular sectors, related to sporadic hydriaulic contributions or to the proximity to points of access., was a notable seasonal influence detected.
A similar hydrochemical study was carried out in the karst of Vallada (Valencia), along the cavity of the Tunel dels Sumidors. The chemistry here was compared with that of the springs of Brolladors (whose water rapidly infiltrates into the cavity) and Saraella (a saline resurgence of the whole system). Unexpected increases in the ionic content of certain salts (sulphates and chlorides) were detected during periods of increased flow; these were interpreted as the effect of the recharging of the Saraella spring arising from the immediate contribution of rapidly circulating sulfated water coming from the cavity and the subsequent mobilization of interstitial water with an ionic content higher than the characteristic level of the spring.
We present as a hypothesis the idea that, in addition to the hydrogeochemical processes described that can affect the evolution of a gypsiferous karst, the processes of sulphate reduction also influence karstification in gypsum, at least during the earliest stages. Some examples such as the presence of gypsum with abundant organic matter reprecipitated into phreatic channels (Sorbas) or veins of sulphur related to gypsiferous karsts (Podolia, Sicily) lend support to this idea.
Studies of the solution-erosion of gypsum have been performed by physical methods (tablets and M.E.M.) showing that the solution-erosion of gypsum within cavities is minimal (0.03 mm/ year) compared to that existing in the exterior (0.3 mm/year). The speleogenetic effect of condensation within the cavities has also been shown, with solution-erosion rates of 0.005 mm/year to be like the equivalent surface lowering. These data correspond to the karst in gypsum at Sorbas, where, additionally, a study about the time variation of the solution-erosion was carried out. It was found that the process is not continuous but clearly sporadic. During periods of torrential rain, the solution-erosion ranges from a weight loss of 400 mg/cm2/year on the surface of the karst to 75 mg/cm2/year inside the caves, while during the rest of the year the weight loss was barely 1 mg/cm2/year. The physical methods were compared with the results obtained from chemical methods, and it was found that, in general, higher values were obtained with the former (10-20% higher when weighted for the rainfall during the measuring periods). Thus it is reasonable to consider that the erosive process is more marked than was at first assumed.
In total, three cavity tracing experiments were carried out, all with fluoresceine, two of them in Cueva del Agua in Sorbas (during periods of high and low water levels) and the other in Tunel dels Sumidors in Vallada. At the first site, the comparison of the two tracing tests reveals a differential hydrodynamic behaviour of the cavity for the two contrasting situations; periods of high water input and periods of low rainfall. This behaviour is characteristic of well developed karstic aquifers, where the hydrodynamic effect of the circulation of water through small channels or, in this case, through the gypsiferous matrix and interbedded marly layers, seems to be more important under conditions of low hydraulic input than when rainfall is abundant. The two situations tested seem to confirm that the Cueva del Agua system, an epikarstic aquifer, which is representative of karstification in gypsum, has scarce retentive power and so large volumes of precipitation are totally discharged via the spring within a few days. However, the explanation of the small but continuous flow from the base of the cavity requires the inclusion of other factors in the interpretation. In this case, the flow seems to be fairly independent of rainfall and attributable to other processes, in addition to the previously described ones, such as the retentive power of the gypsiferous matrix and the marly interstrata. These might include the high degree of condensation measured over long periods, both on the surface of the karst in gypsum and within the cavities. In the case of the Tunel dels Sumidors, a highly irregular response was found, despite the fact that the coefficient of dispersivity was found to be 0.4. This value is similar to that obtained for the karst in gypsum at Sorbas in response to low water conditions, and so, here too, one might assume the influence of greater than expected flow-retaining processes, between the entry and exit points. Doubtless the karstic system of the Tunel dels Sumidors is more complex than was initially expected and in fact, the irregularity reflected by the fluoresceine concentration curve over time implies the existence of other factors to explain the diversity of the relative maxima obtained. Firstly, the presence of numerous Triassic clay intercalations might delay the flow, in addition to retaining a certain quantity of fluoresceine by ionic exchange. There is also a possibility that the flow is dispersed through a network of small conduits and pores, due to the permeability of the gypsiferous matrix. Finally, we cannot discount the possible existence of a deep-level input which, in this case, would be responsible for the variation in the flow and the chemical composition. This set of suppositions, as a whole, would explain the fact that the response of the spring to tracing is so irregular, even though we cannot achieve a definition of the qualitative influence of each one on the hydrodynamics of the system.
In order to verify some of the above hypotheses, particularly those referring to the process of condensation within cavities, an experiment was designed, consisting of a microtracing test at some points where condensation had been detected within the Cueva del Agua at Sorbas. The test produced a range of condensation flow speed values of 0.2 to 30 cm/hour and shows that, in those sections where the presence of condensation flow is visually apparent, there is a rapid dispersion of the colourant. However, it also shows that at points where there is no apparent condensation the process also occurs, but at a lower rate of efficiency. The importance of condensation within cavities has two aspects; firstly, speleogenetic, with the development of solution forms (cupolas) and deposit forms (capillarity boxwork); and secondly, hydrogeological, as this is the reason why certain processes (strong changes in temperature and humidity, multiple routes of airflow exchange with the exterior) may in themselves constitute a hydraulic contribution, of slight importance, but sufficient to explain a large part of the base flow (0.2 - 0.8 L/s) of a whole cavity system such as the Cueva del Agua in semiarid conditions.
With the intention of completing the analyses carried out in various karsts in gypsum, instruments were installed in the Cueva del Agua at Sorbas to measure, by continuous registration, some important physico-chemical parameters that might provide additional data on the hydro-geologic behaviour of this gypsiferous karst, especially at the level of the epikarstic zone. The parameters of temperature and water conductivity were considered most important, due to their singular behaviour patterns. During the experiment there were two periods of rainfall that modified the chemistry of the cavity, one of 30 mm in two days and another of 200 mm (almost the annual total) in four days. In the second case, which was much more extreme, a very significant increase in water temperature (up to 7 °C during the initial period of high water flow) was detected, while conductivity fell. But suddenly, when the minimum conductivity was reached, the temperature dropped sharply by 6-7 °C to return to the base temperature of the cavity. Subsequently, the temperature again stabilized at about 7 °C above the data recorded during the dry period. This behaviour pattern was not detected when the rainfall was slight. The explanation for this dual behaviour observed is fundamentally based on the quantity of rainfall and on the differences between the exterior air temperature, the temperature of interstitial water and the temperature recorded in the spring during high water flow. When water temperature in the cavity during high water flow is higher than the base temperature recorded in the period immediately before, it means that the interstitial water does not mobilize. However, when at any time the two temperatures coincide, one might suppose that there might have existed a process of mobilization of the water previously resident in the rock, by a piston effect, but in the unsaturated zone. On the other hand, the temporal variations of these parameters during the months following periods of high rainfall have enabled us to detect the existence of distinct periods during the return to normal cavity conditions. By carefully examining the decrease curve of water temperature inside the cavity while conductivity regained its maximum stable value, two periods may be differentiated. The first may be termed the "inertial influence period", when the rainfall occurring removes all signs of natural variation in the cavity. Thus, the daily external influences are not clearly detectable and the curve is downward-sloping and asymptotic with no significant oscillations. In the second period, which ends with the total stabilization of the parameter at the level of the initial conditions, the asymptotic descent is seen to be affected by daily temperature variations. This is termed the "inertial recovery period", during which external variations start to have an effect on the interior of the cavity such that there is a progressive increase in the amplitude of the daily variation in water temperature, air temperature and relative humidity. This behaviour pattern of variation of these parameters during periods of high rainfall, might be extended to all karstic systems, varying only in magnitude and temporal extent.

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