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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 polje is (slavic word for field.) 1. a large, flat floored depression in karst limestone, whose long axis is developed parallel to major structural trends and can reach tens of kilometers in length. superficial deposits tend to accumulate on the floor. drainage may be by either surface watercourses (when the polje is said to be open) or swallow holes (a 'closed' polje.) their development is encouraged by any impedance in the karst drainage [19]. 2. polje or karst polje signifies the flatbottomed lands of closed basins which may extend over large areas, as much as 1,000 km2. the flat floor of the polje may consist of bare limestone, of a nonsoluble formation (and so with rolling topography), or of soil. the polje will show complex hydrogeological characteristics such as exsurgences, swallow holes, estavelles, and lost rivers. in colloquial use, the term polje is applied to flat-bottomed lands which are overgrown or are under cultivation [20]. 3. large flat-floored closed karst depression, with sharp slope breaks between the commonly alluviated floor and the marginal limestone. streams or springs drain into poljes and outflow is underground through ponors. commonly the ponors cannot transmit flood flows, so many poljes turn into wet-season lakes. the form of some poljes is related to the geological structure, but others are purely the projects of lateral dissolution and planation. the dinaric karst has many poljes; the livansko polje is around 60km long and 7km wide. the word is slovene (common also to other slav languages) for a field, reflecting the agricultural value of the alluvial polje floor soils [9]. synonym: interior valley; (french.) polje; (german.) polje; (greek.) polye; (italian.) polje; (russian.) polje; (spanish.) polje; (turkish.) golova, polye; (yugoslavian.) polje. see also karst polje.?

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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.
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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 rock fractures (Keyword) returned 15 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 15
Hydrology of autogenic percolation systems in some tropical karst outcrops, West Malaysia, 1983, Crowther J,
This paper reports on the flow regimes of underground seepages in three tower-karst outcrops and in the Setul Boundary Range, West Malaysia. Groundwater movement in the tower-karst hills, which comprise very pure, massive marbles, is confined to vertical and subvertical joints. Although flow is primarily diffuse and the discharges of the majority of seepages correlate most closely with rainfall in antecedent periods of 1-16 days or more, some stormflow occurs along conduits in the upper parts of these aquifers. Many of these conduits appear to peter out at depth into tight rock fractures, thereby forming funnel-shaped underground reservoirs which serve to moderate discharge variations. In contrast, the limestones of the Setul Boundary Range are less pure and retain much of their original bedding. The presence of near-horizontal bedding plane fractures favours lateral groundwater movement and the development of integrated drainage networks within the rock. Compared with the tower-karst caves, seepage rates are generally higher and more responsive to short-term variations in rainfall. The marked difference in topography between the tower-karst hills and the Setul Boundary Range is largely attributable to the contrasted geohydrological properties of the limestones

Differences in the fracture type of limestone rocks have resulted in the formation of several main plant soil ecosystems in the montane and subalpine zones of the Jura (800-1 700 m). The sites were on stable landscape with slope < 5%. Locations were chosen to reflect the variation in physical properties of the bedrock and lithic contact. The rock fractures (densities and size), the shape and size of the fragments and the hydraulic conductivities were described and analyzed to characterize the 3 main bedrocks in the area studied (table 1): 1), lapiaz, ie, large rock fragments separated from each other by wide fractures (figs 1-2), 'broken' rocks traversed by numerous fine fractures (fig 2-3), paving-stones crossed by infrequent narrow fractures (fig 3). The effects of rock fracturing on vegetation (table II) and soil formation were significant in reference to porosity and permeability relationships (figs 6-7). Under similar precipitation, meteoric waters flow through the soil and porosity is relative to fracture systems (figs 4, 5). The weathering of cobbles in the soil profiles and along the lithic contacts maintains different soil solution Ca levels and is an important variable in soil and ecosystem formation (table III). Regarding the regional orogenic phases and the tectonic origin of the fractures, we postulate that the different types of fracturation originated from the different chemical and mineralogic composition of the rocks. Significant differences exist in both the calcite and dolomite content, in the insoluble residue content (table IV) and in the percentage of organic matter of the carbonate-free residues (table V, fig 8). The results indicate that the differences in rock composition arose early at about the period of sedimentation. The origin of the differentiation might be due to the sedimentation conditions and environment (fig 9). It is concluded that the present-day plant soil ecosystems may be related to the marine sediment environments of the Jurassic period (fig 10)

Double Fourier series models of two doline and two cockpit landscapes in northern Jamaica, each 2 x 2 km in area, explained 92% and 90%, and 73% and 58% of the variance in the topographic data. The ten most significant waves accounted for 74% and 76%, and 61% and 58% of the variance in each model. The greater importance of frequency pairs of longer wavelength in the doline karst models suggests that there are fewer horizontally and vertically persistent bedrock fractures controlling topographic development in the doline areas than in the cockpit terrains-a fact confirmed by fracture-trace mapping. Frequency pair orientations and powers indicate that northwest- and northeast-trending fractures exert a major influence on topographic development in the cockpit terrains and that east-trending fractures are relatively more important in the doline areas. Further studies are needed to determine if Fourier models of the doline, cockpit, and tower karst styles differ in a consistent fashion and to find out to what extent these differences are related to the bedding, fracture, and relief characteristics of the karst bedrock

Rock Fractures and Fluid Flow: Contemporary Understanding and Applications, 1996,

Three-dimensional flow measurements in rock fractures, 1999, Dijk P. , Berkowitz B.

Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging is applied to measure flow patterns in natural, water-saturated, rough-walled rock fractures. From three-dimensional water density and velocity vector images the fracture morphology and flow patterns are determined. The parabolic nature and asymmetry of the velocity profiles, and thus the accuracy of local cubic law flow rate predictions, vary greatly. This depends on the degree of wall roughness. Particularly complex flow patterns are found in one sample which contains a sharp fracture wall discontinuity. A power law for the flow rate versus aperture for the low-flow region was found without considering the hydraulic gradients.

Investigation of flow in water-saturated rock fractures using nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI), 1999, Dijk P. , Berkowitz B. , Bendel P.

The application of nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI) to the direct three-dimensional measurement of flow in rough-walled water-saturated rock fractures is presented for the first time. The study demonstrates the abilities of NMRI to noninvasively measure rock-water interfaces and water flow velocities in these fractures and investigates the effects of wall morphology on flow patterns inside a typical rock fracture. Two- and three-dimensional flow-encoded spin-echo pulse sequences were applied. The stability and reproducibility of the water flow patterns were confirmed by analyzing two-dimensional velocity images. A variety of geometrical and hydraulic features were determined from three-dimensional velocity images, including the rock-water interfaces, the fracture aperture distribution, and the critical aperture path; velocity profiles and volumetric flow rates; flow and stagnant regions; and the critical velocity path. In particular, the effects of a sharp step discontinuity of the fracture walls and the applicability of the cubic law were examined. As a result of the complex three-dimensional geometry, velocity profiles are generally parabolic but often highly asymmetric, with respect to the fracture walls. These asymmetric velocity profiles are clustered together, with significant correlations; they are not just local random phenomena. However, theoretical considerations indicate that the effects of the measured asymmetry on volumetric flow rates and hydraulic conductivities are insignificant, in that the overall flow inside rough fractures still obeys the cubic law. The features discussed in this study emphasize the strong heterogeneity and the highly three-dimensional nature of the flow patterns in natural rock fractures and consequently the need for three-dimensional flow analysis.

Buoyancy-driven dissolution enhancement in rock fractures, 2000, Dijk Pe, Berkowitz B,
The structures of geological formations, as well as flow and chemical transport patterns within them, are profoundly affected by chemical dissolution and precipitation processes (i.e., the interactions among flow, chemical transport, buoyancy, and dissolution and precipitation reactions). These processes are intrinsically hard to measure, and therefore are not well understood. Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging is applied to study the dynamic behavior of coupled flow and dissolution in natural rock fractures. Our findings reveal that flow and transport in evolving fractures are far more unpredictable than commonly assumed, due to complex interactions among fracture morphology, flow, dissolution, and buoyancy. This can explain physical processes causing catastrophic collapse and subsurface structural instabilities, such as sinkholes and land subsidence

Measurement and analysis of dissolution patterns in rock fractures, 2000, Dijk P. E. , Berkowitz B.

Buoyancy-driven dissolution enhancement in rock fractures, 2000, Dijk, P. E. , Berkowitz, B.

The structures of geological formations, as well as flow and chemical transport patterns within them, are profoundly affected by chemical dissolution and precipitation processes (i.e., the interactions among flow, chemical transport, buoyancy, and dissolution and precipitation reactions). These processes are intrinsically hard to measure, and therefore are not well understood. Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging is applied to study the dynamic behavior of coupled flow and dissolution in natural rock fractures. Our findings reveal that flow and transport in evolving fractures are far more unpredictable than commonly assumed, due to complex interactions among fracture morphology, flow, dissolution, and buoyancy. This can explain physical processes causing catastrophic collapse and subsurface structural instabilities, such as sinkholes and land subsidence.

Geophysical surveys over karst recharge features, Illinois, USA, 2001, Carpenter Pj, Ahmed S,
Karst aquifers supply a significant fraction of the world's drinking water. These types of aquifers are also highly susceptible to pollution from the surface with recharge usually occurring through fractures and solution openings at the bedrock surface. Thickness of the protective soil cover, macropores and openings within the soil cover, and the nature of the weathered bedrock surface all influence infiltration. Recharge openings at the bedrock surface, however, are often covered by unconsolidated sediments, resulting in the inadvertent placement of landfills, unregulated dump sites, tailing piles, waste lagoons and septic systems over recharge zones. In these settings surface geophysical surveys, calibrated by a few soil cores, could be employed to identify these recharge openings, and qualitatively assess the protection afforded by the soil cover. In a test of this hypothesis, geophysical measurements accurately predicted the thickness of unconsolidated deposits overlying karstic dolomite at a site about 100 km south of Chicago, Illinois. Zones of elevated electrical conductivity and high ground-penetrating radar (GPR) attenuation within the sediments coincided with subcropping solutionally-enlarged hydraulically active bedrock fractures. These fractures extend to over 12-m depth, as shown by 2-D inverted resistivity sections and soil coring. Anomalous electromagnetic (EM) conductivity and GPR response may be due to higher soil moisture above these enlarged fractures. An epikarstal conduit at 2.5-m depth was directly identified through a GPR survey. These results suggest that surface geophysical surveys are a viable tool for assessing the susceptibility of shallow karst aquifers to contamination

Measurement and analysis of dissolution patterns in rock fractures, 2002, Dijk P. E. , Berkowitz B. , Yechieli Y.

Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI) is applied to noninvasively measure flow and dissolution patterns in natural, rough-walled, water-saturated halite fractures. Three-dimensional images of water density and flow velocity acquired with NMRI allow quantification of the developing fracture morphology and flow patterns. The flow patterns are correlated strongly to the local apertures and the large-scale wall roughness. The correlations of the dissolution patterns to the fracture morphology, flow patterns, and mineralogical composition of the rock matrix are a function of the overall dimensionless Damköhler number. At high Damköhler numbers the dissolution patterns are dominated by the flow structure. In addition, at high Damköhler numbers buoyancy (stratified flow) becomes important. In such cases the dissolution patterns also depend on the orientation and elevation of the fracture walls, resulting in preferential upward dissolution. At low Damköhler numbers the dissolution patterns depend mainly on the mineralogical composition of the rock matrix. These findings suggest that coupled flow and dissolution processes are much more complex and unpredictable than commonly assumed, even under simplified conditions.

Geophysical response of filled sinkholes, soil pipes and associated bedrock fractures in thinly mantled karst, east-central Illinois, 2003, Ahmed S, Carpenter Pj,

Reversibility of forest conversion impacts on water budgets in tropical karst terrain, 2006, Chandler Dg,
A conceptual model of the control of tropical land use and vegetative cover on bedrock recharge is developed for highly permeable geologic substrates. A case study of water budgets is then developed from field data and simple modeling for upland sites with three different vegetative covers (cropland, intensively grazed pasture and forest regrowth) in Leyte, Philippines. Water budget model results show that annual precipitation is divided primarily between evapotranspiration and overland flow for the pasture, but apportioned more to evapotranspiration and inputs to bedrock storage for the crop and forest sites. Modeled evapotranspiration from the forest (1906 mm) was not sufficiently greater than that for either the crop (1661 mm) or pasture (1476 mm) sites to offset the greater overland flow from those sites. The differences in overland flow are related to depth profiles of soil bulk density, which decreased between crop and forest and increased between crop and pasture, and drainable porosity, which increased between crop and forest and decreased between crop and pasture. Dry season streamflow is assumed to be primarily base flow and dependent on wet season bedrock recharge, which was dramatically lower for the pasture (106 mm) than for the crop (1134 mm) or forest covers (1320 mm), for 2946 mm of rainfall. The results support the premise that for landscapes with adequate storage in bedrock fractures, forest regrowth can increase recharge to perched aquifers, and hence dry season baseflow, relative to cropping and that dramatic reductions in overland flow and increases in dry season baseflow may be achieved by reforestation of compacted pastures. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Active Erosion of Flat Interfluve Summits Above the Multi-storey Artesian Ozark Aquifer , 2010, Elfrink, N. M.

Migrating regional ground water divides can create unstable zones of relatively stagnant flow in upland areas. Unlike traditional upland ground water divides, the process of flow reversal causes these zones to reject recharge. Artesian pressure surfaces limit the downward infiltration of precipitation and form the subenvelope above which ground water sapping can create a ‘peneplain’ (Stearns, 1967). Only regolith and rock above the pressure surface subenvelope is available for epigenic erosion. Inertia is eventually overcome and ground water circulation substantially increases as hydraulically-advantaged, ‘entrenched’ river systems capture the isolated packets of stagnant ground water. As artesian pressure is lost in the upper story, losing streams form. The losing streams may eventually be consumed by the steep slopes of an entrenching stream, thus completing the reversal of flow. Water level data suggest that the dewatering of stagnant divide areas can be hastened by distant earthquakes.

A variety of observations in Missouri, including recent studies using heat pulse flow meters, show that pressurized sandstone aquifers are widespread beneath upland divides and at surprisingly high elevations. The ground water in the sandstones is confined by relatively tight carbonates. Ground water leaves these confined aquifers by slowly percolating upward through the confining carbonate into shallow bedrock fractures. Storm events then flush shallow mineral-laden ground water into surface streams, which is why floodwaters tend to be dominated by ground water (Frederickson & Criss, 1999). In the major valleys, transverse speleogenesis reverses the hydraulic role of the carbonate beds (Klimchouk, 2003). Classic artesian hydrology generally ignores these mechanisms and cannot explain why most large Ozark caves are associated with sandstones. Unlike classic artesian systems, artesian aquifers in the Ozarks typically lack a marginal recharge zone. Artesian pressures are maintained by ongoing vertical movements. A subsidence rate of approximately 1 mm/yr in the Northern Mississippi Embayment (Calais, 2008) would cause the Ozark ground water divide to migrate to the north and west at approximately 0.7 meter per year, assuming a constant gradient. Flat interfluve summits form as the flow reversal process unfolds.

Once thought to be remnants of ancient peneplains formed near sea-level, isotopic evidence now indicates that modern Ozark summits are actually being sapped by relatively shallow but significant zones of chemical migration. The flat summit surfaces and the steep stream valleys form simultaneously as the landscape is lowered and drainages are rearranged. There is no need to postulate the prior existence of a low elevation peneplain. The uppermost artesian pressure surface acts as the base level, not sea level. Flat interfluve surfaces can form at any elevation, depending on hydrologic conditions. The summit surfaces appear flat because they are essentially created by a regional ground water surface that is widespread and relatively flat.


The persistent drought of the 2012 summer in the Midwestern United States significantly impacted the health and vigor of Illinois’ crops. An unforeseen outcome of the extreme drought was that it provided a rare opportunity to examine and characterize the bedrock surface and underlying karst aquifer within the Driftless Area of northwestern Illinois. Complex networks of vegetated lines and polygonal patterns, herein referred to as crop lines, crisscrossed the dry summer landscape of Jo Daviess County. Initially, the crop lines were examined and photographed using a handheld digital camera on the ground and from a small aircraft at 300 meters altitude above ground level (AGL). The orientations, widths and horizontal separations of the lines were measured. Crop lines and their patterns and orientations were compared with those of crevices in outcrops, road cuts and quarries, and with lineaments seen in LiDAR elevation data of Jo Daviess County.
Primarily confined to alfalfa fields and, to a lesser extent, soybeans and corn, the crop lines are the result of a combination of extremely dry conditions, and a thin soil zone overlying fractured and creviced Galena Dolomite bedrock. The plants forming the lines tend to grow denser, taller (0.5 m vs 0.15 m) and darker/greener than those in adjacent areas. Alfalfa taproots are the deepest of the aforementioned crops extending up to 7 m below the surface. Groundwater and associated soil moisture within the vadose zone present within bedrock fractures and crevices provide the necessary moisture to sustain the overlying healthy plants, while the remaining area of the field exhibits stunted and sparse plant growth. Overall, the crop lines are a reflection of the creviced pattern of the underlying karst bedrock and associated karst aquifer, and reveal the degree and extent of karstification in eastern Jo Daviess County. The crop lines were consistent with the angular lines of adjacent streams that show a rectangular drainage pattern. Stream patterns like these are well known and are due to drainage controlled by crevice/fracture patterns in the top of bedrock. The lines appear to have been formed by two sets of fractures trending roughly north-south and east-west with occasional cross-cutting fractures/crevices. The east-west trending lines are consistent with tension joints, and the north-south lines are consistent with the shear joints identified by earlier researchers. The trends of the crop lines, tension and shear joints are similar to those of lineaments identified from LiDAR elevation data in the same area (N 20° W, and N 70° W and N 70° E) and coincide with the occurrence of karst features throughout eastern Jo Daviess County.The pattern observed in the crop lines closely mimics the fracture/crevice patterns of the bedrock surface. The widths and extent of the lines may be used as a surrogate for the karst features present on the bedrock surfaces. Crop lines, coupled with solution-enlarged crevices seen in bedrock exposures, yield a three dimensional view of the bedrock crevice-fracture system, and ultimately could provide a more complete and accurate model of the karst aquifer in the study area and similar karst areas in the Midwestern United States and perhaps in other karst regions of the world.

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