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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 grade is 1. inclination or slope [16]. 2. the class of a cave survey on the basis of the precision of the instruments and the accuracy of the methods [25].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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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 sulfuric acid caves (Keyword) returned 9 results for the whole karstbase:
Overview of the Geological History of Cave Development in the Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico, 2000, Hill, C. A.
The sequence of events relating to the geologic history of cave development in the Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico, traces from the Permian to the present. In the Late Permian, the reef, forereef, and backreef units of the Capitan Reef Complex were deposited, and the arrangement, differential dolomitization, jointing, and folding of these stratigraphic units have influenced cave development since that time. Four episodes of karsification occurred in the Guadalupe Mountains: Stage 1 fissure caves (Late Permian) developed primarily along zones of weakness at the reef/backreef contact; Stage 2 spongework caves (Mesozoic) developed as small interconnected dissolution cavities during limestone mesogenesis; Stage 3 thermal caves (Miocene?) formed by dissolution of hydrothermal water; Stage 4 sulfuric acid caves (Miocene-Pleistocene) formed by H2S-sulfuric acid dissolution derived hypogenically from hydrocarbons. This last episode is reponsible for the large caves in the Guadalupe Mountains containing gypsum blocks/rinds, native sulfur, endellite, alunite, and other deposits related to a sulfuric acid speleogenetic mechanism.

Hypogenic caves in France. Speleogenesis and morphology of the cave systems, 2010, Audra Ph. , D'antoninebecourt J. C. , Bigot J. Y.

Hypogenic caves develop by recharge from below, not directly influenced by seepage from the overlying land surface. Several processes of speleogenesis are combined, involving CO2 or H2S produced at depth. If the recharge from depth remains uniform, the growth of selected fissures is prevented, giving rise to maze cave systems with an upward development trend, which is defined as “transverse speleogenesis” [Klimchouk, 2003]. Hypogenic caves are much fewer than epigenic caves (i.e. developed downwards by meteoric water with aggressivity derived from soil). In France, as in the rest of the world, hypogenic caves were poorly recognized until recently because of their lower frequency, subsequent epigenic imprint often hiding the true origin, and the absence of a global conceptual model. However, about a hundred of hypogenic caves have been identified recently in France. The extreme diversity of hypogenic cave patterns and features is due to the variety of geological and topographic settings and types of flow. Thermal caves are a sub-set of hypogenic caves. Active thermal caves are few and small (Mas d’En Caraman, Vallon du Salut). Often, thermal in fluences only occur as point thermal in feeders into epigenic caves (Mescla, Estramar). In addition to the higher temperature, they may be characterized by CO2 (Madeleine) or H2S degassing, by warm water flowing in ceiling channels, or by manganese deposits. The Giant Phreatic Shafts locate along regional active fault lines. They combine all characteristics (thermal, CO2, H2S), due to the fast rising of deep water. The Salins Spring has been explored by scuba diving down to –70 m. Such a hyperkarstification is responsible for the development of the deepest phreatic shafts of the world: pozzo del Merro, Italy (-392 m). Inactive hypogenic caves may be recognized by their specific mineralization or by the presence of large calcite spar. Metallic deposits are due to the rising of deep waters that are warm, aggressive, and low in oxidation potential. Mixing with meteoric water generates Mississippi Valley Type (MVT) sulfidic ores. Iron deposits as massive bodies (Lagnes) or onto microbial media (Iboussires, Malacoste) making specific facies, such as “black tubes”, iron flakes, and iron pool fingers. Other frequent minerals are Mn oxides and Pb sulfur. In such low thermal conditions, calcite deposits occur as large spar in geodes or as passage linings. Other inactive hypogenic caves may also be recognized by characteristic patterns, such as mazes. The relatively constant recharge into confined karst aquifers suppresses fissure competition, so they enlarge at similar rates, producing a maze pattern. In horizontal beds, mazes extend centrifugally around the upwelling feeder. The juxtaposition of multiple discrete vertical feeders produces extended horizontal mazes. In gently tilted structures, 2D mazes extend below aquitards, or along bedding or more porous beds (Saint-Sbastien). In thick folded limestone the rising hypogenic flow alternatively follows joints and bedding planes, producing a 3D maze cave in a stair case pattern (Pigette). Isolated chambers are large cupola-like chambers fed by thermal slots. Thermal convection of air in a CO2-rich atmosphere causes condensation-corrosion that quickly produces voids above the water table (Champignons Cave). Sulfuric acid caves with replacement gypsum are produced by H2S degassing in the cave atmosphere. H2S oxidizes to H2SO4, which corrodes the carbonate rock and replaces it with gypsum. The strongest corrosion occurs above the water table, where sulfide degassing and thermal convection produce strong condensation-corrosion. Caves develop head ward from springs and from thermo-sulfuric slots upward (Chevalley-Serpents System). The low-gradient main drains record base level positions and even the slightest stages of water-table lowering (Chat Cave). Hypogenic speleogenesis provides better understanding of the distribution of karst voids responsible for subsidence hazards and the emplacement of minerals and hydrocarbons.


Hypogenic caves in France. Speleogenesis and morphology of the cave systems, 2010, Audra Philippe, D’antoninobecourt Jeanclaude, Bigot Jeanyves

Hypogenic caves develop by recharge from below, not directly influenced by seepage from the over lying land surface. Several processes of speleogenesis are combined, involving CO2 or H2S produced at depth. If the recharge from depth remains uniform, the growth of selected fissures is prevented, giving rise to maze cave systems with an upward development trend, which is defined as “transverse speleogenesis” [Klimchouk, 2003]. Hypogenic caves are much fewer than epigenic caves (i.e. developed downwards by meteoric water with aggressivity derived from soil). In France, as in the rest of the world, hypogenic caves were poorly recognized until recently because of their lower frequency, subsequent epigenic imprint of tenhiding the true origin, and the absence of a global conceptual model. However, about a hundred of hypogenic caves have been identified recently in France. The extreme diversity of hypogenic cave patterns and features is due to the variety of geological and topographic settings and types of flow. Thermal caves are a sub-set of hypogenic caves. Active thermal caves are few and small (Mas d’En Cara man, Vallondu Salut). Often, thermal in fluences only occur as point thermal infeeders into epigenic caves (Mescla, Estra mar). In addition to the higher temperature, they may be characterized by CO2 (Madeleine) or H2S degassing, by warm water flowing in ceiling channels, or by manganese de posits. The Giant Phreatic Shafts locate along regional active faul tlines. They combine all characteristics (thermal, CO2, H2S), due to the fast rising of deep water. The Salins Spring has been explored by scuba diving down to –70 m. Such a hyperkars tification is responsible for the development of the deepest phreatic shafts of the world: pozzo del Merro, Italy (-392 m). Inactive hypogenic caves may be recognized by their specific mineralization or by the presence of large calcite spar. Metallic deposits are due to the rising of deep waters that are warm, aggressive, and low in oxidation potential. Mixing with meteoric water generates Mississippi Valley Type (MVT) sulfidicores. Iron deposits as massive bodies (Lagnes) or ontomicrobial media (Ibous sières, Malacoste) making specific facies, such as “black tubes”, iron flakes, and iron pool fingers. Other frequent minerals are Mn oxides and Pb sulfur. In such low thermal conditions, calcite deposits occur as large spar in geodes or as passage linings. Other inactive hypogenic caves may also be recognized by characteristic patterns, such as mazes. The relatively constant recharge into confined karst aquifers suppres ses fissure competition, so they enlarge at similar rates, producing a maze pattern. In horizontal beds, mazes extend centrifugally around the upwelling feeder. The juxtaposition of multiple discrete vertical feeders produces extended horizontal mazes. In gently tilted structures, 2D mazes extend below aquitards, or along bedding or more porous beds (Saint-Sé bastien). In thick folded limestone the rising hypogenic flow alternatively follows joints and bedding planes, pro ducing a 3D maze cave in a stair case pattern (Pigette). Isolated chambers are large cupola-like chambers fed by thermal slots. Thermal convection of air in a CO2-rich atmosphere causes condensation-corrosion that quickly produces voids above the water table (Champignons Cave). Sulfuric acid caves with replacement gypsum are produced by H2S degassing in the cave atmosphere. H2S oxidizes to H2SO4, which corrodes the carbonate rock and replaces it with gypsum. The strongest corrosion occurs above the water table, where sulfide degassing and thermal convection produce strong condensation-corrosion. Caves develop headward from springs and from thermo-sulfuric slots upward (Chevalley-Serpents System). The low-gradient main drains record base-level positions and even the slightest stages of water-table lowering (Chat Cave). Hypogenic speleogenesis provides better understanding of the distribution of karst voids responsible for subsidence hazards and the emplace ment of minerals and hydrocarbons.


The first cave occurrence of orpiment (As₂S₃) from the sulfuric acid caves of Aghia Paraskevi (Kassandra Peninsula, N. Greece), 2011, Lazaridis Georgios, Melfos Vasilios, Papadopoulou Lambrini

Orpiment, tamarugite and pickeringite occur in close association above the surface of thermal water cave pools in the active sulfuric acid caves of Aghia Paraskevi on the Kassandra peninsula, northern Greece. Gypsum also occurs as small interstitial crystals or encrustations. Orpiment is of high significance since it has not previously been reported as a cave mineral. In addition, tamarugite and pickeringite rarely occur in karst caves. Water from a borehole and a spring is of Na-Cl type and contains traces of CO2 and H2S. The B/Cl ratios indicate seawater participation with a possible mixing with geothermal water of meteoric origin. Oxidation of fumarolic H2S and incorporation of seawater is a possible cause for the deposition of tamarugite. Orpiment accumulated from vapors under sub-aerial conditions at low temperatures in acidic conditions through an evaporation-condensation process. Fluid cooling and/or acidification of the solution resulting from H2S oxidation were responsible for orpiment precipitation. Oxidation of H2S to sulfuric acid dissolved the limestone bedrock and deposited gypsum.


Sulfuric Acid Caves, 2012, Palmer A, Hill C.

Most caves owe their origin to carbonic acid generated in the soil. In contrast, sulfuric acid caves are produced by the oxidation of sulfides beneath the surface. Although sulfuric acid caves are relatively few, they include some large and well-known examples, such as Carlsbad Cavern, New Mexico. They also provide evidence for a variety of deep-seated processes that are important to petroleum geology, ore geology, tectonic history, and the nascent field of karst geomicrobiology.


Petrographic and isotopic evidence for late-stage processes in sulfuric acid caves of the Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico, USA, 2012, Palmer Margaret, Palmer Arthur N.

Caves of the Guadalupe Mountains have experienced many modifications since their final phase of sulfuric acid speleogenesis several million years ago. Petrographic and geochemical data reveal details of the change from H2SO4 to CO2-dominated reactions. The H2SO4 dissolution front acquired a coating of replacement gypsum with local pockets of anhydrite and by-products of altered clay, including Fe-Mn oxides. Alteration of bedrock beneath the gypsum produced a white micritized rind with small negative shifts in δ13C and δ18O. Solution basins contain records of the earliest post-speleogenetic processes: corroded bedrock, residual anhydrite, Fe-Mn oxides from fluctuating pH and Eh, mammillary calcite, and dolomitization. Later meteoric water removed or recrystallized much of the gypsum and early micrite, and replaced some gypsum with calcite. Mammillary crusts demonstrate fluctuating groundwater, with calcite layers interrupted by films of Fe-Mn oxides precipitated during periodic inflow of anoxic water. Condensation moisture (from local evaporation) absorbs CO2 from cave air, corroding earlier features and lowering their δ13C and δ18O. Drips of condensation water deposit minerals mainly by evaporation, which increases δ18O in the speleothems while δ13C remains nearly constant. By forcing calcite precipitation, evaporation raises the Mg content of remaining water and subsequent precipitates. Dolomite (both primary and replacive) is abundant. In areas of low air circulation, water on and within carbonate speleothems equilibrates with cave-air CO2, causing minerals to recrystallize with glassy textures. Fluorite on young evaporative speleothems suggests a recent release of deep-source HF gas and absorption by droplets of condensation water. 


Sulfuric acid caves: Morphology and evolution, 2013, Palmer, A. N.

Many hypogene caves are formed by sulfuric acid produced by the oxidation of sulfides, particularly hydrogen sulfide. This cave development can take place below, at, or above the water table. Most cave enlargement is subaerial, in water films and droplets that absorb gaseous hydrogen sulfide and oxygen. Sulfuric acid caves have irregular patterns with large variations in cross section and elevation, with relatively few subhorizontal passages formed along the water table. Cave origin is scattered, localized, and sporadic. Sulfuric acid caves provide evidence for regional geomorphic and tectonic history, groundwater flow patterns, and redox geochemistry.


A REVIEW ON HYPOGENE CAVES IN ITALY, 2014, De Waele J. , Galdenzi S. , Madonia G. , Menichetti M. , Parise M. , Leonardo Piccini , Sanna L. , Sauro F. , Tognini P. , Vattano M. Vigna B.

Although hypogene cave systems have been described since the beginning of the 20th century, the importance in speleogenesis of ascending fluids that acquired their aggressiveness from in-depth sources has been fully realized only in the last decades. Aggressiveness of waters can be related to carbonic and sulfuric acids and the related corrosion-dissolu­tion processes give rise to different types of caves and under­ground morphologies.

The abundance of hydrothermal springs and associated traver­tine deposits, and the widespread interaction between volcanic or sub-volcanic phenomena and karst in many sectors of the Ital­ian peninsula are a strong evidence of hypogene speleogenesis. Furthermore, researches on secondary minerals have allowed to discover hypogene caves formed by highly acidic vapors in sub­aerial environments, also showing that most of these caves have extremely rich mineral associations.

Despite this, until the late 1980s the only known important cave systems of clear hypogene origin in Italy were considered to be the ones hosted in the Frasassi Canyon and Monte Cucco, in which important gypsum deposits undoubtedly showed that sulfuric acid played an important role in the creation of voids (Galdenzi, 1990, 2001; Galdenzi & Maruoka, 2003; Menichetti et al., 2007). Afterwards many other caves were categorized as formed by the sulfuric acid speleogenesis throughout the entire Apennines. Following the broad definition of hypogene caves by Palmer in 1991, and the even more general one of Klimchouk in the last decade (Klimchouk, 2007, 2009), the number of caves considered of hypogene origin in Italy has grown rapidly. Figure 1 shows the hypogene karst systems of Italy, including, besides the well-known and published ones, also the known and less studied, and presumed hypogene cave systems (see also Table 1).

More recently, in some of these caves detailed studies have been carried out including geomorphology, mineralogy, and geochem­istry. Sulfuric acid caves are known from many regions along the Apennine chain (Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, Latium, Campa­nia, Calabria) (Forti, 1985; Forti et al., 1989; Galdenzi and Me­nichetti, 1989, 1995; Galdenzi, 1997, 2001, 2009; Galdenzi et al., 2010; Piccini, 2000; Menichetti, 2009, 2011; Mecchia, 2012; De Waele et al., 2013b), but also from Piedmont, Apulia, Sicily (Vattano et al., 2013) and Sardinia (De Waele et al., 2013a). In this last region ascending fluids have also formed a hypogene cave in quartzite rock. Oxidation of sulfides can locally create hypogene cave morphologies in dominantly epigenic caves, such as in the Venetian forealps (this cave is not shown in Figure 1, being largely epigenic in origin) (Tisato et al., 2012). Ascend­ing fluids have also created large solution voids in Messinian gypsum beds in Piedmont, and these can be defined hypogene caves according to the definition by Klimchouk (Vigna et al., 2010). Some examples of hypogene cave systems due to the rise of CO2-rich fluids are also known in Liguria and Tuscany (Pic­cini, 2000). In the Alps and Prealps (Lombardy), some ancient high mountain karst areas exhibit evidences of an early hypo­gene origin, deeply modified and re-modeled by later epigenic processes. Hypogene morphologies are thus preserved as inac­tive features, and it is often difficult to distinguish them from epigenic ones.

At almost twenty years distance from the first review paper on hypogene cave systems in Central Italy by S. Galdenzi and M. Menichetti (1995), we give a review of the state-of-the-art knowledge on hypogene caves actually known from the whole of Italy


Sulfuric acid speleogenesis (SAS) close to the water table: Examples from southern France, Austria, and Sicily, 2015,

Caves formed by rising sulfuric waters have been described from all over the world in a wide variety of climate  settings, from arid regions to mid-latitude and alpine areas. H2S is generally formed at depth by reduction of  sulfates in the presence of hydrocarbons and is transported in solution through the deep aquifers. In tectonically  disturbed areas major fractures eventually allow these H2S-bearing fluids to rise to the surface where oxidation  processes can become active producing sulfuric acid. This extremely strong acid reacts with the carbonate  bedrock creating caves, some of which are among the largest and most spectacular in the world. Production of  sulfuric acid mostly occurs at or close to the water table but also in subaerial conditions in moisture films and  droplets in the cave environment. These caves are generated at or immediately above the water table, where  condensation–corrosion processes are dominant, creating a set of characteristic meso- and micromorphologies.  Due to their close connection to the base level, these caves can also precisely record past hydrological and  geomorphological settings. Certain authigenic cave minerals, produced during the sulfuric acid speleogenesis  (SAS) phase, allow determination of the exact timing of speleogenesis. This paper deals with the morphological,  geochemical and mineralogical description of four very typical sulfuric acid water table caves in Europe: the  Grotte du Chat in the southern French Alps, the Acqua Fitusa Cave in Sicily (Italy), and the Bad Deutsch Altenburg  and Kraushöhle caves in Austria


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