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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 spring is 1. point where underground water emerges on to the surface, not exclusive to limestone, but generally larger in cavernous rocks. the image of a trickle of water springing from a hillside hardly matches that of a vast cave pouring forth a river, but both are called springs. among the world's largest is the dumanli spring, turkey, with a mean flow of over 50 cubic meters per second. springs may be exsurgences or resurgences, depending upon the source of their water, and also may be vauclusian in character [9]. 2. a natural outflow of water (or other liquid or gas) at the surface of the land or into surface water. in some usages. `spring' is restricted to the water which outflows, in other usages the word can refer to the water, the outlet, or to the locality of the outflow [20]. 3. any natural discharge of water from rock or soil onto the surface of the land or into a body of surface water [10]. 4. a discrete place where ground water flows naturally from a rock or the soil onto the land surface or into a body of surface water [22]. synonyms: (french.) source; (german.) quelle; (greek.) pighi; (italian.) sorgente; (russian.) istocnik; (spanish.) fuente; (turkish.) kynak. see also seep.?

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

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KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

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 archipelago (Keyword) returned 31 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 31
Pattern and process: Evolution of troglomorphy in the cave-planthoppers of Australia and Hawaii ‒ Preliminary observations (Insecta: Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Cixiidae), 2007, Wessel A. , Erbe P. , Hoch H.

The evolution of troglobites comprises three distinct problems: cave colonization by an epigean ancestor, the evolution of tro­glomorphies, and intra-cave speciation. The study of cave-dwell­ing planthoppers has contributed much to our understanding of troglobite evolution and provides useful model systems to test various aspects of the theoretic framework developed in re­cent years. Most promising in this respect are taxa with several closely related but independently evolved troglobiontic lineag­es, such as on the Canary Islands, in Queensland/Australia and on the Hawaiian Archipelago. Closely related species often oc­cur in caves with comparable ecological parameters yet differ in their age. Here we use comparative age estimates for Australian and Hawaiian cave cixiids to assess the dynamics of reductive evolutionary trends (evolution of troglomorphy) in these taxa and cave planthoppers in general. We show that the degree of troglomorphy is not correlated with the age of cave lineages. Morphological alteration may not be used to draw conclusions about the phylogenetic age of cave organisms, and hypotheses based on such assumptions should be tested in light of these findings.

A survey of the groundwater fauna of the Scilly Isles, United Kingdom, 2008, Knight, Lee R F D.
This report details the results of a survey of wells and springs on the Isles of Scilly. The survey was conducted in order to ascertain if Niphargus glenniei and other stygobitic species might be present in the fractured granite aquifers of the archipelago. A variety of epigean freshwater taxa were recorded but no stygobitic species were found. White specimens (possibly stygophilic) of the cyclopid copepod Diacyclops bisetosus were recorded from two covered well shafts on the island of St Agnes.

The Caves of Abaco Island, Bahamas: keys to geologic timelines, 2008, Walker L. N. , Mylroie J. E. , Walker A. D. , Mylroie J. R.

Abaco Island, located on Little Bahama Bank, is the most northeastern island in the Bahamian archipelago. Abaco exhibits typical carbonate island karst features such as karren, blue holes, pit caves, banana holes and flank margin caves. Landforms that resemble tropical cone karst and pseudokarst tafoni caves are also present. The three cave types of Abaco—flank margin caves, pit caves, and tafoni caves—are abundant, but each forms by very different mechanisms. Flank margin caves are hypogenic in origin, forming due to mixing dissolution at the margin of the freshwater lens. Since the lens margin is concordant with sea level, flank margin caves record the position of sea level during their formation. Flank margin caves exhibit phreatic dissolutional features such as bell holes, dissolutional cusps and spongework. Pit caves form as vadose fast-flow routes to the freshwater lens and are common on the Pleistocene eolianite ridges of the Bahamas. Pit caves are characterized by their near-vertical or stair-step profiles. Because pit caves form in the vadose zone, their position is not tied to sea level. Tafoni caves are pseudokarst features that form when the soft interior of an eolianite ridge is exposed to subaerial erosion. Since tafoni caves form by mechanical processes, they do not exhibit phreatic dissolutional features. Tafoni caves may be mistaken as flank margin caves by the untrained observer, which may cause problems when using caves as sea-level indicators. Each of Abaco’s unique cave types may preserve depositional and erosional features that are useful to the researcher in creating general geologic timelines. While these timelines may not give exact dates, they are useful in the field for understanding depositional boundaries and determining sequences of geologic events.

Englacement, eustatisme et rajustements karstiques de la bordure sud de larchipel de Madre de Dios (Patagonie, Province ltima Esperanza, Chili, 2008, Jaillet S. , Maire R. , Brehier F. , Despain J. , Lans B. , Morel L. , Pernette Jf. , Ployon E. , Tourte B. , Patagonia U.
Glaciation, eustatics and karst readjustment at the southern edge of the Madre de Dios archipelago (Patagonia, Ultima Esperanza Province, Chile). In the channels of Patagonia (Chile), at a latitude of 50 S, lies the Madre de Dios archipelago, a group of islands with limestone zones with the southernmost caves on the planet. Over the course of three expeditions in 2000, 2006 and 2008, alpine caves, marine caves and spectacular karren fields were explored and found to contain karst features in a mountain and fiord environment. Precipitation of 8000 mm/yr and strong winds form exaggerated superficial karst forms. Above all, the legacy of the Quaternary glaciers (dynamics of glacier retreat, eustatic variations in sea level, isostatic rebound), is the subject of this article. At the convergence of the influences of the Andes mountains to the East and the Pacific ocean to the West, the karst with its surface and its subterranean and submarine forms, constitutes a key to the understanding of the landscape. We show that in each stage in this evolution (glacial retreat, sea level rise, isostatic rebound), the karst has developed forms that register 21,000 years of morphogenesis in this unique region.


The Migjorn region is one of the main karst areas in the island of Mallorca (Balearic Archipelago, Western Mediterranean) and has abundant coastal caves developed in Upper Miocene reefal carbonate rocks. In general terms it is an eogenetic karst platform in which littoral mixing dissolution processes usually represent the most important speleogenetic mechanism to be considered. Nevertheless, recent explorations in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (Llucmajor Municipality), that nowadays has development exceeding 59 km of passages, raise interesting questions about the genesis of this outstanding littoral cave. An artificial entrance located at about 500 m from the coast line gives access to a complex assemblage of chambers and galleries, partially drowned by brackish waters, whose spatial disposition and morphological characteristics are strongly conditioned by the internal architecture of the Upper Miocene reef. The inner part of the cave consists of an extensive network of galleries that contain morpho-sedimentary features pointing to the possible participation of hypogene speleogenesis in the excavation of the system. Solutional features related to rising flow are abundant, together with Mn- and Fe-rich deposits and some minerals not known up to the l present in other caves of the region. The hypogene speleogenesis mechanisms that may have acted in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera could be associated with the feeble geothermal anomalies existing currently in the Llucmajor platform, related to important SW-NE faults which delimit the Campos subsidence basin in the southern end of Mallorca Island. The genesis of the cave system seems to be a complex matter including, besides coastal mixing processes and epigenic meteoric recharge, the participation of hypogene speleogenesis in an eogenetic unconfined setting.

The subterranean fauna of a biodiversity hotspot region - Portugal: an overview and its conservation, 2011, Reboleira Ana Sofia P. S. , Borges Paulo A. V. , Gonalves Fernando, Serrano Artur R. M. , Orom Pedro

An overview of the obligate hypogean fauna in Portugal (including Azores and Madeira archipelagos) is provided, with a list of obligated cave-dwelling species and subspecies, and a general perspective about its conservation. All the available literature on subterranean Biology of Portugal since the first written record in 1870 until today has been revised. A total of 43 troglobiont and 67 stygobiont species and subspecies from 12 orders have been described so far in these areas, included in the so-called Mediterranean hotspot of biodiversity. The subterranean fauna in Portugal has been considered moderately poor with some endemic relicts and it remains to be demonstrated if this fact is still true after investing in standard surveys in cave environments. The major problems related to the conservation of cave fauna are discussed, but it is clear that the protection of this specialized fauna implies an adequate management of surface habitats.

An overview of the obligate hypogean fauna in Portugal (including Azores and Madeira archipelagos) is provided, with a list of obligated cave-dwelling species and subspecies, and a general perspective about its conservation. All the available literature o, 2011, Reboleira Ana Sofia P. S. , Borges Paulo A. V. , Gonalves Fernando, Serrano Artur R. M. , Orom Pedro

An overview of the obligate hypogean fauna in Portugal (including Azores and Madeira archipelagos) is provided, with a list of obligated cave-dwelling species and subspecies, and a general perspective about its conservation. All the available literature on subterranean Biology of Portugal since the first written record in 1870 until today has been revised. A total of 43 troglobiont and 67 stygobiont species and subspecies from 12 orders have been described so far in these areas, included in the so-called Mediterranean hotspot of biodiversity. The subterranean fauna in Portugal has been considered moderately poor with some endemic relicts and it remains to be demonstrated if this fact is still true after investing in standard surveys in cave environments. The major problems related to the conservation of cave fauna are discussed, but it is clear that the protection of this specialized fauna implies an adequate management of surface habitats.

Giant pockmarks in a carbonate platform (Maldives, Indian Ocean), 2011, Betzler C. , Lindhorst S. , Hubscher C. , Ludmann T. , Furstenau J. , Reijmer J.

Circular structures and depressions in carbonate platforms are known to represent karst chimneys or sinkholes which form as a response to rock solution. This formation mechanism is plausible for shallow-water carbonates which lie in the reach of meteoric diagenesis or fresh-water lenses. Circular structures which occur in deeper waters, however, need an alternative interpretation. Such an example of sea-floor depressions in more than 300. m deep waters occurs in the Inner Sea of the Maldives carbonate platform in the Indian Ocean. The structures were mapped with multibeam and Parasound, multi-channel seismics were used to link the depressions with structures at depth. The circular depressions have diameters of up to 3000. m and depths of up to 180. m. The craters are interpreted as pockmarks formed through the venting of gas and fluids. Gas and fluid lenses below the pockmarks are reflected by bright spots in the seismic sections as well as a reduction of the instantaneous frequency. These areas at depth are linked to chimneys connected to faults and drowned Oligocene carbonate banks. A model is presented that relates the different forms and sizes of the structures to distinct development stages of sea floor deformation to one process. Early stages of gas and fluid migration into the shallow part of the sedimentary succession induce formation of dome-shaped bodies. Initial gas and fluid escape to the sea floor is reflected by the formation of sand volcanoes and aligned small pockmarks. Active pockmarks are the deepest, and have the shape of truncated cones in cross section. Mature pockmarks are characterized by erosion of the flanks of the structure by bottom currents. Late stage pockmarks are bowl-shaped in cross section, and are to different degrees filled by drift sediments. Packages of strata revealing high reflection amplitudes and high interval velocities interpreted as microbially-mediated carbonate precipitates underlie some of the pockmarks. The pockmarks in the Maldives show that circular structures other than solution-related features can be abundant in carbonate platform deposits and that such structures may be more abundant in the geological record of carbonate platforms as previously thought. Pockmarks in the Maldives indicate that the archipelago is an example of a hydrocarbon system which consists of an isolated oceanic carbonate platform overlying a volcanic basement and lacustrine source rocks.


A typological classification of the caves and shafts in the Balearic Islands is presented in this paper, with the aim of update the knowledge on the morphogenetics of endokarst in the archipelago and incorporating the explorations and discoveries carried out during the last decades. After a brief overview about the classificatory attempts of subterranean cavities in our islands, a systematization on the basis of hydrogeological and speleogenetic criteria is proposed, establishing four main categories as follows: 1) vertical shafts in the vadose zone, 2) caves of the vadose zone, 3) inland phreatic caves, and 4) caves of the littoral fringe. Within these categories, up to ten cavity types corresponding to well-differentiated genetic modalities are distinguished, together with five additional subtypes that designate specific morphological singularities branching from a given typology. The geographical distribution of the diverse cave types in the different karst regions of the archipelago is analyzed, being worth to mention the richness and variety of subterranean forms in the mountain karst of Serra de Tramuntana, in Mallorca island, as well as the abundant and variegated littoral caves occurring in the Upper Miocene postorogenic carbonates of Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera islands. The hypogene speleogenetic processes recently documented in the karst areas of southern Mallorca contribute to supply new insights on the high diversity of subterranean environments represented in the Balearic archipelago

LA COVA DES PAS DE VALLGORNERA (Llucmajor, Mallorca). LA CAVITAT DE MAJOR DESENVOLUPAMENT DE LES ILLES BALEARS, 2011, Merino A. , Mulet A. , Mulet G. , Croix A. , Kristofersson A. , Grcia F, Gins J. , Forns J. J.

Cova des Pas de Vallgornera is located in the Llucmajor municipality, Mallorca island, being the longest cave in the Balearic archipelago: currently its surveyed length is over 65.000 metres. It is a really unique cave within the endokarst of the Migjorn region of the island, not only because its development but also for the great deal of uncommon speleothems and solution morphologies. Regarding geological and geomorphologic aspects, this exceptional site clearly shows a very strong control imposed by the lithologic factors –the architecture of the Upper Miocene reef– on the pattern and the morphological features of the system. Furthermore, the cave supplies evidences of a multi-folded speleogenesis that includes besides the coastal mixing zone dissolution, a noticeable epigenic recharge as well as a possible basal recharge of hypogenic origin. All this together, makes the cave certainly outstanding even at an international level. The cave is under the protection of Conselleria de Medi Ambient, Govern de les Illes Balears (the Regional Environmental Authority) and was declared Site of Community Importance, within the Natura 2000 Network (European Council Directive 92/43/EEC). Access to the cave is highly restricted and only surveying and investigation tasks are authorized by the Regional Authority

Dades sobre paleocarst i espeleocronologia de les illes Balears , 2011, Gines J. , Gines A. , Fornos J. J.

The litho-stratigraphic record of the Balearic Islands, basically composed by carbonate rocks, include noticeable paleokarstic phenomena particularly owing to the complex tectonic structuration experienced by the Western Mediterranean basin all along its geological history. The most outstanding paleokarst features and associated breccia deposits are observed in the Jurassic limestones and, especially, in the postorogenic Upper Miocene carbonate rocks, where abundant funnel-shaped collapse structures (Messinian in age) have tightly conditioned the geomorphological evolution of the eastern coast of Mallorca. Regarding the karstification occurred in Pliocene and Quaternary times, the islands arise as exceptional scenarios in order to obtain valuable speleochronological data from quite different sources. The base level variations –controlled in turn by oscillations of the sea level–, as well as the evolutionary trends of endemic vertebrates that lived in the Balearic Islands, provide a solid chronological frame to undertake the geomorphologic study of Balearic caves and its sediments. Particularly, the glacio-eustatic oscillations experienced by the Mediterranean Sea remain accurately recorded by means of horizontal paleolevels of phreatic speleothems, mostly corresponding to Upper Pleistocene and Holocene sea-stands. The isotopic investigations (U-Th, 14C) carried out on these carbonate precipitates, as well as on speleothems in general, have supplied abundant absolute dating which strongly contribute to the chronological assessment of the endokarst evolution undergone in our islands. All the evidences gathered till now seem to place in the Pliocene, and in some cases even before, the main speleogenetic phases occurred in the archipelago. During the Middle and Upper Pleistocene, the caves in the Balearic Islands had only experienced minor morpho-sedimentary modifications embracing –in a significant number of cave sites– the deposition of abundant speleothems together with the emplacement of paleontological deposits that include endemic vertebrate fauna.

Literature survey, bibliographic analysis and a taxonomic catalogue of subterranean fauna from Portugal, 2013, Reboleira Ana Sofia, Gonalves F. , Orom P.

A bibliographic analysis of the hypogean biological studies in Portugal is made, compiling 138 publications related to the subterranean invertebrate fauna, since its begining in 1870 until November 2012.
A catalogue of hypogean endemic taxa is provided, listing 27 troglobionts and 63 stygobionts, described to be obligate hypogean and endemic from mainland Portugal (Macaronesian archipelagos excluded).
The first impetus on troglobiont studies was provided by the prospections of Barros Machado during 1940’s and by an expedition of Lindberg in the spring of 1961; and the major information about stygobiont species was provided by the former Instituto de Zoologia “Dr. Augusto Nobre” from Porto University.


In The Bahamas, caves and blue holes provide clues to the geologic and climatic history of archipelago but are now emerging as windows into the ecological and cultural past of islands. Cave environments in The Bahamas alternate cyclically between vadose and phreatic conditions with sea-level change, thereby providing unique but ephemeral fossil capture and preservation conditions.

A diverse assemblage of fossil plants and animals from Sawmill Sink, an inland blue hole on Abaco Island in the northern Bahamas, has revealed a prehistoric terrestrial ecosystem with exquisitely preserved fossil assemblages that result from an unusual depositional setting. The entrance is situated in the pine forest and opens into a flooded collapse chamber that intersects horizontal conduits at depths to 54 meters. The deepest passages are filled with sea water up to an anoxic mixing zone at depths of 14 to 9 meters and into the upper surface fresh-water layer. The collapse chamber is partially filled with a large talus pile that coincides with an anoxic halocline and direct sunlight for much of the day.

During glacioeustatic sea-level lowstands in the late Pleistocene, Sawmill Sink was a dry cave, providing roosting sites for bats and owls. Accumulations of bones deposited in depths of 25 to 30 meters were subsequently preserved by sea-level rise in the Holocene. The owl roost deposits are dominated by birds but also include numerous small vertebrate species that were actively transported by owls to the roost sites.

As sea levels rose in the Holocene, Sawmill Sink became a traditional passive pitfall trap. Significant quantities of surface derived organic material collected on the upper regions of the talus at the halocline where decaying plant material produced a dense layer of peat within an anoxic mixing zone enriched with hydrogen sulfide. Vertebrate species that drowned were entombed in the peat, where conditions inhibited large scavengers, microbial decomposition, and mechanical disarticulation, contributing to the superb preserva­tion of the fossil assemblage in the upper regions of the talus.

Insular species swarm goes underground: new troglobiont Cylindroiulus millipedes from Madeira (Diplopoda, Julidae), 2014, Reboleira Ana Sofia P. S. , Enghoff H.

Two new species of the genus Cylindroiulus Verhoeff, 1894, C. julesvernei and C. oromii, are described from the subterranean ecosystem of Madeira Island, Portugal. Species are illustrated with photographs and diagrammatic drawings. The new species belong to the Cylindroiulus madeirae-group, an insular species swarm distributed in the archipelagos of Madeira and the Canary Islands. We discuss the differences between the new species and their relatives and present information on the subterranean environment of Madeira. An updated overview of the subterranean biodiversity of millipedes in Macaronesia is also provided.

Linking mineral deposits to speleogenetic processes in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (Mallorca, Spain)., 2014, Onac B. P. , Fornós J. J. , Merino A. , Ginés J. , Diehl J.

Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (CPV) is the premier cave of the Balearic Archipelago. Over 74 km of passages develop within two carbonate lithofacies (reef front and back reef), which ultimately control the patterns of the cave and to some degree its mineral infilling. The diversity of speleothem-forming minerals is four times greater around or within hypogene-related features (vents, rims, cupolas), compared to any other vadose passages in the cave. The mineralogy of speleothems (crusts, nodules, crystals, earthy masses) associated with hypogene features in the seaward upper maze of Sector F is characterized by the presence of aragonite, ankerite, huntite, clay minerals, and quartz. In the Tragus and Nord sectors, however, the dominant mineral is dolomite, along with aragonite, celestine, huntite, clay minerals, and quartz. Calcite is by far the most ubiquitous mineral throughout the cave. Detailed macroscopic and scanning electron microanalysis and imaging have permitted the investigation of textural relationships between the minerals associated with vents, rims, and vent’s roof and walls. These studies along with morphological and stable isotope analyses confirm that not all minerals are connected with a hypogene stage in the cave evolution, and furthermore, none of them appears to be sulfuric acid by-products. Instead, the mineral assemblages documented in speleothems from CPV clearly support at least three speleogenetic pathways, namely seacoast mixing, ascending of warm groundwaters, and meteoric recharge (vadose). Thus, cave minerals in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera hold the keys to reconstruction and understanding of processes and conditions under which they precipitated, allowing to establish their relationship with various speleogenetic pathways

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