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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 tenorite is a cave mineral - cuo [11].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
See all featured articles
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 sulfur-oxidizing bacteria (Keyword) returned 6 results for the whole karstbase:
Acidic cave-wall biofilms located in the Frasassi Gorge, Italy, 2000, Vlasceanu L. , Sarbu S. M. , Engel A. S. , Kinkle B. K. ,
Acidic bioflms present on cave walls in the sulfidic region of the Frasassi Gorge, Italy, were investigated to determine their microbial composition and their potential role in cave formation and ecosystem functioning. All biofilm samples examined had pH values <1.0. Scanning electron microscopy of the biofilms revealed the presence of various filaments and rods associated in large clusters with mineral crystals. Qualitative energy-dispersive x-ray analysis was used to determine that the crystals present on the cave walls, associated with the microbial biofilm, were composed of calcium and barium sulfate. Ribosomal RNA-based methods to determine the microbial composition of these biofilms revealed the presence of at least two strains of potential acidophilic, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria, belonging to the genera Thiobacillus and Sulfobacillus. An acid producing strain of Thiobacillus sp. also was obtained in pure culture. Stable isotope ratio analysis of carbon and nitrogen showed that the wall biofilms are isotopically light, suggesting that in situ chemoautotrophic activity plays an important role in this subsurface ecosystem

Microbial contributions to cave formation: New insights into sulfuric acid speleogenesis, 2004, Engel As, Stern La, Bennett Pc,
The sulfuric acid speleogenesis (SAS) model was introduced in the early 1970s from observations of Lower Kane Cave, Wyoming, and was proposed as a cave-enlargement process due to primarily H2S autoxidation to sulfuric acid and subaerial replacement of carbonate by gypsum. Here we present a reexamination of the SAS type locality in which we make use of uniquely applied geochemical and microbiological methods. Little H2S escapes to the cave atmosphere, or is lost by abiotic autoxidation, and instead the primary H2S loss mechanism is by subaqueous sulfur-oxidizing bacterial communities that consume H2S. Filamentous 'Epsilonproteobacteria' and Gammaproteobacteria, characterized by fluorescence in situ hybridization, colonize carbonate surfaces and generate sulfuric acid as a metabolic byproduct. The bacteria focus carbonate dissolution by locally depressing pH, compared to bulk cave waters near equilibrium or slightly supersaturated with calcite. These findings show that SAS occurs in subaqueous environments and potentially at much greater phreatic depths in carbonate aquifers, thereby offering new insights into the microbial roles in subsurface karstification

Niche differentiation among sulfur-oxidizing bacterial populations in cave waters, 2008, Jennifer L Macalady, Sharmishtha Dattagupta, Irene Schaperdoth, Daniel S Jones, Greg K Druschel And Danielle Eastman
The sulfidic Frasassi cave system affords a unique opportunity to investigate niche relationships among sulfur-oxidizing bacteria, including epsilonproteobacterial clades with no cultivated representatives. Oxygen and sulfide concentrations in the cave waters range over more than two orders of magnitude as a result of seasonally and spatially variable dilution of the sulfidic groundwater. A full-cycle rRNA approach was used to quantify dominant populations in biofilms collected in both diluted and undiluted zones. Sulfide concentration profiles within biofilms were obtained in situ using microelectrode voltammetry. Populations in rock-attached streamers depended on the sulfide/oxygen supply ratio of bulk water (r¼0.97; Po0.0001). Filamentous epsilonproteobacteria dominated at high sulfide to oxygen ratios (4150), whereas Thiothrix dominated at low ratios (o75). In contrast, Beggiatoa was the dominant group in biofilms at the sediment?water interface regardless of sulfide and oxygen concentrations or supply ratio. Our results highlight the versatility and ecological success of Beggiatoa in diffusion-controlled niches, and demonstrate that high sulfide/oxygen ratios in turbulent water are important for the growth of filamentous epsilonproteobacteria.

Aqueous Geochemical Evidence of Volcanogenic Karstification: Sistema Zacaton, Mexico, 2011, Gary M. O. , Doctor D. H. , Sharp J. M.

The Sistema Zacatón karst area in northeastern Mexico (Tamaulipas state) is limited to a relatively focused area (20 km2) in a carbonate setting not prone to extensive karstification. The unique features found here are characteristic of hydrothermal karstification processes, represent some of the largest phreatic voids in the world, and are hypothesized to have formed from interaction of a local Pleistocene magmatic event with the regional groundwater system. Aqueous geochemical data collected from five cenotes of Sistema Zacatón between 2000 and 2009 include temperature (spatial, temporal, and depth profiles), geochemical depth profiles, major and trace ion geochemistry, stable and radiogenic isotopes, and dissolved gases. Interpretation of these data indicates four major discoveries: 1) rock-water interaction occurs between groundwater, the limestone matrix, and local volcanic rocks; 2) varying degrees of hydrogeological connection exist among cenotes in the system as observed from geochemical signatures; 3) microbially-mediated geochemical reactions control sulfur and carbon cycling and influence redox geochemistry; and 4) dissolved gases are indicative of a deep volcanic source. Dissolved 87Sr/86Sr isotope ratios (mean 0.70719) are lower than those of the surrounding Cretaceous limestone (0.70730-0.70745), providing evidence of groundwater interaction with volcanic rock, which has a 87Sr/86Sr isotope ratio of 0.7050. Discrete hydraulic barriers between cenotes formed in response to sinkhole formation, hydrothermal travertine precipitation, and shifts in the local water table, creating relatively isolated water bodies. The isolation of the cenotes is reflected in distinct water chemistries among them. This is observed most clearly in the cenote Verde where a water level 4-5 meters lower than the adjacent cenotes is maintained, seasonal water temperature variations occur, thermoclines and chemoclines exist, and the water is oxic at all depths. The surrounding cenotes of El Zacatón, Caracol, and La Pilita show constant water temperatures both in depth profile and in time, have similar water levels, and are almost entirely anoxic. A sulfur (H2S) isotope value of δ34S = -1.8 ‰ (CDT) in deep water of cenote Caracol, contrasted with two lower sulfur isotopic values of sulfide in the water near the surface of the cenote (δ34S = -7 ‰ and -8 ‰ CDT). These δ34S values are characteristic of complex biological sulfur cycling where sulfur oxidation in the photic zone results in oxidation of H2S to colloidal sulfur near the surface in diurnal cycles. This is hypothesized to result from changes in microbial community structure with depth as phototropic, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria become less abundant below 20 m. Unique microbial communities exist in the anoxic, hydrothermal cenotes that strongly mediate sulfur cycling and likely influence mineralization along the walls of these cenotes. Dissolved CO2 gas concentrations ranged from 61-173 mg/L and total dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) δ13C values measured at cenote surfaces ranged from -10.9 ‰ to -11.8 ‰ (PDB), reflecting mixed sources of carbon from carbonate rock dissolution, biogenic CO2 and possibly dissolved CO2 from volcanic sources. Surface measurements of dissolved helium gas concentrations range from 50 nmol/kg to 213 nmol/kg. These elevated helium concentrations likely indicate existence of a subsurface volcanic source; however, helium isotope data are needed to test this hypothesis. The results of these data reflect a speleogenetic history that is inherently linked to volcanic activity, and support the hypothesis that the extreme karst development of Sistema Zacatón would likely not have progressed without groundwater interaction with the local igneous rocks 


Ostracod Assemblages in the Frasassi Caves and Adjacent Sulfidic Spring and Sentino River in the Northeastern Apennines of Italy, 2013, Peterson D. E. , Finger K. L. , Iepure S. , Mariani S. , Montanari A. , Namiotko T.

Rich, diverse assemblages comprising a total (live + dead) of twenty-one ostracod species belonging to fifteen genera were recovered from phreatic waters of the hypogenic Frasassi Cave system and the adjacent Frasassi sulfidic spring and Sentino River in the Marche region of the northeastern Apennines of Italy. Specimens were recovered from ten sites, eight of which were in the phreatic waters of the cave system and sampled at different times of the year over a period of five years. Approximately 6900 specimens were recovered, the vast majority of which were disarticulated valves; live ostracods were also collected. The most abundant species in the sulfidic spring and Sentino River were Prionocypris zenkeri, Herpetocypris chevreuxi, and Cypridopsis vidua, while the phreatic waters of the cave system were dominated by two putatively new stygobitic species of Mixtacandona and Pseudolimnocythere and a species that was also abundant in the sulfidic spring, Fabaeformiscandona ex gr. F. fabaeformis.
Pseudocandona ex gr. P. eremita, likely another new stygobitic species, is recorded for
the first time in Italy. The relatively high diversity of the ostracod assemblages at Frasassi
could be attributed to the heterogeneity of groundwater and associated habitats or to
niche partitioning promoted by the creation of a chemoautotrophic ecosystem based on
sulfur-oxidizing bacteria. Other possible factors are the geologic age and hydrologic
conditions of the cave and karst aquifer system that possibly originated in the early–
middle Pleistocene when topographic uplift and incision enabled deep sulfidic waters to
reach the local carbonate aquifer. Flooding or active migration would have introduced
the invertebrates that now inhabit the Frasassi Cave system


Biological Control on Acid Generation at the Conduit-Bedrock Boundary in Submerged Caves: Quantification through Geochemical Modeling, 2013, Herman Janet S. , Hounshell Alexandria G. , Franklin Rima B, Mills Aaron L.

No-mount Cave, located in wekiwa Springs State Park in central Florida, USA, is an aphotic, submerged, freshwater cave in which large colonies of sulfur-oxidizing bacteria live in filamentous microbial mats. Upwardly discharging groundwater enters the cave from the Upper Floridan aquifer, specifically the Eocene-aged Ocala Limestone. we undertook a combined field, laboratory, and modeling study in which we sought to determine the amount of calcite dissolution attributable to the generation of protons by microbially mediated sulfide oxidation. The chemical compositions of groundwater within the limestone formation collected through a newly designed sampling device and of water in the cave conduit were used in geochemical modeling. we used the reaction-path model PHREEqCI to quantify the amount of calcite dissolution expected under various plausible scenarios for mixing of formation water with conduit water and extent of bacterial sulfide oxidation. Laboratory experiments were conducted using flow-through columns packed with crushed limestone from the study site. Replicate columns were eluted with artificial groundwater containing dissolved HS- in the absence of microbial growth. without biologically mediated sulfide oxidation, no measurable calcite dissolution occurred in laboratory experiments and no additional amount of speleogenesis is expected as formation water mixes with conduit water in the field. In contrast, significant calcite dissolution is driven by the protons released in the biological transformation of the aqueous sulfur species. Although a range of results were calculated, a plausible amount of 158 mg Ca2+ released to conduit water per liter of groundwater crossing the formation-conduit boundary and mixing with an equal volume of conduit water was predicted. Our modeling results indicate that significant cave development can be driven by microbially mediated sulfide oxidation under these hydrogeochemical conditions


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