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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 prusik sling is a sling fastened by a prusik knot to the rope [25].?

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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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Hydrology of carbonate rock terranes -- A review , : With special reference to the United States, 1969, Stringfield V. T. , Legrand H. E. ,
Limestone and other carbonate rocks are characterized by many unusual features and extreme conditions, either involving the hydrologic system within them or wrought by hydrologic conditions on them or through them. Perhaps there could be little agreement as to what is typical or average for the many features of carbonate rocks, as indicated by the following conditions: bare rock and thin soils are common, but so are thick soils; very highly permeable limestones are common, but so are poorly permeable ones; and rugged karst topographic features with underlying solution caverns are common, but so are flat, nearly featureless topographic conditions. Some conditions of carbonate terranes are suitable to man's needs and interests, such as the use of some permeable aquifers for water supply and the exploitation of caves for tourist attractions. On the other hand, many problems may exist, including: permeability too low for adequate water supply or so high that the aquifer retains too little water for use during periods of fair weather, soils too thin for growing of crops and for adequate filtration of wastes near the ground surface, instability of the ground for buildings and foundations in sinkhole areas, and unusually rugged topography. Some of the many variable conditions are readily observable, but others can be determined only by careful geologic and hydrologic studies.The need for knowing the specific geologic and hydrologic conditions at various places in limestone terranes, as well as the variations in hydrologic conditions with changing conditions and time, has resulted in many published reports on local areas and on special topical problems of limestone hydrology. Many of these reports have been used to advantage by the present writers in preparing this paper.The concept that secondary permeability is developed by circulation of water through openings with the accompanying enlargement of these openings by solution is now universally accepted in limestone terranes. Emphasis is placed on the hydrogeologic framework, or structural setting, in relation to the ease or difficulty of water to move from a source of recharge, through a part of the limestone, to a discharge area. Parts of the limestone favored by circulating ground water tend to develop solution openings, commonly in the upper part of the zone of saturation; as base level is lowered (sea level or perennial stream level), the related water table lowers in the limestone leaving air-filled caverns above the present zone of saturation in sinkhole areas. Reconstruction of the geologic and hydrologic history of a limestone area aids in determining the extent of development and the positions of fossil and present permeability. References are made to the hydrology of many limestone regions, especially those of the United States

Caves of Vakuta, Trobriand Islands, Papua, 1969, Ollier C. D. , Holdsworth D. K

In a previous paper (1968a) we described caves of Kiriwina, the largest of the Trobriand Islands, a group of coral islands situated 100 miles off the north-east coast of Papua. This paper records caves of Vakuta, a smaller island south of Kiriwina. Vakuta is shaped like a boomerang (Figure 1) and is separated from the southern tip of Kiriwina by Kasilamaka Passage, about half a mile wide. The area of Vakuta Island is approximately 11 square miles. The island contains three villages, the most important being Vakuta Village which has a Methodist (now United Church) Mission. A track links Vakuta Village to Kasilamaka Passage which can be crossed by native canoe; the track continues on Kiriwina to Losuia, 40 miles north. Vakuta Island has a population of about 500. The Vakutans are of the same mixed Melanesian-Polynesian stock as the people of Kiriwina. Woodcarving is not practised to the same extent as in Kiriwina and the quality is generally low. However, some canoes have particularly well decorated prows. The influence of the Mission is very evident in the dress of the Vakutans and in the village, old cast-off clothing, often quite dirty, is the rule. In the fields the women wear grass and fibre skirts though the men were not seen to wear a pubic leaf as usual in Kiriwina, but shorts. Papuan Airlines operate a weekly flight between Port Moresby and Losuia, the Administration Centre, using Skyvan aircraft. Weekend tourist charter flights in DC-3 aircraft arrive frequently, but irregularly, from Port Moresby and occasionally from Lae and Rabual. The authors visited Vakuta Island in December, 1968. Guides were recruited locally and we were fortunate to be assisted by Mr. Gilbert Heers, the only European resident of the island, who speaks fluent Kiriwini which made communication with our guides relatively easy. With his help, we were able to obtain accounts of the legends and traditions associated with the caves on the island. We have also had valuable discussions about Vakuta and the customs and legends of the Trobriand Islands with Mr. Lepani Watson, M.H.A., who was born on Vakuta, and Mr. John Kasaipwalova, a Trobriand Islander now studying at the University of Queensland. We are most grateful for the assistance of these people. Although the most accurate map of the Trobriands is an Admiralty chart, the authors used an old U.S. Army map which was based on a pre-war Government survey. The caves were roughly surveyed using 100 ft tape, prismatic compass and abney level. The village rest-house became the social centre of the village during our stay. We had no difficulty in finding food. A surprising variety of foods such as yams, sweet potato, eggs, pineapples, soursop, tomatoes and fresh coconut appeared and payment was accepted eagerly in stick tobacco and newspaper. Payment in cash was rarely appreciated, though it will become more useful now that a trade store has been established by the Village Co-operative. To avoid repetitive explanations of features in the accounts of individual caves, various general topics will be discussed first.


Fluorescent dye determination of groundwater movement and contamination in permeable rock strata., 1973, Giammona Charles P.
A preliminary inquiry to the extent and boundaries of subterranean waterways within the Mystery Cave System was explored. Rhodamine WT dye in 500 ml quantities was used in fluormetry determinations of surface flow to ground water basins. A Turner Model 111 fluorometer was utilized for detection purposes powered by a portable 12 volt, 220 amp hour battery-inverter system. It was shown that water entered underground passageways through sinkholes or highly creviced limestone/dolomite rock strata and reappeared several kilometres downstream. The outflow appears in the form of "springs". The possibility exists that contaminated surface water may seep through the soil for long distances. It is obvious there is acute danger of underground contamination of municipal and private water supplies situated in this area.

Fluorescent dye determination of groundwater movement and contamination in permeable rock strata., 1973, Giammona Charles P.
A preliminary inquiry to the extent and boundaries of subterranean waterways within the Mystery Cave System was explored. Rhodamine WT dye in 500 ml quantities was used in fluormetry determinations of surface flow to ground water basins. A Turner Model 111 fluorometer was utilized for detection purposes powered by a portable 12 volt, 220 amp hour battery-inverter system. It was shown that water entered underground passageways through sinkholes or highly creviced limestone/dolomite rock strata and reappeared several kilometres downstream. The outflow appears in the form of "springs". The possibility exists that contaminated surface water may seep through the soil for long distances. It is obvious there is acute danger of underground contamination of municipal and private water supplies situated in this area.

Phreatische Fauna in Ljubljansko polje (Ljubljana-Ebene, Jugoslavien); ihre oekologische Verteilung und zoogeographische Beziehungen., 1981, Sket Boris, Velkovrh Franci
The phreatic basin of Ljubljansko polje (polje = plain, field) recharges its water supply mainly from the Sava river-bed and at a few other locations where connections with karstic subterranean waters might exist and only up to 15% from precipitation. An important zone of infiltration in the river-bed is the bottom and not the bank which is to a large extent watertight due to organic debris (rests of Sphaerotilus e.g.). The main water-body moves about 10 m/day, there are however some local jets with far higher speeds. Yearly amplitudes of water temperatures are high near the river but in the centre of the plain only a couple of centigrades. Oxygen saturation is in the open river-water 100%, dropping to 40-60% just 1 m into the phreatic. True stygopsammal animals are represented here only by a few species and specimen in spite of the fact, that the interstices in the gravel are mostly filled with finer sediments. Remarkable is also the scarcity of Nematodes and the near absence of Acarina (compare with Danielopol 1976). Only a few specimen of the river benthos (Chironomidae, Tipulidae, Leuctra supp., Baets spp.) penetrate the interstitial water (compare with Ruffo 1961, Danielopol 1976) and only Naididae are more frequent there. However, many epigean animals occur in interstitial waters in the periodically flooded gravel-banks; one can explain this with oscillations of the water level. Some epigean animals (creno- and troglophilic) are quite regularly represented in the phreatic near the river, but have not been found in the river-bed. The distribution of phreatic species within the studied water-body seems to be controlled mainly by the presence of food supplies and the consequent competition among species. The same is true for the speed of the water current and some other factors which are less easily defined. The characteristics of the substratum as well as O2-saturation and other characteristics of the water seem to have little influence on the fauna. The energetically (food-) rich neighbourhood of the river is inhabited by a number of species in quite dense populations while the central parts of the phreatic water body exhibit a great poverty of species and of specimen. However, some species live here, which don't occur in the presence of larger food supplies and of greater competition (Niphargus serbicus). The higher current speed seems to prevent settlement of some species (Cyclopoida, Proasellus deminutus) while some are bound to such habitats (Proasellus vulgaris). Some species exhibit a high degree of euryvalency inside the stygopsephale habitats (Niphargus longidactylus e.g.), while some are highly specialized. Some of them form dense populations (comparatively dense even in energetically poor places) while others exhibit even in most favourable conditions very low densities (Niphargus jovanovici multipennatus). The present fauna is zoogeographically very diverse. Some species are distributed throughout Europe; some reach from Central Europe to the borders of Dinaride Karst (Bogidiella albertimagni) and some even penetrate it (Trichodrilus pragensis, Acanthocyclops kiefer). Bogidiella semidenticulata. Niphargus pectinicauda, Hadziella deminuta seem to be limited to the higher reaches of the Sava River. All of the above mentioned animals live regularly in interstitial waters and only sporadically in karstic hypogean waters. Niphargus stygius is here the only animal of a certainly karstic provenience; inside the plain it is limited to a completely special habitat. It is very likely that the entire Proasellus-deminutusgroup has developed in interstitial waters of larger plains which are in contact with karstic areas; some species penetrated from the plains into the karst rather than the reverse. To the contrary (judging from the distribution of the genera) karstic waters seem to be the cradle of Hauffenia and Hadziella. Such a sharp delimitation between cave- and interstitial fauna resp. in this area is very noteworthy. Both faunas live here in abundance and in close contact. It is very probable that particularly high competition and specialization of both faunas, caused by their richness and diversity, prevent mixing of species.

Lithification of peritidal carbonates by continental brines at Fisherman Bay, South Australia, to form a megapolygon/spelean limestone association, 1982, Ferguson J, Burne Rv, Chambers La,
Lithification, which commenced less than 3000 yrs BP is still active, and has formed a cavernous limestone containing megapolygons, tepees, and speleothems including pisoliths, floe aragonite, and aragonite pool deposits. The emerging waters evolved from low alkalinity waters of Pleistocene sand and clay coastal plain aquifers which passed through an underlying Tertiare marine carbonate aquifer, have high P CO2 , total carbonate, Ca, and sulfate concentrations. They are close to saturation with respect to aragonite, and their mMg (super 2) /mCa (super 2) ratios approach or exceed the critical aragonite precipitation value. Features which diagnose ancient examples of this process: primary aragonitic cements with high mSr (super 2) /mCa (super 2) values; nonmarine delta 34 S values in gypsum; two superimposed networks of surface polygons, one delineated by extensional boundaries, the other by tepees; high-water vadose-zone isopachous grain cements; interconnected, speleothem-lined cavities; and the presence of evaporites only in surface sediments. Possible ancient examples are recognized in West Texas, Lombardy, and the Atlas Mountains. The areal extent of each of these deposits suggests that the process may be a geologically important feature, and its products may be diagnostic of semi-arid or arid-zone paralic sedimentation.--Modified journal abstract

Hydrogeology of the Umm Er Radhuma aquifer, Saudi Arabia, with reference to fossil gradients, 1982, Bakiewicz W, Milne Dm, Noori M,
Much of North Africa and the Arabian peninsula, lying in the Saharan climate zone, are underlain by huge tabular sandstone and carbonate aquifers, ranging in age from Cambrian to Tertiary. These are often saturated with water of reasonable quality and form very valuable resources in an area often desperately short of water. The Palaeocene Umm Er Radhuma carbonate aquifer is one such formation which has been the subject of intensive recent investigation. The formation contains groundwater of a reasonable quality, has adequate transmission and storage characteristics and hence considerable potential for future development. The origin of the water in such aquifers is the subject of continuing controversy. It is not disputed that the water is moving under the influence of regional groundwater gradients but origins of these gradients are the subject of considerable argument. On the one hand, there are those who hold that the presently observed gradients are fossil remnants of conditions created by a much wetter climatic regime prevalent some thousands of years ago. Against this are those who maintain that the gradients, at least in part, reflect a present day system with groundwater discharge in approximate dynamic equilibrium with recharge. This paper examines the hydrogeology of a typical Middle Eastern formation of the disputed kind, the Umm Er Radhuma aquifer in Saudi Arabia, and, with the aid of analytical and numerical models, attempts to resolve the problem of the origin of the observed groundwater gradients and to discover the extent to which the past must influence present day plans for future development

Hydrogeological conditions in the Middle East, 1982, Burdon Dj,
The geology of Middle East is summarized under the subheadings: Precambrian basement, epicontinental sediments, geosynclinal and shelf deposits, Tertiary volcanics and Quaternary cover. The main tectonic episodes including epeirogenic movements, rifting and the Tertiary orogeny, are reviewed. The imposition of hydrometeorolocal and climatic conditions upon the regional geology provides the setting for the hydrogeological discussion. Five factors which influence infiltration to aquifers under conditions of low precipitation and high potential evaportranspiration are discussed. The predominance of fossil groundwater is the most striking hydrogeological phenomenon occurring on a regional scale in the Middle East. Its mode of formation during the pluvials is outlined and the isotopic evidence is reviewed. The main physical and chemical characteristics of fossil ground-waters are described. It is conservatively estimated that some 65 000 km3 of good- to medium-quality groundwater are stored in the great artesian basins of the Near East. These fossil ground-waters are a non-renewable natural resource. Current annual abstraction is, as yet, a small percentage of the total reserves but economic factors rather than the volume of reserves will determine the ultimate extent of their exploitation. The renewable groundwater resources of the Middle East tend, by comparison, to be of local rather than regional significance. Some originate outside the Middle East, coming in as surface flows in the Nile and Tigris-Euphrates and infiltrating into the sediments in and adjacent to the flood plains. Other renewable resources accumulate within the region where high precipitation and mountainous relief are associated. Such areas include the Djebel Akhdar of Cyrenacia, the Tertiary fold mountains from the Taurus through the Zagros to the Oman ranges, and the volcanic and basement highlands of Yemen, Asir and Ethiopa. Locally, in areas of lower precipitation, lenses of recent fresh groundwater float on regional more saline groundwater. In some areas subsurface flows towards and through wadi systems are also of importance

Les phnomnes karstiques des quartzites d'Afrique du Sud, 1987, Martini, J.
KARST FEATURES IN QUARTZITE OF SOUTH AFRICA - The author describes karst features developed in quartzite and also, but to a lesser extent, in weathered diabase and in wad. In quartzite, the karst is due to weathering along joints and bedding planes, producing softer areanaceous boundaries. Later, vadose caves form by piping in the weathered material, starting at a spring and progressing upstream. The karst features include dolines, swallow-holes, and caves, grouped in very localised systems. Over most of the quartzite plateaus, however, real karst features are absent and the drainage remains superficial. The only ubiquitous features, reminiscent of lapies, consist of pinnacles left after erosion of sand. As most of the time they are not associated to deep karst systems, the author proposes that they should not be considered as karst features. Other caves are developed in weathered diabase and dolomite (wad), sandwiched between resistant quartzite layers. They result from the erosion of these soft layers. The author is of the opinion that the term karst rather than pseudokarst should be used to describe this morphology developed in silica and silicate rocks. The reason is that not only the features produced compare well with the ones observed in " soluble rocks " (limestone, gypsum, etc.), but that the genetical process is very similar. It is suggested that the term pseudokarst should be used only in cases were the genesis is different.

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

In Cave Oxidation of Organic Carbon and the Occurrence of Rainwater Inflow Cave Systems in the Seasonally Arid Lowland Tropics, 1987, Williamson, Kerry A.

Recent studies have shown that in cave oxidation of organic carbon can play a significant role in cave initiation and development. The production and flux of organic carbon in different seasonally arid and tropical karsts and in perpetually humid tropical karst is described, with particular consideration of the role of large particle size organic carbon. The model developed is used to explain the extent of rainwater inflow cave development and the apparent scarcity of such forms in the perpetually humid tropics plus arrested development in the seasonally arid sub-tropics.


Drainage Evolution in a Tasmanian Glaciokarst, 1989, Kiernan, Kevin

The intensively glaciated mountains of the Picton Range - Mt. Bobs area in southwestern Tasmania contain prominent karst features that have been developed in carbonate formations of Devonian, Ordovician and possibly Precambrian age. This paper reviews the extent of the karst and glacial features and records the tracing of the underground drainage from the alpine Lake Sydney. Glacial erosion has exposed areas of limestone to karstification and glacial diversion of drainage has played a critical role in the evolution of the present underground drainage patterns. Prior to the late Last Glacial Stage the deflection of marginal meltwaters from the former Farmhouse Creek Glacier against the Burgess - Bobs Saddle led to the development of an underground breach of a major surface drainage divide. Subglacial or submarginal meltwaters associated with a much smaller glacier that developed in the same valley during the late Last Glacial Stage probably played a significant role in the breaching of a minor divide within the Farmhouse Creek catchment. This led to the development of an underground anabranch of Farmhouse Creek that by-passes the glacial Pine Lake. However, it is possible that the latter diversion is entirely Holocene in age and is related to postglacial dilation of the limestone rather than meltwater flows.


EVOLUTION OF QUATERNARY DURICRUSTS IN KARINGA CREEK DRAINAGE SYSTEM, CENTRAL AUSTRALIAN GROUNDWATER DISCHARGE ZONE, 1991, Arakel Av,
Quaternary calcrete, silcrete and gypcrete duricrusts in Karinga Creek drainage system, central Australia, contain abundant late-stage diagnetic features. These indicate repeated episodes of dissolution, precipitation and mobilization of duricrust components in the landscape, following the initial development of the duricrust mantle. 'Mature' duricrust profiles incorporate assemblages of diagnostic textural features and fabrics that clearly indicate the extent of karstification during the past 27 000 years. Diagenetic features in the duricrusts permit recognition of the stages involved in vadose modifications of compositional, textural and morphological features and, hence, assessment of the impact of karst dissolution, precipitation and mobilization of duricrust components under prevailing environmental conditions. At landscape level, the continued development of secondary porosity-permeability zones in topographically elevated areas, and maintenance of effective topographic gradients for soil creep are considered essential for redistribution of duricrust components and lateral and vertical extension of karst features within the Quaternary duricrust mantle. Although developing over a comparatively short span of time, late-stage modification of the Quaternary duricrusts has important implications for evolution of Quaternary landscapes and distribution of groundwater discharge-recharge patterns. Accordingly, differential dissolution and reprecipitation within the duricrust profiles have progressively given way to development of karst solution pipes and cavities, with the latter now acting as effective conduits for recharge of local aquifers in the region

ORIGIN AND MORPHOLOGY OF LIMESTONE CAVES, 1991, Palmer A. N. ,
Limestone caves form along ground-water paths of greatest discharge and solutional aggressiveness. Flow routes that acquire increasing discharge accelerate in growth, while others languish with negligible growth. As discharge increases, a maximum rate of wall retreat is approached, typically about 0.01-0.1 cm/yr, determined by chemical kinetics but nearly unaffected by further increase in discharge. The time required to reach the maximum rate is nearly independent of kinetics and varies directly with flow distance and temperature and inversely with initial fracture width, discharge, gradient, and P(CO2). Most caves require 10(4) - 10(5) yr to reach traversable size. Their patterns depend on the mode of ground-water recharge. Sinkhole recharge forms branching caves with tributaries that join downstream as higher-order passages. Maze caves form where (1) steep gradients and great undersaturation allow many alternate paths to enlarge at similar rates or (2) discharge or renewal of undersaturation is uniform along many alternate routes. Flood water can form angular networks in fractured rock, anastomotic mazes along low-angle partings, or spongework where intergranular pores are dominant. Diffuse recharge also forms networks and spongework, often aided by mixing of chemically different waters. Ramiform caves, with sequential outward branches, are formed mainly by rising thermal or H2S-rich water. Dissolution rates in cooling water increase with discharge, CO2 content, temperature, and thermal gradient, but only at thermal gradients of more than 0.01-degrees-C/m can normal ground-water CO2 form caves without the aid of hypogenic acids or mixing. Artesian flow has no inherent tendency to form maze caves. Geologic structure and stratigraphy influence cave orientation and extent, but alone they do not determine branch-work versus maze character

RECOGNITION OF MICROCLIMATE ZONES THROUGH RADON MAPPING, LECHUGUILLA CAVE, CARLSBAD-CAVERNS-NATIONAL-PARK, NEW-MEXICO, 1991, Cunningham Ki, Larock Ej,
Radon concentrations range from < 185 to 3,515 Bq m-3 throughout Lechuguilla Cave, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Concentrations in the entrance passages and areas immediately adjacent to these passages are controlled by outside air temperature and barometric pressure, similar to other Type 2 caves. Most of the cave is developed in three geographic branches beneath the entrance passages; these areas maintain Rn levels independent of surface effects, an indication that Rn levels in deep, complex caves or mines cannot be simply estimated by outside atmospheric parameters. These deeper, more isolated areas are subject to convective ventilation driven by temperature differences along the 477-m vertical extent of the cave. Radon concentrations are used to delineate six microclimate zones (air circulation cells) throughout the cave in conjunction with observed airflow data. Suspected surface connections contribute fresh air to remote cave areas demonstrated by anomalous Rn lows surrounded by higher values, the presence of mammalian skeletal remains, CO2 concentrations and temperatures lower than the cave mean, and associated surficial karst features

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