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Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

Klimchouk on 26 Mar, 2012
Dear Colleagues, This is to draw your attention to several recent publications added to KarstBase, relevant to hypogenic karst/speleogenesis: Corrosion of limestone tablets in sulfidic ground-water: measurements and speleogenetic implications Galdenzi,

The deepest terrestrial animal

Klimchouk on 23 Feb, 2012
A recent publication of Spanish researchers describes the biology of Krubera Cave, including the deepest terrestrial animal ever found: Jordana, Rafael; Baquero, Enrique; Reboleira, Sofía and Sendra, Alberto. ...

Caves - landscapes without light

akop on 05 Feb, 2012
Exhibition dedicated to caves is taking place in the Vienna Natural History Museum   The exhibition at the Natural History Museum presents the surprising variety of caves and cave formations such as stalactites and various crystals. ...

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That geodesy is the science of measuring the geometrical properties of the earth [16].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for hydraulic gradient (Keyword) returned 73 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 73
Perspectives in karst hydrogeology and cavern genesis, 1999, Ford D. C.
Hydrogeology and speleology both began during the 19th CenturyTheir approaches to limestone aquifers diverged because hydrogeologists tend to measure phenomena at very local scales between drilled wells and generalize from them to basin scales, while speleologists study the large but sparse conduits and then infer conditions around themConvergence of the two approaches with modem computing should yield important genetic models of aquifer and caveGenesis of common cave systems by dissolution is a three-dimensional problem, best broken down into two-dimensional pairs for purposes of analysisHistorically, the dimensions of length and depth have received most attention, especially the question of the location of principal cave genesis with respect to the water tableBetween 1900 and 1950, different scientists proposed that caves develop principally (1) in the vadose zone; (2) at random depth in the phreatic zone; (3) along the water table in betweenEmpirical evidence suggests that these differing hypotheses can be reconciled by a four-state model in which the frequency of penetrable fissuration controls the system geometryFor the dimensions of length and breadth (plan patterns) there is widespread agreement that dendritic (or branchwork) patterns predominate in common cavesIrregular networks or anastomose patterns may occur as subsidiary componentsWhen hydraulic conditions in a fissure are anisotropic (the usual case), dissolutional conduit development is competitive: local hydraulic gradients are reoriented toward the first conduits to break through to outlet points, redirecting others toward them in a cascading processPlan patterns are most complex where there have been multiple phases ("levels") of development in a cave system in response to such effects as river channel entrenchment lowering the elevation of springs

Variation of karstic permeability between unconfined and confined aquifers, Grand Canyon region, Arizona, 1999, Huntoon Pw. .
Most of the ground water in the Grand Canyon region circulates to springs in the canyon through the thick, deeply buried, karstified Cambrian through Mississippian carbonate sectionThese rocks are collectively called the lower Paleozoic carbonates and comprise the Redwall-Muav aquifer where saturatedThe morphologies of the caves are primarily a function of whether the carbonates are unconfined or confined, a distinction that has broad significance for groundwater exploration and which appears to be generally transferable to other carbonate regionsCaves in unconfined high-gradient environments tend to be highly localized, partially saturated, simple tubes, whereas those in confined low-gradient settings are saturated 2- or even 3-dimensional mazesThe highly heterogeneous distribution of the unconfined conduits makes for difficult drilling targets, whereas the more ubiquitously distributed confined mazes are far easier to targetThe distinctions between the storage characteristics within the two classes is probably even more importantThere is minimal groundwater storage in the unconfined systems because they are well drainedIn contrast, the saturated mazes exhibit maximal storageConsequently, system responses to major storm recharge events in the unconfined systems is often dominated by flow-through rather than the pulse-through hydraulics as found in the confined systemsSpring discharges from the unconfined systems tends to be both flashy and highly variable from season to season, but total dissolved solids are smallIn contrast, the pulse-through hydraulics in the artesian systems causes spring discharge responses to be highly moderated and, in the larger basins, remarkably steadyBoth total dissolved solids and temperatures in the waters from the confined aquifers tend to be elevated because most of the water is derived from storageKarst permeability is created by the flow system, consequently predicting where the permeability is best developed in a carbonate section involves determining how circulation should be ideally organized through an examination of the geometry of the flow systemThe areas where flow concentrates are the areas where karstification will maximize, provided enough time has elapsed to allow dissolution to adjust to the imposed boundary conditionsThe rate of adjustment in the Grand Canyon region appears to be related to the degree of saturationThe artesian systems are far better adjusted to hydraulic gradients than the unconfined systems, a finding that probably implies that there is greater contact between the solvent and rock in the saturated confined systems

Three-dimensional flow measurements in rock fractures, 1999, Dijk P. , Berkowitz B.

Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging is applied to measure flow patterns in natural, water-saturated, rough-walled rock fractures. From three-dimensional water density and velocity vector images the fracture morphology and flow patterns are determined. The parabolic nature and asymmetry of the velocity profiles, and thus the accuracy of local cubic law flow rate predictions, vary greatly. This depends on the degree of wall roughness. Particularly complex flow patterns are found in one sample which contains a sharp fracture wall discontinuity. A power law for the flow rate versus aperture for the low-flow region was found without considering the hydraulic gradients.


Variability of karstic permeability between unconfined and confined aquifers, Grand Canyon region, Arizona, 2000, Huntoon P. W. ,
Most of the ground water in the Grand Canyon region circulates to springs in the canyon through the thick, deeply buried, karstified Cambrian-Mississippian carbonate section. These rocks are collectively called the lower Paleozoic carbonates and comprise the Redwall-Muav aquifer where saturated. The morphologies of the caves in the Grand Canyon are primarily a function of whether the carbonates are unconfined or confined, a distinction that has broad significance for ground-water exploration and which appears to be generally transferable to other carbonate regions. Caves in unconfined high-gradient environments tend to be highly localized, partially saturated, simple tubes, whereas those in confined low-gradient settings are saturated 2- or even 3-dimensional mazes. The highly heterogeneous, widely spaced conduits in the unconfined settings make for difficult drilling targets, whereas the more ubiquitously distributed mazes in confined settings are far easier to target. The distinctions between the storage characteristics within the two classes are more important. There is minimal ground-water storage in the unconfined systems because cave passages tend to be more widely spaced and are partially drained. In contrast, there is maximum storage in the saturated mazes in the confined systems. Consequently, system responses to major storm recharge events in the unconfined systems are characterized by flow-through hydraulics. Spring discharge from the unconfined systems tends to be both flashy and highly variable from season to season, but total dissolved solids are small. In contrast, the pulse-through hydraulics in the artesian systems cause fluctuations in spring discharge to be highly moderated and, in the larger basins, remarkably steady. Both total dissolved solids and temperatures in the waters from the confined aquifers tend to be elevated because most of the water is derived from storage. The large artesian systems that drain to the Grand Canyon derive water from areally extensive, deep basins where the water has been geothermally heated somewhat above mean ambient air temperatures. Karst permeability is created by the flow system, so dissolution permeability develops most rapidly in those volumes of carbonate aquifers where flow concentrates. Predicting where the permeability should be best developed in a carbonate section involves determining where flow has been concentrated in the geologic past by examining the geometry and hydraulic boundary conditions of the flow field. Karstification can be expected to maximize in those locations provided enough geologic time has elapsed to allow dissolution to adjust to the imposed boundary conditions. The rate of adjustment in the Grand Canyon region appears to be related to the degree of saturation. The artesian systems are far better adjusted to hydraulic gradients than the unconfined systems, a finding that probably implies that there is greater contact between the solvent and rock in the saturated systems. These findings are not arcane distinctions. Rather, successful exploration for ground water and management of the resource is materially improved by recognition of the differences between the types of karst present. For example, the unsaturated conduit karsts in the uplifts make for highly localized, high risk drilling targets and involve aquifers with very limited storage. The conduits have highly variable flow rates, but they carry good quality water largely derived from seasonal flow-through from the surface areas drained. In contrast, the saturated basin karsts, with more ubiquitous dissolutional permeability enhancement, provide areally extensive low risk drilling targets with large ground-water storage. The ground water in these settings is generally of lesser quality because it is derived mostly from long term storage

Speleogenesis in quartzites from Southeastern Minas Gerais, Brazil, 2000, Correa Neto A. V.
Speleogenesis in quartzites from the Andrelandia Gp. (Proterozoic) began with a long initial period of base level stability when silica solution from quartz and leaching from feldspar and phyllosilicates generated linear zones of friable rock with increased porosity and permeability (sanding, or arenisation). One (or more) uplift episode followed with lowering base level and increasing hydraulic gradients. The faster water flow is concentrated in the high-permeability zones, and loose quartz grains are mechanically removed, creating linear conduits (piping). The essential conditions for cave development in southeastern Minas Gerais were: a large difference between local and regional base levels; the presence of rock layers specifically susceptible to sanding and piping processes (thin-grained micaceous quartzite layers), or impermeable layers (schist lenses) and a sequence of stability/uplift cycles. Different cave patterns and sizes can be explained by changes in one or more of the above conditions.

Hardware and software modeling of initial conduit development in karst rocks, 2000, Ford D. , Lauritzen S. E. , Ewers R. O.
Most dissolutional conduits develop along fissures (bedding planes, joints or faults) in which the initial opening varies considerably from place to place, i.e. they are anisotropic. The propagation of conduits between input and output points in an anisotropic fissure was studied systematically with three types of hardware models: (1) electrical current analogs and (2) sandbox analogs, to investigate flowfield geometry; (3) artificial fissures cast in Plaster of Paris, with random anisotropic elements on their surfaces. A first series of experiments studied the case of a single input to the fissure. The earliest proto-conduits were observed to extend in radial (Darcian) array but one principal and several secondary tubes quickly extended down the hydraulic gradient, robbing competitors of their flow. This mode of propagation was tested with a resistor network computer model using 100 by 100 nodes, Weyl's (1958) equation for dissolution and transport with parameters appropriate for plaster, and three choices of opening - isotropic, anisotropic but homogeneous, heterogeneous. The computer model results closely matched those of the hardware models. In second and third series of plaster hardware experiments, the cases of (1) multiple inputs to the fissure in one rank, and (2) multiple inputs in multiple ranks, were explored. In the competition between inputs, some principal tubes in near ranks first breakthrough to the output boundary. This re-orients the flowfields of failed nearby competitors, which then extend to join the principal via their closest secondaries. The process extends outwards and to the rear, linking up all inputs in a cascading system.

Karstification associated with groundwater circulation through the Redwall artesian aquifer, Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA, 2000, Huntoon P. W.
The karstified Redwall artesian aquifer discharges significant quantities of water to a small number of large springs in the Marble and Grand canyons of Arizona, U.S.A. The locations of the springs are topographically controlled, being situated on the flanks of regional structural depressions at locations where the depressions have been dissected by the canyons. The springs serve as the lowest potentiometric spill points for the aquifer. Modern caves behind the springs appear to be adjusted to the hydraulic boundary conditions governing circulation through the aquifer. These caves appear to be organized parallel to modern hydraulic gradients and are thus fairly independent of preexisting dissolution-enhanced fracture permeability. This indicates that sufficient time has elapsed since the modern circulation system boundaries became established for the flow regime to have created optimally oriented karstic permeability pathways. Dry remnant caves occur in dewatered sections of the Redwall aquifer which obviously predate dissection of the aquifer by the Colorado River. In contrast to the active caves, the dry caves are characterized by keyhole and slot passageways that are predominantly localized along joints and normal faults. The fractures date largely from late Tertiary extensional tectonism. These older caves are interpreted to be remnants of dissolution conduits in what was a more widespread regional Redwall artesian aquifer prior to incision of the Grand Canyon. Recharge to the Redwall aquifer takes place primarily as vertical circulation in normal fault zones where the faults have propagated upward through the overlying Supai confining layer. The water enters the faults directly from the land surface or as leakage from shallower aquifers that drain to the faults.

Genesis of a large cave system: the case study of the North of Lake Thun system (Canton Bern, Switzerland), 2000, Jeannin Py. , Bitterli T. , Hauselmann P.
The genesis of the cave system in the region Hohgant-Sieben Hengste-Lake of Thun (more than 250 km of surveyed passage) has been reconstructed based on speleomorphological observations (mainly by observing where the morphology changes from vadose to phreatic). Eight flow systems (phases) and their respective conduit networks have been distinguished so far. The oldest had a phreatic level at an altitude of 1950 m a.s.l. The last corresponds to today's phreatic zone located at 658 m a.s.l. Between each system, the water table dropped several hundred meters. This appears to be a consequence of changes in boundary conditions, mainly the springis position, which moved down as a tectonic uplift and deepening of the nearby valleys occured. Observations demonstrate that phreatic conduits are sometimes developed close to the ancient water table, but often much deeper, down to 200 to 400 m below this level. The change from one phase to the next seems to have been quick. This stepwise evolution is compatible with the results of computer models which give durations of 10'000 to 30i000 years for conduits systems to develop. Analysis of the conduit networks of each flow system shows that their geometry is mainly influenced by the hydraulic gradients and the overall geometry of the aquifer. The orientation of discontinuity surfaces (fractures and bedding planes) and/or their intersections, play a subordinate role. This is also supported by numerical models found in the literature. As, despite a high fracture density, we observe deep rather than shallow phreatic loops, we assume that the heterogeneity of the discontinuity openings plays a more important role in the depth of karstification than the frequency of the discontinuities.

Quaternary tectonics: Influence on the structure of two karstic aquifers of Languedoc (France), 2001, Josnin J. Y. ,
Our research focuses on the effect of Quaternary tectonics on the organization of the conduit network of karst ground water flow. In the Languedoc region, the major karstic systems are developed in Malm and Lower Cretaceous platform limestones. Most of these systems are polygenetic, their genesis and evolution having been controlled by fracturing that occurred during major tectonic phases (ante-Senonian, Eocene, Oligocene, Aquitanian, Pliocene). These complex karst systems were reactivated following Messinian eustatic events, under tectonic conditions which are not well-known, particularly those that occurred during the Quaternary. Small scale deformations and a lack of seismic activity make characterization of current tectonics in Mediterranean Languedoc difficult. The presence of vertical offsets, however, demonstrates that there are active faults in the interior of or in proximity to karst systems. In two karst aquifers within the Garden basin, we have observed a correlation between the orientations of active faults and the principal karst conduits. In the Mialet basin, we demonstrate that erosion resulting from post-Miocene uplift (and so changes of boundary conditions) divides the aquifer into smaller, independent units. In the St Chaptes basin, we reconstruct the history of the karst, proposing that tectonic and eustatic events were predominant in the karstification process and that the climatic conditions were only of secondary importance. We also show how the reactivation of faults can lead to the unblocking of abandoned karst conduits, allowing their reintroduction into the active flow system, a phenomenon that can be explained by the combined influence of the present stress field and hydraulic gradients. This work, which represents a preliminary study, leads to hypotheses that we will subsequently validate through different successive modelings

Toward a coastal ground-water typology, 2001, Bokuniewicz H,
Although submarine ground-water discharge is recognised as being of physical and ecological significance, direct measurements are rare, and calculations are hampered by a lack of offshore data. Classification of the world's coast with respect to its potential, submarine ground-water contribution would help to focus attention on the most important areas and to extrapolate existing data. A classification may be based on relevant physical/climatological parameters (e.g. precipitation, soil type etc.), or geologic/geomorphic classes (e.g. karst, coastal plain, etc.), or on a collection of state parameters. State parameters for a coastal ground-water typology may include aquifer thickness, onshore hydraulic gradient, anisotropy and fractal dimension of the shoreline. Topographic gradient can serve as a surrogate for the hydraulic gradient. A fourth type of classification may be based on the distribution of salinity in the subterranean estuary but adequate subsurface data are not yet available. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Conduit fragmentation, cave patterns, and the localization of karst ground water basins: the Appalachians as a test case., 2001, White W. B. , White E. L.
Because conduit systems in maturely developed karst aquifers have a low hydraulic resistance, aquifers drain easily and karst aquifers are subdivided into well-defined ground water basins. Ground water elevations arc highest at basin boundaries; lowest at the spring where the ground water is discharged. Parameters that control the type of conduit development are (1) the effective hydraulic gradient, (2) the focus of the drainage basin, and (3) the karstifiability of the bedrock. Moderate to highly effective hydraulic gradients permit the runaway process that leads to single conduit caves and well ordered branchwork systems. Low hydraulic gradients allow many alternate flow paths and thus a large degree of fuzziness in the basin boundaries. Low gradient ground water basins also tend to merge due to rising water tables during periods of high discharge. Focus is provided by geological constraints that optimize discharge at specific locations that can evolve into karst springs. Karstifiability is a measure of the bulk rate at which aquifer rocks will dissolve. Fine grained, pure limestones and shaley dolomites mark the opposite ends of the range. The cave surveys of the Appalachian Highlands provide a data base that can be used to classify the lateral arrangements of conduit systems and thus determine the relative importance of the factors defined above.

Deep karst conduits, flooding, and sinkholes: lessons for the aggregates industry, 2002, Lolcama J. L. , Cohen H. A. , Tonkin M. J. ,
Limestone aggregate quarries in deeply penetrating karst terrain are often at considerable risk of artesian inflow from groundwater or surface water channeled through the karstic aquifer. The inflow occurs through what are likely to be complex conduits that penetrate hundreds of feet into bedrock. Rates of inflow can exceed the operation's pumping capabilities proving to be uneconomic to manage over the long term. Over time, inflow rates can increase dramatically as turbulent flow through the conduit erodes its soft residual clay-rich fill. One recent investigation observed an inflow rate of more than 40,000 gpm from a surface water source. Floodwater persistently laden with sediment is an indicator of conduit washout and implies increasing inflow rates over time. Conduits carrying floodwater can exist in a variety of forms: along deeply penetrating geologic faults, joints, or following the path of preferentially eroded bedding. Preferential structural deformation along faults or bedding can enhance dissolution during subsequent interaction with groundwater. The resulting conduit may be a complex combination of many geological features, making the exploration and remediation of the pathway difficult. Sinkholes at the site can occur within several contexts. Pre-existing subsidence structures can reactivate and subside further, forming new collapse sinkholes within soil directly overlying the conduit. Cover-collapse sinkhole development can be a direct result of increasing downward groundwater velocities and subsurface erosion associated with the enlargement of a conduit. Normal operation events such as a quarry blast can also provide a significant new linkage between the groundwater and the quarry, allowing rapid drainage of the groundwater reservoir. With such drainage and erosion of karst-fill, sinkholes will develop over localized water table depressions, most significantly over enhanced permeability zones associated with fractures. Paradoxically, although the rise in quarry water level will lead to regional reduction in the hydraulic gradients, on local scales, drainage of the groundwater reservoir increases gradients and leads to the development of cover-collapse sinkholes. Recommended methods for preliminary site investigation can include a detailed review of geological literature and drilling logs to compile a conceptual model of the site. A fracture trace analysis with EM geophysics can confirm the locations of major faults and fractures. Fingerprinting of the various water sources to the quarry and the water in the quarry is an inexpensive and effective means of identifying the source and likely direction of the groundwater and surface water flow. Automated geophysical equipment on the market for performing rapid resistivity and microgravity surveys speeds up the site screening process during reconnaissance exploration for deep structure. It is recommended that mine planning fully incorporate this information so that quarry operators can take proactive measures to avoid catastrophic and costly flooding events. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Groundwater-flow modeling in the Yucatan karstic aquifer, Mexico, 2002, Gonzalezherrera R. , Pinto I. , Gamboavargas J. ,
The current conceptual model of the unconfined karstic aquifer in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, is that a fresh-water lens floats above denser saline water that penetrates more than 40 km inland. The transmissivity of the aquifer is very high so the hydraulic gradient is very low, ranging from 7-10 mm/km through most of the northern part of the peninsula. The computer modeling program AQUIFER was used to investigate the regional groundwater flow in the aquifer. The karstified zone was modeled using the assumption that it acts hydraulically similar to a granular, porous medium. As part of the calibration, the following hypotheses were tested: (1) karstic features play an important role in the groundwater-flow system; (2) a ring or belt of sinkholes in the area is a manifestation of a zone of high transmissivity that facilitates the channeling of groundwater toward the Gulf of Mexico; and (3) the geologic features in the southern part of Yucatan influence the groundwater-flow system. The model shows that the Sierrita de Ticul fault, in the southwestern part of the study area, acts as a flow barrier and head values decline toward the northeast. The modeling also shows that the regional flow-system dynamics have not been altered despite the large number of pumping wells because the volume of water pumped is small compared with the volume of recharge, and the well-developed karst system of the region has a very high hydraulic conductivity

Development of collapse sinkholes in areas of groundwater discharge, 2002, Salvati R. , Sasowsky I. D. ,
Collapse sinkholes are found in groundwater recharge zones throughout the world. They cause substantial loss of property each year, and occasional fatalities. In such settings, the formation of these features occurs through the downward migration of regolith into karst voids. The presence of a void in the bedrock. and sufficient seepage pressure or gravitative force in the regolith, is required for their creation. We investigated the development of cover collapse sinkholes in an unusual setting, areas of groundwater discharge rather than recharge. Upward hydraulic gradients and the likelihood of groundwater saturated with respect to calcite are difficult to reconcile with standard models for collapse development. Short flowpaths or renewed groundwater aggressivity towards calcite (via mischungskorrosion, thermally driven circulation, or deep-seated gaseous sources) are hypothetical mechanisms that could generate the subsurface voids that are needed to allow cover collapse development in discharge areas. For the two field sites in central Italy that we investigated, calculated carbon dioxide partial pressures in springs ranged from 7.38 X 10(-2) to 7.29 X 10(-1) atm. This indicates that deep-seated gaseous sources are most likely the mechanism allowing the development of the sinkholes. Groundwater is recharged in surrounding limestone massifs. The water moves through the carbonates and becomes saturated with calcite. As it circulates deeply in to the adjacent valleys, it mixes with deep-seated waters and gaseous fluxes from major fault systems, acquiring renewed aggressivity towards calcite. Finally, the water ascends into confined aquifers in the valley fill, and dissolves carbonate material present within, leading to surface collapse. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Lower Miocene gypsum palaeokarst in the Madrid Basin (central Spain): dissolution diagenesis, morphological relics and karst end-products, 2002, Rodriguezaranda J. P. , Calvo J. P. , Sanzmontero M. E. ,
The Miocene sedimentary record of the Madrid Basin displays several examples of palaeokarstic surfaces sculpted within evaporite formations. One of these palaeokarstic surfaces represents the boundary between two main lithostratigraphic units, the Miocene Lower and Intermediate units of the Madrid Basin. The palaeokarst formed in lacustrine gypsum deposits of Aragonian age and corresponds to a surface palaeokarst (epikarst), further buried by terrigenous deposits of the overlying unit. Karst features are recognized up to 5.5 m beneath the gypsum surface. Exokarst and endokarst zones are distinguished by the spatial distribution of solution features, i.e. karren, dolines, pits, conduits and caves, and collapse breccias, sedimentary fills and alteration of the original gypsum across the karst profiles. The development of the gypsum palaeokarst began after drying out of a saline lake basin, as supported by recognition of root tubes, later converted to cylindrical and funnel-shaped pits, at the top of the karstic profiles. The existence of a shallow water table along with low hydraulic gradients was the main factor controlling the karst evolution, and explains the limited depth reached by both exokarst and endokarst features. Synsedimentary fill of the karst system by roughly laminated to massive clay mudstone with subordinate carbonate and clastic gypsum reflects a punctuated sedimentation regime probably related to episodic heavy rainfalls typical of arid to semi-arid climates. Duration of karstification is of the order of several thousands of years, which is consistent with previous statements that gypsum karstification can develop rapidly over geologically short time periods

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