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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 Hagen-Poiseuille equation is the equation used to define the laminar flow of water in either fractures or tubes and is given as for laminar flow in fractures and for laminar flow in tubes which states that the average volumetric discharge of flow through either type of opening is directly proportional to the type, shape, and dimensions of a particular pore and the hydraulic gradient [5]. note: q=discharge, w=width of the fissure, b=open portion of the long dimension of the fissure, r=radius of the tube, (?and ç are the specific weight and dynamic viscosity of water respectively, dh/dl=gradient, and a minus sign is attached to the equations to indicate that flow occurs in the direction of deceasing hydraulic head.?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for markers (Keyword) returned 26 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 26 of 26
Ice caves as an indicator of winter climate evolution: a case study from the Jura Mountains, 2005, Luetscher Marc, Jeannin Pierre Yves, Haeberli Wilfried,
Subsurface ice fillings were first described in the Jura Mountains at the end of the sixteenth century. In order to assess the impact of climate change on low-altitude cave ice a detailed inventory has been drawn up and more than 50 objects have been identified. Comparisons between older cave maps, photographic documents and present-day observations outline a negative trend in ice mass balances, a trend that increased at the end of the 1980s. As most of these ice caves act as cold air traps, this negative mass balance is mainly attributed to higher winter temperatures and to reduced snow precipitation at low altitudes. The equilibrium line altitude of ice caves is believed to have increased several hundred metres between AD 1978 and 2004. Photographic comparisons and proxy records in some of the caves studied provide evidence of a rapid mass turnover. Ice ages range between less than a few decades and a millennium. Climatic records in these ice fillings will therefore present only short time series compared with other cave sediments. However, indications of former ice fillings have been found in different caves of the Jura Mountains and outline their potential role as palaeoclimatic markers

Al-Daher Cave (Bergish), Jordan, the first extensive Jordanian limestone cave: a convective Carlsbad-type cave?, 2006, Kempe S. , Almalabeh A. , Alshreideh A. , Henschel Hv.
In spite of the vast limestone area present in Jordan, no karstic caves to speak of were known there until 1995 when Al-Daher Cave was discovered. The cave is situated east of Bergish Reserve for Ecotourism in the mountains of Bergish at about 830 m above sea level. The cave formed in the Wadi As Sir Limestone Formation of Upper Cretaceous age. It is a maze developed along NW-SE and NE-SW striking joints which owe their existence to the Dead Sea Transform Fault situated a few kilometers to the west of the cave. Rooms, with a total area of 1750 m2, were formed within a square of 70 × 70 m. The cave is constrained to certain limestone strata, laminated and non-laminated, divided by four chert layers that form distinctive markers throughout the cave. Chert nodules occur also within the limestone layers. The cave formed phreatically exclusively by dissolution within a small body of rising and convecting water. It is suggested that the very localized solution capacity derived from the oxidation of either H2S, or possibly even CH4, by oxygen present near the former water table. Thus, Al-Daher Cave may have formed by a process similar to that which formed the Guadalupe Mountain caves, New Mexico, among them Carlsbad Cavern. The altitude of the cave suggests that it may be as old as upper Miocene. The cave contains several relict generations of speleothems but also active forms. The local government is hoping to develop the cave into a show cave; it would be the first in Jordan.

Hydrocarbon Biomarkers in the Topla-Mezica Zinc-Lead Deposits, Northern Karavanke/Drau Range, Slovenia: Paleoenvironment at the Site of Ore Formation, 2006, Spangenberg Jorge E. , Herlec Ursos,
The Mississippi Valley-type zinc and lead deposits at Topla (250,150 metric tons (t) of ore grading 10 wt % Zn and 3.3 wt % Pb) and Me[z]ica (19 million metric tons (Mt) of ore grading 5.3 wt % Pb and 2.7 wt % Zn) occur within the Middle to Upper Triassic platform carbonate rocks of the northern Karavanke/Drau Range geotectonic units of the Eastern Alps, Slovenia. The ore and host rocks of these deposits have been investigated by a combination of inorganic and organic geochemical methods to determine major, trace, and rare earth element (REE) concentrations, hydrocarbon distribution, and stable isotope ratios of carbonates, kerogen, extractable organic matter, and individual hydrocarbons. These data combined with sedimentological evidence provide insight into the paleoenvironmental conditions at the site of ore formation. The carbonate isotope composition, the REE patterns, and the distribution of hydrocarbon biomarkers (normal alkanes and steranes) suggest a marine depositional environment. At Topla, a relatively high concentration of redox sensitive trace elements (V, Mo, U) in the host dolostones and REE patterns parallel to that of the North American shale composite suggest that sediments were deposited in a reducing environment. Anoxic conditions enhanced the preservation of organic matter and resulted in relatively higher total organic carbon contents (up to 0.4 wt %). The isotopic composition of the kerogen ({delta}13Ckerogen = -29.4 to -25.0{per thousand}, {delta}15Nkerogen = -13.6 to 6.8{per thousand}) suggests that marine algae and/or bacteria were the main source of organic carbon with a very minor contribution from detrital continental plants and a varying degree of alteration. Extractable organic matter from Topla ore is generally depleted in 13C compared to the associated kerogen, which is consistent with an indigenous source of the bitumens. The mineralization correlates with {delta}15Nkerogen values around 0 per mil, 13C depleted kerogen, 13C enriched n-heptadecane, and relatively high concentrations of bacterial hydrocarbon biomarkers, indicating a high cyanobacterial biomass at the site of ore formation. Abundant dissimilatory sulfate-reducing bacteria, feeding on the cyanobacterial remains, led to accumulation of biogenic H2S in the pore water of the sediments. This biogenic H2S was mainly incorporated into sedimentary organic matter and diagenetic pyrite. Higher bacterial activity at the ore site also is indicated by specific concentration ratios of hydrocarbons, which are roughly correlated with total Pb plus Zn contents. This correlation is consistent with mixing of hydrothermal metal-rich fluids and local bacteriogenic sulfide sulfur. The new geochemical data provide supporting evidence that Topla is a low-temperature Mississippi Valley-type deposit formed in an anoxic supratidal saline to hypersaline environment. A laminated cyanobacterial mat, with abundant sulfate-reducing bacteria was the main site of sulfate reduction

Molecular studies on the Niphargus kochianus group (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Niphargidae) in Great Britain and Ireland, 2008, Hanfling, Bernd, Isabel Douterelosoler, Lee Knight And Graham Proudlove.
he Niphargus kochianus group is one of the most westerly and northerly components of the genus Niphargus. All taxa within the group were delimited by morphological characters. However, recent research suggests that morphology alone is inadequate in determining species boundaries in troglobiotic organisms. We used two molecular markers to examine nucleotide diversity in two members of the N. kochianus group, and included other taxa from Genbank. The results indicate that N. kochianus kochianus and N. kochianus irlandicus are very divergent taxa, which have had no common ancestor since the Miocene. Since it is very difficult to reconcile this magnitude of divergence with a recent derivation of irlandicus from kochianus, and there has been a sea water barrier between Great Britain and Ireland for a long period we propose that irlandicus has been resident in Ireland throughout the Pleistocene glacial cycles. Survival in sub-glacial refugia is supported by the presence of species below ice in Iceland and Canada, by the favourable biotic and abiotic conditions under glaciers, and by the physiology of species in the genus. The taxon irlandicus should therefore be considered a separate species Niphargus irlandicus Schellenberg, 1932.

Potential environmental issues of C02 storage in deep saline aquifers: Geochemical results from the Frio-1 Brine Pilot test, Texas, USA, 2009, Kharaka Y. K. , Thordsena J. , Hovorkab S. D. , Nanceb H. S. , Colee D. R. , Phelps T. J. , Knauss K. G.

Sedimentary basins in general, and deep saline aquifers in particular, are being investigated as possible repositories for large volumes of anthropogenic C02 that must be sequestered to mitigate global wanning and related climate changes. To investigate the potential for the long-term storage of C02 in such aquifers, 1600 t of C02 were injected at 1500 m depth into a 24-m-thick "C" sandstone unit of the Frio Formation, a regional aquifer in the US Gulf Coast Fluid samples obtained before C02 injection from the injection well and an observation well 30 m updip showed a Na-ca-a type brine with ~93,000 mg/L IDS at saturation with CH.t at reservoir conditions; gas analyses showed that CH.t comprised ~95% of dissolved gas, but C02 was low at 0.3%. Following C02 breakthrough, 51 h after injection, samples showed sharp drops in pH (6.5-5.7), pronounced increases in alkalinity (100-3000 mgfL as HC03) and in Fe (30-1100 mgfL), a slug of very high DOC values, and significant shifts in the isotopic compositions of H20, DIC, and CH.t. These data, coupled with geochemical modeling, indicate corrosion of pipe and well casing as well as rapid dissolution of minerals, especially calcite and iron oxyhydroxides, both caused by lowered pH (initially ~3.0 at subsurface conditions) of the brine in contact with supercritical C~. These geochemical parameters, together with perfluorocarbon tracer gases (PFrs), were used to monitor migration of the injected C02 into the overlying Frio "B", composed of a 4-m-thick sandstone and separated from the "C" by ~ts m of shale and siltstone beds. Results obtained from the Frio "B" 6 months after injection gave chemical and isotopic markers that show significant ~ (2.9% compared with 0.3% C02 in dissolved gas) migration into the "B" sandstone. Results of samples collected 15 months after injection, however, are ambiguous, and can be interpreted to show no additional injected C02 in the "B" sandstone. The presence of injected C02 may indicate migration from "C" to "B" through the intervening beds or, more likely, a short-term leakage through the remedial cement around the casing of a 50-year old well. Results obtained to date from four shallow monitoring groundwater wells show no brine or C02 leakage through the Anahuac Formation, the regional cap rock.


Stages in hypergene transformation of sulfate-carbonate sequences (on example of breakdown piles of organ pipes of Kungur Ice Cave), 2010, Kadebskaya O. , Tchaikovskiy I.

The article reveals the influence of microclimate on the composition of deposits in Kungur Ice cave. Deposits of breakdown piles under “organ pipes” in different climatic zones were investigated. It was established that the material of breakdown piles of identical initial composition has different ways of transformation related to microclimate. In the cold zone negative temperatures “freeze” transformation processes of calcium and sulfate materials. The main process of mineral formation in this zone is cryogenic mineralization of sulfate and calcium water. The transitional zone (with temperatures between 0°C and 3°C) is distinguished by the presence of authigenic calcium breccias and various gypsum forms in breakdown piles. In the warm zone complete dissolution of gypsum and partial dissolution of carbonate debris occurs. Studying deposits bearing climatic markers can be used for identifying dominant paleoclimatic conditions in the cave.


Black Mn-Fe Crusts as Markers of Abrupt Palaeoenvironmental Changes in El Soplao Cave (Cantabria, Spain), 2011, Gázquez Fernando, Calaforra Jose Maria, Forti Paolo

Peculiar iron and manganese deposits coating walls, floors and ceilings of many galleries are one of the special features of the El Soplao Cave (Cantabria, Spain). These speleothems appear to have been deposited over wall clay deposits, as well as forming part of flowstones. Structure of crusts is essentially amorphous but several manganese and iron oxides were identified like goethite and birnessite, though all occur with a low degree of crystallinity. In the outer layer of the crusts, alteration iron minerals appear that derive from previous minerals in a process probably mediated by microorganisms. EDX microanalyses report fairly high values of Fe and Mn in the crusts, though the Mn/Fe ratio varies considerably as a function of distance from the substrate/bedrock. The present study proposes a genetic model for crust speleothems in El Soplao, based on oscillations of the phreatic level. The origin of these deposits is related to mobilization, under phreatic conditions, of polymetallic sulfides in the host rock. Metal ions (including Fe²⁺ and Mn²⁺) released into the cave under reducing conditions, are oxidized and fixed in a process mediated by bacteria, giving rise to oxides and hydroxides of low crystallinity. The presence of various black intercalated layers in aragonite flowstones indicate periods when cave conditions suddenly changed from vadose, when aragonite is precipitated, to phreatic and epiphreatic conditions, when the Mn-Fe deposits are precipitated. Subsequently, vadose conditions were re-established, leading to the final stages of precipitation of aragonite recorded in the flowstone and recent aragonite helictites on the surface of the Mn-Fe crusts.


Höhlen der Schwäbischen Alb als Pegelschreiber für Flussgeschichte und Tektonik in Südwestdeutschland seit dem Miozän, 2011, Strasser Marcel

In south western Germany the karstified plateau of the Swabian Alb consisting of Upper Jurassic limestones hosts numerous caves, dolines, and dry valleys. Known strath terraces, conglomerates, volcanoes, and impact craters within the study area already provided important time stamps for former studies reconstructing landscape history. It is widely understood, that spatial distribution of most karst features is closely related to the palaeo-water-table and its discontinuous lowering over time, which in turn is the result of incision and/or uplift. The situation of the Swabian Alb at the northern rim of the Northern Alpine Foreland Basin and east of the Rhine Graben valley is the reason for this uplift. Many caves can be used as gauge for vertical displacement, considering horizontal cave passages as product of a stationary palaeowater-table and vertical sections as result of falling base level. In contrast recent studies deal with a different type of speleogenesis independent of base level. This hypogenic speleogenesis must be discussed for the caves of the Swabian Alb. The recently discovered cave named Laierhöhle near Geislingen/Steige is a typical 3d-maze providing several horizontal levels. Passage pattern and distinctive corrosion features match with morphologies (feeders, rising wall- and ceiling channels, outlets) characteristical for hypogenic speleogenesis. However, artesian situations, hydrothermal water or confined aquifers as critical conditions for hypogenic speleogenesis can not be verified. Other features like horizontal passages, water table markers, key-hole-features, and massive stratified sediment bodies are pointing to an epigenic, water-table related speleogenesis. In this study therefore a mixed model for speleogenesis of Laierhöhle is presented, assuming a strong initial deep-phreatic corrosion along fractures and fissures, followed by intensive widening at the palaeo water-table resulting in the formation of horizontal passages. Correlations between horizontal cave-levels, valley-bottoms, strath-terraces, local conglomerates and other caves lead to new and more precise data on the fluvial history, changing drainage pattern, and the uplift of parts of southwest Germany.

In the course of Examinations of cave sediments spherical metallic particles were detected. These magnetic spherules are ablation-products from meteorites during impact. After fallout and flushing into karstic voids and caves the spherules got archived till today. Spherules within Laierhöhle, Laichinger Tiefenhöhle and Mordloch are supposed to originate from the impact event producing the impact craters Steinheimer Becken and/or the Nördlinger Ries 14.59 Ma ago. Within most of the cave sediments spherules are accompanied by crystals of titano-magnetite, which built during volcanic activity of the Urach-Kirchheim volcanic field. Both spherules and titano-magnetites are proxies for re-deposited Mid Miocene Sediments. In this study I could correlate speleogenetic with dated geomorphic features and thus came to a chronology of events. The Laierhöhle records five episodes of long-term stability of the karst water table covering the time-span from late Middle Miocene until the Pliocene/Pleistocene transition. The first two stable episodes can be dated to the late Middle Miocene and Late Miocene (horizontal levels 1 and 2a). An episode responsible for the formation of level 2b falls within Early Pliocene time. Levels 3a and 3b are spatially well separated but must have formed within a relatively short timespan towards the end of the Pliocene. In the working area, total depth of penetrative karstification was in the order of 120 m. This penetration has been accomplished over a period of approximately 12 Ma resulting in an average uplift rate of 0.01 mm/a.


Source assessment of deposited particles in a Slovenian show cave (Postojnska jama): evidence of long-lasting anthropogenic impact, 2013, Muri G. , Jovič, Ić, A. , Mihevc A.

Postojnska jama (Postojna Cave) is one of the most famous karst caves in the world and has been a well-known tourist attraction for nearly 200 years. It is particularly famous for its unique double-track railway. Eight heavy metals – aluminium (Al), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), lead (Pb), manganese (Mn), strontium (Sr), and zinc (Zn) – were determined in dust deposits by ICP-MS in order to assess sources of deposited particles on the cave walls. The samples were collected along the main passage in the cave, at different horizontal and vertical levels, in order to test horizontal homogeneity and study vertical distribution of the particles. It seems that the railway is an important anthropogenic source of particles, reflected in increased concentrations of Cu, Pb, and Zn, as well as of Fe and Mn in dust deposits at individual sampling sites. The maximum concentrations of Cu (217 μg g-1), Pb (4,940 μg g-1), and Zn (1,060 μg g-1) considerably exceeded their natural abundance and were explained by anthropogenic impact. The three heavy metals are markers for vehicles, engine oil and brake wear. On the other hand, mixed sources could prevail for Fe and Mn. The maximum concentrations of Fe (85,900 μg g-1) and Mn (682 μg g-1) in dust deposits were similar to the concentrations determined in fragments of the railway tracks (97,100 μg g-1 for Fe and 821 μg g-1 for Mn) and were explained by track wear and/or corrosion. In most other parts of the cave, Fe and Mn concentrations were, however, below the concentration of their natural abundance. Al, Sr, and Cr seem to be predominantly of natural origin. They generally exhibited concentrations lower than their natural abundance.


PLEISTOCENE SEA LEVEL CHANGES AS REVEALED BY FLANK MARGIN CAVES IN TELOGENETIC LIMESTONES IN SICILY AND SARDINIA (ITALY), 2013, D’angeli I. M. , Waele J. D. , Ruggieri R. , Sanna L.

Coastal karst areas often host many indices of past sea level changes, such as marine terraces, fossiliferous sediments, tidal notches and coastal caves. Tectonic movements can then displace these ancient coastlines vertically. The interplay between rising or falling sea level and uplifting or subsidence can be very complex and difficult to unravel. The combination of a detailed knowledge of marine terraces and the study of some flank margin caves located at various altitudes have allowed to reconstruct the speleogenetic history of the coastal plain of Cornino-Custonaci (NW Sicily). Along the centraleastern coast of Sardinia, instead, the detailed study of the Fico Cave has allowed to recognise it as a flank margin cave developed on five levels, related to Pleistocene sea level highstands. These studies show that this type of mixing corrosion caves is much more widespread than previously thought also in telogenetic limestones. These caves, being excellent sea level markers, might help coastal geomorphologists to understand more on both sea level rise and fall and tectonic movements in coastal areas.


Uplifted flank margin caves in telogenetic limestones in the Gulf of Orosei (Central-East Sardinia—Italy) and their palaeogeographic significance, 2015, D'angeli Ilenia Maria, Sanna Laura, Clazoni Claudio, De Waele Jo

Thiswork reports the results of geomorphological observations carried out in the coastal Fico Cave and surrounding areas (Baunei, Central East Sardinia) in the Gulf of Orosei. A tidal notch, generally believed to be of Eemian (MIS 5e) age, is barely visible at 8.5 above present sea level (asl), some metres below the main entrance of the cave. Old cave passages, now partially opened by cliff retreat and parallel to the coastline, are clearly visible at around 14 m asl and correspond to the main level of Fico Cave. Two more notches are located higher, at 22 and 50 m asl. Fico Cave itself is composed of at least 6 clearly distinguished more or less horizontal levels (−10 m below present sea level (bsl), and +14, +22, +40, +50, and +63 m asl), independent of the stratal dip, arguing for a sea-level, and hence, fresh-water lens control. Cave passages develop along main fractures more or less parallel to the coastline and never extend landward for more than 150 m, mostly ending blindly, or diminishing in their dimensions progressively landward. Most passages only contain clay deposits, lacking fluvial or marine sediments or typical fluvial erosion morphologies (i.e. scallops).

It is suggested from this body of evidence that Fico Cave was formed in the coastal mixing zone along major discontinuities during several Quaternary interglacial periods, when sea level was high and relatively stable for enough time to develop large dissolutional voids. The geomorphological observations indicate the main +14 m asl level of the cave to have formed during MIS 9, and was heavily reworked during MIS 5, while the higher levels are relative to older interglacial highstands that occurred between 1 Ma and 325 ka. The small active branch developed below present sea level has formed during MIS 7 (225 ka). These observations shed new light on the position of the MIS 5e highstand markers in this area of the coast, much higher than previously thought.


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