Community news

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 specific gravity is the weight of a particular volume of water that a given body of rock or soil will hold against the pull of gravity to the volume of the body itself. it is usually expressed as a percentage [6].?

Checkout all 2699 terms in the KarstBase Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms

What is Karstbase?

Search KARSTBASE:

keyword
author

Browse Speleogenesis Issues:

KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

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;
See all featured articles from other geoscience journals

Search in KarstBase

Your search for channels (Keyword) returned 142 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 142
Principles of early development of karst conduits under natural and man-made conditions revealed by mathematical analysis of numerical models, 1996, Dreybrodt W,
Numerical models of the enlargement of primary fissures in limestone by calcite aggressive water show a complex behavior. If the lengths of the fractures are large and hydraulic heads are low, as is the case in nature, dissolution rates at the exit of the channel determine its development by causing a slow increase of water flow, which after a long gestation time by positive feedback accelerates dramatically within a short time span. Mathematical analysis of simplified approximations yields an analytical expression for the breakthrough time, when this happens, in excellent agreement with the results of a numerical model. This expression quantifies the geometrical, hydraulic, and chemical parameters determining such karat processes. If the lengths of the enlarging channels are small, but hydraulic heads are high, as is the case for artificial hydraulic structures such as darns, it is the widening at the entrance of the flow path which determines the enlargement of the conduit. Within the lifetime of the dam this can cause serious water losses, This can also be explained by mathematical analysis of simplified approximations which yield an analytical threshold condition from which the safety of a dam can be judged. Thus in both cases the dynamic processes of karstification are revealed to gain a deeper understanding of the early development of karst systems. As a further important result, one finds that minimum conditions, below which karstification cannot develop, do not exist

The influence of bedding planes on the development of karst caves (in Slovenian and with an English summary and abstract), PhD thesis, 1996, Knez, M.

There have been much less researchers looking for the initial water ways in karst along the bedding-planes than those who deduced the origin of cave channels from tectonic structures. The aim of my research was to focus scientific attention on the sphere where the answers within the sedimentology might be expected. The study identified that the basic idea of bedding-plane importance at the initiation of cave channels was correct but also, that the interrelation is different from how it had been supposed. Single lithological, petrological or stratigraphical parameters of the inception are only partly known, or merely guessed. My research threw light on the problem of initial channels met in Velika dolina in Skocjanske jame. Cave passages, or their fragments and other traces of the underground karstification do not appear scattered at random on the walls but they are obviously gathered along a small number of so-called bedding-planes.
The basic working method was to locate the phreatic channels or their fragments, to sample and microscope those parts of the layers adjacent to a bedding-plane. Somewhere a whole layer was considered. Other methods were: regional distribution of caves, photographing, inventarisation and classification of speleogens and complexometry, the latter providing the purity of limestones.
The original channels are practically gathered along only three formative bedding-planes (out of 62 measured); their close vicinity differs from the others in several important properties: typically damaged rock, higher level of calcium carbonate, smaller porosity and others. Consequently the mentioned concordance cannot possibly be only apparent.
From the lithological point of view, I got neither substantial argument nor explanation for selective karstification. However, it was identified that at least in respect of a concrete example from Velika dolina, the inception started along interbedded slides that without doubt pushed the beds aside leaving an interval.


Hydrological response of small watersheds following the Southern California Painted Cave Fire of June 1990, 1997, Keller E. A. , Valentine D. W. , Gibbs D. R. ,
Following the Painted Cave Fire of 25 June 1990 in Santa Barbara, California which burned 1214 ha, an emergency watershed protection plan was implemented consisting of stream clearing, grade stabilizers and construction of debris basins. Research was initiated focusing on hydrological response and channel morphology changes on two branches of Maria Ygnacio Creek, the main drainage of the burned area. Research results support the hypothesis that the response of small drainage basins in chaparral ecosystems to wildfire is complex and flushing of sediment by fluvial processes is more likely than by high magnitude debris flows. During the winter of 1990-1991, 35-66 cm of rainfall and intensities up to 10 cm per hour for a five-minute period were recorded with a seasonal total of 100% of average (normal) rainfall (average = 63 cm/year). During the winter of 1991-1992, 48-74 cm of rainfall and intensities up to 8 cm per hour were recorded with a seasonal total of 115% of normal. Even though there was moderate rainfall on barren, saturated soils, no major debris flows occurred in burned areas. The winter of 1992-1993 recorded total precipitation of about 170% of normal, annual average intensities were relatively low and again no debris flows were observed. The response to winter storms in the first three years following the fire was a moderate but spectacular flushing of sediment, most of which was derived from the hillslopes upstream of the debris basins. The first significant storm and stream flow of the 1990-1991 winter was transport-limited resulting in large volumes of sediment being deposited in the channel of Maria Ygnacio Creek; the second storm and stream flow was sediment-limited and the channel scoured. Debris basins trapped about 23 000 m(3), the majority coming from the storm of 17-20 March 1991. Sediment transported downstream during the three winters following the fire and not trapped in the debris basins was eventually flushed to the estuarine reaches of the creeks below the burn area, where approximately 108 000 m(3) accumulated. Changes in stream morphology following the fire were dramatic as pools filled with sediment which greatly smoothed longitudinal and cross-sectional profiles. Major changes in channel morphology occur following a fire as sediment derived from the hillslope is temporarily stored in channels within the burned area. However, this sediment may quickly move downstream of the burned region, where it may accumulate reducing channel capacity and increasing the flood hazard. Ecological consequences of wildfire to the riparian zone of streams in the chaparral environment are virtually unknown, but must be significant as the majority of sediment (particularly gravel necessary for fish and other aquatic organisms) entering the system does so in response to fires. (C) 1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Endokarst processes in the Alburni massif (Campania, southern Italy): evolution of ponors and hydrogeological implications, 1997, Santangelo N. , Santo A. ,
The Alburni carbonatic massif located within the southern Apennines chain, represents one of the most important Italian karstic areas. Within an area of about 280 square kilometres more than 200 caves are known and many important basal springs are present. This paper concerns ponor systems which are among the best developed endokarst morphologies in the area. In particular it deals with their morphological evolution and with their role in the underground hydrological circulation of the massif. The ponors can be defined as ''contact ponors'' since their entrances are always located at the contact between permeable carbonatic rocks and impermeable flysch formations. Two categories of ponors are present, active and inactive ones, latter due to erosion and lowering of the boundary between impermeable and permeable deposits. The ponors are located on the Alburni highland at a mean altitude of 1100 metres and they transfer water collected by catchment basin laying on flysch deposits down to the main basal springs, the altitudes of which range from 250 to 70 metres a.s.l. The structural setting of the massif strongly influences both the main directions along which the caves develop and the underground hydric circulation flows. Surface and underground morphostructural data have been compared, showing a general agreement, with frequency peaks at the N50 degrees and N140 degrees directions, though the underground data also outline the existence of a more ancient N90 degrees trend. As shown by speleological survey and tracing tests, the underground drainage is strongly influenced by the presence of karstic channels, and its preferential flow direction points towards the southern sector of the massif, according to the general dipping of the strata

Speleogenesis of phreatic channels in bedding-planes in the frame of karst aquifer (Skocjanskejama Caves, Slovenia), 1997, Knez M.

Blue Lagon, Afrique du Sud, une grotte remplissage palokarstique permien et concrtions daragonite, 1998, Martini J. E. J. , Moen H. F. G.
The authors de scribe a 7 km long phreatic maze they discovered and explored during the last decade of the 2Oth century in South Africa, developed in the late Archean dolostone in the Malmani Subgroup. This cave is of interest mainly for two aspects. Firstly the cave intersects paleokarst channels filled with bleached kaolinic residuals of Permian age. This paleokarst is most likely to have developed relatively shortly after the Gondwana glaciation in a cool, humid climate. Secondly the cave is remarkable by the abundance of aragonite speleothems. Particularly interesting are subaquatic aragonite formations: rafts, cones, volcanoes, sea urchins and pool floor crust. Aragonite rafts are always associated with more or less calcite, which seems to have formed first and was apparently essential in the initial formation of this speleothem. In the pool floor crust, a cyclical calcite-aragonite deposition seems to correspond to alternation of humid and dry periods, calcite representing wet years. The amplitude of this cycle is possibly in the order of a few decades. Phosphate minerals which developed on cave soil, rock and carbonate speleothems in contact with bat guano, have been identified, in particular the rare mineral collinsite

Some aspects of phreatic channels formation in carbonates (example of Velika dolina, kocjanske jame, Slovenia), 1998, Knez, Martin

The origin of tubular lava stalactites and other related forms., 1998, Allred Kevin, Allred Carlene
Tubular lava stalactites are often found in lava tubes. Field observations, sample analysis, and comparative studies indicate that these are segregations extruded during cooling from partially crystallized lava al about 1,070; 1,000 C. Retrograde boiling (gas pressure) within the lava provides a mechanism to expel the interstitial liquid. In addition to tubular lava stalactites, a variety of other lava features can also result, such as lava helictites, lava coralloids, barnacle-like stretched lava, runners, runner channels, and some lava blisters and squeeze-ups.

Thalweg variability at bridges along a large karst river: the Suwannee River, Florida, 1998, Mossa J. , Konwinski J. ,
Geomorphologists and engineers have different perspectives and approaches for examining river channels and the changes that occur during floods. The field-oriented approach typically adopted by geomorphologists has little predictive ability and design usefulness. In contrast, the empirical approach adopted by engineers is based on predictive equations or models that often differ greatly from reality. Such equations are not based on comprehensive field data and often fail to consider a number of site conditions, especially geology and geomorphology. Yet, in order for geomorphic techniques to be useful to the design and planning of engineering structures such as bridges, it is important that sufficient observations exist in order to characterize long-term and short-term changes in bottom topography and scour potential. Six gaging stations on the Suwannee River, a large river draining karst terrain in the southeastern US, were used to examine the temporal variability in thalweg elevation, the deepest point in a given cross-section. The cross-sections have maximum thalweg variability of just a few meters, despite the occurrence of several large floods. suggesting that the bottoms are fairly stable. Historical approaches can be applied to design the length and depth placement of pilings by providing information on site conditions not considered in engineering equations, such as response of bottom materials to various flow conditions, and thus have potential benefits to public safety and cost effectiveness. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V

Geomorphology of the Tertiary gypsum formations in the Ebro Depression (Spain), 1998, Elorza Mg, Santolalla Fg,
This paper reviews the current knowledge of the mainly karstic geomorphological features developed in the evaporitic formations of the Ebro Depression (northern Spain). Special emphasis is given to the recently published and unpublished scientific advances. The gypsum formations, of Tertiary age, have an extensive outcrop area within the Ebro Depression. Here, their morphogenesis is controlled mainly by processes of surface and subsurface dissolution acting on the gypsum. Outstanding landforms in the gypsum terrain include saline lakes developed in flat bottom dolines (saladas). Other characteristic morphologies include karren and gypsum domes, which occur on a decimetre scale. Where the gypsum is covered by Quaternary alluvial deposits the karstification processes are especially intense and cause subsidence phenomena. Karstic subsidence affects stream terraces, mantled pediments and infilled valleys, which in the region are called vales. Dissolution-induced synsedimentary subsidence has produced interesting geological features, which include significant thickening and deformation of the alluvial deposits. In contrast to the rapid removal of gypsum by dissolution, the amount of gypsum removed by erosion is low. Water erosion studies carried out on gypsiferous slopes of the Ebro Depression, indicate that the sediment yield ranges from 0.59 to 7.82 t/ha/year. This low yield results from the high infiltration capacity of the soils. Subsidence caused by gypsum dissolution has important socioeconomic consequences in the Ebro Depression. The active alluvial karstification of the gypsum causes numerous sinkholes that are harmful to linear structures (roads, railway Lines, irrigation channels), buildings and agricultural land. Unforeseen catastrophic subsidence also puts human Lives at risk. The benefits of such terrains include thickened alluvial deposits which act as valuable water reservoirs and which form excellent sources of aggregates. Fluvial valleys in this gypsiferous terrain commonly show an asymmetrical geometry with prominent gypsum scarps at one side. These gypsum scarps are affected by numerous landslides. These slope movements are hazardous, may dam rivers and cause flooding of the alluvial plains. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Contribution of correlation and spectral analyses to the regional study of a large karst aquifer (Charente, France), 1998, Larocque M. , Mangin A. , Razack M. , Banton O. ,
The purpose of the study is to demonstrate that correlation and spectral analyses can contribute to the regional study of a large karst aquifer. An example is presented for the La Rochefoucauld karst aquifer (Charente, France). Different types of spatially distributed time series provide valuable spatio-temporal information for the karat aquifer. The available time series consist of the spring flow rates, the flow rates at different locations in sinking streams, the piezometric levels, the electrical conductivity and temperature of the water, the atmospheric pressure and the precipitation The analysis of the flow rates at the springs shows that the aquifer empties very slowly and has a large storage capacity. Hydrodynamic links were established between three of the four rivers flowing on the aquifer and the springs. The results also demonstrate the important spatial heterogeneity of the aquifer and indicate that the most rapid flow occurs in the northern part of the aquifer. Hourly piezometric and electrical conductivity time series indicate that the transmissivity of the aquifer varies when some conductive channels become desaturated during the low water period. The delays between the distributed recharge and the piezometric level, between the localized river input and the how rates at the springs and between the electrical conductivities in rivers and the main spring provide information on the travel times in the aquifer, The observation of earth tides and barometric effects indicate that this apparently unconfined aquifer has a confined behaviour. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Influence of aperture variability on dissolutional growth of fissures in karst formations, 1998, Hanna R. B. , Rajaram H. ,
The influence of aperture variability on dissolutional growth of fissures is investigated on the basis of two-dimensional numerical simulations. The logarithm of the fissure aperture before dissolution begins is modeled as a Gaussian stationary isotropic random field. The initial phase of dissolutional growth is studied up to the time when turbulent flow first occurs at a point within the fissure (the breakthrough time). The breakthrough time in variable aperture fissures is smaller than that in uniform fissures and decreases as the coefficient of variation of the aperture field (sigma/mu) increases. In comparing uniform and variable aperture fissures in limestone, the breakthrough time with sigma/mu = 0.1 is about a factor of 2 smaller than that in a uniform fissure. The breakthrough time is reduced by about an order of magnitude with sigma/mu = 2.0. The mechanism leading to reduced breakthrough times is the focusing of flow into preferential flow channels which are enlarged at a faster rate than the surrounding regions of slower flow. Dissolution channels are narrower and more tortuous as sigma/mu. increases. Investigations of the influence of reaction rate reveal that the influence of aperture variability is more pronounced in rapidly dissolving rock. In uniform fissures in rapidly dissolving minerals, breakthrough times are very long since water becomes saturated with respect to the mineral within a short distance of the entrance to the flow path. However, in variable aperture fissures, breakthrough occurs rapidly because of selective growth along preferential flow channels, which progressively capture larger fractions of the total flow. These results partly explain why conduits develop rapidly in gypsum, although previous one-dimensional studies suggest that conduit growth will not occur

Contribution to knowledge of gypsum karstology, PhD thesis, 1998, Calaforra Chordi, J. M.

The objective of this study was not to establish a definitive judgement regarding a topic for which very little previous information was available, but rather to open new routes for research into karst by means of a particularized analysis of some of the factors involved in the speleogenesis of gypsiferous materials. The main obstacle to the attainment of this goal has been the scientific community's lack of interest in karst in gypsum, particularly in our country, until the nineteen eighties. To overcome this neglect it was decided, in my opinion quite correctly, to extend the bounds of the study as far as possible, so that the information obtained from the contrast found between the most important worldwide zones of karst in gypsum could be applied to the gypsiferous karst in our country, and in particular, to the most significant, the karst in gypsum of Sorbas.
This is the justification for the numerous references in the text to the gypsiferous karst and cavities in gypsum that are most relevant in Spain (Sorbas, Gobantes, Vallada, Archidona, Estremera, Baena, the Ebro Basin, Estella, Beuda, Borreda, etc.) and also to the best-known gypsiferous karsts worldwide (Podolia, Secchia, Venna del Gesso Romagnolo, Sicily and New Mexico). By means of these comparisons, the initial lack of information has been overcome.
The study is based on three central tenets, which are interrelated and make up the first three chapters of this report. The first consideration was to attempt to characterize the particular typology of gypsiferous karst from the geological (both stratigraphic and structural) point of view. This chapter also provides an introduction to each of the gypsiferous karsts examined. The second chapter is dedicated to the geomorphology of gypsiferous karst, under both superficial and subterranean aspects. It is important to note that the study of a gypsiferous karst from the speleological point of view is something that may seem somewhat unusual; however, this is one of the points of principle of this paper, the attempt to recover the true meaning of a word that has historically been unfairly condemned by a large part of the Spanish scientific community. Thirdly, a detailed study has been made of the hydrochemistry of the most important gypsiferous karsts in our region, together with the presentation of a specific analytical methodology for the treatment of the hydrochemical data applicable to the gypsiferous karst.
Geological characterization of gypsum karst
In the characterization of karst in gypsum, the intention was to cover virtually all the possibilities from the stratigraphic and structural standpoints. Thus, there is a description of widely varying gypsiferous karsts, made up of Triassic to Miocene materials, some with a complex tectonic configuration and others hardly affected by folding. The gypsiferous karsts described, and their most significant geological characteristics, are as follows:
Karst in gypsum at Sorbas (Almeria): composed of Miocene gypsiferous levels with the essential characteristic of very continuous marly interstrata between the layers of gypsum, which decisively affect the speleogenesis of the area. The gypsum layers have an average thickness of about 10 m and, together with the fracturing in the zone, determine the development of the gypsiferous cavities. These are mainly selenitic gypsum - occasionally with a crystal size of over 2 m - and their texture also has a geomorphologic and hydrogeologic influence. This area is little affected by folding and so the tectonic influence of speleogenesis is reduced to the configuration of the fracturing.
The Triassic of Antequera (Malaga): this is, fundamentally, the gypsiferous outcrop at Gobantes-Meliones, originating in the Triassic and located within the well-known "Trias" of Antequera. It is made up of very chaotic gypsiferous materials containing a large quantity of heterometric blocks of varied composition; the formation may be defined as a Miocene olitostromic gypsiferous breccia that is affected by important diapiric phenomena. The presence of hypersoluble salts at depth is significant in the modification of the hydrochemical characteristics of the water and in the speleogenetic development of the karst.
The Triassic of Vallada (Valencia): Triassic materials outcrop in the Vallada area; these mainly correspond to the K5 and K4 formations of the Valencia Group, massive gypsum and gypsiferous clays. The influence of dolomitic intercalations in the sequence is crucial to the speleogenesis of the area and this, together with intense tectonic activity, has led to the development in this sector of the deepest gypsiferous cavity in the world: the "Tunel dels Sumidors". As in the above case, the presence of hypersoluble salts at depth and the varied lithology influence the variations in the hydrodynamics and hydrochemistry of the gypsiferous aquifer.
Other Spanish gypsum karsts: this heading covers a group of gypsiferous areas and cavities of significant interest from the speleogenetic standpoint. They include the area of Estremera (Madrid), with Miocene gypsiferous clays and massive gypsum arranged along a large horizontal layer; this has produced the development of the only gypsiferous cavity in Spain with maze configuration, the Pedro Fernandez cave. The study of this cave has important hydrogeological implications with respect to speleogenesis in gypsum in phreatic conditions. The Baena (Cordoba) sector, in terms of its lithology, is comparable to the "Trias de Antequera". Here, the cavities developed in gypsiferous conglomerates, following structural discontinuities have enabled contact between carbonate and gypsiferous levels, and so we may speak of a mixed karstification: a karst in calcareous rocks and gypsum. The karst of Archidona (Malaga) is similar to that of the Gobantes-Meliones group and is significant because of the geomorphologic evolution of the karst, which is related to the diapiric ascent of the area and the formation of karstic ravines. The karst in the Miocene and Oligocene gypsum of the Ebro Basin (Zaragoza), has been taken as a characteristic example of a gypsiferous karst developed under an alluvial cover, with the corresponding geomorphological implications in the evolution of the surface landforms. In the gypsiferous area of Borreda (Barcelona), the presence of anhydritic levels in the sequence might have influenced the speleogenesis of its cavities. The cavity of La Mosquera, in Beuda (Girona), developed in massive Paleogene gypsum. This is the only Spanish example of a phreatic gypsiferous cavity developed in saccaroid gypsum, which is related to the particular subterranean morphology discovered. Finally, this group includes other Spanish gypsiferous outcrops visited during the preparation of this report, the references to which may be found in the relevant chapters.
Karst in gypsum in Europe and America: In order to complete the study of karst in gypsum, and with the idea of using all the available data on the karstology of gypsiferous materials for comparative studies of data for our country, a complementary activity was to define the most significant geological characteristics of the most important gypsiferous karsts in the world. An outstanding example is the gypsiferous karst at Podolia (Ukraine), developed in microcrystalline Miocene gypsum which has undergone block tectonics related to the collapse of the Precarpatic foredeep. This gypsum provides interesting data on speleogenesis in gypsiferous materials, as its evolution is related to the confining of the only gypsiferous stratum (of 10 to 20 m depth) producing interconnected labyrinthine galleries of over 100 km in length. Another well-known karst in gypsum is the one located at "Venna del Gesso Romagnolo" (Italy), in the Bologna region, with a lithology that is very similar to that which developed at Sorbas, but with the difference that it underwent more intense tectonics with folding and fracturing of the Tertiary sediments of the Po basin. In the same Italian province, in "L'alta Val di Sec-chia", there are outcrops of karstified Triassic materials which correspond to the formation of Burano, composed of gypsum and anhydrite with hypersoluble salts at depth and very notable diapiric phenomena. The study of this area has been used for a comparative analysis - geomorphology and hydrogeochemistry - with the Spanish gypsiferous karsts developed in Triassic levels. The third Italian gypsiferous karst to be considered is the one developed in Sicily, which has extensive Messinian outcrops of microcrystalline and selenitic gypsum as well as a great variety of lithologic types within the gypsiferous sequence, which we term the "gessoso solfifera" sequence. This gypsiferous karst is especially interesting from the geomorphologic standpoint due to the great quantity and variety of present superficial karstic forms. This has also served as a guide for the study of Spanish gypsiferous karsts. Finally, considering the relation between climatology and the development of karstic forms, we have also studied the karst in gypsum in New Mexico, where there is an extensive outcrop of Permian gypsum, both micro and macrocrystalline, situated on a large platform almost unaffected by deformation, and where the conditions of aridity are very similar to those found in the gypsiferous karst of Sorbas.
Geomorphological characterization of gypsum karst
From the geomorphological standpoint, the intention is to give an overview of the great variety of karstic forms developed in gypsum, traditionally considered less important than those developed in carbonate areas. This report shows this is not the case.
The theory of Convergence of Forms has been shown to be an efficient tool for the study of the morphology of karst in gypsum. Here, its principles have been used to provide genetic explanations for various gypsiferous forms derived from carbonate studies, and for the reverse case. In fact, studying a karst in gypsum is like having available a geomorphological laboratory where not only are the processes faster but they are also applicable to the karstology of carbonate rocks.
A large number of minor karstic forms (Karren) have been identified. The most important factors conditioning their formation are the texture of the rock, climatology and the presence of overlying deposits. The first, particularly, is largely responsible for determining the abundance of certain forms with respect to others. Thus, Rillenkarren, Trittkarren and small "kamenitzas" are more frequently found in microcrystalline and sandstone gypsum (for example, karst in gypsum in Sicily (Italy) and Va-llada (Valencia, Spain). Others seem to be more exclusive to selenitic gypsum, such as exfoliation microkarren, or are closely related to the climatology of the area (Spitzkarren develops from the alteration of gypsum in semiarid conditions). Others are related either to the presence of developed soil cover (Rundkarren, using Convergence of Forms), or to their specific situation (candelas and Wallkarren around dolines and sinkholes) or to the microtexture of the gypsum and the orientation of the 010 and 111 crystalline planes and twinning planes for the development of nanokarren.
The tumuli are the most peculiar forms of the Sorbas karst in gypsum, though they have also been identified in other gypsiferous karsts (Bolonia, New Mexico, Vallada, etc.). These are subcircular domes of the most superficial layer of the gypsum. Their formation has been related to processes of precipitation-solution and of capillary movement through the gypsiferous matrix. Their extensive development is largely determined by the climatology of the area and by the structural organization. It is therefore clear that the best examples are found in the karst of Sorbas due to the abrupt changes in temperature and humidity that occur in a semiarid climate, and because of the horizontality of the gypsiferous sequence.
Karst in gypsum and its larger exokarstic forms, apart from being climatically determined, also depend on the structural state and lithological determinants of the area. Thus, it is possible to differentiate between gypsiferous karsts where the lithology, together with erosive breakup, is more important (Sorbas and New Mexico) and others where confining hydraulic conditions persist (Estremera and Podolia). In other cases, tectonics has played a significant modelling role, and there is a clear possibility of an inversion of the relief (Bolonia or Sicily) or of the effect of diapiric processes (Secchia, Vallada, Antequera). The typological diversity of the dolines is obviously also related to these premisses. Another example is the relation existing between carbonate precipitation and gypsum solution, as evidenced in contrasting examples (Bolonia versus Sorbas).
Subterranean karstic forms have been examined from a double perspective: the morphology of the passages and the mineralization within the cavities. With respect to the former, a noteworthy example is the interstratification karst of Sorbas, where subterranean channels have developed during two well-differentiated phases, the phreatic and the vadose. The first was responsible for the formation of the small proto-galleries, currently relicts that are observable as false dome channels in the bottom of the gypsiferous strata. The second, with an erosive character, enabled the breakup of the marly interstrata and the formation of the large galleries found today. Other aspects considered include the speleogenetic influence of the presence of calcareous intercalations in the gypsiferous sequence (Vallada karst), gypsiferous agglomerates (Baena karst), anhydrite (Rotgers karst), suffusion processes (Sorbas karst) and the importance of condensation.
Spelothemes in gypsiferous cavities have been approached with special concern for gypsiferous speleothemes, in particular those which, due to their genetic peculiarity or to the lack of previous knowledge about them, are most significant. Among these are gypsum balls, with phenomena of solution, detritic filling, capillarity and evaporation; gypsum hole stalagmites, where the precipitation-solution of the gypsum controlling the formation of the central orifice is related to the previous deposit of carbonate speleothemes; gypsum trays that mark the levels of maximum evaporation; gypsum dust, determined by abrupt changes in temperature and humidity in areas near the exterior of gypsiferous cavities. All of these are characteristic of, and practically exclusive to, gypsiferous karsts in semiarid ztenes such as Sorbas and New Mexico.
Karst in gypsum has been morphologically classified with reference to the previously-mentioned criteria: the presence and typology of epigean karstic forms, both macro and microform; the typology of hypogean karstic forms (passages) and the type of speleothemes within the cavities (gypsiferous or carbonate). All these variables are clearly influenced by climatology, and so a study of the geomorphology of gypsiferous karst is seen to be an efficient tool for the analysis of the paleoclimatology of an area.
Hydrogeochemical characterization of gypsum karst
The hydrogeochemical characterization of karst in gypsum was approached in two stages. The first one was intended to establish themodels to be applied to the hydrochemistry approach, while the second provided various examples of hydrochemical studies carried out in gypsiferous karsts.
The theoretical framework which has been shown to be most accurate with respect to the formulation of chemical equilibria in water related to gypsiferous karst is the Virial Theory and the Pitzer equations.
For this study, we used a simplification of these equations as far as the second virial coefficient by means of a simple, polynomial variation to obtain the equilibrium state of the water with respect to the gypsum, for an ionic strength value greater than 0.1 m and temperatures of between 0.5 and 40 "C. This was the case of the gypsiferous karsts found to be related to hypersaline water at depth (Vallada, Gobantes-Meliones, Poiano). In the remaining situations, where the ionic strength was below 0.1 m, only the theory of ionic matching was used.
The hydrochemical study of the gypsiferous karst of Gobantes-Meliones (Malaga) led to the hypothesis of the possible influence of hypersaline water on karstification in gypsum. Using theoretical examples of the mixing of water derived both from hypersaline water and from water related only to the gypsiferous karst, it was shown that above a percentage content of 0.1:0.9 of saline and sulphated water, the mixture is subsaturated with respect to gypsum and other minerals. On reaching percentages greater than 0.5:0.5, values of oversaturation are again found. This could mean that the contact between sulphated and hypersaline water is a karstification zone in gypsum at depth.
In the gypsiferous karst at Salinas-Fuente Camacho (Granada), a study has been made of the hydrochemical influence of dolomitic levels in the sequence by means of the analysis of the hydrochemical routes between hydraulically-connected points. The generic case of mass transfer in this gypsiferous aquifer implies a precipitation of calcite which is in-congruent with dolomitic solution, proving that the process of dedolomitization in gypsiferous aquifers with an abundance of dolomitic rocks can be an effective process. In situations of high salinity, with contributions of hypersaline water, the process may be inverted, such as occurs in coastal carbonate aquifers influenced by the fresh-saltwater interface.
The gypsiferous aquifer of Sorbas-Tabernas (Almeria) provides the best case of karstification in gypsum in Spain; the hydrochemical study carried out has been used as an example of karstification in gypsum completely uninfluenced by sodium-chloride facies. It is shown, from the hydrochemical similarities between the different sectors, that the uniformity of the flow from the system main spring (Los Molinos) responds to the delayed hydraulic input through the overlying post-evaporitic materials and to the pelitic intercalations of the gypsiferous sequence. The aquifer is partially semiconfined, a situation which is comparable to the onset of the karstification stage, while the area of the Sorbas karst, strictly speaking, bears no hydriaulic relation to the rest of the system, behaving like a free aquifer intrinsically related to the epikarstic zone. This fact is demonstrated by the hydrochemical differences between the main spring and those related to gypsiferous cavities.
Apart from the general study of the Sorbas-Tabemas aquifer, a study was also made of the hydrochemical-time variations within cavities, and in particular within the Cueva del Agua, where it is possible to observe particular processes affecting karstification in gypsum, such as the precipitation of carbonates on the floor of the cavity which produce, in that area, a greater solution of gypsum (the phenomenon of hyperkarstification). Furthermore, the temporal evolution of the chemistry of the cavity, along 800 m of subterranean flow through its interior, shows the existence of inertial sectors where the variations were less abrupt. Only in the case of particular sectors, related to sporadic hydriaulic contributions or to the proximity to points of access., was a notable seasonal influence detected.
A similar hydrochemical study was carried out in the karst of Vallada (Valencia), along the cavity of the Tunel dels Sumidors. The chemistry here was compared with that of the springs of Brolladors (whose water rapidly infiltrates into the cavity) and Saraella (a saline resurgence of the whole system). Unexpected increases in the ionic content of certain salts (sulphates and chlorides) were detected during periods of increased flow; these were interpreted as the effect of the recharging of the Saraella spring arising from the immediate contribution of rapidly circulating sulfated water coming from the cavity and the subsequent mobilization of interstitial water with an ionic content higher than the characteristic level of the spring.
We present as a hypothesis the idea that, in addition to the hydrogeochemical processes described that can affect the evolution of a gypsiferous karst, the processes of sulphate reduction also influence karstification in gypsum, at least during the earliest stages. Some examples such as the presence of gypsum with abundant organic matter reprecipitated into phreatic channels (Sorbas) or veins of sulphur related to gypsiferous karsts (Podolia, Sicily) lend support to this idea.
Studies of the solution-erosion of gypsum have been performed by physical methods (tablets and M.E.M.) showing that the solution-erosion of gypsum within cavities is minimal (0.03 mm/ year) compared to that existing in the exterior (0.3 mm/year). The speleogenetic effect of condensation within the cavities has also been shown, with solution-erosion rates of 0.005 mm/year to be like the equivalent surface lowering. These data correspond to the karst in gypsum at Sorbas, where, additionally, a study about the time variation of the solution-erosion was carried out. It was found that the process is not continuous but clearly sporadic. During periods of torrential rain, the solution-erosion ranges from a weight loss of 400 mg/cm2/year on the surface of the karst to 75 mg/cm2/year inside the caves, while during the rest of the year the weight loss was barely 1 mg/cm2/year. The physical methods were compared with the results obtained from chemical methods, and it was found that, in general, higher values were obtained with the former (10-20% higher when weighted for the rainfall during the measuring periods). Thus it is reasonable to consider that the erosive process is more marked than was at first assumed.
In total, three cavity tracing experiments were carried out, all with fluoresceine, two of them in Cueva del Agua in Sorbas (during periods of high and low water levels) and the other in Tunel dels Sumidors in Vallada. At the first site, the comparison of the two tracing tests reveals a differential hydrodynamic behaviour of the cavity for the two contrasting situations; periods of high water input and periods of low rainfall. This behaviour is characteristic of well developed karstic aquifers, where the hydrodynamic effect of the circulation of water through small channels or, in this case, through the gypsiferous matrix and interbedded marly layers, seems to be more important under conditions of low hydraulic input than when rainfall is abundant. The two situations tested seem to confirm that the Cueva del Agua system, an epikarstic aquifer, which is representative of karstification in gypsum, has scarce retentive power and so large volumes of precipitation are totally discharged via the spring within a few days. However, the explanation of the small but continuous flow from the base of the cavity requires the inclusion of other factors in the interpretation. In this case, the flow seems to be fairly independent of rainfall and attributable to other processes, in addition to the previously described ones, such as the retentive power of the gypsiferous matrix and the marly interstrata. These might include the high degree of condensation measured over long periods, both on the surface of the karst in gypsum and within the cavities. In the case of the Tunel dels Sumidors, a highly irregular response was found, despite the fact that the coefficient of dispersivity was found to be 0.4. This value is similar to that obtained for the karst in gypsum at Sorbas in response to low water conditions, and so, here too, one might assume the influence of greater than expected flow-retaining processes, between the entry and exit points. Doubtless the karstic system of the Tunel dels Sumidors is more complex than was initially expected and in fact, the irregularity reflected by the fluoresceine concentration curve over time implies the existence of other factors to explain the diversity of the relative maxima obtained. Firstly, the presence of numerous Triassic clay intercalations might delay the flow, in addition to retaining a certain quantity of fluoresceine by ionic exchange. There is also a possibility that the flow is dispersed through a network of small conduits and pores, due to the permeability of the gypsiferous matrix. Finally, we cannot discount the possible existence of a deep-level input which, in this case, would be responsible for the variation in the flow and the chemical composition. This set of suppositions, as a whole, would explain the fact that the response of the spring to tracing is so irregular, even though we cannot achieve a definition of the qualitative influence of each one on the hydrodynamics of the system.
In order to verify some of the above hypotheses, particularly those referring to the process of condensation within cavities, an experiment was designed, consisting of a microtracing test at some points where condensation had been detected within the Cueva del Agua at Sorbas. The test produced a range of condensation flow speed values of 0.2 to 30 cm/hour and shows that, in those sections where the presence of condensation flow is visually apparent, there is a rapid dispersion of the colourant. However, it also shows that at points where there is no apparent condensation the process also occurs, but at a lower rate of efficiency. The importance of condensation within cavities has two aspects; firstly, speleogenetic, with the development of solution forms (cupolas) and deposit forms (capillarity boxwork); and secondly, hydrogeological, as this is the reason why certain processes (strong changes in temperature and humidity, multiple routes of airflow exchange with the exterior) may in themselves constitute a hydraulic contribution, of slight importance, but sufficient to explain a large part of the base flow (0.2 - 0.8 L/s) of a whole cavity system such as the Cueva del Agua in semiarid conditions.
With the intention of completing the analyses carried out in various karsts in gypsum, instruments were installed in the Cueva del Agua at Sorbas to measure, by continuous registration, some important physico-chemical parameters that might provide additional data on the hydro-geologic behaviour of this gypsiferous karst, especially at the level of the epikarstic zone. The parameters of temperature and water conductivity were considered most important, due to their singular behaviour patterns. During the experiment there were two periods of rainfall that modified the chemistry of the cavity, one of 30 mm in two days and another of 200 mm (almost the annual total) in four days. In the second case, which was much more extreme, a very significant increase in water temperature (up to 7 °C during the initial period of high water flow) was detected, while conductivity fell. But suddenly, when the minimum conductivity was reached, the temperature dropped sharply by 6-7 °C to return to the base temperature of the cavity. Subsequently, the temperature again stabilized at about 7 °C above the data recorded during the dry period. This behaviour pattern was not detected when the rainfall was slight. The explanation for this dual behaviour observed is fundamentally based on the quantity of rainfall and on the differences between the exterior air temperature, the temperature of interstitial water and the temperature recorded in the spring during high water flow. When water temperature in the cavity during high water flow is higher than the base temperature recorded in the period immediately before, it means that the interstitial water does not mobilize. However, when at any time the two temperatures coincide, one might suppose that there might have existed a process of mobilization of the water previously resident in the rock, by a piston effect, but in the unsaturated zone. On the other hand, the temporal variations of these parameters during the months following periods of high rainfall have enabled us to detect the existence of distinct periods during the return to normal cavity conditions. By carefully examining the decrease curve of water temperature inside the cavity while conductivity regained its maximum stable value, two periods may be differentiated. The first may be termed the "inertial influence period", when the rainfall occurring removes all signs of natural variation in the cavity. Thus, the daily external influences are not clearly detectable and the curve is downward-sloping and asymptotic with no significant oscillations. In the second period, which ends with the total stabilization of the parameter at the level of the initial conditions, the asymptotic descent is seen to be affected by daily temperature variations. This is termed the "inertial recovery period", during which external variations start to have an effect on the interior of the cavity such that there is a progressive increase in the amplitude of the daily variation in water temperature, air temperature and relative humidity. This behaviour pattern of variation of these parameters during periods of high rainfall, might be extended to all karstic systems, varying only in magnitude and temporal extent.


Did the Argonauts of Greek myth go underground in the Slovene karst?, 1998, Shaw Trevor R. , Macqueen James G.

Lazius's maps of Carniola, the first of which was printed in 1545, have a note at Vrhnika, where the Ljubljanica rises from its subterranean course, saying that the Argonauts of the Greek golden fleece myth went underground there on their way from the Black Sea to the Adriatic. The original Greek sources describe only a surface route, either following a branch of the Sava running west to the sea, or requiring their ship to be carried overland for this part of the journey. Elsewhere, though, it was said that fish pass from one sea to the other by underground channels. The subterranean variant of the Argonaut story has not been traced before Lazius, though he may have got the idea from another mapmaker, Hirschvogel, who had lived in Ljubljana. Münster's map of 1550 implies the existence of an underground river between Vrhnika and the Mirna river in Istria, but it does not associate it with the Argonaut story. The idea seems to have arisen just when maps were showing that hills formed a barrier between the east-flowing Sava and the rivers of the Adriatic basin, and when the existence of caves and underground rivers was becoming more widely known.


Interaction between cave systems and the lowering karst surface; case study: Laški Ravnik, 1998, Š, Uš, Terš, Ič, France

An inventory of denuded and exhumed deep phreatic cave forms that have been detected on the karstified surface of the Laški Ravnik (east of Planinsko polje, Slovenia) is presented and described. Features observed include denuded completely-filled channels, washed-out channels, accumulations of cave loam (originating from caves that are now completely destroyed), conglomerate and flowstone. The source area for the sedimentary infills might be the Cerkniščica river catchment. Cave patterns revealed by the study fit well to aspects of the Ford-Ewers' cave development model, and also indicate the validity of some of the observations made by R. Curl, S. Worthington and D. Lowe.


Results 16 to 30 of 142
You probably didn't submit anything to search for