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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. ...

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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 hydraulic gradient (Keyword) returned 73 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 73
The Aggitis karst system, Eastern Macedonia, Greece: Hydrologic functioning and development of the karst structure, , Novel Jean Paul, Dimadi Agoro, Zervopoulou Anna, Bakalowicz Michel,
SummaryThe Aggitis karst system developed in the marbles of the Rhodope massif. The conditions of the development of its karst drainage network are determined from the geological and geomorphologic settings by means of a microstructural analysis, following Eraso's method. This analysis shows that the karst conduit network intensely developed in the western part of the mountain Falakro where the majority of the open fractures oriented in the same direction as the hydraulic gradient, while the two directions are perpendicular in its eastern part drained by the spring of Drama.The behaviour of the system was analysed by means of hydrodynamic and water geochemical techniques. Despite the extension of the cave system and of the favourable development conditions of conduits, the functioning appears complex, with a significant storage, and a slow infiltration as well as an easy drainage. On the contrary the Drama karst system, characterised by a low variability in its hydrological and geochemical characteristics does not show any karst functioning.In the Aggitis karst system the initial groundwater flow conditions in combination with the aperture planes of which the directions are in agreement with the hydraulic gradient, favoured the rapid development of a drainage network system. The recharge from a large surface catchment area on non-karstic rocks, through swallow holes in a wide polje contributed to increase the groundwater flow through the karst part of the system, facilitating the development of the conduits

Processes of limestone cave development., 1964, Howard Alan D.
Three processes successively predominate in enlarging original fractures within limestone into cavern passages: (I) early dissolving by acid produced by oxidizing reactions within the groundwater as it flows through the limestone; (2) dissolving caused by the initial undersaturation with respect to calcite of the groundwater when it enters the limestone; and (3) increased dissolving which occurs at the transition from laminar to turbulent groundwater flow. Only those original fractures in limestone which are widest and which have a high hydraulic gradient acting across them will be enlarged into cavern passages. Until all available surface drainage has been diverted underground, cavern development takes place under a constant hydraulic head, and the rate of limestone solution increases with time. After all available surface drainage has been diverted underground, the discharge through the cave, rather than the hydraulic head, remains constant, and the rate of limestone solution decreases toward a constant value. These principles apply to caverns formed both by water-table flow and by artesian flow.

Paleohydrology and Streamflow Simulation of three Karst Basins in Southeastern West Virginia, U.S.A., PhD Thesis, 1975, Coward, Julian Michael Henry

This study was undertaken to gain a better understanding of karst hydrology. To do this, the present day hydrology and the paleohydrology were determined in three karst basins. The basins chosen were the Swago, Locust and Spring Creek basins in Pocahontas and Greenbrier Counties, West Virginia. A number of conventional field techniques were used successfully in this study, including the following: current meter and dye dilution gauging; dye and lycopodium stream tracing; geological and cave mapping; the setting up of stage recorders; geochemistry; and limestone erosion measurements. The climate of the region was investigated to obtain realistic precipitation, temperature and potential evaporation data over the study basins.
It was found that the mean precipitation over two of the basins was 30% higher than recorded data in the valleys. The karst development of the basins was found to take place in four major stages. These were: A) initial surficial flow, B) strike controlled drainage, C) major piracies from one sub-basin to another, and D) shortening of the flow routes. The major controls on the karst development were found to be: A) the Taggard shale, B) the strike direction, which controlled early basin development, and C) the hydraulic gradient from the sink to rising, which controlled later basin development.
To better assess the quantitative hydrology, and to assist in determining the type of unexplorable flow paths, a watershed model was developed. This modelled the streamflow from known climatic inputs using a number of measured or optimized parameters. The simulation model handled snowmelt, interception, infiltration, interflow, baseflow, overland flow, channel routing, and evaporation from the interception, soil water, ground water, snowpack and channel water. The modelled basin could be split up into 20 segments, each with different hydrological characteristics, but a maximum of 3 segments was used in this study.
A total of 29 parameters was used in the model although only 10 (other than those directly measurable) were found to be sensitive in the three basins. The simulated streamflow did not match the real flows very well due to errors in the data input and due to simplifications in the model. It was found, however, that as the proportion of the limestone in a segment increased the overland flow decreased, the interflow increased, the baseflow and interflow recessions were faster, the soil storages were smaller and the infiltration rate was higher, than in segments with a larger proportion of exposed clastics. The flow characteristics of the inaccessible conduits were inferred from the channel routing parameters and it was postulated that the majority of the underground flow in the karst basins was taking place under vadose conditions.


Karst development in Ordovician carbonates: Western Platform of Newfoundland, Master of Science (MS) Thesis, 1978, Karolyi, Marika Sarolta

The Appalachian fold belt system in Newfoundland is divided into three tectonic divisions: Western Platform; Central Mobile Belt; Avalon Platform Rocks of the Western Platform range in age from Precambrian to Carboniferous. Major karst areas are found there is Ordovician and Carboniferous rocks. Karst features of the study area (Goose Arm to Bonne Bay Big Pond) are in the Ordovician carbonates of the undivided St. George and Table Head Formations, covering a few hundred square kilometers. Features include karren, sinkholes, sinking streams, and karst springs, caves and other solutional and collapse features.
In the study area multiple fold and faulting episodes complicate the geology. Extensive and probably repeated glaciations have produced rugged terrane with U-shaped valleys and as much as 300m relief on the carbonates. There is variable but thick till cover. A class or classes of ice-scoured closed depressions with internal drainage are recognized. Postglacial karst forms are limited to varieties of karren (mainly littoral), small sinkholes, and cave systems that are inaccessively small in most instances. Distribution of all karst features is highly irregular.
Hydrologic patterns follow fluvial, fluviokarstic and holokarstic drainage. Large number of sinking ponds have seasonal overflow channels. The ground water drainage routes are generally short and shallow, with varied hydraulic gradients. Few instances of ground water route integration to regional springs is found.
The water chemistry of the area displays a tight normal distribution of hardness. This is attributed to the ponding effect. Seasonal trends show an overall increase in total hardness and other parameters, with some ponds showing linear increases and others cyclic variations.
Karst type and distribution is complex and irregular, but both glaciokarstic and karstiglacial development is present. The majority of karst forms point to karstiglacial development where previous karst forms have been modified by ice. Karstification is controlled by geology, rock lithology, hydraulic gradients and glacial scour and infill. Karstic processes continue to operate today, modifying the scoured basins and creating new karst forms.


Le karst de Vaucluse (Haute Provence), 1991, Mudry J. , Puig J. M.
The catchment area of the Fontaine de Vaucluse system is more than 1100km2 wide, with an average altitude of 870m. The thickness of the Lower Cretaceous limestone (1500m) gives the system a very thick (800m) unsaturated zone. Karstification is highly developed (four shafts are more than 500m deep) as well as on the valley (pit of 300m depth inside the spring). The bottom of the shafts of the Plateau does not reach the saturated zone of the karst, as their flows are the chemical content of the seepage water. The maximum hydraulic gradient from the Plateau to the spring is low, only 0.3%. Dye tracings permit the assignment of the Ventoux-Lure rang (including its calcareous northern slope with a southward dipping) and the Vaucluse Plateau in the catchment area. The water balance computed by altitude belts shows that the rainfall strongly increases with altitude: 120mm at 200m, 1380mm over 1800m. The dynamic of the system, studied by discharge and physical and chemical content, shows of a well karstified media, that reacts with slight inertia upon the rainy periods, and that is made up of important reserves, particularly within the unsaturated zone, that supply long decline and depletion episodes.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FRACTURES AND KARSTIFICATION - THE OIL-BEARING PALEOKARST OF ROSPO MARE (ITALY), 1994, Soudet H. J. , Sorriaux P. , Rolando J. P. ,
The Rospo Mare oil field is located in the Adriatic Sea, 20 km off the Italian coast. The reservoir lies at a depth of 1300 m and consists of a paleokarst oi Oligocene to Miocene age which developed within Cretaceous limestones, now covered by 1200 m of Mio-Pliocene sequences. The oil column is about 140 m 8 high. The karstic nature of the reservoir was identified through vertical, cored drill holes which allowed us to analyse the various solution features and the sedimentary infilling (speleothems, terra rossa, marine clays), as well as their vertical distribution. Erosion morphology at the top of the karst is highly irregular, including in particular paleovalleys as well as many pit-shaped sink holes. Detailed geophysical knowledge of that morphology helped to optimize the development of the field through horizontal drilling. Observations concerning the upper part of the reservoir were compared to a palaeokarst of the same age, outcropping widely onshore, in quarries located nearby. The Rospo Mare paleokarst is an integral part of the ante Miocene paleokarst assemblages of the periphery of the Mediterranean which were formed in tropical conditions. Only the fractures enhanced by meteoric water during the formation of the karat are important for reservoir connectivity. During the formation of the karst there were several phases of dissolution and infilling which modified the geometry of the open fissures and only these fractures play an important role in the reservoir drainage. Vertically we can distinguish three very different zones from top to bottom: at the top the epikarst (0-35 m) in a zone of extension. All the fractures have been enlarged by dissolution but the amount of infilling by clay is substantial. The clays are derived either from alteration of the karat fabric or by deposition during the Miocene transgression; the percolation zone (15-45 m) is characterized by its network of large fractures vertically enlarged by dissolution which corresponds to the relict absorption zones in the paleokarst. These fractures, which usually have a pluridecametric spacing, connect the epi-karst with the former sub-horizontal river system. This zone has been intersected by the horizontal wells during the field development. In this zone there are local, horizontal barriers oi impermeable clay which can block vertical transmissibility. In these low permeability zones the vertical fractures have not been enlarged due to dissolution hence the horizontal barrier; the zone of underground rivers (35-70 m) is characterized by numerous horizontal galleries which housed the subterranean ground water circulation. When these fissures are plurimetric in extent this can lead to gallery collapse with the associated fill by rock fall breccia. This can partly block the river system but always leaves a higher zone of free circulation with high permeabilities of several hundreds of Darcys. These galleries form along the natural fracture system relative to the paleohydraulic gradient which in some cases has been preserved. The zone below permanent ground water level with no circulation of fluids is characterized by dissolution limited to non-connected vugs. Very locally these fissures can be enlarged by tectonic fractures which are non-connected and unimportant for reservoir drainage. Laterally, only the uppermost zone can be resolved by seismic imaging linked with horizontal well data (the wells are located at the top of the percolation zone). The Rospo Mare reservoir shows three distinct horizontal zones: a relict paleokarst plateau with a high index of open connected fractures, (area around the A and B platforms); a zone bordering the plateau (to the north-east of the plateau zone) very karstified but intensely infilled by cap rock shales (Miocene - Oligocene age); a zone of intensely disturbed and irregular karst paleotopography which has been totally infilled by shales. The performance of the production wells is dependent on their position with respect to the three zones noted above and their distance from local irregularities in the karst paleotopography (dolines, paleovalleys)

FORMATION OF REGOLITH-COLLAPSE SINKHOLES IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS - INTERPRETATION AND IDENTIFICATION OF ASSOCIATED BURIED CAVITIES, 1994, Panno S. V. , Wiebel C. P. , Heigold P. C. , Reed P. C. ,
Three regolith-collapse sinkholes formed near the Dongola Unit School and the Pentecostal Church in the southern Illinois village of Dongola (Union County) during the spring of 1993. The sinkholes appeared over a three-month period that coincided with development of a new municipal well. The new well was drilled through clay-rich, valley-fill sediment into karstified limestone bedrock. The piezometric surface of the limestone aquifer is above land surface, indicating the presence of an upward hydraulic gradient in the valley and that the valley fill is acting as a confining unit. Pumping during development of the well lowered the piezometric surface of the limestone aquifer to an elevation below the base of the valley fill. It is hypothesized that drainage of water from the sediments, the resulting loss of hydrostatic pressure and buoyant force in overlying sediments, increased intergranular pressure, and the initiation of groundwater flow toward the well resulted in rapid sediment transport, subsurface erosion, and collapse of the valley-fill sediment. The sinkholes follow an approximately east west alignment, which is consistent with one of the two dominant alignments of passages of nearby joint-controlled caves. A constant electrode-separation resistivity survey of the school playground was conducted to locate areas that might contain incipient sinkholes. The survey revealed a positive resistivity anomaly trending N75E in the southern part of the study area. The anomaly is linear, between 5 and 10 m wide. and its trend either intersects or is immediately adjacent to the three sinkholes. The anomaly is interpreted to be a series of pumping-induced cavities in the valley-fill sediments that formed over a preexisting crevice in the karstified bedrock limestone

EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF KARST SYSTEMS .1. PREFERENTIAL FLOW PATH ENLARGEMENT UNDER LAMINAR-FLOW, 1994, Groves C. G. , Howard A. D. ,
Modeling of flow and solutional processes within networks of interconnected conduits in limestone aquifers indicates that enlargement occurs very selectively during the early stages of karst aquifer development under laminar flow. If initial flow paths are uniform in size, almost all enlargement occurs along a single set of connected conduits that lie along a direct path between recharge and discharge locations and are aligned along the hydraulic gradient. With a sufficiently large variation in initial aperture widths, enlargement occurs along the flow path offering the least resistance to flow, but since flow rates in laminar flow are proportional to the fourth power of diameter but only linearly proportional to hydraulic gradient, the preferentially enlarged set of fractures may follow an indirect path. Results disfavor earlier suggestions that nonselective cave patterns result from artesian flows (at least under laminar flow conditions) and that all passages should be competitive until the onset of turbulent flow

SHALLOW KARST EXPLORATION USING MT-VLF AND DC RESISTIVITY METHODS, 1995, Guerin R. , Benderitter Y. ,
A geophysical test was carried out over a well-located and fairly embedded karstic conduit. The MT-VLF method was selected because of its high resolution and its ability to provide a resistivity parameter sensitive to water and clay. This method was used together with DC resistivity methods which allow vertical adjustment of the VLF data and show consistency between the investigation and target depths. After correcting the deformations due to the polarization of the primary field, the MT-VLF data show clearly, in the central part of the site, that the conduit does not coincide with an anomaly axis but coincides with the boundary between a conductive area and a resistive area. 2D modelling confirms that direct detection of the conduit is not feasible and that the conduit is located close to a conductive zone corresponding to a completely clay-filled fractured zone. This situation was observed on the whole site and the conduit seemed systematically to thread its way between the conductive zones to join the outlet. The distribution of the conductive fractured zones and the direction of the hydraulic gradient were two important elements in predicting the location of the conduits. A 3D approach would increase the probability of finding the conduits in such a case

EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF KARST SYSTEMS .2. TURBULENT-FLOW, 1995, Howard A. D. , Groves C. G. ,
A simulation model developed to explore patterns of fracture enlargement within incipient limestone karst aquifers has been extended to turbulent flow. In contrast to the highly selective passage enlargement that occurs early in cave network development under laminar flow, the transition to turbulent flow results in more general passage enlargement, leading to maze networks when initial fractures are large and hydraulic gradients are high. These results support previously published hypotheses for the development of maze patterns, including formation within structural settings that have created initially large fractures or within flow systems periodically inundated by flooding. Maze development is also favored under turbulent flow when passages are entirely water filled, and where the groundwater flow system is long-lived. By contrast, branched patterns are most common when passages become free-surface subterranean streams, because depression of the piezometric surface along main passages, downcutting along main passages, and possible infilling with sediment of side passages limit the sharing of discharge among interconnected fractures or bedding planes that promote maze development

Principal features of evaporite karst in Canada, 1997, Ford Dc,
Outcrops of sulfate arid mixed sulfate-carbonate rocks are common everywhere in Canada outside of the Shield province. Interstratal salt deposits are abundant in the interior lowlands. Types of karst that occur are determined chiefly by relations between (i) formation thickness and purity, (ii) regional topography and hydraulic gradient (iii) effects of receding Wisconsinan and earlier glaciers, and (iv) extent of modern permafrost. Exposures of bare karst on thick, pure sulfate formations are comparatively rare. Two principal landform types found on them are: (1) high-density polygonal karst (micro-sinkhole densities of thousands per km(2)); where hydraulic gradients are high and tills are thin; (2) hills and ridges of blocks uplifted and fractured by hydration (anhydrite) tectonics at paleo-icefront positions where hydraulic gradients are low. Deeply till-mantled karst dominated by collapse and suffosion sinkholes in the mantling detritus is well developed in southwestern Newfoundland and in central and northern Nova Scotia. Covered karst is abundant on sulfates conformably overlain by carbonate br elastic strata; collapse sinkholes ale the principal landform. Very large breccia pipes (up to 25 x 15 km) ale associated with deep subrosion of salt during glacier recessions. Syngenetic breccia karst is a fourth, distinct category created in some formations of thin, interbedded dolostones and sulfates. Where these are exposed td high hydraulic gradients, deep calcite-cemented breccias were formed in a first generation, upon which sinkhole and pinnacle karsts and dissolution drape topographies were able to develop rapidly in late-glacial and post-glacial conditions

Mixed transport reaction control of gypsum dissolution kinetics in aqueous solutions and initiation of gypsum karst, 1997, Raines M. A. , Dewers T. A. ,
Experiments with gypsum in aqueous solutions at 25 degrees C, low ionic strengths, and a range of saturation states indicate a mixed surface reaction and diffusional transport control of gypsum dissolution kinetics. Dissolution rates were determined in a mixed flow/rotating disc reactor operating under steady-state conditions, in which polished gypsum discs were rotated at constant speed and reactant solutions were continuously fed into the reactor. Rates increase with velocity of spin under laminar conditions (low rates of spin), but increase asymptotically to a constant rate as turbulent conditions develop with increasing spin velocity, experiencing a small jump in magnitude across the laminar-turbulent transition. A Linear dependence of rates on the square root of spin velocity in the laminar regime is consistent with rates being limited by transport through a hydrodynamic boundary layer. The increase in rate with onset of turbulence accompanies a near discontinuous drop in hydrodynamic boundary layer thickness across the transition. A relative independence of rates on spinning velocity in the turbulent regime plus a nonlinear dependence of rates on saturation state are factors consistent with surface reaction control. Together these behaviors implicate a 'mixed' transport and reaction control of gypsum dissolution kinetics. A rate law which combines both kinetic mechanisms and can reproduce experimental results under laminar flow conditions is proposed as follows: R = k(t) {1 - Omega(b)() zeta [1 - (1 2(1 - Omega(b)())(1/2)]} where k(t) is the rate coefficient for transport control, and Omega(b)() is the mean ionic saturation state of the bulk fluid. The dimensionless parameter zeta(=Dm(eq)()/2 delta k() where m(eq)() = mean ionic molal equilibrium concentration, D is the diffusion coefficient through the hydrodynamic boundary layer, delta equals the boundary layer thickness and k() is the rate constant for surface reaction control) indicates which process, transport or surface reaction, dominates, and is sensitive to the hydrodynamic conditions in the reactor. For the range of conditions used in our experiments, zeta varies from about 1.4 to 4.5. Rates of gypsum dissolution were also determined in situ in a cavern system in the Permian Blaine Formation, southwestern Oklahoma. Although the flow conditions in the caverns were not determinable, there is good agreement between lab- and field-determined rates in that field rate magnitudes lie within a range of rates determined experimentally under zero to low spin velocities A numerical model coupling fluid flow and gypsum reaction in an idealized circular conduit is used to estimate the distance which undersaturated solutions will travel into small incipient conduits before saturation is achieved. Simulations of conduit wall dissolution showed-member behaviors of conduit formation and surface denudation that depend on flow boundary conditions (constant discharge or constant hydraulic gradient and initial conduit radius. Surface-control of dissolution rates. which becomes more influential with higher fluid flow velocity, has the effect that rate decrease more slowly as saturation is approached than otherwise would occur if rates were controlled by transport alone. This has the effect that reactive solutions can penetrate much farther into gypsum-bearing karst conduits than heretofore thought possible, influencing timing and mechanism of karst development as well as stability of engineered structures above karst terrain

Early evolution of karst aquifers in limestone: Models on two-dimensional percolation clusters, 1997, Dreybrodt W. , Siemers J.
Two-dimensional nets of initial fractures are constructed on a square-lattice by occupying the lines between nearest neighbour sites by a water leading fissure of width a"SUBo" and length l with an occupation probability p. For p > 0.5 percolating nets occur which lead water. To simulate cave genesis we calculate the water flow rates driven by the hydraulic head h through all fissures. By employing nonlinear dissolution rates of the type F=k"SUBn"(l-c/c"SUBeq")'"SUPn" the widening of the fractures is obtained. At the onset of karstification flow is evenly distributed on all fractures. As the system develops solutional widing creates preferred pathways, which attract more and more flow, until at breakthrough both widening and flow increase dramatically. We discuss the evolution of karst aquifers for natural conditions and also upon human impact at dam sites where steep hydraulic gradients may generate water leading conduits below the dam in times comparable to the lifetime of the structure.

Exploitation of massif fracturation by karstification: example of the Causse de I'Hortus (Herault, France), 1999, Boinet N,
The Causse de l'Hortus is a particularly well adapted massif to the survey of the fracturation and to its interdependences with karstification. The on-going realisation of a hydrogeological and speleological monograph of the massif, as well as the existence of more than twenty kilometers of prospected channels belonging to the active networks, provide new data which can be compared with previous surveys carried out in this field. The comparison of the directions of fracturation, visible on aerial photographs with directions currently exploited by the karstic channels on the whole Causse, show the effect of the greater fractures and the influence of the hydraulic gradient on the exploitation of the fracture spectrum. To sum up, the display of the relationships between the dextral disconnecting faults and the temporary emergences of the 'boulidou' type, results in concrete applications for speleological and hydrogeological aspects. The survey of these 'boulidous' provides new information about the vertical structuration of the karst. (C) Elsevier, Paris

Karstic groundwater flow characteristics in the Cretaceous Chalk aquifer, Northern Ireland, 1999, Barnes S,
The Cretaceous Chalk in Northern Ireland (Ulster White Limestone Formation) is a locally important aquifer for both public and private supply, yet little is known about its groundwater flow regime. This issue is important for the protection of existing groundwater abstractions and for the development of new sources as it will help determine groundwater vulnerability and resource potential in the Chalk. The subject has been addressed using hydrochemical variations from individual springs, together with artificial and natural water tracing techniques employed from river-sinks located at outcrop. A common orientation has been established between traced groundwater flow routes and the dominant northwest-southeast fracture trend within the Ulster White Limestone Formation. Hydraulic gradient has also been shown to have little significance in controlling the flow direction, suggesting poor fracture connectivity and thus extreme aquifer heterogeneity. Tracer breakthrough curve characteristics and velocities (up to 2838 metres per day) are indicative of conduit rather than fracture flow. In addition, the highly variable water chemistry associated with all the proven river-sink supplied springs has been independently classified to meet conduit flow criteria. Conversely, the much less variable water chemistry associated with springs draining Chalk subcrop areas (with no influence from river-sinks) is consistent with a less active karstic regime

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