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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 orthogonal is perpendicular.?

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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 luminescence (Keyword) returned 62 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 31 to 45 of 62
Diagenesis and porosity evolution of the Upper Silurian-lowermost Devonian West Point reef limestone, eastern Gaspe Belt, Quebec Appalachians, 2001, Bourque Pa, Savard Mm, Chi G, Dansereau P,
Diagenetic analysis based on cathodoluminescence petrography, cement stratigraphy, carbon and oxygen stable isotope geochemistry, and fluid inclusion microthermometry was used to reconstruct the porosity history and evaluate the reservoir potential of the Upper Silurian-Lower Devonian West Point limestone in the eastern part of the Gaspe Belt. The West Point limestone was investigated in two areas: 1) In the Chaleurs Bay Synclinorium, the limestone diagenesis of the lower and middle complexes of the Silurian West Point Formation was affected by repeated subaerial exposure related to late Ludlovian third-order eustatic low-stands, which coincided with the Salinic block tilting that produced the Salinic unconformity. The Anse McInnis Member (middle bank complex) underwent freshwater dissolution, and mixed marine and freshwater cementation during deposition. Concurrently, the underlying Anse a la Barbe and Gros Morbe members (lower mound and reef complex) experienced dissolution by fresh water percolating throughout the limestone succession. Despite this early development of karst porosity, subsequent meteoric-influenced cementation rapidly occluded all remaining pore space in the Gros Morbe, Anse a la Barbe, and Anse McInnis limestones. In contrast, the overlying Colline Daniel Member limestone (upper reef complex) does not show the influence of any freshwater diagenesis. Occlusion of its primary porosity occurred during progressive burial and was completed under a maximum burial depth of 1.2 kin. 2) In the Northern Outcrop Belt, the diagenesis of the Devonian pinnacle reefs of the West Point Formation followed a progressive burial trend. The primary pores of the reef limestone were not completely occluded before the reefs were buried at a significant depth (in some cases, to 6 km). Therefore, hydrocarbon migration in subsurface buildups before primary porosity occlusion might have created reservoirs. Moreover, the presence of gaseous hydrocarbons in Acadian-related veins attests to a hydrocarbon source in the area

Intra- and inter-annual growth rate of modern stalagmites, 2001, Genty D, Baker A, Vokal B,
We measure the factors that determine growth rate (temperature, drip rate, calcium ion concentration) for 31 waters that feed stalagmites within six cave systems throughout Europe. Water samples were collected at a frequency of at least month. to permit the modelling of both inter- and intra-annual growth rate variations, utilising the theory of Wolfgang Dreybrodt (Chem. Geol. 29 (1980) 89-105; Chem. Geol, 32 (1981) 237-245; Dreybrodt, W., 1988, Processes in Karst Systems. Springer-Verlag, Berlin 288 pp.). Inter-annual growth rates were measured using the stalagmites that were associated with the analysed water samples; growth rate was determined from annual lamina counting, specific time markers within the stalagmites, and location of bomb C-14. When compared to theoretically predicted values, a good agreement between theoretical and measured stalagmite growth rates is observed (R-2 = 0.69). When compared to site climate and geochemical parameters, a good correlation is observed between measured growth fate and mean annual temperature for five sites (R-2 = 0.63) and dripwater calcium content (R-2 = 0.61), but not drip rate (R-2 = 0.09). The good correlation with both calcium and temperature is due to soil CO, production being primarily determined by surface temperature and soil moisture. However, when we compare our data to that in the Grotte de Clamouse, a site that has little soil cover, we observe that the growth rate-temperature relationship breaks down due to either the lack of soil CO, production or prior calcite: precipitation. Intra-annual data demonstrates that maximum growth rate occurs when calcium concentrations are high, and that this occurs under different seasons depending on the hydrology of each site. Our results demonstrate a stronger dependence of intra-annual stalagmite growth rate on dissolved calcium ion concentrations than drip rate for the range of drip rates investigated here (0.01 < t < 2drip s(-1)), but for lower drip rates, this factor becomes important in controlling growth rate. We suggest that for well-monitored acid -understood sites, stalagmite growth rate variations can provide useful information for palaeoclimate reconstruction. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Seasonal variations in Sr, Mg and P in modern speleothems (Grotta di Ernesto, Italy), 2001, Huang Yiming, Fairchild Ian J. , Borsato Andrea, Frisia Silvia, Cassidy Nigel J. , Mcdermott Frank, Hawkesworth Chris J. ,
Sub-annual variations in trace element chemistry and luminescence have recently been demonstrated from speleothems and offer the potential of high-resolution palaeoclimatic proxies. However, no studies have yet examined microscopic trace element variations in relation to modern cave conditions. In this study, the spatial variations in trace element (Sr, Mg and P) concentrations in speleothems (a stalagmite and a soda straw stalactite) from the alpine Ernesto cave (temperature 6.60.1[deg]C) in a forested catchment in NE Italy have been studied using secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) and compared with environmental parameters and waters in the modern cave. An annual lamination exists in the stalagmite and soda straw stalactite in the form of clear calcite with narrow visible layers, which are UV-fluorescent and interpreted to contain soil-derived humic/fulvic acids washed into the cave during autumn rains. Microanalyses were undertaken of seven annual laminae, probably deposited during the 1960s in the stalagmite, and seven laminae in the 1990s for the stalactite.The analysis results show that Sr consistently has a trough and P, a peak centred on the inclusion-rich layer. Mg shows mainly a negative covariation with Sr in laminae formed in the 1990s, but a positive covariation in the stalagmite formed in 1960s. The spatial scale of the main geochemical variations is the same as that of annual laminae of inclusion-poor and inclusion-rich couplets. Mass balance arguments are used to show that the P is inorganic in form and presumably occurs as individual phosphate ions within the calcite.Most drip waters show limited chemical variations, but a summer peak in trace elements in 1995 and a decrease in Mg/Ca in the following winter are notable. More pronounced covariations in Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca are shown by a site with highly variable drip rates where ratios increase at slow drip rates. The strongest seasonal variations are found in pool waters, where ratios increase reflecting significant Ca removal from the water into the calcite during the winter in response to seasonal PCO2 variations in cave air. Thus, the cave waters' compositions tend to reflect climate conditions, such that Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca are tentatively interpreted to be higher when climate conditions are dry.Combining results from the speleothems and cave water along with the behaviour of each trace species, Mg/Ca variations in the speleothems are considered to reflect their variation in the cave waters, whereas, Sr incorporation is also dependent on precipitation rate, in this case, mainly controlled by temporal variations in PCO2 in the cave (and conceivably, also by inhibitors such as phosphate). P adsorption (a fraction of which is subsequently incorporated within calcite) depends on aqueous phosphate concentration and water flux, both of which should increase during the autumn. Therefore, multiple trace element profiles in speleothems reflect multiple aspects of environment seasonality and conditions, and hence, a calibration against weather records is desirable to establish their palaeoclimatological meaning. The strong annual variation of trace elements, and particularly P, can provide chronological markers for high-resolution studies of other climate proxies, such as stable isotopes

Origin and Significance of Postore Dissolution Collapse Breccias Cemented with Calcite and Barite at the Meikle Gold Deposit, Northern Carlin Trend, Nevada, 2003, Emsbo P, Hofstra Ah,
The final event in a complicated hydrothermal history at the Meikle gold deposit was gold deficient but caused extensive postore dissolution of carbonate, collapse brecciation, and precipitation of calcite and barite crystals in the resulting cavities. Although previously interpreted to be part of the Carlin-type hydrothermal system, crosscutting relationships and U-Th-Pb geochronology constrain this hydrothermal event to late Pliocene time (ca. 2 Ma), nearly 36 Ma after ore formation. Mineralogic, fluid inclusion, and stable isotope data indicate that postore hydrothermal fluids were reduced, H2S-rich, unevolved meteoric waters ({delta}18O = -17{per thousand}) of low temperature (ca. 65{degrees}C). The{delta} 18O values of barite and calcite indicate that these minerals were in isotopic equilibrium, requiring that barite SO4 was derived from the oxidation of reduced sulfur; however, preexisting sulfides in breccia cavities were not oxidized. The{delta} 34S (15{per thousand}) values of barite are higher than those of local bulk sulfide and supergene alunite indicating that SO4 was not derived from supergene oxidation of local sulfide minerals. The 15 per mil {delta}34S value suggests that the H2S in the fluids may have been leached from sulfur-rich organic matter in the local carbonaceous sedimentary rocks. A reduced H2S-rich fluid is also supported by the bright cathodoluminescence of calcite which indicates that it is Mn rich and Fe poor. Calcite has a narrow range of {delta}13C values (0.3-1.8{per thousand}) that are indistinguishable from those of the host Bootstrap limestone, indicating that CO2 in the fluid was from dissolution of the local limestone. These data suggest that dissolution and brecciation of the Bootstrap limestone occurred where H2S-rich fluids encountered more oxidizing fluids and formed sulfuric acid (H2SO4). Intense fracturing in the mine area by previous structural and hydrothermal events probably provided conduits for the descent of oxidized surface water which mixed with the underlying H2S-rich waters to form the dissolving acid. The surface-derived fluid apparently contained sufficient oxygen to produce H2SO4 from H2S but not enough to alter pyrite to Fe oxide. Although H2S is an important gold-transporting ligand, the temperature was too low to transport a significant amount of gold. The presence of analogous calcite- and barite-lined cavities in other Carlin-type deposits suggests that the generation (and oxidation) of H2S-rich meteoric waters was a common phenomenon in north-central Nevada. Previous sulfur isotope studies have also shown that the Paleozoic sedimentary rocks were the principal source of H2S in Devonian sedimentary exhalative-type, Jurassic intrusion-related, Eocene Carlin-type, and Miocene low-sulfidation gold deposits in the region. The similar sulfur source in all of these systems suggests that basin brines, magmatic fluids, and meteoric waters all evolved to be H2S-rich ore fluids by circulation through Paleozoic sedimentary rocks. Thus, although not directly related to gold mineralization, the recent hydrologic history of the deposit provides important clues to earlier ore-forming processes that were responsible for gold mineralization

Comparison of immunofluorescence assay and immunomagnetic electrochemiluminescence in detection of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts in karst water samples, 2003, Kuczynska E. , Boyer D. G. , Shelton D. R. ,
Immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and immunomagneticelectrochemiluminescence (IM-ECL) were used for comparison of the percent recovery of Cryptosporidium parvum in environmental water samples obtained from a spring draining a karst basin. The monoclonal antibodies to C. parvum, isotype IgG3 were used for optimization of the IM-ECL protocol. The combination of biotinylated and TAG-labeled anti-C. parvum antibodies with the streptavidin beads gave a linear regression slope for log ECL vs. log fresh oocysts of 0.79 (from 5 to 5000 oocysts), which indicates a constant ECL signal per oocyst. Standard curves gave a dynamic range of 5 to 5000 oocysts/ml (fresh) and 10 to 100,000 cells/ml (4-month-old oocysts) with the maximum limit of linear detection higher than 100,000. The linear slope of 4-month-old oocysts decreased to 0.62, which indicates that ECL signal is a function of oocyst age. The experiment associated with bead storage time shows that even after 4 months of storage of the biotinylated antibodies, the complex retains the ability for binding the oocysts and generating the ECL signal. Based on the IFA results in the experiment evaluating different protocols for oocysts recovery from karst water samples, the most efficient protocol involved dispersion, followed by flotation and immunomagnetic separation (IMS) (24% recovery). The ECL results obtained in that experiment were very similar to the results obtained in the IFA method, which indicates that the IM-ECL method is accurate. Results of the IFA in the study of the prevalence of C. parvum in the groundwater showed that oocysts were present in 78% of 1 L water samples with average number of oocysts of 6.4 5.5 and ranged from 0 (13 samples) to 23.3 (2 samples). The ECL signal generated from these water samples ranged from 3771 to 622 (average 1620 465). However, the background value estimated in groundwater samples with low number of oocysts detected by IFA was highly variable and elevated (from 3702 to 272, average 1503 475). The background value as a result of nonspecific binding to beads by unidentified organic components in the water can inhibit or even completely mask the signal generated by oocysts. Our investigations showed that the IM-ECL method appears to be promising for the qualitative and quantitative detection of C parvum from the environmental water; however, the method requires further development to improve sensitivity and account for background signals. Published by Elsevier Science B.V

The Moselle piracy: new chronological data from U/Th dating of speleothems, 2004, Losson B. , Quinif Y.

The Moselle piracy is one of the most important changes of the hydrographic network in Lorraine (France). For a long time, this phenomenon has been presumed to be relatively recent (at the end of the Middle Pleistocene) because of the well-preserved fluvial morphologies and deposits. With new relations between the surficial and subterranean data in the piracy area, the capture has been dated from 300ka using U/Th method on speleothem. This evaluation reveals an earlier time for the phenomenon, and is more precise than those proposed up to now. The latter were derived from the North-European glacial chronology and one thermoluminescence date obtained in the downstream valley of Meuse. In fact, the improvements in absolute dating, thanks to different methods and U/Th in particular, lead geomorphologists to abandon the simple relation between the glacial-interglacial periods and the accumulation-erosion processes in rivers.


Influence of solar luminosity over geomagnetic and climatic cycles as derived from speleothems, 2004, Ford Derek Clifford, Georgiev Leonid, Georgieva Desislava, Sanabria Michael, Shopov Yavor, Stoykova Diana, Tsankov Ludmil
We observed cycles presented in a luminescent solar insolation proxy record from a speleothem from Jewel Cave, South Dakota, US. We found cycles of orbital precession with periods of 23 and 19 ka and of obliquity of 41 ka and many others from non- orbital origin in this sample. We determined the Solar origin of the cycles with durations of 11500, 4400, 3950, 2770, 2500, 2090, 1960, 1670, 1460, 1280, 1195, 1145, 1034, 935, 835, 750 and 610 years. It was done by their detection both in proxy records of speleothem luminescence, D14C and the intensity of the geomagnetic dipole. It is well known that the main variations in the last two records are produced by the solar wind. The most intensive cycle discovered in this record has duration of 11.5 ka. It is not of orbital origin. It was found previously to be the most intensive cycle in the D14C calibration record and has been interpreted to be of terrestrial origin because "it is too strong to be of solar origin". Our studies suggest that it should be a solar cycle modulating the geomagnetic field and 14C reversed production as the other solar cycles do.

20 years of speleothem paleoluminescence records of environmental changes: an overview, 2004, Shopov Yavor
This paper discusses advance of the research on Speleothem Paleoluminescence Records of Environmental Changes after it have been first introduced by the author 20 years ago. It is demonstrated that most of the progress in this field was made in result of the operation of the International Program "Luminescence of Cave Minerals" of the commission on Physical Chemistry and Hydrogeology of Karst of UIS of UNESCO. Potential, resolution and limitations of high resolution luminescence speleothem proxy records of Paleotemperature, Solar Insolation, Solar Luminosity, Glaciations, Sea Level advances, Past Precipitation, Plants Populations, Paleosoils, Past Karst Denudation, Chemical Pollution, Geomagnetic field and Cosmic Rays Flux variations, Cosmogenic Isotopes production and Supernova Eruptions in the Past, Advances of Hydrothermal Waters, and Tectonic Uplift are discussed. It is demonstrated that speleothems allow extremely high resolution (higher than in any other paleoclimatic terrestrial archives) and long duration of records. Some speleothems can be used as natural climatic stations for obtaining of quantitative proxy records of Quaternary climates with annual resolution.

Activators of luminescence in speleothems as source of major mistakes in interpretation of luminescent paleoclimatic records, 2004, Yavor Shopov
This work summarizes the main results of the operation of the International Program "Luminescence of Cave Minerals" of the commission on Physical Chemistry and Hydrogeology of Karst of UIS of UNESCO in the field of activators of speleothem luminescence. It discusses Activators of Luminescence in Speleothems as a source of major mistakes in the interpretation of luminescent paleoclimatic records. It demonstrates the existence of 6 types of luminescence of speleothems and cave minerals in dependence of the type of the luminescence center and its incorporation in the mineral. 24 different activators of photoluminescence of speleothem calcite and 11 of aragonite are studied. This paper demonstrates that it is impossible to produce reliable Paleotemperature or Past Precipitation records from luminescence of speleothems without establishing the organic origin of the entire luminescence of the particular sample.

Quaternary dedolomitization along fracture systems in a Late Triassic dolomitized platform (western Southern Alps, Italy), 2004, Ronchi P. , Jadoul F. , Savino R. ,
The studied area belongs to a south vergent thrust and fold belt of the Southern Alps of central Lombardy where the norian Dolomia Principale crops out. This up to 2 km thick carbonate platform succession has been massively dolomitized from early to shallow burial diagenesis. Dark grey bedded dolostones (basal Dolomia Principale), outcropping along the both lower slopes of Iseo Lake (lower Camonica Valley), show a complex network of dedolomitized white-grey areas. The calcareous lenses show an irregular, elongated (up to few ineters large) shape; they are usually located along fault-fracture systems and extending along the strata bedding. Two main fabrics have been recognized: the fabric A is formed by a reticulate of small fractures filled by calcite and surrounded by fine grained calcitized halos, the fabric B is associated to more intense fracturation process that locally gave rise to breccia fabric; moreover a ochre-reddish internal sediment is locally present in small cavities or as a breccia matrix, a huge speleothem-like cementation is associated to these dedolomitized fabric. This study was aimed to reconstruct the dedolomitization process and to propose a relevant genetic model. The petrographic analyses, integrated using cathodoluminescence and electron scanning microscope allowed to find out that dedolomitization process is composed of a first phase of dolomite dissolution along permeable path ways, both at the macro and at the micro scale, followed by calcite precipitation in the pore spaces. The negative delta(13)O and delta(13)C values of the calcite cements and the calcitic fraction of the dedolomitized fabrics suggest precipitation in presence of meteoric water derived fluids. Radiometric absolute age determination (U-230/Th-234) indicates that calcite cements precipitated in the last 100000 years: age during which the area was subject to several advances and retreats of glacial tongues. The field mapping, analytical data and the geomorphology of the areas where the dedolomitized patches are more frequent, in correspondence of a narrow passage of the lower Camonica valley, allowed us to infer that the dedolomitization developed during glacial-interglacial phases particularly active in the region during the Pleistocene. In particular we propose that the fracturation and the first phase of dedolomitization (fabric A) occurred during the glacial period, while extensive calcite precipitation and brecciation (fabric B) formed during the interglacial periods, dominated by a warm climate during which extensive soil cover and karst processes developed

REE3 and Mn2 activated cathodoluminescence in lateglacial and Holocene stalagmites of central Europe: evidence for climatic processes?, 2004, Richter Detlev K. , Gotte Thomas, Niggemann Stefan, Wurth Georg,
Combined visual cathodoluminescence (CL) and spectral analyses of CL reveals periodic enrichments of rare earth elements (REE3) and manganese (Mn2) within the laminations of eight calcitic lateglacial to postglacial stalagmites. In the annual layers, the enrichment of trace elements can be correlated with the autumn/winter laminae, which are strongly pigmented and rich in organic carbon. During the Holocene, they occur especially in the Atlantic stage and in subrecent/recent times. The enrichment of REE3 and Mn reflects times of more intense weathering, which presumably prevailed during the Atlantic warm and humid climate. In subrecent/recent times, especially the last 100 years, these enrichments may have been at least partially anthropogenically induced

Speleothems: Luminescence, 2004, Shopov Y. Y.

Constraints on the geological history of the karst system in southern Missouri, U.S.A. provided by radiogenic, cosmogenic and physical/chemical characteristics of doline fill, 2004, Weary David J. , Harrison Richard W. , Wright Maria P. , Jacobson Robert B. , Pavich Milan J. , Mahan Shannon A. , Wronkiewicz David J.

The Ozark Plateaus region of southern Missouri is underlain by dominantly carbonate marine platform rocks of Paleozoic age. The region has been sub-aerially exposed since the late Paleozoic and is characterized by extensive karst. To better understand the geologic history of this regional karst system, we examined the stratigraphic record preserved in the fill of a large doline near the largest spring in the region. Samples of fill from natural exposures and drill core were analyzed using thermoluminescence (TL) and 10Be cosmogenic techniques, and the physical/chemical characteristics of the fill material were determined by visual inspection, X-ray analyses, and grain-size measurements. Drill-hole data indicate that the allochthonous doline fill is 36.3 m thick and rests on at least 15.6 m of cave breakdown and sediment. The doline fill is divisible into 7 zones. Analysis of 10Be concentrations suggest that the entire doline fill was derived from local residuum during the middle (Illinoian) to late Pleistocene (Wisconsinan). X-ray diffraction analyses of clays throughout the doline fill indicate that they consist of nearly equal amounts of kaolinite and illite, consistent with terrestrial weathering.


Solution-collapse breccias of the Minkinqellet and Wordiekammen Formations, Central Spitsbergen, Svalbard: a large gypsum palaeokarst system, 2005, Eliassen A, Talbot Mr,
Large volumes of carbonate breccia occur in the late syn-rift and early post-rift deposits of the Billefjorden Trough, Central Spitsbergen. Breccias are developed throughout the Moscovian Minkinfjellet Formation and in basal parts of the Kazimovian Wordiekammen Formation. Breccias can be divided into two categories: (i) thick, cross-cutting breccia-bodies up to 200 m. thick that are associated with breccia pipes and large V-structures, and (ii) horizontal stratabound breccia beds interbedded with undeformed carbonate and siliciclastic rocks. The thick breccias occur in the central part of the basin, whereas the stratabound breccia beds have a much wider areal extent towards the basin margins. The breccias were formed by gravitational collapse into cavities formed by dissolution of gypsum and anhydrite beds in the Minkinfjellet Formation. Several dissolution fronts have been discovered, demonstrating the genetic relationship between dissolution of gypsum and brecciation. Textures and structures typical of collapse breccias such as inverse grading, a sharp flat base, breccia pipes (collapse dolines) and V-structures (cave roof collapse) are also observed. The breccias are cemented by calcite cements of pre-compaction, shallow burial origin. Primary fluid inclusions in the calcite are dominantly single phase containing fresh water (final melting points are ca 0 degrees C), suggesting that breccia diagenesis occurred in meteoric waters. Cathodoluminescence (CL) zoning of the cements shows a consistent pattern of three cement stages, but the abundance of each stage varies stratigraphically and laterally. delta(18)O values of breccia cements are more negative relative to marine limestones and meteoric cements developed in unbrecciated Minkinfjellet limestones. There is a clear relationship between delta(18)O values and the abundance of the different cement generations detected by CL. Paragenetically, later cements have lower delta(18)O values recording increased temperatures during their precipitation. Carbon isotope values of the cements are primarily rock-buffered although a weak trend towards more negative values with increasing burial depth is observed. The timing of gypsum dissolution and brecciation was most likely related to major intervals of exposure of the carbonate platform during Gzhelian and/or Asselian/Sakmarian times. These intervals of exposure occurred shortly after deposition of the brecciated units and before deep burial of the sediments

Ecology and hydrology of a threatened groundwater-dependent ecosystem: the Jewel Cave karst system in Western Australia, PhD Thesis, 2005, Eberhard, S. M.

Groundwater is a significant component of the world’s water balance and accounts for >90 % of usable freshwater. Around the world groundwater is an important source of water for major cities, towns, industries, agriculture and forestry. Groundwater plays a role in the ecological processes and ‘health’ of many surface ecosystems, and is the critical habitat for subterranean aquatic animals (stygofauna). Over-abstraction or contamination of groundwater resources may imperil the survival of stygofauna and other groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDEs). In two karst areas in Western Australia (Yanchep and Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge), rich stygofauna communities occur in cave waters containing submerged tree roots. These aquatic root mat communities were listed as critically endangered because of declining groundwater levels, presumably caused by lower rainfall, groundwater abstraction, and/or forest plantations. Investigation of the hydrology and ecology of the cave systems was considered essential for the conservation and recovery of these threatened ecological communities (TECs). This thesis investigated the hydrology and ecology of one of the TECs, located in the Jewel Cave karst system in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge. A multi-disciplinary approach was used to explore aspects pertinent to the hydrology and ecology of the groundwater system.
Thermoluminescence dating of the limestone suggested that development of the karst system dates from the Early Pleistocene and that caves have been available for colonisation by groundwater fauna since that time. Speleogenesis of the watertable maze caves occurred in a flank margin setting during earlier periods of wetter climate and/or elevated base levels. Field mapping and leveling were used to determine hydrologic relationships between caves and the boundaries of the karst aquifer. Monitoring of groundwater levels was undertaken to characterise the conditions of recharge, storage, flow and discharge. A hydrogeologic model of the karst system was developed.
The groundwater hydrograph for the last 50 years was reconstructed from old photographs and records whilst radiometric dating and leveling of stratigraphic horizons enabled reconstruction of a history of watertable fluctuations spanning the Holocene to Late Pleistocene. The watertable fluctuations over the previous 50 years did not exceed the range of fluctuations experienced in the Quaternary history, including a period 11,000 to 13,000 years ago when the watertable was lower than the present level.
The recent groundwater decline in Jewel Cave was not reflected in the annual rainfall trend, which was above average during the period (1976 to 1988) when the major drop in water levels occurred. Groundwater abstraction and tree plantations in nearby catchments have not contributed to the groundwater decline as previously suggested. The period of major watertable decline coincided with a substantial reduction in fire frequency within the karst catchment. The resultant increase in understorey vegetation and ground litter may have contributed to a reduction in groundwater recharge, through increased evapotranspiration and interception of rainfall. To better understand the relationships between rainfall, vegetation and fire and their effects on groundwater recharge, an experiment is proposed that involves a prescribed burn of the cave catchment with before-after monitoring of rainfall, leaf-area, ground litter, soil moisture, vadose infiltration and groundwater levels.
Molecular genetic techniques (allozyme electrophoresis and mitochondrial DNA) were used to assess the species and population boundaries of two genera and species of cave dwelling Amphipoda. Populations of both species were largely panmictic which was consistent with the hydrogeologic model. The molecular data supported the conclusion that both species of amphipod have survived lower watertable levels experienced in the caves during the Late Pleistocene. A mechanism for the colonization and isolation of populations in caves is proposed.
Multi Dimensional Scaling was used to investigate patterns in groundwater biodiversity including species diversity, species assemblages, habitat associations and biogeography. Faunal patterns were related to abiotic environmental parameters. Investigation of hydrochemistry and water quality characterized the ecological water requirements (EWR) of the TEC and established a baseline against which to evaluate potential impacts such as groundwater pollution.
The conservation status of the listed TEC was significantly improved by increasing the number of known occurrences and distribution range of the community (from 10 m2 to > 2 x 106 m2), and by showing that earlier perceived threatening processes (rainfall decline, groundwater pumping, tree plantations) were either ameliorated or inoperative within this catchment. The GDE in the Jewel Cave karst system may not have been endangered by the major phase of watertable decline experienced 1975-1987, or by the relatively stable level experienced up until 2000. However, if the present trend of declining rainfall in southwest Western Australia continues, and the cave watertable declines > 0.5 m below the present level, then the GDE may become more vulnerable to extinction.
The occurrence and distribution of aquatic root mat communities and related groundwater fauna in other karst catchments in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge is substantially greater than previously thought, however some of these are predicted to be threatened by groundwater pumping and pollution associated with increasing urban and rural developments. The taxonomy of most stygofauna taxa and the distribution of root mat communities is too poorly known to enable proper assessment of their conservation requirements. A regional-scale survey of stygofauna in southwest Western Australia is required to address this problem. In the interim, conservation actions for the listed TECs need to be focused at the most appropriate spatial scale, which is the karst drainage system and catchment area. Conservation of GDEs in Western Australia will benefit from understanding and integration with abiotic groundwater system processes, especially hydrogeologic and geomorphic processes.


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