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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 valley fill is unconsolidated debris accumulated on a valley bottom [16].?

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 contaminants (Keyword) returned 44 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 31 to 44 of 44
Assessing the Vulnerability of a Municipal Well Field to Contamination in a Karst Aquifer, 2005, Renken R. A. , Cunningham K. J. , Zygnerski M. R. , Wacker M. A. , Shapiro A. M. , Harvey R. W. , Metge D. W. , Osborn C. L. , Ryan J. N. ,
Proposed expansion of extractive lime-rock mines near the Miami-Dade County Northwest well field and Everglades wetland areas has garnered intense scrutiny by government, public, environmental stakeholders, and the media because of concern that mining will increase the risk of pathogen contamination. Rock mines are excavated to the same depth as the well field's primary producing zone. The underlying karst Biscayne aquifer is a triple-porosity system characterized by (1) a matrix of interparticle porosity and separate vug porosity; (2) touching-vug porosity that forms preferred, stratiform passageways; and, less commonly, (3) conduit porosity formed by thin solution pipes, bedding-plane vugs, and cavernous vugs. Existing ground-water flow and particle tracking models do not provide adequate information regarding the ability of the aquifer to limit the advective movement of pathogens and other contaminants. Chemical transport and colloidal mobility properties have been delineated using conservative and microsphere-surrogate tracers for Cryptosporidium parvum. Forced-gradient tests were executed by introducing conservative tracers into injection wells located 100 m (328 ft) from a municipal-supply well. Apparent mean advective velocity between the wells is one to two orders of magnitude greater than previously measured. Touching-vug, stratiform flow zones are efficient pathways for tracer movement at the well field. The effective porosity for a continuum model between the point of injection and tracer recovery ranges from 2 to 4 percent and is an order of magnitude smaller than previously assumed. Existing well-field protection zones were established using porosity estimates based on specific yield. The effective, or kinematic, porosity of a Biscayne aquifer continuum model is lower than the total porosity, because high velocities occur along preferential flow paths that result in faster times of travel than can be represented with the ground-water flow equation. Tracer tests indicate that the relative ease of contaminant movement to municipal supply wells is much greater than previously considered

Sources and processes affecting sulfate in a karstic groundwater system of the Franconian Alb, southern Germany, 2005, Einsiedl F, Mayer B,
Chemical and isotope analyses on groundwater sulfate and H-3 measurements on groundwater were used to determine the sulfate sources and sulfur transformation processes in a heterogeneous karst aquifer of the Franconian Alb, southern Germany. Sulfate was found to be derived from atmospheric deposition. Young groundwater was characterized by high sulfate concentrations and delta(34)S values similar to those of recent atmospheric sulfate deposition. However,the delta(18)O values of groundwater SO42- were depleted by several per mil with respect to those of atmospheric deposition. This isotopic shift is indicative of mineralization of carbon-bonded S in the vadose zone of the karst system. In groundwater with mean residence times of more than 60 years, a trend of increasing delta(34)S values and 6180 values with decreasing sulfate concentrations was observed. This trend could not be solely explained by preindustrial atmospheric sulfate deposition with higher delta(34)S values, and hence, we conclude that bacterial (dissimilatory) sulfate reduction in the porous matrix of the karst aquifer must have occurred. This process has the potential to contribute to long-term biodegradation of contaminants in the porous rock matrix representing the dominant water reservoir of the fissured porous karst aquifer

Organic pollutants in stream sediments of Kupa River drainage basin, 2005, Franciskovicbilinski S, Bilinski H, Sirac S,
This paper presents the first results of distribution of organic pollutants in 44 sediment samples (fraction < 63 mu m) of Kupa River drainage basin, which is a significant water resource for Croatia, Slovenia and BiH (Bosnia and Herzegovina). The investigated region aimed to be used as a model for future studies, necessary to meet Decision No. 2455/2001/EC. Some parts of the drainage basin are national parks (Risnjak and Plitvice Lakes). Also, a great part was affected by war 1991-1995 and is still under mines, what makes it difficult to sample. Sediments have shown a good record of pollution. Concentrations of total polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were found above toxic levels (> 0.02 ppm) for 7 sediment samples. Total phenols were determined above 0.65 ppm for 23 sediment samples, which was characterized as heavily polluted sites. Mineral oils above 100 ppm were found in 13 sediment samples, which are, therefore, moderately polluted. Total lindane isomers in all sediments were below the detection limit of 0.0004 ppm, and, therefore, far below the toxic level of 0.0009 ppm. Results have shown unexpectedly that the western part of Kupa River drainage basin, with karst aquifers of high risk located in the boarder area of Croatia and Slovenia, has sediments, which were more polluted with organic contaminants from those affected by the war in the middle and eastern part of the basin. Further studies of sediments and protection of karst aquifers in this region is suggested

Karst groundwater protection: First application of a Pan-European Approach to vulnerability, hazard and risk mapping in the Sierra de Libar (Southern Spain), 2006, Andreo B, Goldscheider N, Vadillo I, Vias Jm, Neukum C, Sinreich M, Jimenez P, Brechenmacher J, Carrasco F, Hotzl H, Perles Mj, Zwahlen F,
The European COST action 620 proposed a comprehensive approach to karst groundwater protection, comprising methods of intrinsic and specific vulnerability mapping, validation of vulnerability maps, hazard and risk mapping. This paper presents the first application of all components of this Pan-European Approach to the Sierra de Libar, a karst hydrogeology system in Andalusia, Spain. The intrinsic vulnerability maps take into account the hydrogeological characteristics of the area but are independent from specific contaminant properties. Two specific vulnerability maps were prepared for faecal coliforrns and BTEX These maps take into account the specific properties of these two groups of contaminants and their interaction with the karst hydrogeological system. The vulnerability assessment was validated by means of tracing tests, hydrological, hydrochemical and isotope methods. The hazard map shows the localization of potential contamination sources resulting from human activities, and evaluates those according to their dangerousness. The risk of groundwater contamination depends on the hazards and the vulnerability of the aquifer system. The risk map for the Sierra de Libar was thus created by overlaying the hazard and vulnerability maps. (C) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Rapid karstic bypass flow in the unsaturated zone of the Yorkshire chalk aquifer and implications for contaminant transport, 2007, Allshorn Sjl, Bottrell Sh, West Lj, Odling Ne,
Tracer tests have been performed on the unsaturated zone of the East Yorkshire chalk aquifer, UK. Rapid tracer travel times through significant thicknesses of unsaturated chalk (15-38 m) indicate that bypass flow must occur through fractures. Transport processes in the unsaturated zone of the chalk aquifer thus have similarities to those in the vadose zone of more typically karstic limestone aquifers. Modelling of tracer breakthrough curves indicates that bypass flow is sufficiently rapid to significantly inhibit diffusional loss of tracer into the porous matrix of the chalk. The presence of rapid karstic bypass flow in the unsaturated zone of the chalk will limit the potential for attenuation of groundwater contaminants in this zone


The characteristics of flow from the landfill near Sežana in the area of Kras were studied by the use of tracer test. In well permeable fissure on the karren surface near the landfill the fluorescent dye uranine was injected in order to study the directions and velocities of its flow through the karst aquifer. Monitoring of tracer concentrations in the period of one year and a half enabled us to make some conclusions about the dynamics of groundwater flow in the directions towards the Timava, Brojnica and Sardo&#269; springs. Detailed observations were organised also at the Klari&#269;i pumping station, which is the main source of drinking water for the Kras region. Increased concentrations of tracer were measured only during extremely high waters. Different explanations are possible, but we can not exclude the possibility of a weak, not permanent underground water connection with the landfill. Calculation of the amount of recovered tracer confirmed the main flow direction towards the Timava springs (recovery rate 93%) and a secondary direction with lower flow velocity towards the Brojnica and Sardo&#269; springs. Outflow through the Klari&#269;i pumping is estimated to only 0.003% of injected uranine.

Validation of vulnerability mapping methods by field investigations and numerical modelling, 2008, Neukum Christoph, Hotzl Heinz, Himmelsbach Thomas

Vulnerability maps illustrate the potential threat of contaminants to groundwater and can be considered as important tools for land-use planning and related legislation. For karst areas with characteristic preferential infiltration conditions, vulnerability maps are also excellent tools for source and resource protection. However, the resulting qualitative maps are often inconsistent and even contradictive and thus might lead to inconclusive vulnerability assessments. The results of a validation of vulnerability maps produced using four different methods, DRASTIC, GLA, PI and EPIK, are reported for a karst area in southwest Germany. By means of measured hydraulic and transport parameters of the geological sequence, numerical simulations were used based on a conceptual model for the area under study. The mean transit time through the unsaturated zone (resource protection) was used as the validation parameter. The study demonstrates that the highest level of accuracy is achieved with the GLA- and PI methods. Both DRASTIC and EPIK are not able to incorporate highly variable distributions and thickness of cover sediments and their protective properties in the respective mapping procedure. Thus, vulnerability maps produced with DRASTIC, EPIK, and related methods should be used with care when employed in vulnerability assessments for land use planning and related decision-making.
Les cartes de vulnerabilite illustrent la menace potentielle des contaminants envers les eaux souterraines, et peuvent etre considerees comme des outils importants en matiere d'amenagement foncier et de reglementation associee. Sur les domaines karstiques, caracterises par des conditions d'infiltration preferentielle, ces cartes sont egalement d'excellents outils de protection des sources et des ressources. Cependant, les cartes qualitatives resultantes sont generalement incoherentes voire contradictoires, et peuvent par la-meme mener a des evaluations de vulnerabilite peu concluantes. La presente etude expose les resultats de validation de cartes de vulnerabilite produites selon quatre methodes differentes (DRASTIC, GLA, PI et EPIK), dans le cas d'un domaine karstique du sud-est de l'Allemagne. Par le biais des parametres de transport et hydrauliques mesures sur la sequence geologique, des simulations numeriques basees sur un modele conceptuel du secteur d'etude ont ete utilisees. Les temps de transit moyens a travers la zone non saturee (protection de la ressource) ont ete utilises comme parametres de validation. L'etude demontre que le niveau maximum de precision est obtenu par les methodes GLA et PI. Dans la phase de cartographie, les methodes EPIK et DRASTIC sont incapables d'integrer une forte variabilite dans les distributions et les epaisseurs de sediments de couverture, ainsi que dans leurs potentiels de protection. Aussi, les cartes de vulnerabilite produites par les methodes DRASTIC et EPIK doivent etre utilisees avec precaution dans le cadre des evaluations de vulnerabilite a but decisionnaire pour les amenagements fonciers.
Los mapas de vulnerabilidad ilustran la amenaza potencial de contaminantes para el agua subterranea y pueden ser considerados herramientas importantes para planeamiento del uso de la tierra y legislacion relacionada. Para areas carsticas con sus caracteristicas condiciones de infiltracion preferencial, los mapas de vulnerabilidad son tambien excelentes herramientas para proteccion de fuentes y recursos. Sin embargo, los mapas cualitativos resultantes son frecuentemente inconsistentes y hasta contradictorios y por lo tanto podrian conducir a evaluaciones de vulnerabilidad no concluyentes. Los resultados de una validacion de mapas de vulnerabilidad producidos usando cuatro metodos diferentes, DRASTIC, GLA, PI y EPIK, son presentados aqui para un area carstica en Alemania suroccidental. Se usaron simulaciones numericas usando parametros hidraulicos y de transporte medidos de la secuencia geologica y basandose en un modelo conceptual del area en estudio. El tiempo promedio de transito a traves de la zona no saturada (proteccion del recurso) fue utilizado como el parametro de validacion. El estudio demuestra que el maximo nivel de precision es alcanzado con los metodos GLA y PI. DRASTIC y EPIK no fueron capaces de incorporar distribuciones altamente variables ni espesor de sedimentos de cubierta y sus propiedades protectivas en el respectivo procedimiento de elaboracion de mapas. Por lo tanto los mapas de vulnerabilidad producidos con DRASTIC, EPIK y metodos relacionados deberian ser usados con cuidado cuando se usen en evaluaciones de vulnerabilidad para planeamiento del uso de tierra

Assessment of the thickness of the epikarst zone from distribution of dolines depth, 2009, Klimchouk A. B. , Amelichev G. N. , Naumenko V. G. , Tokarev S. V.

Epikarst zone, due to its peculiar hydrogeologic features and functions, plays a fundamental role in karst morphogenesis and natural protection of groundwater in the conditions of open karst. The presence of epikarst considerably diminishes high vulnerability of groundwaters, generally characteristic for karst systems. Thickness of the epikarst zone is the most important parameter that determines buffering capacity of epikarst with regard to groundwater resources, its ability to retard and neutralize contaminants, hence – the protective role of epikarst with regard to groundwater resources.

The main problem in evaluation of epikarst during groundwater vulnerability assessment is luck of methods for its mapping in area. This paper, based on the analysis of regularities of epikarst morphogenesis, substantiates a possibility to assess variations in thickness of epikarst by distribution of depth of karst dolines.

Maps of doline depth distribution (representing thickness of epikarst) are created for main massifs of the Mountain Crimea, as well as maps of density of dolines and documented caves. Conjugate analysis of these maps from the standpoint of the epikarst concept gives important information about relationship of surface and underground karstification and serves as a basis for accounting for epikarst during groundwater vulnerability assessment in regions of open karst.

RECENT RESULTS OF TRACER TESTS IN THE CATCHMENT OF THE UNICA RIVER (SW SLOVENIA), 2010, Gabrovek Franci, Kogovek Janja, Kova?i? Gregor, Petri? Metka, Ravbar Nataa & Turk Janez
In the catchment area of the Unica River two combined tracer tests with fluorescent dyes have been performed aiming to characterize the properties of groundwater flow and transport of contaminants through the vadose zone and well developed system of karst channels in the epiphreatic and phreatic zone in different hydrologic conditions. Tracers were injected directly into the ponors and to the oil collector outlet on the karst surface. Prior to tracing monitoring network has been set up, including precipitation, physical and chemical parameters of the springs and cave streams. Field fluorimeters were used to detect tracers in the underground river and conventional sampling techniques and laboratory analyses were used at the springs. Some of the results were quantitatively evaluated by QTRACER2 Program. During the first tracer test, when injection was followed by rain event, flow through the well conductive cave system was characterized by apparent dominant flow velocities of 88640 m/h. Breakthrough curves were continuous, uniform and single peaked, and almost complete recoveries were observed. During the second tracer test, when water level was in constant recession, the transport velocities through the well developed karst conduits were significantly slower (apparent maximal flow velocities being 24 times lower). Results also show lower dispersivity during the second tracer test, which corresponds to lower flow velocities. The tracer injected at the karst surface arrived with the expected delay (vdom around 9 m/h) and showed irregular and elongated breakthrough curves with secondary peaks. In this paper only tracer test results are presented, which are a part of a comprehensive study of groundwater flow through the complex karst aquifers aiming at improving karst water resources understanding, protection and management. The presented assessment will beyond be utilized for further detailed analysis, studies and modelling.


The study of the vadose zone has been based on 35 years research of underground water circulation and the transfer of contaminants in karst and on continuous long-term measurements and analyses of precipitation on the surface and of several representative trickles in the vadose zone of Postojna Cave over consecutive hydrological years and it offers an explanation of the dynamics of the percolation of water and simultaneous transfer of contaminants and their impact on the dissolution of carbonate rock in the vadose zone. Emphasis is placed on a multi-parameter approach based on the simultaneous use of a number of different methods, not only tracing natural tracers but also tests with artificial tracers using different methods of injection. The research contributs to the understanding of the role of the vadose zone in the karst aquifer.

Comparative tracing experiments to investigate epikarst structural and compositional heterogeneity, 2011, Sinreich M. , Flynn R.

Comparative tracer testing may be used to evaluate the vulnerability of groundwater to specific contaminants by comparing reactive tracer response to that of a simultaneously injected non-reactive “conservative” substance. Conversely, knowledge of tracer reaction with specific materials permits information about subsurface heterogeneity to be inferred. A series of tests completed in the vadose zone overlying a limestone aquifer employed a cocktail of particles along with reactive and
non-reactive solute tracers to investigate transport rates between the ground surface and monitoring points approximately 10 m below ground. Short pulse tests revealed both solutes and particulate contaminants could travel at rates of over 10 m/h. Comparison of particle (microorganisms) and non-reactive solute tracer breakthrough revealed that particle tracers experience pore exclusion resulting in higher peak relative concentrations which arrive earlier than those of the solute. Prolonged tracer injection during subsequent experiments confirmed the response observed and illustrated that over 40 % of flow paths between
injection and monitoring points were inaccessible to particles, but could allow solutes to pass through them. Similarly, the difference in response between various reactive tracers demonstrated tracers reached monitoring points via multiple flow paths and suggests geochemical heterogeneity plays an important role in influencing tracer behaviour. The results of this investigation highlight the complexity of water flow through the epikarst and the vulnerability of groundwater in karst aquifers to contamination when soil cover is thin to absent.

Impact of chlorides, nitrates, sulfates and phosphates on increased limestone dissolution in the karst vadose zone (Postojna Cave, Slovenia) , 2011, Kogovek, Janja

Distinctive karst hydrology arises from a combination of high carbonate rock solubility and well developed secondary porosity
(fissures). Soil CO2 is the most important influence on solubility
of carbonate rock (Ford & Williams 2007). Human activity
on the karst surface results in pollution that has an important influence on water quality. Degradation of organic pollution (e.g. waste water, leachates from landfill sites) results in inorganic
acids too. These acids could have an important additional influence on dissolution of carbonate rocks in the vadose zone. In the framework of more than 20 years of research on precipitation
percolation and transfer of contaminants (direct outflow of waste water from a small military facility where about twenty troops were stationed) through the 100-m thick vadose zone of Postojna Cave, contaminated water was observed in drips and trickles in the cave (up to 60 mg Cl-/l, up to 180 mg NO3-/l, up to 2.8 mg PO43-/l, and up to 50 mg SO42-/l). At the same time the sum of calcium and magnesium (Ca+Mg) of trickles was up to two times larger than the Ca+Mg of either the uncontaminated
reference trickle or the input waste water. The amount of dissolved limestone carried by waste water to trickles and drips in the cave was directly proportional to the concentration
of contaminant anions present. This demonstrates that there is an accelerated widening of fissures below source points of wastewater. Water with contaminants can penetrate faster and deeper into the vadose zone along the increasingly permeable
fissures without losing its dissolving power, and thus significant dissolution occurs ever deeper in the vadose zone. This results in ever faster penetration of contaminants through the vadose zone. In the final phase of such development, which takes many decades or longer, relatively rapid transfer of contaminants
through the aquifer all the way to karst springs with minimal self-cleansing effects can be expected.

Contaminant Transport in Two Central Missouri Karst Recharge Areas, 2011, Lerch, R. N.

Karst watersheds with significant losing streams represent a particularly
vulnerable setting for groundwater contamination because of the direct connection to surface water. Because of the existing agricultural land-use and future likelihood of urbanization, two losing-stream karst basins were chosen for intensive monitoring in Boone County, Missouri: Hunters Cave and Devils Icebox. Both caves were formed in Burlington Limestone and have similar recharge areas (33 to 34 km2) and land uses. Year-round monitoring was conducted from April 1999 through March 2002 to characterize the water quality of the main cave streams relative to herbicide, nutrient, and sediment contamination. Water sampling entailed grab samples at regular intervals and runoff-event samples collected using automated sampling equipment. Total nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment concentrations and loads were consistently higher in the Devils Icebox stream compared to Hunters Cave. Median total N fluxes were 96 g km22 d21 at Devils Icebox and 30 g km22 d21 at Hunters Cave, while median total P fluxes were 8.5 g km22 d21 at Devils Icebox and 3.3 g km22 d21 at Hunters Cave. Herbicides or their metabolites were detected in more than 80% of the samples from both cave streams, and herbicide concentrations and areal loss rates were generally similar between the sites. Overall, the greater loads and mass flux of contaminants in the Devils Icebox recharge area compared to Hunters Cave was a result of both greater stream discharge and the occurrence of more cropped fields (94%) on claypan soils with high runoff potential. These claypan soils are known to be especially problematic with respect to surface transport of contaminants. Prevailing land use has significantly degraded the water quality in both recharge areas, but a watershed plan has been developed for the Bonne Femme watershed, which encompasses these two recharge areas. With the baseline data collected in this study, the impact of changing land uses and the implementation of management practices or new ordinances designed to improve water quality can be documented.



The movement of autogenic recharge through the shallow epikarstic zone in soil-mantled karst aquifers is important in understanding recharge areas and rates, storage, and contaminant transport processes. The groundwater in agricultural karst areas, such as Kentucky’s Pennyroyal Plateau, which is characterized by shallow epikarst and deeper conduits flow, is susceptible to contamination from organic soil amendments and pesticides. To understand the storage and flow of autogenic recharge and its effects on contaminant transport on water flowing to a single epikarst drain in Crump’s Cave on Kentucky’s Mississippian Plateau, we employed several techniques to characterize the nature and hydrogeology of the system. During 2010–2012, water samples and geochemical data were collected every four hours before, during, and between storm events from a waterfall in Crumps Cave to track the transport and residence time of epikarst water and organic soil amendments during variable flow conditions. Geochemical data consisting of pH, specific conductivity, temperature, and discharge were collected continuously at 10-minute intervals, along with rainfall amounts. In addition, stable isotope data from rainfall, soil water, and epikarst water were collected weekly and during storm events to examine storage and recharge behavior of the system. The changes in geochemistry indicate simultaneous storage and transport of meteoric water through epikarst pathways into the cave, with rapid transport of bacteria occurring through the conduits that bypass storage. The isotopic data indicate that recharge is rapidly homogenized in the epikarst, with storage varying throughout the year based on meteorological conditions. Results indicate current best management practices in agricultural karst areas need to be revisited to incorporate areas that do not have surface runoff, but where contaminants are transported by seepage into local aquifers.

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