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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 capillary movement is the rise of water in the subsoil above the water table by capillarity.?

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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 drip waters (Keyword) returned 30 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 30
Climate influence on geochemistry parameters of waters from Santana?Pérolas cave system, Brazil, 2007, Karmann Ivo, Cruz Francisco W. Jr. , Viana Oduvaldo Jr. , Burnsb Stephen J.
A four-year study of water geochemistry and hydrology was performed in a relatively deep cave system (overlying bedrock thickness varies from 100 to 300 m) as part of two monitoring programs, from June 1990 to February 1992 and from March 2000 to March 2002. The pH, saturation index for calcite, Ca and SO4 concentrations, and elemental ratios of Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca were measured in surface, well and drip waters throughout the system. Despite local hydrological and geological differences among sampling sites, the monitoring revealed significant synchronous intersite variations in these parameters that are related to seasonal changes in rainfall recharge, suggesting that element ratios of speleothems formed in deep caves are capable of recording short-term climate variations. Groundwater residence time appears to be the main factor affecting the water composition in the epikarst. Epikarstic waters are always undersaturated with respect to calcite but both saturation index (S.I.) and dissolved solids content increase substantially during drier periods because of longer residence times and longer interaction between meteoric water and limestone. By contrast, results from cave drips and rimstone pools indicate constant supersaturation for calcite and demonstrate that a major control on trace element ratios of waters in the deep vadose zone is the degree of prior calcite precipitation. This mechanism is more effective during drier periods when higher Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca values are observed in all drip and pool sites. However, variations do occur independently of the general trend of drip discharge, which suggest non-linear features in cave seepage water geochemistry. In addition, synchronous variations in SO4 and Cl concentration indicate high connectivity between different water flow pathways characterized by similar response to interseasonal changes in vadose water level. Fluctuations in trace element ratios of cave streams appear to reflect increased contribution of waters flushed from the vadose fissure aquifer during very wet periods by a piston flow mechanism. Flushing episodes are also responsible for maintaining more positive saturation indices in streams even during periods of high river discharge. Our results suggest that trace elements are a potential proxy for past rainfall changes but they also reveal different scenarios for interpreting trace elements ratios of speleothems and freshwater tufa deposited in a deep cave systems located in tropical humid areas.

The hydrochemical response of cave drip waters to sub-annual and inter-annual climate variability, Wombeyan Caves, SE Australia, 2007, Mcdonald Janece , Drysdale Russell, Hill David, Chisari Robert, Won Henri
A thorough understanding of cave seepage waters is necessary to interpret geochemical variations in speleothem calcite in terms of changing surface climatic conditions at a particular site. Here we present the hydrochemistry of ten cave drip waters from a karst system in SE Australia based on up to 5.5 years of monitoring. Discharge was continuously measured at six sites and manually at the other sites. Dripwater samples were analysed for pH, electrical conductivity, cations and anions at all sites at monthly or more frequent intervals. Each drip possesses a unique chemistry, and not all drip waters responded to antecedent short-term hydrological variations. For example, the hydrochemical behaviour of three adjacent drips at a bedrock depth of 45 m was completely different to that of shallower sites, and was apparently un-related to surface hydrology throughout the investigation. Based on modelled calcite precipitation vectors, prior calcite precipitation was demonstrated at several sites but can only be linked directly to changes in surface recharge at the shallowest sites. At extremely low flow, shallow drip waters accessed a high Mg, Sr and Ba source, thought to be the overlying soil. High-frequency sample collection allows for the calculation of predicted Mg/Cacalcite and Sr/Cacalcite values, highlighting that the sites with the greatest potential to record high-resolution palaeohydrological records are those situated at shallow depth. Longer temporal-resolution palaeohydrological records may be recorded at deeper sites but longer-term monitoring is required to identify probable time scales. Inherent system non-linearities, dissolution of secondary calcite in pore spaces of the aquifer, changes in the source of trace elements, and the presence of multiple reservoirs confirm the need for the use of multiple speleothems and a multi-proxy approach to gain accurate palaeohydrological records from this site.

Isotopic Investigations of Cave Drip Waters and Precipitation in Central and Northern Florida, USA, Msc.Thesis, 2007, Pacegraczyk, Kali J

A temperature, drip rate, and stable isotopic study (δ18O and δD) was undertaken in three caves in central and northern Florida. Both surface and cave temperatures were collected, as were precipitation, cave drip water and drip rates. All data were collected on a weekly basis to investigate the isotopic relationships between precipitation and cave drip waters. The objective of this study was to provide a calibration of the oxygen and hydrogen isotopic values in precipitation and cave drip water for future paleoclimate work in the Florida peninsula.Based on the steady annual cave temperature and high relative humidity (95% or above), all three caves are suitable locations for paleoclimate work. A spike in the cave drip rate is seen following precipitation events at both Legend and Jennings Caves. A lag time of 52 days between the date of the storm event and the increase in drip rate was found at Legend Cave.


Legend and Jennings Caves in central Florida show a relationship between the amount of precipitation and the δ18O values. The isotopic values in precipitation were more depleted after a large precipitation event, suggesting the amount effect is influential in this location. At Florida Caverns State Park tourist cave in northern Florida, the association between 18O and precipitation was weak while a relationship between 18O and temperature may be present; here the seasonal effect or latitude effect may be significant.
The monthly mean isotopic values of the drip waters were found to approximate those of the precipitation. The steady isotopic values of the drip water are due to a homogenization of water infiltrating into the epikarst and mixing with water already present in the karst storage. This finding is important for future paleoclimate research in the Florida peninsula. An important assumption in paleoclimate work is that the value of δ18O in calcite at the time of precipitation represents the mean annual δ18O of precipitation at the time of deposition. The ultimate objectives of this research were to assess the isotopic relationship between precipitation and cave drip waters in order to interpret paleoclimate data sets. Although the data were limited to a single year, it appears that a sufficient isotopic signal exists in central-north Florida precipitation and drip water to apply for paleoclimate studies.


Some applications of geochemical and isotopic techniques to hydrogeology of the caves after research in two sites (Nerja Cave-S Spain, and Fourbanne system-French Jura), 2008, Mudry J. , Andreo B. , Charmoille A. , Lin C. , Carrasco F.
Caves constitute privileged sampling spots to investigate the hydrochemical behaviour of infiltration, but the representative nature of samples can limit their reach. Taking this into account many results can be obtained from chemistry of water sampled in the caves. Carbonate tracers enable to reconstruct the history of drip water water, including rainfall and temperatures. Moreover, permanent drip waters prove durability of water stored in the unsaturated zone over the cave, and lags between rain inputs and drip output enable to evaluate transit time through the unsaturated zone. The comparison of input/output concentrations can also contribute to estimate the local water balance of the site.Finally, providing an access to the water table of the saturated zone, caves allow a calculation of mixing rates of infiltration water with water stored in the saturated zone.

Environmental Monitoring in the Mechara caves, Southeastern Ethiopia: Implications for Speleothem Palaeoclimate Studies, 2008, Asrat A. , Baker A. , Leng M. J. , Gunn J. And Umer M.
The interpretation of palaeoclimate records in speleothems depends on the understanding of the modern climate of the region, the geology, the hydrology above the caves, and the within-cave climate. Monitoring within-cave climate variability, geochemistry of speleothem-forming drip waters, and associated surface and groundwater, provides a modern baseline for interpretation of speleothem palaeohydrological and palaeoclimate records. Here, we present results of such monitoring of the Mechara caves in southeastern Ethiopia, conducted between 2004 and 2007. Results show nearly constant within-cave climate (temperature and humidity) in all caves, which generally reflects the surface climate. Groundwater and surface water geochemistry is similar across the region (except slight modification by local lithological variations) and modern drip water isotope data fall close to regional Meteoric Water Line, but speleothems further from equilibrium. Holocene and modern speleothems from these caves give high-resolution climate records, implying that the Mechara caves provide a suitable setting for the deposition of annually laminated speleothems that could record surface climate variability in a region where rainfall is sensitive to both the strength of the intertropical convergence zone as well as Indian Monsoon variability.

Report of a three-year monitoring programme at Heshang Cave, Central China., 2008, Hu C. , Henderson G. M. , Huang J. , Chen Z. , Johnson K. R.
Heshang Cave is situated in central China (3027N, 11025E; 294 m) in the middle reaches of the Yangtze Valley, a region strongly impacted by the East Asian Monsoon. It contains large annually-laminated Holocene and late Pleistocene stalagmites which capture past monsoon behaviour with seasonal resolution, and could enhance understanding of the amplitude and frequency of monsoon behaviour in different climate states. In this paper, we present results of a 3-year monitoring programme at Heshang. T loggers outside the cave agree closely with T data from nearby meteorological stations. T at the site of growth of the largest recovered stalagmite averages 18C (identical to mean annual T outside the cave) with a seasonal amplitude of 5C (about one fifth of the external cycle). Rainfall measurements from a station 3 km from the cave indicate strong summer monsoon rain in 2004 and 2005, but rather weaker summer rain (by ?30%) in 2006. Drip rate at the monitoring site has a base flow of 14 drips/minute and shows a sharp increase to ?40 drips/minute early in the summer rains of 2004 and 2005, followed by a gradual return to base-flow as the monsoon weakens. This abrupt change presumably represents threshold behaviour in the hydrological system. This threshold is not passed in 2006 and there is no abrupt increase in drip rate, indicating the sensitivity of this site (and presumably of speleothem chemistry in this cave) to monsoon rainfall. Results are also reported from a 10-month deployment of a Stalagmate drip counter, and for CO2 levels in Heshang Cave. Overall, this monitoring work represents an essential dataset for interpretation of the chemistry of drip waters, of carbonates grown on glass slides and, ultimately, of long speleothem records of past climate from Heshang Cave.

The environmental features of the Monte Corchia cave system (Apuan Alps, Central Italy) and their effects on speleothem growth, 2008, Piccini L. , Zanchetta G. , Drysdale R. N. , Hellstrom J. , Isola I. , Fallick A. E. , Leone G. , Doveri M. , Mussi M. , Mantelli F. , Molli G. , Lotti L. , Roncioni A. , Regattieri E. , Meccheri M. , Vaselli L.
The Monte Corchia cave system, one of the most famous and popular caves in Italy, has in recent times been the subject of investigation on its speleothems as paleoclimate archives. This paper describes the geology, geomorphology and water chemistry of the cave system with the aim to elucidate the processes that have generated these speleothems and the properties they contain that are so useful for paleoclimatology. Some general conclusions can be drawn: i) the Corchia system is a cave developed over different altitudes during progressive uplift of the mountain chain in which it is located, probably under drainage conditions very different to those of the present. This has allowed the development of a large (ca. 60 km) and deep (-1187 m) karst system; ii) the dewatering phases have left the deepest chambers far away from clastic input and with long drip pathways; iii) the peculiar geological context has permitted the water to intercept and dissolve a significant source of U (still unknown) that facilitates radiometric dating; iv) in the last 1 Ma at least, no significant changes have occurred in the relief and in the epikarst, in the sense that speleothems have grown under very similar conditions. In addition the extremely low Ca concentration of drip waters have permitted low speleothem growth rates and, at least for the Galleria delle Stalattiti, the zone under paleoclimate studies, a stable plumbing system (i.e. chemistry and stable isotopes of drip waters) has produced calcite close to isotopic equilibrium.

Some applications of geochemical and isotopic techniques to hydrogeology of the caves after research in two sites (Nerja Cave-S Spain, and Fourbanne system-French Jura), 2008, Mudry J. , Andreo B. , Charmoille A. , Lin C. , Carrasco F.

Caves constitute privileged sampling spots to investigate the hydrochemical behaviour of infiltration, but the representative nature of samples can limit their reach. Taking this into account many results can be obtained from chemistry of water sampled in the caves. Carbonate tracers enable to reconstruct the ‘history’ of drip water water, including rainfall and temperatures. Moreover, permanent drip waters prove durability of water stored in the unsaturated zone over the cave, and lags between rain inputs and drip output enable to evaluate transit time through the unsaturated zone. The comparison of input/output concentrations can also contribute to estimate the local water balance of the site.Finally, providing an access to the water table of the saturated zone, caves allow a calculation of mixing rates of infiltration water with water stored in the saturated zone.


Report of a three-year monitoring programme at Heshang Cave, Central China, 2008, Hu C. , Henderson G. M. , Huang J. , Chen Z. , Johnson K. R.

Heshang Cave is situated in central China (30º27’N, 110º25’E; 294 m) in the middle reaches of the Yangtze Valley, a region strongly impacted by the East Asian Monsoon. It contains large annually-laminated Holocene and late Pleistocene stalagmites which capture past monsoon behaviour with seasonal resolution, and could enhance understanding of the amplitude and frequency of monsoon behaviour in different climate states. In this paper, we present results of a 3-year monitoring programme at Heshang. T loggers outside the cave agree closely with T data from nearby meteorological stations. T at the site of growth of the largest recovered stalagmite averages 18ºC (identical to mean annual T outside the cave) with a seasonal amplitude of 5ºC (about one fifth of the external cycle). Rainfall measurements from a station 3 km from the cave indicate strong summer monsoon rain in 2004 and 2005, but rather weaker summer rain (by ≈30%) in 2006. Drip rate at the monitoring site has a base flow of 14 drips/minute and shows a sharp increase to ≈40 drips/minute early in the summer rains of 2004 and 2005, followed by a gradual return to base-flow as the monsoon weakens. This abrupt change presumably represents threshold behaviour in the hydrological system. This threshold is not passed in 2006 and there is no abrupt increase in drip rate, indicating the sensitivity of this site (and presumably of speleothem chemistry in this cave) to monsoon rainfall. Results are also reported from a 10-month deployment of a Stalagmate drip counter, and for CO2 levels in Heshang Cave. Overall, this monitoring work represents an essential dataset for interpretation of the chemistry of drip waters, of carbonates grown on glass slides and, ultimately, of long speleothem records of past climate from Heshang Cave.


The environmental features of the Monte Corchia cave system (Apuan Alps, central Italy) and their effects on speleothems growth, 2008, Piccini L. , Zanchetta G. , Drysdale R. N. , Hellstrom J. , Isola I. , Fallick A. E. , Leone G. , Doveri M. , Mussi M. , Mantelli F. , Molli G. , Lotti L. , Roncioni A. , Regattieri E. , Meccheri M. , Vaselli L.

The Monte Corchia cave system, one of the most famous and popular caves in Italy, has in recent times been the subject of investigation on its speleothems as paleoclimate archives. This paper describes the geology, geomorphology and water chemistry of the cave system with the aim to elucidate the processes that have generated these speleothems and the properties they contain that are so useful for paleoclimatology. Some general conclusions can be drawn: i) the Corchia system is a cave developed over different altitudes during progressive uplift of the mountain chain in which it is located, probably under drainage conditions very different to those of the present. This has allowed the development of a large (ca. 60 km) and deep (-1187 m) karst system; ii) the dewatering phases have left the deepest chambers far away from clastic input and with long drip pathways; iii) the peculiar geological context has permitted the water to intercept and dissolve a significant source of U (still unknown) that facilitates radiometric dating; iv) in the last 1 Ma at least, no significant changes have occurred in the relief and in the epikarst, in the sense that speleothems have grown under very similar conditions. In addition the extremely low Ca concentration of drip waters have permitted low speleothem growth rates and, at least for the “Galleria delle Stalattiti”, the zone under paleoclimate studies, a stable plumbing system (i.e. chemistry and stable isotopes of drip waters) has produced calcite close to isotopic equilibrium.


Environmental Monitoring in the Mechara caves, Southeastern Ethiopia: Implications for Speleothem Palaeoclimate Studies, 2008, Asrat A. , Baker A. , Leng M. J. , Gunn J. , Umer M.

The interpretation of palaeoclimate records in speleothems depends on the understanding of the modern climate of the region, the geology, the hydrology above the caves, and the within-cave climate. Monitoring within-cave climate variability, geochemistry of speleothem-forming drip waters, and associated surface and groundwater, provides a modern baseline for interpretation of speleothem palaeohydrological and palaeoclimate records. Here, we present results of such monitoring of the Mechara caves in southeastern Ethiopia, conducted between 2004 and 2007. Results show nearly constant within-cave climate (temperature and humidity) in all caves, which generally reflects the surface climate. Groundwater and surface water geochemistry is similar across the region (except slight modification by local lithological variations) and modern drip water isotope data fall close to regional Meteoric Water Line, but speleothems further from equilibrium. Holocene and modern speleothems from these caves give high-resolution climate records, implying that the Mechara caves provide a suitable setting for the deposition of annually laminated speleothems that could record surface climate variability in a region where rainfall is sensitive to both the strength of the intertropical convergence zone as well as Indian Monsoon variability.


Epikarst hydrology and implications for stalagmite capture of climate changes at Grotta di Ernesto (NE Italy): results from long-term monitoring, 2010, Miorandi Renza, Borsato Andrea, Frisia Silvia, Fairchild Ian J. , Richter Detlev K.

Grotta di Ernesto is a cave site well suited for palaeoclimate studies because it contains annually laminated stalagmites and was monitored from 1995 to the end of 2008 for microclimate, hydrology and hydrochemistry. Long-term monitoring highlighted that cave drips show three different hydrological responses to rainfall and infiltration: (1) fast seasonal drips in the upper part of the cave, which are mostly fed by fractures, (2) slow seasonal drips, located at mid-depth in the cave characterized by mixed feeding and (3) slow drips, mostly located in the deeper gallery, which are fed by seepage flow from bulk porosity with a minor fracture-fed component. The slow drips display daily cycles during spring thaw. Monitoring also indicated that drip waters are only slightly modified by degassing within the soil zone and aquifer and by prior calcite precipitation. Hydrochemical studies show a clear seasonality in calcite saturation index, which results in most cave calcite precipitation occurring during late autumn and winter with similar amounts of precipitated calcite on most stalagmites, regardless of drip rate (discharge) differences. Drip rate, and drip rate variability, therefore, has a minor role in modulating the amount of annual calcite formation. In contrast, drip rate, when associated with moderate reduction in calcite saturation index, clearly influences stalagmite morphology. Increasing drip rate yields a passage from candle-, to cone- to dome-shaped stalagmites. Very high drip rates feed speleothems with flowstone morphology. In summary, monitoring provides information about the karst aquifer and how hydrology influences those physical and chemical characteristics of speleothems which are commonly used as climate proxies.


Caveat: Pitfalls in the measurement of pH of drip waters in caves , 2012, Dreybrodt, Wolfgang

Organic matter flux in the epikarst of the Dorvan karst, France, 2013, Simon, Kevin S.

Availability of organic matter plays an important role in karst ecosystems. Somewhat surprisingly, study of the composition and distribution of organic matter in karst aquifers is rare. The most comprehensive study or organic matter flux to date is a two year continuous monitoring of detritus and animal flux in epikarst drip waters and an epikarst-fed cave stream in the Dorvan karst, France. Analysis of those data reveals high temporal variation in detritus and animal flux in both habitats, but little evidence of seasonality in flux. water flux explained 30-69% of the variation in animal flux in both habitats and detritus flux in the epikarst seepage water. Detritus flux in the cave stream was better explained by peak monthly discharge. Lack of coherence between organic matter flux in epikarst seepage and the epikarst stream suggests organic matter transport is governed by differing factors in the two habitats. Overall, much of the particulate organic matter flux in the epikarst occurs as living animals suggesting a dominant role of ecological processes in organic matter transport.


Characterization of minothems at Libiola (NW Italy): morphological, mineralogical, and geochemical study, 2016, Carbone Cristina, Dinelli Enrico, De Waele Jo

The aim of this study is to characterize in detail, the mineralogy of different-shaped concretions as well as to investigate the physico-chemical parameters of the associated mine drainage and drip waters in the Santa Barbara level of the Libiola Mine (NW Italy) by several geochemical and mineralogical techniques. Under the term “minothems” we are grouping all those secondary minerals that occur under certain form or shape related to the conditions under which they formed but occur in a mine, or in any artificial underground environment (i.e., "mine speleothems"). Different types of minothems (soda straw stalactites, stalactites, and draperies) were sampled and analyzed. Mineralogical results showed that all the samples of stalactites, stalagmite and draperies are characterized by poorly crystalline goethite. There are significant differences either in their texture and chemistry. Stalactites are enriched in Zn, Cd, and Co in respect to other minothems and show botryoidal textures; some of these exhibit a concentric layering marked by the alternation of botryoidal and fibrous-radiating textures; the draperies are enriched in V and show aggregates of sub-spheroidal goethite forming compact mosaic textures. Geochemical investigations show that the composition and physico-chemical parameters of mine drainage and drip waters are different from the other acidic mine water occurrences in different areas of the Libiola Mine, where minothems are less abundant. All mine water samples contain Cu, Ni, and Zn in appreciable levels, and the physico-chemical conditions are consistent with the stability of ferrihydrite, which however tends to transform into goethite upon ageing.


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