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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 stream development is the ratio of actual tortuous stream length between two points on a straight line connecting these points [16].?

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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 paleowater (Keyword) returned 8 results for the whole karstbase:
Occurrence and significance of stalactites within the epithermal deposits at Creede, Colorado, 1996, Campbell Wr, Barton Pb,
In addition to the common and abundant features in karst terranes, stalactites involving a wide variety of minerals have also been found in other settings, including epigenetic mineral deposits, bur these are almost always associated with supergene stages. Here we describe a different mode of occurrence from the Creede epithermal ore deposits, in Colorado, wherein stalactites of silica, sphalerite, galena, or pyrite formed in a vapor-dominated setting, below the paleo-water table, and except possibly for pyrite, as part of the hypogene mineralization. Axial cavities may, or may not, be present. No stalagmites have been recognized. The stalactites are small, from a few millimeters to a few centimeters long and a few millimeters in outer diameter. They represent only a small fraction of one percent of the total mineralization, and are covered by later crystals. Their growth orientation usually is unobservable; however, the parallel arrangement of all stalactites in a given specimen, consistency with indicators of gravitational settling, and the common presence of axial structures make the stalactitic interpretation almost unavoidable. In contrast with common carbonate stalactites, the growth mechanism for th sulfide and silica stalactites requires extensive evaporation. Stalactitic forms have also been reported from other deposits, mostly epithermal or Mississippi Valley-type occurrences, but we caution that stalactite-like features can form by alternative processes

La grotte et le karst de Cango (Afrique du Sud), 2000, Martini, J. E. J.
The author describes a small karst area in the extreme south of the African Continent, with special reference to the Cango Cave, which is a major tourist attraction. Compared with the other karsts of Southern Africa, this area is unique. The karst is typically exogenic, with caves forming by stream disappearance into swallow holes, where the thalweg intersects steeply dipping Precambrian limestone. Wet caves are vadose, with only short phreatic segments and exhibit rectilinear, longitudinal sections. Passages are low, but wide with bevelled ceilings, often terraced. This peculiar morphology is typical of the caves developing exactly on the water-table and seems to be controlled by the abundance of sediments introduced from the swallow holes. If one excepts a short active lower level, Cango is a dry cave of the same type than the wet ones. It is practically linear in plan and in profile, with a length of 2.6 km from entrance to end for a total of 5.2 km of passages. The age of the speleogenesis has been estimated as early Pleistocene from the entrance elevation, which is in between the altitude of the actual thalweg and the one of the Post African I erosion surface, which started to be eroded during the Upper Pliocene. This relatively young age is in contrast with a Miocene model, which was accepted by most of the previous authors. Cango is well adorned with speleothems, in particular with outstanding abundant shields, monocrystalline stalagmites and pools coated with calcite crystals. In the first chambers from entrance, the speleothems have been deeply corroded by bat guano, with deposition of hydroxylapatite. Previously this corrosion was attributed to resolution due to several rises of the paleowater-table. The meteorology is discussed, in particular the high carbon dioxide, which indicates that the cave is poorly ventilated and which constitutes a problem for management and conservation.

Origin, evolution and residence time of saline thermal fluids (Balaruc springs, southern France): implications for fluid transfer across the continental shelf, 2002, Aquilina L, Ladouche B, Doerfliger N, Seidel Jl, Bakalowicz M, Dupuy C, Le Strat P,
Thermal fluids in the Balaruc-les-Bains peninsula, on the northeastern edge of the Than lagoon (southern France), supply the third largest spa in France. These thermal fluids interact with karst water in the Upper Jurassic aquifer composed of limestone and dolomite, forming two massifs to the east and north of the lagoon. These calcareous formations extend under the western end of the Than lagoon. Geochemical and isotope analyses were carried out in 1996 and 1998 on the thermal wells of the Balaruc-les-Bains peninsula to determine the origin of the thermal fluids and their interaction with subsurface karst water. The thermal fluids are a mixture of karst water and water of marine origin. H-3 and NO3 concentrations show that the proportion of present-day karst water in certain thermal wells is small (<5%), thus enabling us to define a 'pure' thermal end-member. The thermal end-member is itself a mixture of seawater and meteoric paleowater. Ca and Sr concentrations indicate a lengthy interaction with the carbonate substratum of the deep reservoir. Sr isotope signatures are very homogeneous and associated mainly with the dissolution of Jurassic carbonate, but also to evaporitic minerals. delta(13)C contents indicate that this dissolution is linked to deep inflow of CO2. Sr-87, trace element and rare earth element (REE) concentrations indicate that there is also a component, with a systematically minor participation, whose origin is deeper than the Jurassic carbonate and attributed to the Triassic and/or to the crystalline basement. Cl-36 concentrations are extremely low, indicating a residence time of around a hundred thousand years. The outflow temperature of the thermal fluids reaches 50 degreesC, and geothermometers indicate a reservoir temperature of around 80-100 degreesC, locating this aquifer at a depth of between 2000 and 2500 m. The geometry of the geological formations indicates a thrust plane associated with major basement faulting that separates the two calcareous massifs and seems to control the rise of deep thermal fluids from the Jurassic carbonate reservoirs and the participation of a deeper component from the basement and/or the Triassic. The present study shows that seawater can infiltrate at great depths and reside for long periods of time compared to the subsurface groundwater cycle. Compared to other highly saline fluids encountered in basement zones, these waters have a relatively well-preserved marine signature, probably due to the carbonate nature of the aquifer in which the fluids resided and their short residence time. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Origin, evolution and residence time of saline thermal fluids (Balaruc springs, southern France): implications for fluid transfer across the continental shelf, 2002, Aquilina L. Ladouche B. Doerfliger N. , Seidel J. L. , Bakalowicz M. , Dupuy C. , Le Strat P.

Thermal fluids in the Balaruc-les-Bains peninsula, on the northeastern edge of the Thau lagoon (southern France), supply the third largest spa in France. These thermal fluids interact with karst water in the Upper Jurassic aquifer composed of limestone and dolomite, forming two massifs to the east and north of the lagoon. These calcareous formations extend under the western end of the Thau lagoon. Geochemical and isotope analyses were carried out in 1996 and 1998 on the thermal wells of the Balaruc-les-Bains peninsula to determine the origin of the thermal fluids and their interaction with subsurface karst water. The thermal fluids are a mixture of karst water and water of marine origin. 3H and NO3 concentrations show that the proportion of present-day karst water in certain thermal wells is small ( < 5%), thus enabling us to define a ‘‘pure’’ thermal end-member. The thermal end-member is itself a mixture of seawater and meteoric paleowater. Ca and Sr concentrations indicate a lengthy interaction with the carbonate substratum of the deep reservoir. Sr isotope signatures are very homogeneous and associated mainly with the dissolution of Jurassic carbonate, but also to evaporitic minerals. y13C contents indicate that this dissolution is linked to deep inflow of CO2. 87Sr, trace element and rare earth element (REE) concentrations indicate that there is also a component, with a systematically minor participation, whose origin is deeper than the Jurassic carbonate and attributed to the Triassic and/or to the crystalline basement. 36Cl concentrations are extremely low, indicating a residence time of around a hundred thousand years. The outflow temperature of the thermal fluids reaches 50 jC, and geothermometers indicate a reservoir temperature of around 80–100 jC, locating this aquifer at a depth of between 2000 and 2500 m. The geometry of the geological formations indicates a thrust plane associated with major basement faulting that separates the two calcareous massifs and seems to control the rise of deep thermal fluids from the Jurassic carbonate reservoirs and the participation of a deeper component from the basement and/or the Triassic. The present study shows that seawater can infiltrate at great depths and reside for long periods of time compared to the subsurface groundwater cycle. Compared to other highly saline fluids encountered in basement zones, these waters have a relatively well-preserved marine signature, probably due to the carbonate nature of the aquifer in which the fluids resided and their short residence time.


HYPOGENE CAVES IN AUSTRIA, 2009, Plan L. , Spotl C. , Pavuza R. , Dublyansky Y.

Among the ca. 14,000 registered caves of Austria few have been attributed to hypogene speleogenesis. This paper provides an overview of hypogene caves in Austria. A few dozen examples are known around the Vienna Basin. Some of these caves, such as Eisensteinhhle and Nasser Schacht, display a thermally anomalous microclimate and are associated with thermal springs. Other caves are inactive, but their morphology and deposits are suggestive of a hypogene origin. Preliminary morphologic observations suggest sulfuric speleogenesis for Stephanshhle near Bad Deutsch Altenburg. In the Northern Calcareous Alps, which host the majority of caves of Austria, only very few have previously been identi?ed as hypogene (e.g., Mrchenhhle, Wasserhhle), but the number of such caves is likely to increase in the near future. Also, “normal” (epigenetic) cave systems sometimes show morphological evidence suggestive of a hypogene origin, but conclusive proof is lacking. The only Austrian cave where a sulfuric acid speleogenesis is well documented is Kraushhle. In marbles of the Central Alps lukewarm and thermal springs are present and cavities of likely hypogene origin were encountered during tunnel construction near Lend. In a nearby cave, Entrische Kirche, isotopic evidence of marble alteration by warm paleowaters was recently identi?ed. Extensive calcite deposits are also known from nearby Stegbachgraben, and ongoing isotopic and fluid-inclusion studies strongly suggest hypogene water-rock interaction at lukewarm (<40°C) temperatures there. A few caves in the Southern Calcareous Alps also show morphological evidence of a hypogene origin (e.g. Kozakhhle), which is U/Th-dated to older than ca. 144,000 years. CO2 -rich springs discharge nearby.


Geochemistry and isotope geochemistry of the Monfalcone thermal waters (northern Italy): inference on the deep geothermal reservoir, 2013, Petrini R. , Italiano F. , Ponton M. , Slejko F. F. , Aviani U. , Zini L.

Geochemical investigations were carried out to define the origin of the low- to moderate-temperature thermal waters feeding the Monfalcone springs in northern Italy. Chemical data indicate that waters approach the composition of seawater. Mixing processes with cold low-salinity waters are highlighted. The δ18O and δD values are in the range −5.0 to −6.4 ‰, and −33 to −40 ‰, respectively, suggesting the dilution of the saline reservoir by karst-type freshwaters. A surplus of Ca2+ and Sr2+ ions with respect to a conservative mixing is ascribed to diagenetic reactions of the thermal waters with Cretaceous carbonates at depth. The measured Sr isotopic composition (87Sr/86Sr ratio) ranges between 0.70803 and 0.70814; after correction for the surplus Sr, a 87Sr/86Sr ratio indicating Miocene paleo-seawater is obtained. The dissolved gases indicate long-lasting gas–water interactions with a deep-originated gas phase of crustal origin, dominated by CO2 and marked by a water TDIC isotopic composition in the range −5.9 to−8.8 and helium signature with 0.08 < R/Ra < 0.27, which is a typical range for the crust. A possible scenario for the Monfalcone thermal reservoir consists of Miocene marine paleowaters which infiltrated through the karstic voids formed within the prevalently Cretaceous carbonates during the upper Eocene emersion of the platform, and which were entrapped by the progressive burial by terrigenous sediments.


Fingerprinting water-rock interaction in hypogene speleogenesis: potential and limitations of isotopic depth-profiling, 2014, Spötl Ch, Dublyansky Y.

Dissolution processes in karst regions commonly involve (meteoric) water whose stable isotopic (O, H, C) composition is distinctly different from that of the paleowaters from which the host rock (limestone, dolostone) formed. This, in theory, should lead to isotopic alteration of the host rock beyond the active solution surface as the modern karst water is out of isotopic equilibrium with the carbonate rock. No such alteration has been reported, however, in epigenetic karst systems. In contrast, isotopic alteration, commonly referred to as isotopic halos or fronts, are known from various hypogene systems (ore deposits, active hydro­thermal systems, etc.). These empirical observations suggest that stable isotope data may be a diagnostic tool to identify hypogene water-rock interactions particularly in cave systems whose origin is ambiguous.

We have been testing the applicability of this assumption to karst settings by studying the isotopic composition of carbonate host rocks in a variety of caves showing clear-cut hypogene morphologies. Cores drilled into the walls of cave chambers and galleries were stud­ied petrographically and the C and O isotope composition was analyzed along these cores, which typically reached a depth of 0.5 to 1.2 m. We identified three scenarios: (a) no isotopic alteration, (b) a sigmoidal isotope front within a few centimeters of the cave wall, and (c) pervasive isotope alteration throughout the entire core length. Type (a) was found in caves where the rate of cave wall retreat apparently outpaced the rate of isotopic alteration of the wall rock (which is typical, for example, for sulfuric acid speleogenesis). Type (c) was observed in geologically young, porous limestone showing evidence of alteration zones up to 5 m wide. The intermediate type (b) was identified in hypogene karst cavities developed in tight limestone, dolostone and marble.

Our data in conjunction with evidence from speleothems and their geochemical and fluid-inclusion composition suggest that the spa­tial extent of the isotopic alteration front depends on the porosity and permeability, as well as on the saturation state of the water. Wider alteration zones primarily reflect a higher permeability. Shifts are most distinct for oxygen isotopes and less so for carbon, whereby the amplitude depends on a number of variables, including the isotopic composition of unaltered host rock, the isotopic composition of the paleofluid, the temperature, the water/rock ratio, the surface of water-rock contact, the permeability of the rock, and the time available for isotope exchange. If the other parameters can be reasonably constrained, then semi-quantitative temperature estimates of the paleowater can be obtained assuming isotopic equilibrium conditions.

If preserved (scenarios b and c), alteration fronts are a strong evidence of hypogene speleogenesis, and, in conjunction with hypogene precipitates, allow to fingerprint the isotopic and physical parameters of the altering paleofluid. The reverse conclusion is not valid, however; i.e. the lack of evidence of isotopic alteration of the cave wall rock cannot be used to rule out hypogene paleo-water-rock interaction.


Hypogene speleogenesis in dolomite host rock by CO2-rich fluids, Kozak Cave (southern Austria), 2015,

A growing number of studies suggest that cave formation by deep-seated groundwater  (hypogene) is a more common process of subsurface water-rock interaction than previously  thought. Fossil hypogene caves are identified by a characteristic suite of morphological  features on different spatial scales. In addition, mineral deposits (speleothems) may provide  clues about the chemical composition of the paleowater, which range from CO2-rich to  sulfuric acid-bearing waters. This is one of the first studies to examine hypogene cave  formation in dolomite. Kozak Cave is a fossil cave near the Periadriatic Lineament, an area  known for its abundance of CO2-rich springs. The cave displays a number of macro-, mesoand  micromorphological elements found also in other hypogene caves hosted in limestone,  marble or gypsum, including cupolas, cusps, Laughöhle-type chambers and notches. The  existance of cupolas and cusps suggests a thermal gradient capable of sustaining free  convection during a first phase of speleogenesis, while triangular cross sections (Laughöhle  morphology) indicate subsequent density-driven convection close to the paleowater table Notches mark the final emergence of the cave due to continued rock uplift and valley  incision. Very narrow shafts near the end of the cave may be part of the initial feeder system,  but an epigene (vadose) overprint cannot be ruled out. Vadose speleothems indicate that the  phreatic phase ended at least about half a million years ago. Drill cores show no evidence of  carbon or oxygen isotope alteration of the wall rock. This is in contrast to similar studies in  limestone caves, and highlights the need for further wall-rock studies of caves hosted in  limestone and dolomite


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