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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 stage is water surface elevation at a point along a stream, river, lake, etc., above an arbitrary datum [16].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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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 frasassi cave (Keyword) returned 24 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 24
Frasassi caves: a biogenic hypogean karst system?, 1999, Galdenzi S. , Menichetti M. , Sarbu S. M. , Rossi A.

The hypogenic caves: a powerful tool for the study of seeps and their environmental effects, 2002, Forti P, Galdenzi S, Sarbu Sm,
Research performed in caves has shown the existence of significant effects of gas seeps, especially CO2 and H2S, within subterranean voids. Carbon dioxide causes important corrosive effects and creates characteristic morphologies (e.g., bell-shaped domes, bubble's trails), but is not involved in the deposition of specific cave minerals. On the other hand, in carbonate environments, hydrogen sulfide when oxidized in the shallow sections of the aquifer generates important corrosion effects and is also responsible for the deposition of specific minerals of which gypsum is the most common.Studies performed in the last few years have shown that H2S seeps in caves are associated with rich and diverse biological communities, consisting of large numbers of endemic species. Stable isotope studies (carbon and nitrogen) have demonstrated that these hypogean ecosystems are entirely based on in situ production of food by chemoautotrophic microorganisms using energy resulting from the oxidation of H2S.Although located only 20 m under the surface, Movile Cave does not receive meteoric waters due to a layer of impermeable clays and loess that covers the Miocene limestone in which the cave is developed. In the Frasassi caves, where certain amounts of meteoric water seep into the limestone, the subterranean ecosystems are still isolated from the surface. As the deep sulfidic waters mix with the oxigenated meteoric waters, sulfuric acid limestone corrosion is accelerated resulting in widespread deposition of gypsum onto the cave walls.Both these caves have raised a lot of interest for biological investigations regarding the chemoautotrophically based ecosystems, demonstrating the possibility of performing such studies in environments that are easily accessible and easy to monitor compared to the deep-sea environments where the first gas seeps were discovered

Gypsum deposits in the Frasassi Caves, central Italy, 2003, Galdenzi, S. , Maruoka, T.
The Frasassi Caves are hypogenic caves in central Italy, where H2S-rich groundwater flows in the lowest cave level. Near the water table, the H2S is converted to sulfuric acid by biotic and abiotic processes, which have enhanced cave development. The sulfate generally deposits above the water table as a replacement gypsum crust coating limestone walls or as large gypsum crystals. Although the oxidation of sulfide also occurs below the water table, sulfate saturation is not achieved, therefore, sulfate does not precipitate below the water table. In the upper dry levels of the cave, three main types of ancient gypsum deposits occurs: (1) replacement crusts, similar to the presently forming deposits of the active zone, (2) microcrystalline large and thick floor deposits, and (3) euhedral crystals inside mud. The study of the depositional setting and the analysis of sulfur isotopes in the gypsum and groundwater clearly demonstrate that all the sampled gypsum in the cave formed by H2S oxidation above the water table. Some fraction of small sulfur isotopic differences between H2S in the water and gypsum can be explained by isotopic fractionation during abiotic and/or biotic oxidation of H2S.

Frasassi Caves, Italy, 2004, Forti P. , Galdenzi S.

Dominant Microbial Populations in Limestone-Corroding Stream Biofilms, Frasassi Cave System, Italy, 2006, Macalady Jennifer L. , Lyon Ezra H. , Koffman Bess, Albertson Lindsey K. , Meyer Katja, Galdenzi Sandro, Mariani Sandro,
Waters from an extensive sulfide-rich aquifer emerge in the Frasassi cave system, where they mix with oxygen-rich percolating water and cave air over a large surface area. The actively forming cave complex hosts a microbial community, including conspicuous white biofilms coating surfaces in cave streams, that is isolated from surface sources of C and N. Two distinct biofilm morphologies were observed in the streams over a 4-year period. Bacterial 16S rDNA libraries were constructed from samples of each biofilm type collected from Grotta Sulfurea in 2002. {beta}-, {gamma}-, {delta}-, and {varepsilon}-proteobacteria in sulfur-cycling clades accounted for [≥]75% of clones in both biofilms. Sulfate-reducing and sulfur-disproportionating {delta}-proteobacterial sequences in the clone libraries were abundant and diverse (34% of phylotypes). Biofilm samples of both types were later collected at the same location and at an additional sample site in Ramo Sulfureo and examined, using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). The biomass of all six stream biofilms was dominated by filamentous {gamma}-proteobacteria with Beggiatoa-like and/or Thiothrix-like cells containing abundant sulfur inclusions. The biomass of {varepsilon}-proteobacteria detected using FISH was consistently small, ranging from 0 to less than 15% of the total biomass. Our results suggest that S cycling within the stream biofilms is an important feature of the cave biogeochemistry. Such cycling represents positive biological feedback to sulfuric acid speleogenesis and related processes that create subsurface porosity in carbonate rocks

Observations from active sulfidic karst systems: Is the present the key to understanding Guadalupe Mountain Speleogenesis?, 2006, Hose L. D. , Macalady J. L.

Use of speleologic data to evaluate Holocene uplifting and tilting: An example from the Frasassi anticline (northeastern Apennines, Italy), 2007, Mariani S. , Mainiero M. , Barchi M. , Van Der Borg K. , Vonhof H. , Montanari A.

Deep inside the Frasassi cave complex in the foreland fold and thrust belt of the northeastern Apennines (central Italy), the remains of hundreds of eels (Anguilla anguilla) are found scattered on the shores of phreatic lakes up to 5 m above the water table. These sub-fossil eels, and the speleothemic calcite encrusting some of them, offer the rare opportunity for radiocarbon dating leading to a geochronologic scale for the shorelines, which record the lowering of the water table and the uplifting of the Frasassi area through the Holocene. The lakes' margins are contoured by white microcrystalline calcite rinds, which also record the progressive lowering of the water table. Detailed surveying revealed that these rinds are no longer horizontal, but slightly tilted toward ENE. Thus these rinds record a recent history not only of uplifting, but also of tectonic tilting of this region. The results of our analyses indicate that the Apennine area around Frasassi has been rising, for the past 8000 years, at a mean rate of 0.6 mm/yr, which is consistent with uplifting rates estimated from the step topography arrangement of interglacial fluvial terraces for the whole Quaternary period in this region. This work demonstrates how an interdisciplinary approach to speleologic research can provide a significant contribution to active tectonic studies.

Extremely acidic, pendulous cave wall biofilms from the Frasassi cave system, Italy, 2007, Jennifer L. Macalady, * Daniel S. Jones And Ezra H. Lyon
The sulfide-rich Frasassi cave system hosts an aphotic, subsurface microbial ecosystem including extremely acidic (pH 0?1), viscous biofilms (snottites) hanging from the cave walls. We investigated the diversity and population structure of snottites from three locations in the cave system using full cycle rRNA methods and culturing. The snottites were composed primarily of bacteria related to Acidithiobacillus species. Other populations present in the snottites included Thermoplasmata group archaea, bacteria related to Sulfobacillus, Acidimicrobium, and the proposed bacterial lineage TM6, protists, and filamentous fungi. Based on fluorescence in situ hybridization population counts, Acidithiobacillus are key members of the snottite communities, accompanied in some cases by smaller numbers of archaea related to Ferroplasma and other Thermoplasmata. Diversity estimates show that the Frasassi snottites are among the lowestdiversity natural microbial communities known, with one to six prokaryotic phylotypes observed depending on the sample. This study represents the first in-depth molecular survey of cave snottite microbial diversity and population structure, and contributes to understanding of rapid limestone dissolution and cave formation by microbially mediated sulfuric acid speleogenesis.

Sulfidic ground-water chemistry in the Frasassi Caves, Italy, 2008, Galdenzi S. , Cocchioni M. , Moricheui L. , Amici V. , And Scud S.
A year-long study of the sulfidic aquifer in the Frasassi caves (central Ita ly) employed chemical analysis of the water and measurements of its level, as well as assessments of the concentration of H2S, CO2, and O2 in the cave air. Bica rbonate water seepage derives from diffuse infiltration of meteoric water into the karst surface, and contributes to sulfidic ground-water dilution, with a percentage that varies between 30% and 60% during the year. Even less diluted sulfidic ground water was found in a localized area of the cave between Lago Verde and nearby springs . This water rises from a deeper phreatic zone , and its chemistry changes only slightly with the seasons with a contribution of seepage water that does not exceed 20'10 . In order to understand how the H2S oxidation, which is considered the main cave forming process, is influenced by the seasonal changes in the cave hydrology, the sulfide/total sulfur ratio was related to ground-water dilution and air composition. The data suggest that in the upper phreatic zone, limestone corrosion due to H2S oxidation is prominent in the wet season because of the high recharge of Oj-rich seepage water, while in the dry season, the H2S content increases, but the extent of oxidation is lower. In the cave atmosphere, the low H2S content in ground water during the wet season inhibits the release of this gas, but the H2S concentration increases in the dry season, favoring its oxidation in the air and the replacement of limestone with gypsum on the cave walls.

, 2008, Jones O. S. , Lyon E. H. , And Macalady J. L.
Su lfid ic cave walls host abundant, rapid ly-growing micro bia l communities that display a variety o f mo rphologies previously described for verrn iculations. Here we present molecular, microscopic, isotopic, and geochemical data describing the geomicrobiology o f these biovennic ulations from the Frasassi cave system, Italy. The biove rm iculations are compo sed of densely packed prokaryo tic and funga l cells in a mineral-organ ic matrix co ntaining 5 to 25% o rganic carbon. The carbon and nitrogen isoto pe compositions o f the biovermiculations (ti 13e = - 35 to - 43%0, and til 5N = 4 to - 270/00. respectively) indicate that with in sulfidic zo nes, the o rga nic matter o rigina tes from chemolithotrophic bacterial primary productivity. Based on 165 rRNA gene cloning (n=67). the bioverrn ... iculation communitv is extrernelv diverse, incl uding 48 . ~ . ... representative phylotypes (>98% identity) from at least 15 major bacterial lineages. Important lineages include the Betaproteobacteria (1 9.5% of clones). Gammaproteobacteria (1 8%). Acidobacteria (1 0.5%). Nitrospirae (7.5%). and Planctomyces (7.5%). The most abundant phylotype, comprising over 100/0 of the 16S rRNA gene sequences. groups in an unnamed clade within the Gammaproteobacteria. Based on phylogenetic analysis, we have identified potential sulfur- and nitrite-oxidizing bacte ria. as well as both auto- and heterotrophic members of the biovermiculation community. Additionally. many of the clones a re representatives of deeply branching bacterial lineages with no cultivated representatives. The geochemistry and microbial composition of the biovermicula tions suggest that they play a role in acid production and carbonate disso lution. thereby contributing to cave formation.

Geomicrobiology of biovermiculations from the Frasassi Cave System, Italy, 2008, D. S. Jones, E. H. Lyon, And J. L. Macalady

Sulfidic cave walls host abundant, rapidly-growing microbial communities that display a variety of morphologies previously described for vermiculations. Here we present molecular, microscopic, isotopic, and geochemical data describing the geomicrobiology of these biovermiculations from the Frasassi cave system, Italy. The biovermiculations are composed of densely packed prokaryotic and fungal cells in a mineral-organic matrix containing 5 to 25% organic carbon. The carbon and nitrogen isotope compositions of the biovermiculations (d13C 5 235 to 243%, and d15N 5 4 to 227%, respectively) indicate that within sulfidic zones, the organic matter originates from chemolithotrophic bacterial primary productivity. Based on 16S rRNA gene cloning (n567), the biovermiculation community is extremely diverse, including 48 representative phylotypes (.98% identity) from at least 15 major bacterial lineages. Important lineages include the Betaproteobacteria (19.5% of clones), Gammaproteobacteria (18%), Acidobacteria (10.5%), Nitrospirae (7.5%), and Planctomyces (7.5%). The most abundant phylotype, comprising over 10% of the 16S rRNA gene sequences, groups in an unnamed clade within the Gammaproteobacteria. Based on phylogenetic analysis, we have identified potential sulfur- and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria, as well as both auto- and heterotrophic members of the biovermiculation community. Additionally, many of the clones are representatives of deeply branching bacterial lineages with no cultivated representatives. The geochemistry and microbial composition of the biovermiculations suggest that they play a role in acid production and carbonate dissolution, thereby contributing to cave formation.

Niche differentiation among sulfur-oxidizing bacterial populations in cave waters, 2008, Jennifer L Macalady, Sharmishtha Dattagupta, Irene Schaperdoth, Daniel S Jones, Greg K Druschel And Danielle Eastman
The sulfidic Frasassi cave system affords a unique opportunity to investigate niche relationships among sulfur-oxidizing bacteria, including epsilonproteobacterial clades with no cultivated representatives. Oxygen and sulfide concentrations in the cave waters range over more than two orders of magnitude as a result of seasonally and spatially variable dilution of the sulfidic groundwater. A full-cycle rRNA approach was used to quantify dominant populations in biofilms collected in both diluted and undiluted zones. Sulfide concentration profiles within biofilms were obtained in situ using microelectrode voltammetry. Populations in rock-attached streamers depended on the sulfide/oxygen supply ratio of bulk water (r¼0.97; Po0.0001). Filamentous epsilonproteobacteria dominated at high sulfide to oxygen ratios (4150), whereas Thiothrix dominated at low ratios (o75). In contrast, Beggiatoa was the dominant group in biofilms at the sediment?water interface regardless of sulfide and oxygen concentrations or supply ratio. Our results highlight the versatility and ecological success of Beggiatoa in diffusion-controlled niches, and demonstrate that high sulfide/oxygen ratios in turbulent water are important for the growth of filamentous epsilonproteobacteria.

Productivity-Diversity Relationships from Chemolithoautotrophically Based Sulfidic Karst Systems, 2009, Porter M. L. , Summers Engel A. , Kane T. C. And Kinkle B. K.
Although ecosystems thriving in the absence of photosynthetic processes are no longer considered unique phenomena, we have yet to understand how these ecosystems are energetically sustained via chemosynthesis. Ecosystem energetics were measured in microbial mats from active sulfidic caves (Movile Cave, Romania; Frasassi Caves, Italy; Lower Kane Cave, Wyoming, USA; and Cesspool Cave, Virginia, USA) using radiotracer techniques. We also estimated bacterial diversity using 16S rRNA sequences to relate the productivity measurements to the composition of the microbial communities. All of the microbial communities investigated were dominated by chemolithoautotrophic productivity, with the highest rates from Movile Cave at 281 g C/m2/yr. Heterotrophic productivities were at least one order of magnitude less than autotrophy from all of the caves. We generated 414 new 16S rRNA gene sequences that represented 173 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) with 99% sequence similarity. Although 13% of these OTUs were found in more than one cave, the compositions of each community were significantly different from each other (P?0.001). Autotrophic productivity was positively correlated with overall species richness and with the number of bacterial OTUs affiliated with the Epsilonproteobacteria, a group known for sulfur cycling and chemolithoautotrophy. Higher rates of autotrophy were also strongly positively correlated to available metabolic energy sources, and specifically to dissolved sulfide concentrations. The relationship of autotrophic productivity and heterotrophic cycling rates to bacterial species richness can significantly impact the diversity of higher trophic levels in chemolithoautotrophically-based cave ecosystems, with the systems possessing the highest productivity supporting abundant and diverse macro-invertebrate communities.

A recently evolved symbiosis between chemoautotrophic bacteria and a cave-dwelling amphipod, 2009, Dattagupta, S. , Schaperdoth, I. , Montanari, A. , Mariani, S. , Kita, N. , Valley, J. W. And Macalady, J. L.
Symbioses involving animals and chemoautotrophic bacteria form the foundation of entire ecosystems at deep-sea hydrothermal vents and cold seeps, but have so far not been reported in terrestrial or freshwater environments. A rare example of a terrestrial ecosystem sustained by chemoautotrophy is found within the sulfide-rich Frasassi limestone cave complex of central Italy. In this study, we report the discovery of abundant filamentous bacteria on the exoskeleton of Niphargus ictus, a macroinvertebrate endemic to Frasassi. Using 16S rDNA sequencing and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), we show that N. ictus throughout the large cave complex are colonized by a single phylotype of bacteria in the sulfur-oxidizing clade Thiothrix. The epibiont phylotype is distinct from Thiothrix phylotypes that form conspicuous biofilms in the cave streams and pools inhabited by N. ictus. Using a combination of 13C labeling, FISH, and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS), we show that the epibiotic Thiothrix are autotrophic, establishing the first known example of a non-marine chemoautotroph-animal symbiosis. Conditions supporting chemoautotrophy, and the N. ictus-Thiothrix association, likely commenced in the Frasassi cave complex between 350 000 and 1 million years ago. Therefore, the N. ictus-Thiothrix symbiosis is probably significantly younger than marine chemoautotrophic symbioses, many of which have been evolving for tens to hundreds of million years.


In the Apennine Mountains many examples of hypogene caves are known, generally related to present or past rise of sulfidic water that, mixing with oxygenated water of shallow flow systems, causes the sulfuric acid dissolution of limestone. The hypogene caves are generally located in small limestone outcrops covered by rocks of low permeability that in?uence the groundwater flowpaths. Some caves, however, are known also in hydrogeological massifs, where epigenic caves prevail. The hypogene caves show different patterns, ranging from phreatic to pure water table caves. The former prevail when karst evolved below the water table in structures almost completely covered by low permeability units; the latter occur in zones where a fast recharge of freshwater can reach the sulfidic water from the karst surface. The progressive lowering, thinning and removal of the low-permeability covers by non-karstic erosion processes can cause the progressive evolution from phreatic to water table caves. Active speleogenetic processes due to H2 S oxidation can be directly observed in different hydrogeologic settings: in highly permeable aquifers with ready recharge of freshwater (Frasassi caves), in thermal caves, below low permeability cover (Acquasanta Terme), or in marine thermal caves with salt water intrusion (Capo Palinuro).

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