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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 invaded zone is in geophysical well logging, the zone in which an appreciable amount of mud filtrate has penetrated [16].?

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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 elements (Keyword) returned 194 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 181 to 194 of 194


The leading role in the geomorphic development of the Crimean fore-mountain region is played by the processes of dismemberment of “shielding” limestone layers of the monoclinal stratified structure through valley entrenchment, and by further retreat of vertical rocky outcrops via block-toppling mechanism. These processes are guided by the presense of hypogene karst structures, whose formation preceded the modern relief. Karstified fracture-karst zones, 100 to 400 m wide, in the Cretaceous-Paleogene strata controlled the entrenchment of valleys in the limestone layers. The basic elements of hypogenic karst structures, which form their spatial framework, are sub-vertical fracture-karst conduits (karst “rifts”). Denudational opening of vertical fracture-karst rift conduits in limestone layers set the cliff-like shape of valleys slopes, and presence of such rift conduits in the rear of cliffs of already incised valleys determines the block-toppling mechanisms of slope retreat. This maintains the verticality of cliff segments in the cuesta ridge and controls their position. Hypogenic sculptural morphology is extensively displayed in the exposed walls of cliffs (former conduit walls), which determines the originality and nomenclature of morphology of limestone cliffs of the Inner Ridge. In those areas of slopes where position of cliffs has stabilized for considerable time due to absence of new lines of block detachment in the rear, weathering becomes a significant process in the morphogenesis of surfaces. The abundance, outstanding expression, preservation and accessibility of relict hypogene karst features in the extensive cuesta cliffs of the Inner Ridge makes the region the foremost one for studying regularities of hypogene solution porosity development, the process currently ongoing in the adjacent artesian basin of the Plain Crimea.



The classical approach to study the karstification attributes a major role to the structure in the establishment of concentrated drainage of groundwater. This structure, essentially tectonics and stratigraphy, serves to guide the water, which gradually opens up these discontinuities to build a network, from the introduction to the resurgence. This too idealistic view does not reflect the complexity of the establishment of a karst system. Indeed, experience shows that some bedrocks contain karst drains in the absence of any cracking. What’s more, some conduits can go through the structural elements without undergoing any morphological changes. In the chalk of Western Paris Basin, the Petites Dales Cave proves an excellent observatory. We have conducted a study on the relationship between the main conduit, restitution collector of the underground system, and observable fissures in the roof and walls of the conduit. Along a drain of 421 m, we counted 374 fissures, the total length of which being a little more than 867 m. Examination of the orientation of the drain and fissures reveals four types of relationship: (1) parallel (2) oblique, (3) perpendicular and (4) no joints. No correlation could be established between the development of the collector and the presence of fissures, other than very occasionally or during episodes of overflow. In fact, the relationship between fissure and karstic conduit cannot be established, therefore it is necessary to introduce other factors in the speleogenesis, such as porosity of the chalky bedrocks, and the direct effect of the hydraulic gradient.

Karst Memores Aboye and Beneath the See: Marseilles and Its Continental Shelf During the Cosquer Cave Occupation, 2013, Collinagirard, Jacques

In the south of France, the Cosquer Cave with its famous prehistoric paintings is located in  a karstic area located between Marseilles and Cassis. This emerged and submerged karst is  typical ofkarstic coasts submerged after the Late-Glacial Maximum. Ail the forms observed  in the hinterland can be observed directly by scuba divers and indirectly on bathymetrie  charts: lapiaz, karstic archs, sinkholes, uvala and polje. The emerged and submerged landscapes  are mainly the heritage of specifie lithological conditions (Urgonian limestones) and  tectonic conditions (vertical faulting network leading to coastal eollapse in theMediterranean  Sea). üther elements of this submerged Iandscape are given by the traces of the last sea  level rise (palaeo-shorelines and erosion platforms and notehes). AIl the area between  Marseilles and La Ciotat is now established as the Calanques National Park, inc1uding the  Cosquer Cave with its upper Palaeolithic rock art paintings, which adds an international  archaeological interest to this exceptional natural area


Since many years cavers from different caving teams are carrying out a systematic study on the caves of Sulcis-Iglesiente, including geomorphological studies. Over thirty natural caves have been explored, surveyed and registered in the past few years, and over half of these have been made accessible by mine galleries. Among these are worth to be mentioned the “Tre Sorelle” of Domusnovas: these are three mine caves intercepted by the San Paolo mine tunnel. This tunnel, whose collapsed entrance has been reopened after a long digging campaign, has been explored and surveyed for around 700 meters. A total of 10 natural caves, mostly developed along fractures, have been explored and mapped, with developments ranging between 10 and 250 meters and depths from 15 to over 160 meters. Only two of these caves were previously known in the Regional Cave Register. In most of the caves, speleothems consist mainly of flowstones, some of which are clear or usually white, others are dark-brown or tending to black. Some samples of the first and the second flowstone types were collected respectively from the “Sesta Sorella” and “Seconda Sorella” Caves. The powders of these samples were analysed by an X-ray diffractometer. The first type consists of thicker layers of white and fibrous aragonite, which sometimes alternate with thinner layers of grey columnar calcite. In some samples, however, calcite interlayers were absent and just aragonite was found. The second type is composed of alternating layers of darkbrown hemimorphite. Some additional analyses were performed on these samples by Laser Ablation ICP-MS to determine the concentration of minor and trace elements in the different layers and mineralogical phases. The most abundant minor elements in calcite layers are Mg and Zn. Magnesium is about constant (~ 2000 ppm) on different spots and remains under the average Mg content of the cave calcite in this region, whereas Zn ranges from 103 to 104 ppm and is well above the Zn average in calcite of caves in the world. Barium concentration is about 80 ppm and more abundant than Pb (20 ppm) and Sr (10 ppm). Barium is also the main minor element in aragonite, where it can reach almost 2000 ppm. The Zn concentration is very high even in aragonite and is comparable to that of Sr (400-500 ppm), overcoming considerably the Pb concentration (20 ppm). In hemimorphite, the most abundant minor elements are Al and Fe (about 104 ppm). However, it was not quantified how much of these are in the hemimorphite lattice or come from some impurities. Actually, we notice that concentration of Fe and Al in the black layers of hemimorphite is an order of magnitude greater than in the brown ones. In addition, the black layers show an abrupt increase of Mn concentration, which overcomes Fe and Al. The evolution of these flowstones is most probably related to the circulation of fluids connected to the oxidation of sulphides, specially sphalerite.


Digital elevation models (DEM) are digital representations of topography that are especially suitable for numerical terrain analysis in earth sciences and engineering. One of the main quantitative uses of DEM is the automatic delineation of flow networks and watersheds in hydrology and geomorphology. In these applications (using both low­resolution and precision DEM) depressions hinder the inference of pathways and a lot of work has been done in designing algorithms that remove them so as to generate depression­free digital elevation models with no interruptions to flow. There are, however, geomorphological environments, such as karst terrains, in which depressions are singular elements, on scales ranging from centimetres to kilo­metres, which are of intrinsic interest. The detection of these depressions is of significant interest in geomorphologic map­ping because the development of large depressions is normal in karst terrains: potholes, blind valleys, dolines, uvalas and poljes. The smallest depressions that can be detected depend on the spatial resolution (pixel size) of the DEM. For example, depressions from centimetres to a few metres, such as some types of karren, cannot be detected if the raster digital eleva­tion model has a spatial resolution greater than, say, 5 m (i.e., square 5m pixel). In this work we describe a method for the au­tomatic detection and delineation of terrain depressions. First, we apply a very efficient algorithm to remove pits from the DEM. The terrain depressions are then obtained by subtract­ing the depression­free DEM from the original DEM. The final product is a digital map of depressions that facilitates the cal culation of morphometric features such as the geometry of the depressions, the mean depth of the depressions, the density of depressions across the study area and the relationship between depressions and other variables such as altitude. The method is illustrated by applying it to data from the Sierra de las Nieves karst massif in the province of Málaga in Southern Spain. This is a carbonate aquifer that is drained by three main springs and in which the depressions play an important role in the recharge of the aquifer. A doline density map, produced from a map of 324 detected dolines/uvalas, identifies three main recharge areas of the three springs. Other morphometric results related to the size and direction of the dolines are also presented. Finally the dolines can be incorporated into a geomorphology map.

Karst aquifer average catchment area assessment through monthly water balance equation with limited meteorological data set: Application to Grza spring in Eastern Serbia, 2013, Vakanjac Vesna Ristić, Prohaska Stevan, Dušan Polomčić, Blagojević Borislava, Vakanjac Boris

In the absence of detailed exploration of karstic catchments, the calculation of available reserves and elements of the water balance equation frequently reflect the topographic size of the catchment area, and not the actual, active (underground) size. The two differ largely where karst is concerned. The paper deals with the problem of average catchment area size estimation in the situation when meteorological data are limited to precipitation and temperature, but discharge records are available for long period. Proposed methodology was applied to, calibrated, and validated on 15 karst springs in Serbia. Results obtained with the model differ up to 20% from hydrogeological exploration results. One of investigated springs is Grza karst spring, which belongs to the karstic formation of Kučaj and Beljanica (the Carpatho­Balkanide Arch of Eastern Serbia). In this paper, we used the Grza Spring to show model application and necessary improvements to progress from graphoanalytical to analytical model. The average catchment area is linked to the model parameter that reduces potential to real evapotranspiration on monthly bases. The model potential lies in the possibility to determine not only catchment area, but real evapotranspiration and dynamic volume of the porous ­ karst groundwater storage as well.

Karst Memories Above and Beneath the See: Marseilles and Continental Shelf During the Cosquer Cave Occupation, 2014, Collinagirard, Jacques

In the south of France, the Cosquer Cave with its famous prehistoric paintings is located in a karstic area located between Marseilles and Cassis. This emerged and submerged karst is typical of karstic coasts submerged after the Late-Glacial Maximum. Ail the forms observed in the hinterland can be observed directly by scuba divers and indirectly on bathymetrie charts: lapiaz, karstic archs, sinkholes, uvala and polje. The emerged and submerged landscapes are mainly the heritage of specifie lithological conditions (Urgonian limestones) and tectonic conditions (vertical faulting network leading to coastal eollapse in theMediterranean Sea). üther elements of this submerged Iandscape are given by the traces of the last sea level rise (palaeo-shorelines and erosion platforms and notehes). AIl the area between Marseilles and La Ciotat is now established as the Calanques National Park, inc1uding the Cosquer Cave with its upper Palaeolithic rock art paintings, which adds an international archaeological interest to this exceptional natural area.

Biology and ecology of Bat Cave, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 2014, Pape, R. B.

A study of the biology and ecology of Bat Cave, Grand Canyon National Park, was conducted during a series of four expeditions to the cave between 1994 and 2001. A total of 27 taxa, including 5 vertebrate and 22 macro-invertebrate species, were identified as elements of the ecology of the cave. Bat Cave is the type locality for Eschatomoxys pholeter Thomas and Pape (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) and an undescribed genus of tineid moth, both of which were discovered during this study. Bat Cave has the most species-rich macro-invertebrate ecology currently known in a cave in the park


The theory of gravity-driven regional groundwater flow was first proposed in 1962/3 based on the Laplace equation. Hydraulic-head patterns were calculated for a two dimensional trapezoidal and homogeneous flow domain with flow lines drawn by hand. The flow region was intended to represent one flank of a stream basin with a periodically undulating water table. At the dawn of numerical modeling the results generated international interest. Numerical models began to be produced with progressively increasing complexity of basin geometry, types and distributions of permeability and time dependent flow. One of the most important results of the first analyses was the birth of the flow-system concept. In a flow system groundwater moves from relatively highly elevated recharge areas, through medium high mid-line regions to relatively low lying discharge areas where it may resurface. Because flow systems are associated with topographic elements of different scale, they are self-organized in hierarchically nested geometric patterns.
The understanding of the systematized structure of basinal groundwater flow soon resulted in the recognition that flow systems act like subsurface conveyor belts. They mobilize and remove matter and heat from the recharge area, pick up more or/and emplace some of it en route, and deposit them in the discharge region. In short: flowing groundwater is a general geologic agent. The original „Theory of regional groundwater flow” became thus expanded into a bimodal umbrella theory with two component theories: i) „The hydraulics of basin-scale groundwater flow” and ii) „The geologic agency of regional groundwater flow”. More than half a century after its conception the theory is extensively analyzed and continues to be applied to a growing number of groundwater related disciplines

Cuevas hipogénicas en la Región de Murcia – España, 2014, Ros Andrés, Llamusí José L. , Sánchez Juan

First publication of three volumes devoted to hypogenic caves in the region of Murcia - Spain. Most of the caves in this region of southwestern Spain are of hypogene origin. In this first volume eight caves are analyzed in their hypogean aspects: networks, morphologies and speleothems. The hypogenic characteristics of each studied caves are tabulated. This table demonstrates the common elements and features of hypogenic caves and can be used  to recognize  this origin for other caves. The publication is in Spanish.

On the applicability of geomechanical models for carbonate rock masses interested by karst processes, 2015,

Rock mass classification and geomechanical models have a particular importance for carbonate rocks, due to their peculiar fabric, variability of the main features, and scarce availability of experimental data. Carbonates are particularly sensitive to syn-depositional and post-depositional diagenesis, including dissolution and karstification processes, cementation, recrystallisation, dolomitisation and replacement by other minerals. At the same time, as most of sedimentary rocks, they are typically stratified, laminated, folded, faulted and fractured. The strength and deformability of carbonate rock masses are, therefore, significantly affected by the discontinuities, as well as by their pattern and orientation with respect to the in situ stresses. Further, discontinuities generally cause a distribution of stresses in the rock mass remarkably different from those determined by the classical elastic or elasto-plastic theories for homogeneous continua. Goal of this work is the description of the difficulties in elaborating geomechanical models to depict the stress–strain behavior of karstified carbonate rock masses. Due to such difficulties, a high degree of uncertainty is also present in the selection of the most proper approach, the discontinuum one or the equivalent continuum, and in the numerical model to be used within a specific engineering application as well. The high uncertainty might cause wrong assessments as concerns the geological hazards, the design costs, and the most proper remediation works. Even though recent developments in the application of numerical modeling methods allow to simulate quite well several types of jointed rock masses, as concerns carbonate rock masses many problems in representing their complex geometry in the simulation models still remain, due to peculiarity of the structural elements, and the presence of karst features. In the common practice, the improper use of the geomechanical models comes from a superficial geological study, or from the lack of reliable geological and structural data that, as a consequence, bring to erroneous evaluations of the influence of the geological-structural features on the in situ stress state and the stress–strain rock mass behavior.

Earliest evidence of pollution by heavy metals in archaeological sites, 2015, Guadalupe Monge, Francisco J. Jimenezespejo, Antonio Garcíaalix, Francisca Martínezruiz, Nadine Mattielli, Clive Finlayson, Naohiko Ohkouchi, Miguel Cortés Sánchez, Jose María Bermúdez De Castro, Ruth Blasco, Jordi Rosell, José Carrión, Joaquí

Homo species were exposed to a new biogeochemical environment when they began to occupy caves. Here we report the first evidence of palaeopollution through geochemical analyses of heavy metals in four renowned archaeological caves of the Iberian Peninsula spanning the last million years of human evolution. Heavy metal contents reached high values due to natural (guano deposition) and anthropogenic factors (e.g. combustion) in restricted cave environments. The earliest anthropogenic pollution evidence is related to Neanderthal hearths from Gorham's Cave (Gibraltar), being one of the first milestones in the so-called “Anthropocene”. According to its heavy metal concentration, these sediments meet the present-day standards of “contaminated soil”. Together with the former, the Gibraltar Vanguard Cave, shows Zn and Cu pollution ubiquitous across highly anthropic levels pointing to these elements as potential proxies for human activities. Pb concentrations in Magdalenian and Bronze age levels at El Pirulejo site can be similarly interpreted. Despite these high pollution levels, the contaminated soils might not have posed a major threat to Homo populations. Altogether, the data presented here indicate a long-term exposure of Homo to these elements, via fires, fumes and their ashes, which could have played certain role in environmental-pollution tolerance, a hitherto neglected influence.

Hypogene speleogenesis in dolomite host rock by CO2-rich fluids, Kozak Cave (southern Austria), 2015,

A growing number of studies suggest that cave formation by deep-seated groundwater  (hypogene) is a more common process of subsurface water-rock interaction than previously  thought. Fossil hypogene caves are identified by a characteristic suite of morphological  features on different spatial scales. In addition, mineral deposits (speleothems) may provide  clues about the chemical composition of the paleowater, which range from CO2-rich to  sulfuric acid-bearing waters. This is one of the first studies to examine hypogene cave  formation in dolomite. Kozak Cave is a fossil cave near the Periadriatic Lineament, an area  known for its abundance of CO2-rich springs. The cave displays a number of macro-, mesoand  micromorphological elements found also in other hypogene caves hosted in limestone,  marble or gypsum, including cupolas, cusps, Laughöhle-type chambers and notches. The  existance of cupolas and cusps suggests a thermal gradient capable of sustaining free  convection during a first phase of speleogenesis, while triangular cross sections (Laughöhle  morphology) indicate subsequent density-driven convection close to the paleowater table Notches mark the final emergence of the cave due to continued rock uplift and valley  incision. Very narrow shafts near the end of the cave may be part of the initial feeder system,  but an epigene (vadose) overprint cannot be ruled out. Vadose speleothems indicate that the  phreatic phase ended at least about half a million years ago. Drill cores show no evidence of  carbon or oxygen isotope alteration of the wall rock. This is in contrast to similar studies in  limestone caves, and highlights the need for further wall-rock studies of caves hosted in  limestone and dolomite

Results of the Exploration of the “Combe du Creux”, 2016,

This article deals with speleology applied to the exploration of a siphon named “Combe du Creux”. It is located in France, in the department of the Doubs. We present surveys and the specific forms that are encountered in this flooded cave; eventually we propose a possible evolution of this sump. Cave diving, regarded as cave science, closely associated to underwater photography, is a good mean to investigate such a cave.

We have been diving in this sump since 2003 and we present the results of 13 years of explorations, up to July 2016.
After having explored this cave up to the farthest known point, we made a survey (elevation and plane view). Further dives, using a rebreather when necessary, enabled a work of observation and underwater photography.

We observed concretions – limestone as well as clay – and potholes below the current water level. We also observed ribs and scallops. The underground development of the cave seems well correlated with geologic elements that can be observed outside.
The set of all the observations leads to the conclusion that, at long time scale, the water level has fluctuated. It has been, at least once, 46 m (151 ft) below its current position. In one place inside the cave, it has been observed interactions between flutes and scallops: this new information should be taken in account in any new theoretical or computational modeling of scallops.

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