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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 catchment is (great britain.) 1. an area into which surface water may drain. 2. a depression that collects rainwater (e.g., reservoir).?

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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 regressive erosion (Keyword) returned 5 results for the whole karstbase:
Evolution of river network at the 'Cevennes-Grands Causses' transition: Consequences for the evaluation of uplift, 2001, Camus H,
The Mediterranean catchment of the Cevennes (S. France) presents deep incision of the river network (fig. 1 and 2). Combined geomorphology and analyses of the residual sedimentary formations allows to reconstruct a complex history of river network evolution, including capture of tributaries of the Herault River (fig. 1, 2 and 3). The history of uplift of the upstream drainage area could be estimated from the provenance studies of the fluvial and karstic deposits, however river incision is also controlled sea-level changes and differential erosion, which makes reconstruction more complex. Allochthonous clasts types Analyses of allochtonous deposits on the Grands Causses surface reveals different origin for sediments from the hill top and the Airoles valley (fig. 4b), which was previously unrecognised. Facies 1 is found on the highest points of the Grands Causses surface (well sorted rounded quartz pebbles in red shale matrix) it corresponds to a weathered residual sediments (dismantling of an ancient cover). Facies 2 is found on the slope of the Airoles Valley (fig. 7). It consists of alluvial crystalline poorly sorted clasts with outsized clasts (up to 50cm) of quartz-vein, schists in a matrix of shales and sand (weathered granite). Between the hill tops and the Airoles Valley, karstic network presents a sediment fill with clasts reworked from facies I and facies 2 (fig. 6). Airoles valley model : an example of diachronic formation of drainage network The Airoles dry valley stretches on the Grands Causses from the north (700 m) to the south into the present thalweg line of the Vis canyon (500 m) (fig. 1b & 3). Crystalline deposits witness an ancient catchment in the Cevennes. Presently, the catchment in the crystalline basement is disconnected and captured by the Arre River flowing eastwards (fig. 3 & 4a). The profile of the Airoles abandoned valley connects with the present Vis Canyon, therefore, at the time of capture, incision of the Vis canyon had reached its present altitude (fig. 4a). The geomorphologic evolution of this area took place in three stages (fig. 8). 1) The Grands Causses acted as piedmont for the crystalline highlands of the Massif Central (fig. 8A). A latter karstic evolution (tropical climate) allowed the weathered residual sediments (facies 1) (fig. 8A). 2) Incision of the Vis karstic canyon implies that the Herault incision and terraces (facies 2) (fig, 8B) of the Airoles valley occurred during this stage. 3) The Arre valley head propagates westward by regressive erosion and finaly captured the Airoles river crystalline catchment (fig. 8C). Consequence for the Cevennes uplift and hydrographic network development Although the values of present vertical incision in the Vis canyon and in the Arre valley are similar, but they achieved at different time. In addition, the narrow and deep canyon of the Vis is due to vertical incision from the karstic surface of the Grands Causses, whereas the Arre wide valley results from (a younger) lateral slops retreat from a low Herault base-level. The Vis karstic canyon developed in a similar way to the major karstic canyons of both Mediterranean and Atlantic catchment (i.e. Tarn). This rules out a Messinian Mediterranean desiccation as incision driving mechanism and suggests tectonic uplift of the Cevennes and surrounding areas. The Tam being already incised by 13 My [Ambert, 1990], it implies a Miocene age for the incision. Conclusion The amplitude of the vertical incision cannot therefore be used in a simple way to interpret the uplift history of the basement. Consequently, geomorphologic analysis appears to be a prerequisite to distinguish the part played by each factor, and to select the site of uplift measurement

Existence of karsts into silicated non-carbonated crystalline rocks in Sahelian and Equatorial Africa, hydrogeological implications, 2002, Willems Luc, Pouclet Andre, Vicat Jean Paul,
Various cavities studied in western Niger and South Cameroon show the existence of important karstic phenomena into metagabbros and gneisses. These large-sized caves resulted from generalized dissolution of silicate formations in spite of their low solubility. Karstification is produced by deep hydrous transfer along lithological discontinuities and fracture net works. The existence of such caves has major implications in geomorphology, under either Sahelian and Equatorial climate, and in hydrogeology and water supply, particularly in the Sahel area. Introduction. - Since a few decades, several karst-like morphologies are described in non-carbonated rocks (sandstones, quartzites, schistes, gneisses...) [Wray, 1997 ; Vicat and Willems, 1998 ; Willems, 2000]. The cave of Guessedoundou in West Niger seems to be due to a large dissolution of metagabbros. The cave of Mfoula, South Cameroon, attests for the same process in gneisses. This forms proof that big holes may exist deeper in the substratum even of non-carbonated silicate rocks. Their size and number could mainly influence the landscape and the hydrogeology, especially in the Sahelian areas. Guessedoundou, a cave into metagabbros in West Niger. - The site of Guessedoundou is located 70 km south-west of Niamey (fig. 1). The cave is opened at the top of a small hill, inside in NNE-SSW elongated pit (fig. 2 ; pl. I A). The hole, 3 to 4 m deep and 20 m large, has vertical walls and contains numerous sub-metric angular blocks. A cave, a few meters deep, comes out the south wall. Bedrocks consist of metagabbros of the Makalondi greenstone belt, a belt of the Palaeoproterozoic Birimian Formations of the West Africa craton [Pouclet et al., 1990]. The rock has a common granular texture with plagioclases, partly converted in albite and clinozoisite, and pyroxenes pseudomorphosed in actinote and chlorite. It is rather fairly altered. Chemical composition is mafic and poorly alkaline (tabl. I). A weak E-W schistosity generated with the epizonal thermometamorphism. The site depression was created along a N010o shear zone where rocks suffered important fracturation and fluid transfers, as shown by its silification and ferruginisation. The absence of human activity traces and the disposition of the angular blocks attest that the pit is natural and was due to the collapse of the roof of a vast cavity whose current cave is only the residual prolongation. To the vertical walls of the depression and at the cave entry, pluridecimetric hemispheric hollows are observed (pl. I B). Smooth morphology and position of these hollows sheltered within the depression dismiss the assumptions of formation by mechanical erosion. In return, these features are typical shape of dissolution processes observed into limestone karstic caves. That kind of process must be invoked to explain the opening of the Guessedoundou cave, in the total lack of desagregation materials. Dissolution of metagabbro occurred during hydrous transfer, which was probably guided by numerous fractures of the shear zone. Additional observations have been done in the Sirba Valley, where similar metabasite rocks constitute the substratum, with sudden sinking of doline-like depressions and evidence of deep cavities by core logging [Willems et al., 1993, 1996]. It is concluded that karstic phenomena may exist even in silica-aluminous rocks of crystalline terrains, such as the greenstones of a Precambrian craton. Mfoula a cave into gneisses in South Cameroon. - The cave of Mfoula is located 80 km north-east of Yaounde (fig. 3). It is the second largest cave of Cameroon, more than 5,000 m3, with a large opening in the lower flank of a deep valley (pl. I C). The cavity is about 60 m long, 30 m large and 5 to 12 m high (fig. 4; pl. I D). It is hollowed in orthogneisses belonging to the Pan-African Yaounde nappe. Rocks exhibit subhorizontal foliation in two superposed lithological facies: the lower part is made of amphibole- and garnet-bearing layered gneisses, and the upper part, of more massive granulitic gneisses. Average composition is silico-aluminous and moderately alkaline (tabl. I). The cave is made of different chambers separated by sub-cylindrical pillars. The ceiling of the main chamber, 6 m in diameter, is dome-shaped with a smooth surface (D, fig. 4). The walls have also a smooth aspect decorated with many hemispherical hollows. The floor is flat according to the rock foliation. They are very few rock debris and detrital fragments and no traces of mechanical erosion and transport. The general inner morphology is amazingly similar to that of a limestone cave. The only way to generate such a cavity is to dissolve the rock by water transfer. To test the effect of the dissolution process, we analysed a clayey residual sampled in an horizontal fracture of the floor (tabl. I). Alteration begins by plagioclases in producing clay minerals and in disagregating the rock. However, there is no more clay and sand material. That means all the silicate minerals must have been eliminated. Dissolution of silicates is a known process in sandstone and quartzite caves. It may work as well in gneisses. To fasten the chemical action, we may consider an additional microbial chemolitotrophe activity. The activity of bacteria colonies is known in various rocks and depths, mainly in the aquifer [Sinclair and Ghiorse, 1989 ; Stevens and McKinley, 1995]. The formation of the Mfoula cave is summarized as follow (fig. 5). Meteoric water is drained down along sub-vertical fractures and then along horizontal discontinuities of the foliation, particularly in case of lithological variations. Chemical and biological dissolution is working. Lateral transfers linked to the aquifer oscillations caused widening of the caves. Dissolved products are transported by the vertical drains. Regressive erosion of the valley, linked to the epeirogenic upwelling due to the volcano-tectonic activity of the Cameroon Line, makes the cavities come into sight at the valley flanks. Discussion and conclusion. - The two examples of the Guessedoundou and Mfoula caves evidence the reality of the karsts in non-carbonated silicated rocks. The karst term is used to design >> any features of the classical karst morphology (caves, dolines, lapies...) where dissolution plays the main genetical action >> [Willems, 2000]. Our observations indicate that (i) the karst genesis may have occurred into any kind of rocks, and (ii) the cave formation is not directly dependent of the present climate. These facts have major consequences to hydrogeological investigations, especially for water supply in Sahelian and sub-desertic countries. Some measurements of water transfer speed across either sedimentary pelitic strata of the Continental terminal or igneous rocks of the substratum in West Niger [Esteves and Lenoir, 1996 ; Ousmane et al., 1984] proved that supplying of aquifers in these silico-aluminous rocks may be as fast as in a karstic limestone. That means the West Niger substratum is highly invaded by a karstic net and may hidden a lot of discontinuous aquifers. The existence of this karst system can be easily shown by morphological observations, the same that are done in karstic limestone regions (abnormally suspended dry valleys, collapses, dolines...). Clearly, this must be the guide for any search of water, even in desertic areas where limestones are absent

Etude des palokarsts des environs de Saint-Remze (Ardche, France) : mise en vidence dune rivire souterraine fossilise durant la crise de salinit messinienne, 2005, Martini, Jacques
Paleokarst investigation near Saint-Remze, Ardche, France discovery of an underground river fossilized during the Messinian salinity crisis - The paleokarst features studied in this paper are hosted in Lower Cretaceous limestone and generally appear as filled caves, subsequently de-roofed by denudation. The most important of them forms a sequence of segments developed at a relatively constant elevation of 360-380 m above sea level and can be traced over a length of 5.2 km. The ancient cave passages generally appear as soil covered bands, 5 to 20 m in width and limited on both sides by limestone outcrops. At surface the nature of the cave filling is revealed mainly by scattered blocks: calcite from speleothems and calcified clay, silt, sand and breccia. In the best preserved places, the earth band lies in a trench, where the walls may display a cave morphology and where the filling is often exposed in a undisturbed state. Three types of detrital cave filling have been identified, which in stratigraphical order are as follows: 1) Beige-grey silt, sand and microconglomerate of immature alluvials, with elements of Paleozoic granites and metamorphic rocks, and Upper Miocene volcanics, both originating from the Cvennes Mountains 30 km to the NW. The lithological composition is comparable to the recent alluvials of the Paleokarst investigation near Saint-Remze, Ardche, France discovery of an underground river fossilized during the Messinian salinity crisisArdche River, which is flowing a few kilometers to the SW and is deeply entrenched into a canyon at elevations of 40 to 80 m. The karst context, combined with the biostratigraphical data obtained from rodent molars in the alluvials, suggests an Uppermost Miocene age, comprised between ~5.8 and ~5.45 Ma. 2) Red mature alluvials and colluvials originating from local reworking of surficial karst residuals. At one spot they gave a paleontological age of 3.6 to 3.0 Ma, but from the local karst context one may expect ages from final Miocene to Pleistocene in other spots. 3) Monogenic breccia generated from wall gelifraction, which is Pleistocene after rodent molars found in two places. The paleocave is visualised as formed by an underground stream fed from swallow-holes on the bank of the Ardche River, when it was flowing more than 300 m higher than its actual bed. With regard to its relatively constant elevation and a discordant relationship with the country rock bedding, it is interpreted as a vadose cave controlled by a paleo-water-table. The other fillings (2 and 3) were deposited during subsequent vadose speleogenesis and after considerable water-table lowering. The elevation of this fossilised underground river coincides fairly well with the pre-salinity crisis abandonment surface (5.52 Ma), which is evidenced in the area by high perched gravel relics. The end of the speleogenesis could have taken place just before this event (~5.6 Ma) or at an age not younger than ~5.45 Ma. In the latter possibility, speleogenesis had to be working before the regressive erosion generated by the drastic lowering of the Mediterranean Sea [5.52 to 5.33 Ma, Clauzon et al, 2005 ] reached the area and de-watered the deep karst aquifer. This fossil underground river provides also information about the morphological evolution of the area. For instance the nature of the immature alluvials suggests that the torrential regime of the Ardche was about the same than today. It also indicates that the important and famous cave systems in the area (Grotte de Saint-Marcel, Aven dOrgnac, Systme de Foussoubie, Grotte Chauvet), which are developed at lower elevations, cannot be older than ~5.6 Ma and most likely formed mainly during the Plio-Pleistocene, although most of them have been initiated during the salinity crisis.

OBSERVATIONS OF PLIOCENE KARSTS FOSSILIZED BY QUATERNARY EOLIAN SILTS IN THE MATMATA MOUNTAINS (SOUTH-EAST TUNISIA), 2012, Sghari, Abdeljalil

The submeridional Dahar chain in southeastern Tunisia is over 200 km long. It is separated from the Mediterranean Sea by the Jeffara plain with some tens of kilometers in width. This landscape continues to the South into Libya, but to the North, the chain ends with the Matmata mountains which form a plateau slightly inclined to the west and some 10 km wide. The eastern scarp shows a mainly calcareous geological stratigraphy from Upper Permian to the Senonian. The Dahar-Matmata structure belongs to the Sahara platform and shows a hiatus during the whole Tertiary, since it was emerged since Upper Cretaceous. The Tunisian Atlas nearby shows a completely different paleogeographic evolution, with a complete Tertiary series and a later Plio-Quaternary structuration. These two paleogeographic domains of Southern Tunisia, the Sahara Atlas and the NE border of the Sahara platform, were influenced by the Messinian crisis (5.9 Ma to 5.3 Ma). This was expressed by the collapse of the Mediterranean Sea level, profoundly modifying the fluvial dynamics with an inversion of the erosional system, from normal erosion to regressive erosion. It results a deepening of canyons in the downstream part and a deepening of the watercourses in the upstream part. The geological structures in the Messinian have been deeply affected by these large eustatic changes, with an incision of cluses in the Atlas and the deposition of a thick clayeysandy series that we could recently link to deltaic systems and Gilbert deltas. The re-establishment of seaways between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and the subsequent infill in the Lower Pliocene (Zanclean transgression), with an important inpact in Southern Tunisia, had multiple consequences in that region. The newly adjusted sealevel, together with a more humid climate that was confirmed by faunal and floral extension oof tropical plants in Northern Africa, stimulated an important karstification of the limestone areas. In the Dahar chain, caves, dolines, karstic depressions or karstic dry valleys emerged, the most spectacular ones being found in the Matmata Mountains. The karstic depressions are the forms that represent best this Pliocene karstification that surely was interrupted in an early stage, because localized endokarstic forms had not enough time to develop. So the karstification seems to have been active in Matmata from 5.4 to 4.0 million years, i.e. two times as long than the duration of the Messinian crisis. The interruption of karstification is due to an increase in temperature and dryness, which even gets more intense during the Pliocene, pulverizing the soils. Already at the beginning of the desertification, a calcareous crust forms by rapid cristallization of dirt. It is immediately transported from the karstic zones to the Jeffara plain. This transfer fo dissolved calcite was the origin of the resistant calcitic crust well known in the Jeffara plain. We now identified the same crust in a karstic depression in the Matmata Mountains, opening the way to new geomorphologic and tectonic interpretations, and a review of the eolian silts formerly attributed to the Upper Pleistocene. Later, during Upper Pliocene-Gelasian, we observe a general tectonic uplift of the Dahar chain and the Matmata Mountains as well as the subsidence of the Jeffara plain at the Medenine fault (NW-SE), prolonging the large Gafsa fault towards the East. The karstic paleoforms were thus uplifted more than 500 m, but nevertheless remain open on the Jeffara plain, as seen by large depressions. As a consequence, the karstic depressions of Matmata played the role of traps for eolian silts blown from the Jeffara plain during the extreme desertification in the Upper Pliocene-Gelasian. The morphological reconstruction since the Messinian shows a succession of important events during the Pliocene that profoundly influenced the Quaternary. All indications permit to reject the hypothesis that the Matmata silts came from the West (Eastern Erg).

 


OBSERVATIONS OF PLIOCENE KARSTS FOSSILIZED BY QUATERNARY EOLIAN SILTS IN THE MATMATA MOUNTAINS (SOUTH-EAST TUNISIA), 2012, Sghari, Abdeljalil

The submeridional Dahar chain in southeastern Tunisia is over 200 km long. It is separated from the Mediterranean Sea by the Jeffara plain with some tens of kilometers in width. This landscape continues to the South into Libya, but to the North, the chain ends with the Matmata mountains which form a plateau slightly inclined to the west and some 10 km wide. The eastern scarp shows a mainly calcareous geological stratigraphy from Upper Permian to the Senonian. The Dahar-Matmata structure belongs to the Sahara platform and shows a hiatus during the whole Tertiary, since it was emerged since Upper Cretaceous. The Tunisian Atlas nearby shows a completely different paleogeographic evolution, with a complete Tertiary series and a later Plio-Quaternary structuration. These two paleogeographic domains of Southern Tunisia, the Sahara Atlas and the NE border of the Sahara platform, were influenced by the Messinian crisis (5.9 Ma to 5.3 Ma). This was expressed by the collapse of the Mediterranean Sea level, profoundly modifying the fluvial dynamics with an inversion of the erosional system, from normal erosion to regressive erosion. It results a deepening of canyons in the downstream part and a deepening of the watercourses in the upstream part. The geological structures in the Messinian have been deeply affected by these large eustatic changes, with an incision of cluses in the Atlas and the deposition of a thick clayeysandy series that we could recently link to deltaic systems and Gilbert deltas. The re-establishment of seaways between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and the subsequent infill in the Lower Pliocene (Zanclean transgression), with an important inpact in Southern Tunisia, had multiple consequences in that region. The newly adjusted sealevel, together with a more humid climate that was confirmed by faunal and floral extension oof tropical plants in Northern Africa, stimulated an important karstification of the limestone areas. In the Dahar chain, caves, dolines, karstic depressions or karstic dry valleys emerged, the most spectacular ones being found in the Matmata Mountains. The karstic depressions are the forms that represent best this Pliocene karstification that surely was interrupted in an early stage, because localized endokarstic forms had not enough time to develop. So the karstification seems to have been active in Matmata from 5.4 to 4.0 million years, i.e. two times as long than the duration of the Messinian crisis. The interruption of karstification is due to an increase in temperature and dryness, which even gets more intense during the Pliocene, pulverizing the soils. Already at the beginning of the desertification, a calcareous crust forms by rapid cristallization of dirt. It is immediately transported from the karstic zones to the Jeffara plain. This transfer fo dissolved calcite was the origin of the resistant calcitic crust well known in the Jeffara plain. We now identified the same crust in a karstic depression in the Matmata Mountains, opening the way to new geomorphologic and tectonic interpretations, and a review of the eolian silts formerly attributed to the Upper Pleistocene. Later, during Upper Pliocene-Gelasian, we observe a general tectonic uplift of the Dahar chain and the Matmata Mountains as well as the subsidence of the Jeffara plain at the Medenine fault (NW-SE), prolonging the large Gafsa fault towards the East. The karstic paleoforms were thus uplifted more than 500 m, but nevertheless remain open on the Jeffara plain, as seen by large depressions. As a consequence, the karstic depressions of Matmata played the role of traps for eolian silts blown from the Jeffara plain during the extreme desertification in the Upper Pliocene-Gelasian. The morphological reconstruction since the Messinian shows a succession of important events during the Pliocene that profoundly influenced the Quaternary. All indications permit to reject the hypothesis that the Matmata silts came from the West (Eastern Erg).


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