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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 terminal moraine is a glacial deposit accumulated in front of a glacier [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 phreatic zone (Keyword) returned 70 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 70
The role of tributary mixing in chemical variations at a karst spring, Milandre, Switzerland, , Perrin J. , Jeannin P. Y. , Cornaton F. ,
SummarySolute concentration variations during flood events were investigated in a karst aquifer of the Swiss Jura. Observations were made at the spring, and at the three main subterraneous tributaries feeding the spring. A simple transient flow and transport numerical model was able to reproduce chemographs and hydrographs observed at the spring, as a result of a mixing of the concentration and discharge of the respective tributaries. Sensitivity analysis carried out with the model showed that it is possible to produce chemical variations at the spring even if all tributaries have constant (but different for each of them) solute concentrations. This process is called tributary mixing. The good match between observed and modelled curves indicate that, in the phreatic zone, tributary mixing is probably an important process that shapes spring chemographs. Chemical reactions and other mixing components (e.g. from low permeability volumes) have a limited influence.Dissolution-related (calcium, bicarbonate, specific conductance) and pollution-related parameters (nitrate, chloride, potassium) displayed slightly different behaviours: during moderate flood events, the former showed limited variations compared to the latter. During large flood events, both presented chemographs with significant changes. No significant event water participates in moderate flood events and tributary mixing will be the major process shaping chemographs. Variations are greater for parameters with higher spatial variability (e.g. pollution-related). Whereas for large flood events, the contribution of event water becomes significant and influences the chemographs of all the parameters. As a result, spring water vulnerability to an accidental pollution is low during moderate flood events and under base flow conditions. It strongly increases during large flood events, because event water contributes to the spring discharge

Ecological and Faunistic Data on the Stenasellidae (Crustacea Isopoda Asellota of Subterranean Waters)., 1974, Magniez Guy
Some important morphological features, which are discussed here, point out that the Stenasellids (Crustacea Isopoda Asellota) must be considered as a true family (Stenasellidae), independent from the Asellidae. A definition and a renewed diagnosis of the Stenasellidae Dudich, 1924, are given. Their relationships must be pursued, especially in the marine Parastenetroidea and in the psammic Microcerberidae. Until 1938, the group was known only from subterranean waters of southern Europe. Now, several genera and many thermophile species from north-tropical underground waters have been discovered in Africa (5 gen., 12 sp.), Asia (1 gen., 2 sp.) and Central America (1 gen., 4 sp.). The Stenasellids are very active burrowers. Such a behaviour explains how their phyletic lines had colonized the continental underground waters, by migrations from the littoral gravels to the underflow of rivers, phreatic alluvial waters and fnally, to the karstic waters. The typical medium for the life of the group is represented by the phreatic zones of African shields arenas. In European phyletic lines, the speciation seems to be linked with tertiary subsidences (within the Tyrrhenian area, for the line of Stenasellus virei). The European species which have survived quaternary glaciations may have diversified themselves (rising of subspecies), recolonizing newly vacant biotopes in postglacial ages.

Sedimentary Development of the Walli Caves, New South Wales, 1974, Frank, R.

The sedimentary history of the Walli Caves began with the deposition of finely laminated clay during the latter part of bedrock development in the phreatic zone. After aeration and entrance development, entrance facies accumulated, and this was followed by the deposition of large amounts of fluvial and lacustrine deposits. Episodic fluvial erosion of these deposits then took place, and flowstone was formed extensively during periods between each active erosion phase to produce a striking sequence of suspended flowstone sheets.


The development of limestone cave systems in the dimensions of length and depth., 1978, Ewers R. O. , Ford Derek Clifford
Karst caves are defined as solutional cavities 5-16 mm in diameter and discussion is limited to cases where such continuously extend to a surficial input or output or both. Three opposed sets of general genetic hypotheses ("the classical hypotheses") have been presented for such caves, Arguing that the majority develop 1) in the vadose zone 2) in the phreatic zone 3) proximate and parallel to a watertable. It is contended here that vadose, phreatc and watertable caves are all of common occurrence and may be linked in one genetic theory. A four state model is proposed in which ideal phreatic and watertable caverns are end members: in a given massif of soluble rock the state (cave type) that develops is a function of the frequency of fissures penetrable by groundwater. The water-table type is the high frequency end member. Fissure frequency increases with passage of time after onset of karstification and gradational features may also develop to modify phreatic types. Vadose caves may be of "drawdown" type (following an initial phreatic path) or "invasion" type (developing a new path through rock drained by earlier caves). Extensive cave systems may comprise vadose, phreatic and/or watertable developed contemporaneously.

Structure, Sediments and Speleogenesis at Cliefden Caves, New South Wales, 1978, Osborne, R. Armstrong L.

The Cliefden Caves have developed in the Late Ordovician Cliefden Caves Limestone mainly by solution in the phreatic zone. Speleogenesis has been inhibited in steeply dipping thinly bedded limestone and shows a high degree of structural control. Collapse has been significant in late stage development of the caves. Much sediment has been deposited in the four caves studied in detail - Main Cliefden, Murder, Boonderoo and Transmission. Formed in the phreatic zone, layered clay fill is the earliest sediment deposited and occurs in all but Transmission Cave. The phosphate mineral heterosite is found in these sediments. Subaqueous precipitation deposits deposited in the phreas or vadose pools are distinguished from speleothems by their texture. Aragonite is inferred to have been deposited in these sediments and to have since inverted to calcite. Friable loam and porous cavity fill are the most common vadose deposits in the caves. Vadose cementation has converted friable loam to porous cavity fill. Speleothem deposits are prolific in Main Cliefden, Murder and Boonderoo Caves. Helictites are related to porous wall surfaces, spar crystals result from flooding of caves in the vadose zone and blue stalactites are composed of aragonite. Cliefden Caves belong to that class proposed by Frank (1972) in which deposition has been more important than downcutting late in their developmental history.


Les grandes cavits alpines, 1984, Delannoy J. J. , Maire R.
THE LARGE ALPINE CAVES: DISTRIBUTION AND HYDROGEOLOGICAL CONTEXT - Western Alps possess about 40 caves deeper than 500m. The large karstic systems are situated principally in the external alpine zone (subalpine ranges) and secondly in the internals alpine zone (Marguareis). These caves develop in different structural patterns (perched syncline, anticline...). The vadose zone is characterised by a vadose circulation, the phreatic zone has a diverse importance, depending on geological structure.

Une morphologie karstique typique en zone intertropicale : les karsts du Bas Zare, 1985, Quinif, Y.
A TYPICAL MORPHOLOGY OF TROPICAL KARSTS: THE KWILU BASIN IN THE LOWER-ZAIRE - The Kwilu basin, in the region of Bas-Zaire, shows typical landscapes of tropical karsts: cone and tower karsts shaped in precambrian limestones of the "Groupe schisto-calcaire". These precambrian series are little tectonised. They are covered with cenozoic formations which are important in the evolution of the karst. Different types of cavities are studied and replaced in the morphostructural context: old caves, originating in phreatic zone and now cut by the erosion, river streams in tunnel-caves, network under the water table. The superficial forms are interpreted as successive evolutive steps: dissection of a surface (morphological or structural) by a dendritic hydrographic network, birth of a cone-karst being transformed in tower-karst overlooking a new surface. We insist on the morphogenetic importance of the paleoclimatic changes and on the existence of an intertropical karstic morphology in stable craton.

Premires observations morphologiques et splologiques sur le karst haut-alpin du Tennengebirge (Salzburg, Autriche), 1987, Audra, Ph.
THE MASSIF OF TENNENGEBIRGE (SALZBURG, AUSTRIA) - The Tennengebirge, in the Salzburg limestone Alps, are characterised by an important high alpine karst, containing some of the deepest austrian caves (Batman Hhle: -1219m, Schneeloch: 1086m, Platteneck: -937m, Gipfel Loch: -852m). The phreatic zone locates at 720m asl. The main springs are situated on the northern side of the mountain. A description of the Vordere Pitschenberg Valley has been sketched illustrating a large diversity and underground, of actual or inherited character.

A MIDDLE PROTEROZOIC PALEOKARST UNCONFORMITY AND ASSOCIATED SEDIMENTARY-ROCKS, ELU BASIN, NORTHWEST CANADA, 1991, Pelechaty S. M. , James N. P. , Kerans C. , Grotzinger J. P. ,
A major palaeokarst erosion surface is developed within the middle Proterozoic Elu Basin, northwestern Canada. This palaeokarst is named the sub-Kanuyak unconformity and truncates the Parry Bay Formation, a sequence of shallow-marine dolostones that were deposited within a north-facing carbonate platform under a semi-arid climate. The sub-Kanuyak unconformity exhibits up to 90 m of local relief, and also formed under semi-arid conditions when Parry Bay dolostones were subaerially exposed during a relative sea-level drop of about 180 m. Caves and various karren developed within the meteoric vadose and phreatic zones. Their geometry, size and orientation were largely controlled by northwest- and northeast-trending antecedent joints, bedding, and lithology. Near-surface caves later collapsed forming valleys, and intervening towers or walls, and plains. Minor terra rossa formed on top of highs. Karstification was most pronounced in southern parts of Bathurst Inlet but decreased northward, probably reflecting varying lengths of exposure time along a north-dipping slope. The Kanuyak Formation is up to 65 m thick, and partially covers the underlying palaeokarst. It consists of six lithofacies: (i) breccia formed during collapse of caves, as reworked collapse breccia and regolith; (ii) conglomerate representing gravel-dominated braided-fluvial deposits; (iii) sandstone deposited as braided-fluvial and storm-dominated lacustrine deposits; (iv) interbedded sandstone, siltstone and mudstone of sheet flood origin; (v) dolostones formed from dolocretes and quiet-water lacustrine deposits; and (vi) red-beds representing intertidal-marine mudflat deposits. Rivers flowed toward the northwest and northeast within karst valleys and caves; lakes were also situated within valleys; marine mudflat sediments completely cover the palaeokarst to the north. A regional correlation of the sub-Kanuyak unconformity with the intra-Greenhorn Lakes disconformity within the Coppermine homocline suggests that similar styles of karstification occurred over an extensive region. The Elu Basin palaeokarst, however, was developed more landward, and was exposed for a longer period of time than the Coppermine homocline palaeokarst

Alpine karsts. Genesis of large subterranean networks. Examples : the Tennengebirge (Austria) - the Ile de Crémieu, the Chartreuse and the Vercors (France), PhD Thesis, 1993, Audra, Philippe

This work, based on the study of several underground alpine networks, aims to propose some milestone in the history of these karstic regions.

The first part of the work is made up of three regional studies.

The Tennengebirge mountains are a massif of the limestone High Alps in the region of Salzburg in Austria. A cone karst close to the base level developed in the Neogene. Streams from the Alps fed the karst, resulting in the huge horizontal networks of which the Eisriesenwelt provides evidence. During the successive phases of upthrust, the levels of karstification, whether on the surface or deeper down, settled into a tier pattern, thus descending in stages from the base level. From the Pliocene era onwards, thanks to an increase in potential, alpine shafts replace the horizontal networks. The formation of these shafts is more pronounced during glaciation. The study of the Cosa Nostra - Bergerhöhle system developing 30 km of conduits on a gradient reaching almost 1 500 m provides a fairly full view of the karstification of this massif. It includes the horizontal levels developed in the Miocene and the Plio-Pleistocene, joined together by vertical sections. The most noteworthy features of the Tennengebirge, as in the neighboring massifs, lie first and foremost in the extreme thickness of the limestone which has recorded and immunized the differents steps of karstification. Secondly, the size of the networks can be, for the most part, accounted for by the contribution of allogenous waters from the streams of the Neogene and the glaciers of the Pleistocene. Generally sudden and unexpected, these flows of water engendered heavy loads (up to 600 m), simultaneously flooding several levels. To a lesser extent, the situation is similar today.

The Ile de Cremieu is a low limestone plateau on the western edge of the Jura. Due to its location in the foothills, the lobes of the Rhône glacier have covered it up, obliterating the surface karst. However, widespread evidence of anteglacial morphologies remains : paleokarst, cone karst, polygenic surface. Because of glacial plugging, access to the underground karst is limited. The main cavity is the cave of La Balme. Its initial development dates back to an early period. The morphological study has permitted the identification of several phases which go back to the Pleistocene and which are related to the Rhône glacier. The latter brought about modifications in the base level by supplying its merging waters as well as moraine material. These variations in the base level shaped the drainage structure. The underground glacial polishes are one of the noteworthy aspects recorded.

The massives of the Moucherotte and dent de Crolles belong to the northern French Prealps. They conceal large networks, respectively the Vallier cave and the Dent de Crolles. They were formed in the early Pliocene after the final orogenic phase and are in the form of horizontal conduits. The upthrust, which brought about the embanking of the Isère valley, left them in a perched position by taking away the basin which fed them. They were later, however, able to take advantage of waters from the Isère glacier during a part of the Pleistocene. The Vallier cave contains particularly glacio-karstic sediments of the lower Pleistocene, representing unique evidence of glaciation during this period. The vertical networks were put in place at the end of the Pliocene with the increase in karstification potential ; they underwent changes in the Pleistocene due to the effect of autochton and allogenous glaciers.

The second part of the work deals in general with the various forms and processes of karstification, sometimes going beyond the Alps. The study of cave deposits is a privileged tool in the understanding and reconstruction not only of the history of the networks but also the regional environment. The dating of speleothems by the U / Th method has very ofen given an age of over 350 000 years. The age of the networks is confirmed by the use of paleomagnetism which has yielded evidence of speleothems and glacio-karstic sediments anterior to 780 000 years. Anisotropic measurements of magnetic susceptibility have been used to distinguish the putting into place of glacio-karstic deposits by decantation.

Measurements of calcite rates lead to a typology of sediments based on their nature and carbonate content (rehandled weathered rocks, fluvial sands, carbonated varves, decantation clays). Granulometry confirms this differenciation by supplying precise details of transport and sedimentation modes : suspension and abrupt precipitation of clay, suspension and slow decantation of carbonated varves, suspension and rolling together with a variable sorting of sand and gravel. Mineralogical analyses oppose two types of detrital deposits. On the one hand, the rehandling of antequaternary weathered rocks extracted by the karst as a result of scouring during environmental destabilization and on the other hand, sediments characteristic of the ice age of the Pleistocene. The latter are not highly developed and their arrival in the karst is always later. Examination of heavy minerals, the morphoscopy of quartz grains and study of micromorphologies on thin blades provide precise details of conditions of evolution. The use of these methods of investigation allows for an accurate definition of the features of the evolution of the differents types of fillings, particularly speleothems, rehandled weathered rocks as well as carbonated varves. This wealth and complexity are emphasized by a detailed study of the sedimentary sequences of the Vallier cave and of the Bergerhöhle.
Speleogenesis is approached last of all in the light of above study. Emphasis is placed on the major part played by corrosion in the temporarily phreatic zone and on its many consequences (multi-level concept, simultaneous evolution of levels, origin of deep waterlogged karsts…).
Varia tions in the base level have induced karstification in contexts in which the potential was weak. These were followed by periods of increased potential to which were added the effects of glaciation. Perched horizontal levels belong to the first stages which ended in the early Pliocene, whereas alpine shafts developed in the second context. The role of structure and the parameters governing the shape of conduits (pits, meanders, canyons) are also dealt with. The different parts of the karst are borne in mind when dealing with the strength of karstic erosion during the ice age. It notably appears that it is weak on the crests and more or less non-existent in the deep parts of the karst which are liable to flooding. Finally, a preliminary analysis of an observation of neotectonic traces is presented.


DIAGENESIS OF AN UPPER TRIASSIC REEF COMPLEX, WILDE-KIRCHE, NORTHERN CALCAREOUS ALPS, AUSTRIA, 1994, Satterley A. K. , Marshall J. D. , Fairchild I. J. ,
The Wilde Kirche reef complex (Early-Late Rhaetian) grew as an isolated carbonate structure within the shallow Kossen Basin. At the Triassic/Jurassic boundary a single brief(c. 10-50 ka) period of subaerial exposure occurred. The preserved karst profile (70 m thick) displays a vadose zone, enhanced dissolution at a possible palaeo-watertable (5-15m below the exposure surface), and a freshwater phreatic zone. Karst porosity was predominantly biomouldic. primary cavities and biomoulds were enlarged and interconnected in the freshwater phreatic zone; cavity networks developed preferentially in patch reef facies. Resubmegence of the reef complex allowed minor modification of the palaeokarst surface by sea floor dissolution and Fe-Mn crust deposition on a sediment-starved passive margin. Fibrous calcite (FC), radiaxial fibrous calcite (RFC) and fascicular optic calcite (FOC) cements preserved as low Mg calcite (LMC) are abundant in primary and karst dissolution cavities. FC cement is restricted to primary porosity, particularly as a synsedimentary cement at the windward reef margin. FC, RFC and FOC contain microdolomite inclusions and show patchy non-/bright cathodoluminescence. delta(18)O values ofnon-luminescent portions (interpreted as near original) are -1.16 to -1.82 parts per thousand (close to the inferred delta(18)O of calcite precipitated from Late Triassic sea water). delta(13)C values are constant ( to .2 parts per thousand). These observations suggest FC, RFC and FOC were originally marine high Mg calcite (HMC) precipitates, and that the bulk of porosity occlusion occurred not in the karst environment but in the marine environment during and after marine transgression. The HMC to LMC transition may have occurred in contact with meteoric water only in the case of FC cement. The most altered (brightly luminescent) portions of RFC/FOC cements yield delta(18)O = -2.44 to -5.8 parts per thousand, suggesting HMC to LMC alteration at up to 34 degrees C, in the shallow burial environment at depths of 180-250 m. Abundant equant cements with delta(18)O = -4.1 to -7.1 parts per thousand show crisp, uniform or zoned dull luminescence. They are interpreted as unaltered cements precipitated at 33-36 degrees C at 200-290 m burial depth, from marine-derived fluids under a slightly enhanced geothermal gradient. Fluids carrying the equant cements may have induced the HMC to LMC transition in the fibrous cements

BLUE HOLES - DEFINITION AND GENESIS, 1995, Mylroie J. E. , Carew J. L. , Moore A. I. ,
Blue holes are karst features that were initially described from Bahamian islands and banks, which have been documented for over 100 years. They are water-fined vertical openings in the carbonate rock that exhibit complex morphologies, ecologies, and water chemistries. Their deep blue color, for which they are named, is the result of their great depth, and they may lead to cave systems below sea level Blue holes are polygenetic in origin, having formed: by drowning of dissolutional sinkholes and shafts developed in the vadose zone; by phreatic dissolution along an ascending halocline; by progradational collapse upward from deep dissolution voids produced in the phreatic zone; or by fracture of the bank: margin. Blue holes are the cumulative result of carbonate deposition and dissolution cycles which have been controlled by Quaternary glacioeustatic fluctuations of sea-level. Blue holes have been widely studied during the past 30 years, and they have provided information regarding karst processes, global climate change, marine ecology, and carbonate geochemistry. The literature contains a wealth of references regarding blue holes that are at times misleading, and often confusing. To standardize use of the term blue hob, and to familiarize the scientific community with their nature, we herein define them as follows: ''Blue holes are subsurface voids that are developed in carbonate banks and islands; are open to the earth's surface; contain tidally-influenced waters of fresh, marine, or mixed chemistry; extend below sea level for a majority of their depth; and may provide access to submerged cave passages.'' Blue holes are found in two settings: ocean holes open directly into the present marine environment and usually contain marine water with tidal now; inland blue holes are isolated by present topography from surface marine conditions, and open directly onto the land surface or into an isolated pond or lake, and contain tidally-influenced water of a variety of chemistries from fresh to marine

OCCURRENCE OF HYPOGENIC CAVES IN A KARST REGION - EXAMPLES FROM CENTRAL ITALY, 1995, Galdenzi S, Menichetti M,
The caves of the Umbria and Marche regions in central Italy are made up of three-dimensional maze systems that display different general morphologies due to the various geological and structural contexts. At the same time, the internal morphologies of the passages, galleries, and shafts present some similarity, with solutional galleries characterized by cupolas and blind pits, anastamotic passages, roof pendants, and phreatic passages situated at different levels. Some of these caves are still active, as is the case for Frassassi Gorge, Parrano Gorge, and Acquasanta Terme, with galleries that reach the phreatic zone, where there is a rising of highly mineralized water, rich in hydrosulfydric acid, and with erosion of limestone walls and the formation of gypsum. Elsewhere there are fossil caves, such as Monte Cucco and Pozzi della Piana, where large speleothems of gypsum are present 500 m or more above the regional water table. In all of these important karst systems it is possible to recognize basal input points through fracture and intergranular porosity networks at the base of the oxidizing zone in the core of the anticline, where mineralized water rises up from the Triassic evaporitic layers in small hydrogeological circuits. Different underground morphologies can derive from the presence of a water table related to an external stream or from the confined setting of the carbonate rocks, underlying low permeable sedimentary cover, where artesian conditions can occur

Structure et comportement hydraulique des aquifers karstiques, DSc thesis, 1996, Jeannin, P. Y.

This thesis aims to provide a better knowledge of karst flow systems, from a functional point of view (behaviour with time), as well as from a structural one (behaviour in space). The first part of the thesis deals with the hydrodynamic behaviour of karst systems, and the second part with the geometry of karstic networks, which is a strong conditioning factor for the hydrodynamic behaviour.
Many models have been developed in the past for describing the hydrodynamic behaviour of karst hydrogeological systems. They usually aim to provide a tool to extrapolate, in time and/or space, some characteristics of the flow fields, which can only be measured at a few points. Such models often provide a new understanding of the systems, beyond what can be observed directly in the field. Only special field measurements can verify such hypotheses based on numerical models. This is an significant part of this work. For this purpose, two experimental sites have been equipped and measured: Bure site or Milandrine, Ajoie, Switzerland, and Holloch site, Muotathal, Schwyz, Switzerland. These sites gave us this opportunity of simultaneously observe hydrodynamic parameters within the conduit network and, in drillholes, the "low permeability volumes" (LPV) surrounding the conduits.
These observations clearly show the existence of a flow circulation across the low permeability volumes. This flow may represent about 50% of the infiltrated water in the Bure test-field. The epikarst appears to play an important role into the allotment of the infiltrated waters: Part of the infiltrated water is stored at the bottom of the epikarst and slowly flows through the low permeability volumes (LPV) contributing to base flow. When infiltration is significant enough the other part of the water exceeds the storage capacity and flows quickly into the conduit network (quick flow).
For the phreatic zone, observations and models show that the following scheme is adequate to describe the flow behaviour: a network of high permeability conduits, of tow volume, leading to the spring, is surrounded by a large volume of low permeability fissured rock (LPV), which is hydraulically connected to the conduits. Due to the strong difference in hydraulic conductivity between conduits and LPV, hydraulic heads and their variations in time and space are strongly heterogeneous. This makes the use of piezometric maps in karst very questionable.
Flow in LPV can be considered as similar to flow in fractured rocks (laminar flow within joints and joints intersections). At a catchment scale, they can be effectively considered as an equivalent porous media with a hydraulic conductivity of about 10-6 to 10-7 m/s.
Flow in conduits is turbulent and loss of head has to be calculated with appropriate formulas, if wanting any quantitative results. Our observations permitted us to determine the turbulent hydraulic conductivity of some simple karst conduits (k', turbulent flow), which ranges from 0.2 to 11 m/s. Examples also show that the structure of the conduit network plays a significant role on the spatial distribution of hydraulic heads. Particularity hydraulic transmissivity of the aquifer varies with respect to hydrological conditions, because of the presence of overflow conduits located within the epiphreatic zone. This makes the relation between head and discharge not quadratic as would be expected from a (too) simple model (with only one single conduit). The model applied to the downstream part of Holloch is a good illustration of this phenomena.
The flow velocity strongly varies along the length of karst conduits, as shown by tracer experiments. Also, changes in the conduit cross-section produce changes in the (tow velocity profile. Such heterogeneous flow-field plays a significant role in the shape of the breakthrough curves of tracer experiments. It is empirically demonstrated that conduit enlargements induce retardation of the breakthrough curve. If there are several enlargements one after the other, an increase of the apparent dispersivity will result, although no diffusion with the rock matrix or immobile water is present. This produces a scale effect (increase of the apparent dispersivity with observation scale). Such observations can easily be simulated by deterministic and/or black box models.
The structure of karst conduit networks, especially within the phreatic zone, plays an important role not only on the spatial distribution of the hydraulic heads in the conduits themselves, but in the LPV as well. Study of the network geometry is therefore useful for assessing the shape of the flow systems. We further suggest that any hydrogeological study aiming to assess the major characteristics of a flow system should start with a preliminary estimation of the conduit network geometry. Theories and examples presented show that the geometry of karst conduits mainly depends on boundary conditions and the permeability field at the initial stage of the karst genesis. The most significant boundary conditions are: the geometry of the impervious boundaries, infiltration and exfiltration conditions (spring). The initial permeability field is mainly determined by discontinuities (fractures and bedding planes). Today's knowledge allows us to approximate the geometry of a karst network by studying these parameters (impervious boundaries, infiltration, exfiltration, discontinuity field). Analogs and recently developed numerical models help to qualitatively evaluate the sensitivity of the geometry to these parameters. Within the near future, new numerical tools will be developed and will help more closely to address this difficult problem. This development will only be possible if speleological networks can be sufficiently explored and used to calibrate models. Images provided by speleologists to date are and will for a long time be the only data which can adequately portray the conduit networks in karst systems. This is helpful to hydrogeologists. The reason that we present the example of the Lake Thun karst system is that it illustrates the geometry of such conduits networks. Unfortunately, these networks are three-dimensional and their visualisation on paper (2 dimensions) is very restrictive, when compared to more effective 3-D views we can create with computers. As an alternative to deterministic models of speleogenesis, fractal and/or random walk models could be employed.


Les travertins du Coly (Causse de Martel, Dordogne) : contribution de lendokarst ldification dun systme travertineux de valle, 1998, Hoffmann, Frdric
The "Doux de Coly" is a vauclusian spring with a 4-km-long phreatic gallery which regulates the carbonated minerlization of water. Because the CO2 pressure is too high inside the conduit, this artesian spring cannot deposit carbonates. The spring water connects with another river, the Chironde, and creates the Coly river. This mixing of waters induces chemical variations and allows travertine valley deposit by CO2 degassing and carbonate precipitation. A 2-year-long waterchemistry study reveals the influence of the "Doux de Coly" karstic system (phreatic zone) in the formation of travertines.

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