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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 traverse is 1. the commonest form of cave survey in which direction, distance and vertical angle between successive points are measured. 2. a way along ledges above the floor of a cave. 3. to move along such a way [25].?

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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 postojna cave (Keyword) returned 20 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 20
Radiation doses due to radon and progeny in the Postojna Cave, 1998, Vaupotič, Janja, Dujmovič, Petra, Kobal Ivan

In 1996 in the Postojna Cave etched-track detectors were exposed every month at five locations along the route of the guided tourist tour to measure average radon concentrations, and in every season radon, its progeny and equilibrium factor were continuously monitored for 5-10 days. The evaluation of the data revealed a negligible radiation dose for a visitor and yearly doses of up to 15 mSv for workers in the cave (guides, train drivers, maintenance workers, and kiosk workers). These high doses require the restriction of time spent by a worker in the cave and regular radon monitoring in the cave.

Chemistry measurements of dripping water in Postojna Cave, 1999, Vokal Barbara, Obelić, Bogomil, Genty Dominique, Kobal Ivan

Environmental factors influencing speleothem formation such as air and water temperature as well as water properties at the surface and in the cave (pH, electrical conductivity, Ca2+, HCO3- and Mg2+ ion concentrations and drip rates) were measured during an entire year in order to follow seasonal variations. The influence of the thickness of cave roof on the water properties was also taken into consideration, and the difference between various cave water types (pool, stalactite drip waters and fast-drip waters) was followed. Monthly water samples were collected at three locations in the cave and also from the river Pivka and spring of MoËilnik. Rainwater samples were also collected and analyzed. From the results it was found that the temperature of cave waters is more or less constant during the year. Mean values of pH for all karst waters are 7.8 ± 0.2. There is a good correlation between the chemical parameters (Ca2+ and HCO3- ion concentrations and electric conductivity) and the different types of cave waters. The ratio Mg/Ca concentrations and the saturation index were determined, too.

The origin of sediments inside collapse dolines of Postojna karst (Slovenia), 2004, Stepiš, Nik Uroš,

Several hundred collapse dolines are recorded on the Slovenian karst surface. Their floors are covered with boulders, scree or a soil layer. In ponor karst areas, where water transports significant amount of allochtonous material, many collapse doline floors are made level by deposits of loamy sediment. This discussion relates to a detailed study of 15 collapse dolines near the Postojna cave system. Loamy sediment appears within several neighboring collapse dolines and covers their floors at approximately the same altitude. The sediment level preserved in the collapse dolines is commonly at the same elevation as flood loam deposits within nearby caves. It transpires that the flattening of the collapse doline floors is a result of flooding inside the karst that extended above the original floors of the collapse dolines. It is possible to predict some of the sedimentation dynamics inside the karst on the basis of the elevations of the loamy sediments within the collapse dolines. On the other hand, it is also possible to find out about collapse doline development by studying the processes inside cave systems.

Unattached fraction of radon decay products as a crucial parameter for radon dosimetry in Postojna Cave, 2004, Vaupotič, Janja, Kobal I Van

Short-term summer and winter monitoring was carried out at the lowest point in Postojna cave, on air concentrations on radon (CRn) and radon decay products (CRnDP), the equilibrium factor (F) and unattached fraction of radon decay products (fun), barometric pressure (P), relative air humidity in the cave (RH) and air temperature outside (Tout) and in the cave (Tin), with the emphasis on fun. Dose conversion factors (DCF) for mouth and nasal breathing were calculated from the fun values (ranging from 0.10 to 0.68) and effective doses for the employees in the cave were obtained. These significantly exceed the doses based on the ICRP-65 methodology now in use.

Babbage's Calculating Machines, the Proteus From Postojna Cave, and the Carniolan Museum Society, 2005, Juž, Nič, Stanislav

We verified some data in Shaw's description of Babbage's visit to Postojna. To compare with, we calculated the exact date of Babbage's voyage from his own descriptions. We researched the motives for his interests in the Proteus anguinus. We described other Babbage's scientific activities at the time of his visit to Carniola. We claimed his surprising incompetence in geography. In Babbage's time, Carniolan scientific research of the Proteus anguinus began under Dežman's leadership of the Museum Society. For the first time we researched the early Carniolan contribution to the Proteus research. We discussed possible reasons for the previous neglect of the Museum Society work and Dežman's publications in particular.


For the first time the karst research books at the former Ljubljanian Auersperg “Prince’s” library were put at the limelight by using the recently found manuscript catalogue 1668 (transcribed in 1762) and sales catalogues of 1982 and 1983. During the ba­roque times of Volf Engelbert Auersperg the science of karst was not born yet. The researchers had to wait for another century until the most fundamental facts about karst were proved by Carniolan scientists Hacquet, Gruber, and others. Nonetheless Volf collected several important books about karst with famous authors Aldrovandi, Ferrante Imperato, Johann Joachim Becher, Tommasso Buoni, Jakob Joannes Wenceslaus Dobrzensky de Ni­gro Ponte, and Athanasius Kircher. The special concern was put on the Count Volf Engelbert and his brother Prince Janez Vajkard interests in karst phenomena and their mutual influence on the younger visitors of their Ljublanian palace, especially Schönleben and Valvasor. Volf and Janez owned several manors at now Slove­nian and Croatian karst. Janez Vajkard personally managed the first systematic research of subterranean animals in Postojna cave as a part of his Postojna Manor.


Biodiversity and ecology of fauna in percolating water from Slovenian and Romanian caves was studied. Research focused on unravelling the community structure of epikarst fauna, which is carried away by the trickles of percolating water from the epikarst and vadose zones. The major part of the fauna found in percolating water is represented by copepods. This fauna, originating in the epikarst, was analysed and by means of the systematic sampling and observation the same groups of animals were found in Slovenian and Romanian caves. Differences among caves and sampling points indicate that epikarst is a heterogenous habitat. Relationship between faunal richness and the physical characteristics of the water was found. Correlation between surface geomorphology and fauna in percolating water was statistically significant in the Postojna cave system.


Kircher’s letters connected with the area of today’s Slovenia were analyzed. His Jesuit informer Wilpenhoffer’s reports on the Cerknica Lake and Idrija Mine were put forward. He also helped distribution of Kircher’s books among Auerspergs and other Ljubljana nobles. Janez Vajkard Auersperg’s letters as an example of high nobility correspondent patronage were put at the limelight in connection with Janez and his admirer Valvasor’s own research of the Postojna Cave flora and fauna. Keywords: Athanasius Kircher, Christophorus Wilpenhoffer, Janez Vajkard Auersperg, Janez Vajkard Valvasor, History of Karst Research, Cerknica Lake, Jesuits.

For three centuries the spectacular Postojna Cave in Slovenia has attracted tourists (Habe 1986). Fortunately for the historian the early visitors were required to sign the visitors books which have survived the twentieth century turbulence in the Balkans, and which are kept at the Karst Research Institute in Postojna. Those visitors who wrote about the Cave have been discussed by Trevor Shaw (2008). Most of the visitors came from Europe, but also from the Americas and from Asia. There were very few visitors from Africa for the very good reason that the mailships serving Cape Town did not call at Trieste the major port for the Austro-Hungarian empire (Harris & Ingpen 1994). Also there were very few people with the necessary financial and temporal resources. This paper records seven known, and three or four unknown, visitors from Cape Town in the nineteenth century.

RECENT RESULTS OF TRACER TESTS IN THE CATCHMENT OF THE UNICA RIVER (SW SLOVENIA), 2010, Gabrovek Franci, Kogovek Janja, Kova?i? Gregor, Petri? Metka, Ravbar Nataa & Turk Janez
In the catchment area of the Unica River two combined tracer tests with fluorescent dyes have been performed aiming to characterize the properties of groundwater flow and transport of contaminants through the vadose zone and well developed system of karst channels in the epiphreatic and phreatic zone in different hydrologic conditions. Tracers were injected directly into the ponors and to the oil collector outlet on the karst surface. Prior to tracing monitoring network has been set up, including precipitation, physical and chemical parameters of the springs and cave streams. Field fluorimeters were used to detect tracers in the underground river and conventional sampling techniques and laboratory analyses were used at the springs. Some of the results were quantitatively evaluated by QTRACER2 Program. During the first tracer test, when injection was followed by rain event, flow through the well conductive cave system was characterized by apparent dominant flow velocities of 88640 m/h. Breakthrough curves were continuous, uniform and single peaked, and almost complete recoveries were observed. During the second tracer test, when water level was in constant recession, the transport velocities through the well developed karst conduits were significantly slower (apparent maximal flow velocities being 24 times lower). Results also show lower dispersivity during the second tracer test, which corresponds to lower flow velocities. The tracer injected at the karst surface arrived with the expected delay (vdom around 9 m/h) and showed irregular and elongated breakthrough curves with secondary peaks. In this paper only tracer test results are presented, which are a part of a comprehensive study of groundwater flow through the complex karst aquifers aiming at improving karst water resources understanding, protection and management. The presented assessment will beyond be utilized for further detailed analysis, studies and modelling.

Direct measurement of present-day tectonic movement and associated radon flux in Postojna Cave, Slovenia, 2010, Sebela, S. , Vaupotic, J. , Kostak B. , Stemberk, J.
Micro-tectonic deformations have been monitored continuously in 3D in Postojna Cave, Slovenia with TM 71 extensometers since 2004. Two instruments, 260 m apart, were installed on the Dinaric oriented (NW-SE) fault zone that is situated about 1,000 m north of the inner zone of the regionally important Predjama Fault.Monitoring on both instruments has shown small tectonic movements (i.e., a general dextral horizontal movement of 0.05 mm in four years [Postojna 1] and extension of 0.03 mm in fouryears [Postojna 2]). Between the longer or shorter calm periods, eleven extremeshavebeen recorded regarding characteristic changes in displacement. The largest short-term movement was a compression of 0.04 mm in seven days, detected in March 2005, which coincided with the 25 km distant Ilirska Bistrica earthquake (ML 5 3.9). About twomonths before the earthquake an extension of 0.05 mm occurred and one month before the earthquake the strain changed into a compression of 0.05 mm. The largest permanent peak was detected at the end of 2004. Along the y-axis (Postojna 1) there was a dextral horizontal movement of 0.075 mm in one month (November 10 to December 15, 2004). After the sinistral horizontal movement of 0.02 mm (December 1527, 2004), the y-axis retained its permanent position on 0.05 mm, where it remained for more than a year. Regarding the extremes, ten earthquakes were selected that coincided with tectonic micro-displacements. In terms of speleogenesis, the monitored fault zone represents a stable cave environment. Because radon flux is known to change significantly during tectonic and seismic activities, radon air concentrations were monitored in parallel since 2006. During horizontal movements, either dextral or sinistral, radon pathways underground were partly closed, thus hindering radon migration and reducing its concentration in the cave air. Extension movements do not appear to have affected radon transport. Alternatively, the compression process (Postojna 2, FebruaryAugust 2007) appears to have opened some newroutesfor radon transport, facilitating radon migration and increasing its concentration in air.


The study of the vadose zone has been based on 35 years research of underground water circulation and the transfer of contaminants in karst and on continuous long-term measurements and analyses of precipitation on the surface and of several representative trickles in the vadose zone of Postojna Cave over consecutive hydrological years and it offers an explanation of the dynamics of the percolation of water and simultaneous transfer of contaminants and their impact on the dissolution of carbonate rock in the vadose zone. Emphasis is placed on a multi-parameter approach based on the simultaneous use of a number of different methods, not only tracing natural tracers but also tests with artificial tracers using different methods of injection. The research contributs to the understanding of the role of the vadose zone in the karst aquifer.

Mineralogical and chemical characteristics of black coatings in Postojna cave system , 2011, Zupanč, Ič, Nina, ebela Stanka, Miler Milo

Mineralogical and chemical analyses of black coatings from two sites in Postojna cave system were studied. Scattered samples
were taken from the entrance parts of the cave and from Črna Jama. Thin sections, powder X-ray diffraction (XRD) technique and scanning electron microscope coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (SEM/EDS) were used. Microscopic investigation of thin sections of black coloured material from both locations revealed that the main material is carbonate – calcite, with evenly dispersed prevailingly minute opaque black grains. The XRD analysis on samples from both locations confirmed just a presence of calcite with minor quartz and dolomite, excluding Mn and Fe oxides or apatite-group minerals as reason for black colouring. The SEM/EDS analysis
of samples from the entrance parts of Postojna cave system was consistent with XRD analysis, which did not show any Mn oxides. The high content of C measured in the black coatings from the cave entrance parts indicates organic C, which deposited
on the cave walls at time of the petrol explosion during WW2. We can attribute black coatings from Črna Jama to one form of organic C as well, but it is certainly different from the one in the entrance parts of Postojna cave system. As in Črna Jama no other evidence indicates for old human inhabitation of the place: torches of first tourists are a more probable origin of charcoal. On both locations black coatings can be at least partly described by microclimate conditions at cave entrances, which caused the deposition of organic material of allogenic origin (for example soot due to the forest fires).

Impact of chlorides, nitrates, sulfates and phosphates on increased limestone dissolution in the karst vadose zone (Postojna Cave, Slovenia) , 2011, Kogovek, Janja

Distinctive karst hydrology arises from a combination of high carbonate rock solubility and well developed secondary porosity
(fissures). Soil CO2 is the most important influence on solubility
of carbonate rock (Ford & Williams 2007). Human activity
on the karst surface results in pollution that has an important influence on water quality. Degradation of organic pollution (e.g. waste water, leachates from landfill sites) results in inorganic
acids too. These acids could have an important additional influence on dissolution of carbonate rocks in the vadose zone. In the framework of more than 20 years of research on precipitation
percolation and transfer of contaminants (direct outflow of waste water from a small military facility where about twenty troops were stationed) through the 100-m thick vadose zone of Postojna Cave, contaminated water was observed in drips and trickles in the cave (up to 60 mg Cl-/l, up to 180 mg NO3-/l, up to 2.8 mg PO43-/l, and up to 50 mg SO42-/l). At the same time the sum of calcium and magnesium (Ca+Mg) of trickles was up to two times larger than the Ca+Mg of either the uncontaminated
reference trickle or the input waste water. The amount of dissolved limestone carried by waste water to trickles and drips in the cave was directly proportional to the concentration
of contaminant anions present. This demonstrates that there is an accelerated widening of fissures below source points of wastewater. Water with contaminants can penetrate faster and deeper into the vadose zone along the increasingly permeable
fissures without losing its dissolving power, and thus significant dissolution occurs ever deeper in the vadose zone. This results in ever faster penetration of contaminants through the vadose zone. In the final phase of such development, which takes many decades or longer, relatively rapid transfer of contaminants
through the aquifer all the way to karst springs with minimal self-cleansing effects can be expected.

Comparative microbial sampling from eutrophic caves in Slovenia and Slovakia using RIDA COUNT test kits, 2012, Mulec Janez, Kritů, Fek Vclav, Chroň, kov Alica

RIDA®COUNT test plates were used as an easy-to-handle and rapid indicator of microbial counts in karst ecosystems of several caves in Slovakia and Slovenia. All of the caves had a high organic input from water streams, tourists, roosting bat colonies or terrestrial surroundings. We sampled swabs, water and air samples to test robustness and universality of the RIDA®COUNT test kit (R-Biopharm AG, Germany, for quantification of total bacteria, coliforms, yeast and mold. Using data from swabs (colony-forming units per cm2) we proposed a scale for description of biocontamination level or superficial microbial load of cave niches. Based on this scale, surfaces of Ardovská Cave, Drienovská Cave and Stará Brzotínská Cave (Slovakia) were moderately colonized by microbes, with total microbial counts (sum of total bacterial count and total yeast and molds count) in the range of 1 001-10 000 CFU/100 cm2, while some surfaces from the show cave Postojna Cave (Slovenia) can be considered highly colonized by microbes (total microbial counts ≥ 10 001 CFU/100 cm2). Ardovská Cave also had a high concentration of air-borne microbes, which can be explained by restricted air circulation and regular bat activity. The ratio of coliform to total counts of bacteria in the 9 km of underground Pivka River flow in Postojna Cave dropped approximately 4-fold from the entrance, indicating the high anthropogenic pollution in the most exposed site in the show cave. The RIDA®COUNT test kit was proven to be applicable for regular monitoring of eutrophication and human influence in eutrophic karst caves.

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