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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 siphon is 1. synonym for a sump, or a section of flooded cave passage, in common parlance. true siphons, where water flows first up and then down are rare in caves, as the fractures in limestone tend to disrupt the required hydraulics. they are, however, the origin of such intermittent springs as the fontestorbes spring in france, and the ebbing and flowing well at giggleswick yorkshire. both flow in regular pulses when the siphon is full and working, only to cease when the siphon input is broken by air, as the upstream reservoir level drops. their operation depends on critical flows and both operate only in favorable weather conditions [9]. 2. gallery in form of an inverted 'u' with water moving only under pressure when the siphon has completely filled up; the water head at the input end being higher than at the drainage point [20]. 3. in speleology, a cave passage in which the ceiling dips below a water surface [10]. synonyms: (french.) siphon; (german.) siphon; (greek.) siphon; (italian.) sifone; (russian.) sifon; (spanish.) sifon; (turkish.) sifon; (yugoslavian.) sifon, smrk. see also water trap.?

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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 gypsum deposits (Keyword) returned 28 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 28
Origin of gypsum deposits in Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico, 1982,

Relationships between the internal and external evolution of the Monte Cucco Karst Complex. Umbria, Central Italy., 1987, Guzzetti Fausto
The relationships between the internal and external evolution of the Mt. Cucco karst complex are studied. A classic set of equations, involving the oxidation of hydrogen sulphide, originated at depth in an evaporitic formation, is used to explain the presence of massive gypsum deposits in the Mt. Cucco and the Faggeto Tondo caves. The distribution and the morphology of more than 30 caves in the system, the presence of gypsum, always located along faults, and the presence of broken stalactites and columns, suggest that the evolution of the karst system has been controlled by tectonic movements. Relationships between the development of the caves and the geomorphic evolution of the area are proposed.

Le karst du gypse du centre de la dpression de l'Ebre (Espagne), 1990, Soriano, M. A.
THE GYPSUM KARST OF THE CENTER OF THE EBRE BASSIN (SPAIN) - The central Ebro basin was filled with evaporitic deposits (gypsum and limestones) during the Miocene. During the Quaternary, several alluvial terrace and pediment levels were developed and they overlay the gypsum deposits. A large number of karstic landforms developed on gypsum have been found. The most important reason is its high solubility. We have found different types of microlandforms. The most important are Rillenkarren, solution pits and micro etching. There are also small tumuli. They are active at present. We have differentiated three macrolandforms: paleocollapses, depressions and alluvial dolines. The paleocollapses are very narrow and deep. They are filled with quaternary materials. They are not active and were generated in the Middle or Upper Pleistocene. The depressions were developed by the gypsum dissolution, together with topographical and geomorphologic factors. They do not seem to be active nowadays. The alluvial dolines are developed on the terrace and pediment deposits, which overlay gypsum materials. There is basin, well and pan-shaped dolines and they are especially frequent in the T2 terrace level. From the study of aerial photographs of different years, the variations in the number and size of dolines and their density have been determined. Natural factors (lithology and fractures), together with human activities (irrigation) are the principal causes in their development.

Gypsum karst in China., 1996, Cooper Anthony, Yaoru Lu
The Peoples Republic of China has the largest gypsum resources in the world and a long history of their exploitation. The gypsum deposits range in age from Pre-Cambrian to Quaternary and their genesis includes marine, lacustrine, thermal (volcanic and metasomatic), metamorphic and secondary deposits. The gypsum is commonly associated with other soluble rocks such as carbonates and salt. These geological conditions, regional climate differences and tectonic setting strongly influence the karstification process resulting in several karst types in China. Well developed gypsum palaeokarst and some modem gypsum karst is present in the Fengfeng Formation (Ordovician) gypsum of the Shanxi and Hebei Provinces. Collapse columns filled with breccia emanate upwards from this karst and affect the overlying coalfields causing difficult and hazardous mining conditions. Gypsum karst is also recorded in the middle Cambrian strata of Guizhou Province and the Triassic strata of Guizhou and Sichuan Provinces. Gypsum-salt lake karst has developed in the Pleistocene to Recent enclosed basin deposits within the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Plateau.

Gypsum karst in the United States., 1996, Johnson Kenneth S.
Gypsum is one of the most soluble of common rocks; it is dissolved readily to form caves, sinkholes, disappearing streams, and other karst features that typically are found in limestones and dolomites. The four basic requirements for gypsum karst to develop are: (1) a deposit of gypsum; (2) water, unsaturated with CaSO4 (3) an outlet for escape of dissolving water; and (4) energy to cause water to flow through the system. Gypsum deposits are present in 32 of the 48 conterminous United States, and they underlie about 35-40% of the land area; they are reported in rocks of every geologic system from the Precambrian through the Quaternary. Gypsum karst is known at least locally (and sometimes quite extensively) in almost all areas underlain by gypsum, and commonly extends down to depths of at least 30 m below the land surface. The most widespread and pronounced examples of gypsum karst are in the Permian basin of southwestern United States, but many other areas also are significant. Human activities may also cause, or accelerate, development of gypsum karst.

Initial Geologic Observations in Caves Bordering the Sibari Plain (Southern Italy), 1997, Galdenzi, S.
Geologic investigation of caves in the northern Calabria region of Italy has clarified their origin and irregular distribution. Caves and surface karst landforms are not widespread, despite the fact that the local limestones are widely exposed and surface drainage is poorly developed. The caves are located in small limestone hills and mountains around the Sibari Plain and are surrounded by low-permeability rocks. Among them is a significant shaft cave fed by a sinking stream that drains a non-karst recharge area. However, most of the caves are predominantly horizontal and have entrances at low altitudes at several levels. Their origin is due to the rising of thermal waters, which are mineralized after passing through the Neogene formations of the Sibari Plain. The caves can be considered relict hypogenic outflow caves. The main cave-forming process was probably the oxidation of H2S, favored by the mixing of thermal water and infiltrating fresh water. Oxidation of H2S has resulted in gypsum deposits within the caves.

Peculiar landforms in the gypsum karst of Sorbas (southeastern Spain), 1997, Calaforra Jm, Pulidobosch A,
The gypsum karst of Sorbas is developed in selenitic Messinnian gypsum, the sequence being about 120 meters in depth. Within an outcrop of only 12 km(2) there is a great variety of karstic forms, among which the high density of dolines and cavities (over 1000 identified to date) is a notable feature. There also exist many and varied karren landforms, interstratification forms, and tumuli. The karren landforms are strongly developed and are of diverse types. There are also examples of microkarren and nanokarren, such as exfoliation karren or dissolved vacuoles determined by the texture and gypsum crystalline orientation Some of these forms are unique to gypsum materials and have been described for the first time in this area The interstratal erosion karst is very well developed due to the marry intercalations existing in the gypsum deposits. This circumstance determined the speleogenesis of the area, with the formation of galleries following the stratification planes. With this structure, the gypsum strata are little altered, and erosion of the marry strata occurs. In some zones, there is an erosive interstratification karst The tumuli are hollow subcircular domes of the most superficial layer of the gypsum, with sizes varying from a few centimeters to several meters in diameter. Their origin is determined by processes of intercrystalline solution and precipitation, together with the capillary movement of the interstitial water in the gypsum stratum. Their development is related to the abrupt changes in temperature and humidity that are characteristic of semidesert zones such as Sorbas


China has the worlds largest proven gypsum (CaSO4.2H2O) resources in the world. The gypsum ranges from pre-Cambrian to Quaternary in age and occurs in varied geological environments. The rapid dissolution rate of gypsum means that gypsum karst development can be very fast, resulting in progressively worsening geohazards. This paper reviews the characteristics of the gypsum deposits and their associated geohazards in China.Three kinds of gypsum karst are discussed. These include karst in massive thick beds of gypsum, karst in thin-bedded gypsum and compound karst in gypsum and carbonate rocks. Some site-specific problems are also examined. In the Shanxi coalfield, breccia pipes, or collapse columns, caused by the dissolution of Ordovician gypsum, penetrate the overlying Carboniferous and Permian coal-bearing sequences resulting in difficult coal mining conditions. In Guizhou Province re-activated gypsum karst is associated with leakage of water through the gypsum from a reservoir. Remedial engineering works have been carried out, but leakage still occurs. Groundwater abstraction from gypsiferous sequences is also problematical. It can yield sulphate-polluted water and cause subsidence problems both through gypsum dissolution and groundwater drawdown.

Lechuguilla Cave Pool Chemistry, 1986-1999, 2000, Turin, H. J. , Plummer, M. A.
In May 1986, cavers dug into Lechuguilla Cave, in southeastern New Mexico, USA. Subsequent exploration and research have demonstrated that Lechuguilla is a world-class cave, both in size and in speleological importance. Of particular interest to hydrologists and geochemists are the numerous isolated pools throughout much of the cave. Since 1986, close to 200 water samples have been collected and subjected to over 2000 individual analyses. Results of these analyses are collected and published here for the first time. Dominant cations in the pool waters are calcium and magnesium; dominant anions are bicarbonate and sulfate. These characteristics reflect the limestone/dolomite host bedrock of the cave, modified to varying degrees by the caves massive gypsum deposits, associated with the caves early development. The overall chemistry of the water can be explained by a small number of geochemical processes, starting with evaporation and concentration of local rainfall, and dissolution of soil CO2 and local bedrock. Within the cave, excess CO2 is degassed, leading to precipitation of CaCO3 and increased Mg2+:Ca2+ ratios. In some areas of the cave, infiltrating water encounters and dissolves gypsum, leading to increased CaCO3 precipitation and increased SO42-:HCO3- ratios. In at least one location, massive evaporation has created a magnesium sulfate brine. Geochemical characteristics seem to confirm that the pool located at Lechuguillas current deep point is actually the regional aquifer, suggesting that the caves maximum air-filled depth has been reached.

Speleogenesis in gypsum, 2000, Klimchouk A.
The main differences between the solutional properties of gypsum and those of calcite lie in the much higher solubility of gypsum, and in dissolution kinetics of gypsum which is solely diffusion controlled. Unlike calcite, no change of kinetic order occurs with an increase in concentration. Initiation of long lateral flow paths through gypsum is virtually impossible due to the rapid rate of dissolution; no kinetic mechanisms allow slow but uniform dissolutional enlargement throughout the flow paths. Near the surface, fissures are already wide enough for cave development to occur, which is extremely competitive due to rapid dissolution kinetics and the strong dependence of enlargement rates on flow velocity and discharge. Thus caves in gypsum in exposed settings are mainly linear or crudely branching, rapidly adjusting to the contemporary geomorphic setting and available recharge. Vertical pipes or pits form in the vadose zone. No deep phreatic development and no artesian development by lateral flow from distant recharge areas can occur. However, cave origin and development does occur in deep-seated confined settings where gypsum beds in stratified sequences are underlain by, or sandwiched between poorly soluble aquifers. Two situations support cave origin in gypsum in deep-seated settings: (1) transverse flow through gypsum between overlying and underlying aquifers, and (2) lateral flow in an insoluble but permeable aquifer underlying a gypsum bed. The former situation generates either maze caves where uniformly distributed fissure networks exist in the gypsum, or discrete voids where the otherwise low-fissured gypsum is disrupted by prominent tectonic fractures. If considerable conduit porosity has been created in a deep-seated setting, it provides ready paths for more intense groundwater circulation and further cave development when the gypsum is uplifted into the shallow subsurface. Thick and low-fissured sulfate strata can survive burial with no speleogenesis at all where surrounded by poorly permeable beds. When exposed to the surface, such gypsum deposits undergo speleogenetic development with no inherited features, presenting the pure line of open karst.

Evaporite karst and resultant geohazards in China, 2002, Lu Y. R. , Zhang F. E. , Qi J. X. , Xu J. M. , Guo X. H. ,
The main kinds of evaporite karst, both sulphate karst and halide karst, are widely distributed in China. Gypsum karst is especially widespread, because China contains the largest gypsum resources in the world. These gypsum deposits range in age from Precambrian to Quaternary, and they were deposited in many environments, including marine, lacustrine, thermal process, metamorphic, and also as secondary deposits. Halide karst is developed in rock salt and salt-water lakes, the latter related to more than 300 salt-water lakes distributed in the Qinghai Plateau of Xizang (Tibet) province. Gypsum and halite are easily dissolved; therefore, development of evaporite karst is somewhat different when compared with carbonate karst, which has developed many typical features in China. This paper discusses the mechanism and development of evaporite karst in sulphate rocks and in halides, and makes comparisons between evaporite karst and carbonate karst based upon field investigations and new tests in the laboratory. The geohazards of evaporite karst usually are triggered by natural karst processes, but often they are exaggerated by artificial (human) actions and engineering impacts that cause flesh groundwater or surface water to come in contact with the evaporite rocks. Some examples of evaporite-karst geohazards are described in this paper; they are present in Shandong, Sichuan, and Guizhou Provinces, and in the Qinghai Plateau of China

Lower Miocene gypsum palaeokarst in the Madrid Basin (central Spain): dissolution diagenesis, morphological relics and karst end-products, 2002, Rodriguezaranda J. P. , Calvo J. P. , Sanzmontero M. E. ,
The Miocene sedimentary record of the Madrid Basin displays several examples of palaeokarstic surfaces sculpted within evaporite formations. One of these palaeokarstic surfaces represents the boundary between two main lithostratigraphic units, the Miocene Lower and Intermediate units of the Madrid Basin. The palaeokarst formed in lacustrine gypsum deposits of Aragonian age and corresponds to a surface palaeokarst (epikarst), further buried by terrigenous deposits of the overlying unit. Karst features are recognized up to 5.5 m beneath the gypsum surface. Exokarst and endokarst zones are distinguished by the spatial distribution of solution features, i.e. karren, dolines, pits, conduits and caves, and collapse breccias, sedimentary fills and alteration of the original gypsum across the karst profiles. The development of the gypsum palaeokarst began after drying out of a saline lake basin, as supported by recognition of root tubes, later converted to cylindrical and funnel-shaped pits, at the top of the karstic profiles. The existence of a shallow water table along with low hydraulic gradients was the main factor controlling the karst evolution, and explains the limited depth reached by both exokarst and endokarst features. Synsedimentary fill of the karst system by roughly laminated to massive clay mudstone with subordinate carbonate and clastic gypsum reflects a punctuated sedimentation regime probably related to episodic heavy rainfalls typical of arid to semi-arid climates. Duration of karstification is of the order of several thousands of years, which is consistent with previous statements that gypsum karstification can develop rapidly over geologically short time periods

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.

Overview of the karst occurences in northern Cyprus, 2003, Necdet, Mehmet

Cyprus is at the easternmost part of the Mediterranean and is in the intersected zone bezween Eurasia, Africa and Arabic Plates. Karstification occurs as travertines or caves in Northern Cyprus in formation of different ages. Those formations are the dolomitic limestones of Kyrenia (Girne) Range of Jurassic - Upper Cretaceous; Gypsum Deposits of Messinian ages. Travertine terraces (Quaternary) are seen as characteristic at the northern edge of the Kyrenia Range. Secondary limestones of Holocene age were deposited on the older sediments and seen with some sort of karst features over the island. Karstic occurrences are seen as different size of open or sealed caves and the sinkholes in those formations mentioned above.

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CAVE MINERALS AND H2S RICH THERMAL WATERS ALONG THE CERNA VALLEY (SW ROMANIA), 2009, Onac Bogdan P. , Sumrall Jonathan, Tamas Tudor, Povara Ioan, Kearns Joe, Drmiceanu Veronica, Veres Daniel & Lascu Cristian
Within the Cerna Valley in southwestern Romania, over a 100 caves were formed in the Jurassic and Cretaceous limestone that outcrops on the valley walls. Three aspects are prominent when entering most of the caves in this region: the presence of considerable gypsum deposits, the amount of guano, and the cave temperature. High temperature anomalies are uncommon in the cave environment. In certain caves in the lower part of Cerna Valley, however, one can measure air temperatures as high as 40C. This situation is due to the presence of thermal water pooling or =owing through the caves or to the hot steam that rises along fractures from deeper thermal water pools. As a result, these caves provide a unique set of conditions that allowed for the deposition of a suite of unusual minerals. This study presents the results of fiftyy-seven mineral samples that were investigated by means of X-ray diffraction, geochemical, Fourier-transformed infrared spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscope analyses with the scope of linking the cave minerals with likely hypo- gene speleogenetic processes. Here we document the occurrence of twenty-two secondary cave minerals, among which, apjonite and tamarugite are the first recorded occurrences in a limestone cave environment. The minerals fall into three distinct associations: sulfate-dominated (Diana Cave), phosphate-dominated (Adam Shaft), and sulfate-phosphate-nitrate-rich assemblage (Great Salitrari Cave). Additional isotopic measurements performed on sulfate speleothems contribute valuable information on both minerals and cave origins.

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