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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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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 hydrographs (Keyword) returned 55 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 46 to 55 of 55
A dimensionless number describing the effects of recharge and geometry on discharge from simple karstic aquifers, 2009, Covington M. D. , Wicks C. M. , Saar M. O.

The responses of karstic aquifers to storms are often used to obtain information about aquifer geometry. In general, spring hydrographs are a function of both system geometry and recharge. However, the majority of prior work on storm pulses through karst has not studied the effect of recharge on spring hydrographs. To examine the relative importance of geometry and recharge, we break karstic aquifers into elements according to the manner of their response to transient flow and demonstrate that each element has a characteristic response timescale. These fundamental elements are full pipes, open channels, reservoir/constrictions, and the porous matrix. Taking the ratio of the element timescale with the recharge timescale produces a dimensionless number, γ, that is used to characterize aquifer response to a storm event. Using sets of simulations run with randomly selected element parameters, we demonstrate that each element type has a critical value of γ below which the shape of the spring hydrograph is dominated by the shape of the recharge hydrograph and above which the spring hydrograph is significantly modified by the system geometry. This allows separation of particular element/storm pairs into recharge-dominated and geometry-dominated regimes. While most real karstic aquifers are complex combinations of these elements, we draw examples from several karst systems that can be represented by single elements. These examples demonstrate that for real karstic aquifers full pipe and open channel elements are generally in the recharge-dominated regime, whereas reservoir/constriction elements can fall in either the recharge- or geometry-dominated regimes.

Water exchange and pressure transfer between conduits and matrix and their influence on hydrodynamics of two karst aquifers with sinking streams, 2010, Baillycomte Vincent, Martin Jonathan B. , Jourde Hervé, , Screaton Elizabeth J. , Pistre Sé, Verin, Langston Abigail

Karst aquifers are heterogeneous media where conduits usually drain water from lower permeability volumes (matrix and fractures). For more than a century, various approaches have used flood recession curves, which integrate all hydrodynamic processes in a karst aquifer, to infer physical properties of the movement and storage of groundwater. These investigations typically only consider flow to the conduits and thus have lacked quantitative observations of how pressure transfer and water exchange between matrix and conduit during flooding could influence recession curves.

We present analyses of simultaneous discharge and water level time series of two distinctly different karst systems, one with low porosity and permeability matrix rocks in southern France, and one with high porosity and permeability matrix rocks in north-central Florida (USA). We apply simple mathematical models of flood recession using time series representations of recharge, storage, and discharge processes in the karst aquifer. We show that karst spring hydrographs can be interpreted according to pressure transfer between two distinct components of the aquifer, conduit and matrix porosity, which induce two distinct responses at the spring. Water exchange between conduits and matrix porosity successively control the flow regime at the spring. This exchange is governed by hydraulic head differences between conduits and matrix, head gradients within conduits, and the contrast of permeability between conduits and matrix. These observations have consequences for physical interpretations of recession curves and modeling of karst spring flows, particularly for the relative magnitudes of base flow and quick flow from karst springs. Finally, these results suggest that similar analyses of recession curves can be applied to karst aquifers with distinct physical characteristics utilizing well and spring hydrograph data, but information must be known about the hydrodynamics and physical properties of the aquifer before the results can be correctly interpreted.

The significance of turbulent flow representation in single-continuum models, 2011, Reimann T. , Rehrl C. , Shoemaker W. B. , Geyer T. , Birk S.

Karst aquifers evolve where the dissolution of soluble rocks causes the enlargement of discrete pathways along fractures or bedding planes, thus creating highly conductive solution conduits. To identify general interrelations between hydrogeological conditions and the properties of the evolving conduit systems the aperture-size frequency distributions resulting from generic models of conduit evolution are analysed. For this purpose, a process-based numerical model coupling flow and rock dissolution is employed. Initial protoconduits are represented by tubes with log-normally distributed aperture sizes with a mean ?0 = 0.5 mm for the logarithm of the diameters. Apertures are spatially uncorrelated and widen up to the metre range due to dissolution by chemically aggressive waters. Several examples of conduit development are examined focussing on influences of the initial heterogeneity and the available amount of recharge. If the available recharge is sufficiently high the evolving conduits compete for flow and those with large apertures and high hydraulic gradients attract more and more water. As a consequence, the positive feedback between increasing flow and dissolution causes the breakthrough of a conduit pathway connecting the recharge and discharge sides of the modelling domain. Under these competitive flow conditions dynamically stable bimodal aperture distributions are found to evolve, i.e. a certain percentage of tubes continues to be enlarged while the remaining tubes stay small-sized. The percentage of strongly widened tubes is found to be independent of the breakthrough time and decreases with increasing heterogeneity of the initial apertures and decreasing amount of available water. If the competition for flow is suppressed because the availability of water is strongly limited breakthrough of a conduit pathway is inhibited and the conduit pathways widen very slowly. The resulting aperture distributions are found to be unimodal covering some orders of magnitudes in size. Under these suppressed flow conditions the entire range of apertures continues to be enlarged. Hence, the number of tubes reaching aperture sizes in the order of centimetres or decimetres continues to increase with time and in the long term may exceed the number of large-sized tubes evolving under competitive flow conditions. This suggests that conduit development under suppressed flow conditions may significantly enhance the permeability of the formation, e.g. in deep-seated carbonate settings.

Springs, 2012, White, William B.

Springs are localized points where groundwater returns to surface routes. Karst springs drains integrated conduit and fracture networks and often have very high discharges. Most spring waters have temperatures very close to local seasonal averages but some waters rise from depths and produce thermal springs. Spring discharges tend to respond rapidly to storm recharge. The hydrographs of springs can be analyzed to provide information on the conduit system that feeds the spring. Karst springs are highly vulnerable to contamination from surface sources. Great caution must be exercised before using karst springs as water supplies.

Karst aquifer draining during dry periods, 2012, Fiorillo F. , Revellino P. , Ventafridda G.

We analyzed hydrographs of five karst springs in southern Italy during the recession period using ten continuous years of daily discharge measurements and provided conclusions on the aquifer behavior under dry periods and droughts. A straight line was fitted to a semilogarithmic plot (log-discharge versus time), and the recession coefficient (the slope of the line generated from the equation) was calculated for each spring and for each year considered. A deviation from the straight line produced by a simple exponential decay of discharge through time provides information on the actual emptying rate of the aquifer compared to a simple exponential decline. If the recession coefficient decreases or increases, the aquifer is empting more slowly or more quickly than expected, respectively. Water level of a monitored well inside the karst catchment was also assessed and provided information on the water distribution into aquifers. The results describe the hydraulic behavior of karst aquifers during their emptying and provide information for better management of karst springs.

Environmental Hydrogeological Study of Louros watershed, Epirus, Greece, 2012, Konstantina Katsanou

The present study aims to describe and characterize the Ionian zone karst formation concerning the karstification grade of carbonate formations and the development of aquifers, through the hydrogeological study of Louros River drainage basin, considering hydrological, hydrogeological and meteorological data, as well as major, trace element, rare earth element and isotope concentrations. It also aims to investigate basic karst properties such as storativity, homogeneity, infiltration coefficients and the parameters of the Louros basin hydrological balance.

To accomplish this aim daily discharge measurements obtained from Public Power Corporation at the Pantanassa station during the years 1956-1957, along with random discharge measurements from 15 springs along the basin performed by IGME between the years 1979-1989, daily meteorological data from 18 stations and 18 sets of potentiometric surface measurements from 38 sites were compiled. Additionally, chemical analyses on major and trace element concentrations of 42 rock samples and of five sets of water samples from 64 sampling sites, along with fourteen sets of successive periods in order to study the seasonal variation in the chemical composition of 11 springs and REE concentrations of 116 water samples. Moreover isotope ratios from 129 rain samples collected at five different altitudes, 331 samples of surface and groundwater samples, radon measurements on 21 groundwater samples and microbiological on 46 samples of surface and groundwater were evaluated. Daily runoff and random spring discharge missing data were completed applying the SAC-SMA and MODKARST simulation algorithms and the values of these parameters for the duration of the research (2008-2010) were predicted. The accuracy of the predicted values was tested applying statistical methods but also against observed values from in situ measurements performed during the same period (2008-2010).

Louros River drainage basin is located at the southern part of Epirus and covers an area of 953 km2. It is elongated and together with the adjacent basin of River Arachthos they constitute the major hydrographic systems discharging in the Amvrakikos Gulf. The main morphological features of the basin are elongated mountain ranges and narrow valleys, which are the result of tectonic and other geological processes mainly controlled by the limestone-“flysch” alternations. The length of the river’s major channel, which is parallel to the major folding direction (NNW-SSE), is 73.5 km. The mountainous part of the hydrogeological basin covers an area of 400 km2 and its endpoint was set at the Pantanassa station, where discharge measurements are performed. The underground limits of the basin coincides with the surface one, defined by the flysch outcrops at the western margin of the Ziros-Zalongo fault zone to the South, the application of isotope determinations and hydraulic load distribution maps at the North and East.

Geologically, Louros River drainage basin is composed of the Ionian zone formations. Triassic evaporites constitute the base of the zone overlain by a thick sequence of carbonate and clastic sedimentary rocks deposited from the Late Triassic to the Upper Eocene. In more detail, from base to top, the lithostratigraphical column of the zone includes dolomite and dolomitic limestone, Pantokrator limestone, Ammonitico Rosso, Posidonia Shales, Vigla limestone, Upper Senonian limestone, Palaeocene-Eocene limestone and Oligocene “flysch”. The major tectonic features of the regions are folds with their axes trending SW-NE at the northern part and NNW-SSE to NNE-SSW southern of the Mousiotitsa-Episkopiko-Petrovouni fault system and the strike-slip fault systems of Ziros and Petousi.

The evaluation of the daily meteorological data revealed that December is the most humid month of the year followed by January, whereas July and August are the driest months. Approximately 40-45% of the annual precipitation is distributed during the winter time and 30% during autumn. The mean annual precipitation ranges from 897.4 to 2051.8 mm and the precipitation altitude relationship suggests an increased precipitation with altitude at a rate of 84 mm/100 m. The maximum temperature is recorded during August and it may reach 40°C and the minimum during January. The temperature variation with the altitude is calculated at 0.61°C/100 m. The maximum solarity time is 377.8 h, recorded during July at the Arta station. December displays the highest relative humidity with a value of 84.2% recorded again at the Arta station. The highest wind velocity values are recorded at the Preveza station and similar velocities are also recorded at the Ioannina station. The real evapotranspiration in Louros drainage basin ranges between 27-39%. The potential evapotranspiration was calculated from the Ioannina station meteorological data, which are considered more representative for Louros basin, at 785.8 mm of precipitation according to Thornthwaite and at 722.0 mm according to Penman-Monteith.

According to the SAC-SMA algorithm the total discharge (surficial and underground) for the years 2008-2010 ranges between 61-73% of the total precipitation. The algorithm simulates the vertical percolation of rainwater in both unsaturated and saturated zones taking into account 15 parameters including the tension water capacity of the unsaturated zone, the maximum water storage capacity of both unsaturated and saturated zones, the water amount escaping into deeper horizons and not recorded at the basin’s outlet, the percentage of impermeable ground which is responsible for instant runoff, etc. These parameters are correlated to the hydrograph and are recalculated according to it. Two interesting aspects were pointed out from the discharge measurements and the algorithm application. The first is related to the maximum amount of free water, which can be stored at the basic flow of the karstic system, which is very high for the whole basin, reaching 1200 mm of precipitation and the second is the amount of water filtered to the deeper horizons, which reaches 0.098.

The discharge of individual karstic units was simulated applying the specialized MODKARST code. The code, which transforms precipitation to discharge resolving mathematical equations of non-linear flow using the mass and energy balance, successfully completed the time series of available data of spring discharge measurements for the period between the years 2008-2010.

Additionally, a number of useful parameters including spring recharge, delay period between precipitation and discharge, the storage capacity of the discharge area were also calculated by the MODKARST code. These data enabled the calculation of the annual infiltration coefficient for each one of the 15 springs and for the whole basin; the latter was found to range between 38-50% of annual precipitation. The total supply area was estimated approximately at 395 km2, which is consistent with the area of Louros hydrogeological basin calculated from hydrogeological data.

The 18 sets of water table measurements, each one corresponding to a different period, revealed that the aquifers of the intermediate part of Louros basin, which are developed in Quaternary alluvial sediments, are laterally connected to the carbonate formations of the individual karstic spring units, forming a common aquifer with a common water table.

Groundwater flow follows a general N-S direction from the topographic highs to the coastal area with local minor shifts to NE-SW and NW-SE directions. The artificial lake at the position of the Public Power Corporation’s Dam at the south of the region is directly connected to the aquifer and plays an important role in water-level variation. The water table contours display a higher gradient to the southern part due to the decreased hydraulic conductivity of the limestones close to Agios Georgios village. The decreased hydraulic conductivity is believed to be the reason for the development of the homonymous spring although the hydraulic load distributions suggest the extension of the aquifer to the south and a relation to the water level in Ziros Lake, boreholes and the Priala springs. The hydraulic gradient in the broader region ranges between 4-16‰. The absolute water level variation between dry and humid season ranges from 2 m at the South to 15-20 m to the North with an average of 9 m.

The hydrological balance of Louros River mountainous basin according to the aforementioned data is calculated as follows: The total precipitation between the years 2008-2010 ranged between 5.67E+08-9.8E+08 m3 and the discharge at Pantanassa site between 3.47E+08-6.83E+08 m3. The real evapotransiration ranged between 29-39% of the precipitation. The total discharge (runoff and groundwater) accounted for 61-73% of the precipitation, whereas the basic flow due to the percolation ranged between 34-38%. Considering a mean water level variation of 9 m, between the dry and humid season, the water amount constituting the local storage is 2025Ε+07 m3.

Statistical evaluation on spring discharge data and the recession curves analysis revealed three distinct levels with diverse karstic weathering along Louros basin coinciding to the upper, intermediate and low flow of Louros River, respectively. The developed karstic units are generally complex but simple individual units develop as well. The response of spring discharge to the stored water amounts is immediate but with relatively large duration suggesting the storage of large quantities of water and a well-developed system of karstic conduits, which however has not yet met its complete evolution. The karst spring’s units are homogeneous and each one is distinguished from different recession coefficients.

The three levels of flow are also distinguished from the duration curves, which point to individual units upstream, complex units receiving and transmitting water to the adjacent ones in the middle part and complex that only receive water from the upper. This distinguishment is also enhanced by the groundwater’s major ion concentrations, which reveal Ca-HCO3 water-type upstream, along with the isotopic composition at the same part. The prevalent Ca-HCO3-Cl-SO4 water-type in the middle part, the Na-Ca-Cl-SO4 water-type downstream and isotope variation confirms this distinguishment. Moreover, REE variation is also consistent with the three levels. The assumption of relatively large stored water reserves, which contribute to analogous “memory” of spring karstic units, as pointed out by autocorreletion functions is enhanced from SAC-SMA algorithm which premises an increased capacity at the lower zone of basic flow, as well as from the hydrochemical and isotopic composition of groundwater. Monitoring of the seasonal variation in groundwater composition revealed minor variations of hydrochemical parameters and remarkably stable isotopic composition. Both aspects can be explained by the existence of a considerable water body acting as a retarder to external changes.

The crosscorrelation functions suggest a well-developed karstic system, which however has not yet reached its complete maturity also confirmed from field observations. The same conclusion is extracted from the homogeneous evolution at the interval of each karstic unit as demonstrated from recession curves on spring hydrographs.

The results from hydrochemical analyses also revealed the effect of evaporitic minerals and phosphate-rich rocks in groundwater composition and confirmed the hydraulic relationships between surface and groundwater.

The study of the isotopic composition also contributed to exclude the potential connection between the Ioannina and Louros basins, confirmed the meteoric origin of groundwater and revealed the effect of seawater in the chemical composition of few sampling sites.

The microbiological research only revealed minor incidents of contamination and significant attenuation of microorganisms during periods of high discharge.

Using isotopes of dissolved inorganic carbon species and water to separate sources of recharge in a cave spring, northwestern Arkansas, USA Blowing Spring Cave, 2013, Knierim Katherine J. , Pollock Erik, Hays Phillip D.

Blowing Spring Cave in northwestern Arkansas is representative of cave systems in the karst of the Ozark Plateaus, and stable isotopes of water (δ18O and δ2H) and inorganic carbon (δ13C) were used to quantify soil-water, bedrock-matrix water, and precipitation contributions to cave-spring flow during storm events to understand controls on cave water quality. water samples from recharge-zone soils and the cave were collected from March to May 2012 to implement a multicomponent hydrograph separation approach using δ18O and δ2H of water and dissolved inorganic carbon (δ13C–DIC). During baseflow, median δ2H and δ18O compositions were –41.6‰ and –6.2‰ for soil water and were –37.2‰ and –5.9‰ for cave water, respectively. Median DIC concentrations for soil and cave waters were 1.8 mg/L and 25.0 mg/L, respectively, and median δ 13C–DIC compositions were –19.9‰ and –14.3‰, respectively. During a March storm event, 12.2 cm of precipitation fell over 82 h and discharge increased from 0.01 to 0.59 m3 /s. The isotopic composition of precipitation varied throughout the storm event because of rainout, a change of 50‰ and 10‰ for δ2H and δ18O was observed, respectively. Although, at the spring, δ2H and δ18O only changed by approximately 3‰ and 1‰, respectively. The isotopic compositions of precipitation and pre-event (i.e., soil and bedrock matrix) water were isotopically similar and the two-component hydrograph separation was inaccurate, either overestimating (>100%) or underestimating (<0%) the precipitation contribution to the spring. During the storm event, spring DIC and δ13C–DIC de- creased to a minimum of 8.6 mg/L and –16.2‰, respectively. If the contribution from precipitation was assumed to be zero, soil water was found to contribute between 23 to 72% of the total volume of discharge. Although the assumption of negligible contributions from precipitation is unrealistic, especially in karst systems where rapid flow through conduits occurs, the hydrograph separation using inorganic carbon highlights the importance of considering vadose-zone soil water when analyzing storm chemohydrographs.  

The Recession of Spring Hydrographs, Focused on Karst Aquifers, 2014, Fiorillo, F.

This study constitutes a review of spring hydrograph recession analysis, and it is focused on karst aquifers. The different literature models have been separated into empirical and physically-based models; in the last ones, only analytical models have been considered, as they provide the discharge equation during recession. Under constant geometrical and hydraulic aquifer characteristics, it has been found that the “exponential form” appears to be the most recurrent theoretical type, at least during the long-term flow recession. During this stage, any deviation from the exponential form, may suggest hydraulic anisotropy of actual aquifers, as well as aquifer geometry has a fundamental role in controlling the shape of spring hydrographs. The hydrodynamics of karst aquifer under recession has been described, associating any segment of the hydrograph to a specific hydrologic condition of the aquifer, and also to a specific physical law which control the water flow.

The hydrogeology of high-mountain carbonate areas: an example of some Alpine systems in southern Piedmont (Italy), 2015,

The hydrogeological characteristics of some springs supplied by high-mountain carbonate rock aquifers, located in the south of Piedmont, in Italy, are presented in this work. The aquifers have different geological-structural conditions, including both deep and superficial karstification. Their catchment areas are located in a typical Alpine context at a high altitude of about 2000 m. These aquifers are ideal representations of the different hydrogeological situations that can be encountered in the high-altitude carbonate aquifers of the Mediterranean basin. It is first shown how the high-altitude zones present typical situations, in particular related to the climate, which control the infiltration processes to a great extent. Snowfall accumulates on the ground from November to April, often reaching remarkable thicknesses. The snow usually begins to melt in spring and continues to feed the aquifer for several months. This type of recharge is characterized by continuous daily variations caused by the typical thermal excursions. The hourly values are somewhat modest, but snowmelt lasts for a long time, beginning in the lower sectors and ending, after various months, in the higher areas. Abundant rainfall also occurs in the same period, and this contributes further to the aquifer supply. In the summer period, there is very little rainfall, but frequent storms. In autumn, abundant rainfall occurs and there are there fore short but relevant recharge events. It has been shown how the trend of the yearly flow of the high mountain springs is influenced to a great extent by the snowmelt processes and autumn rainfall. It has also been shown, by means of the annual hydrographs of the flow and the electric conductivity of the spring water, how the different examined aquifers are characterized by very different measured value trends, according to the characteristics of the aquifer.


Chemistry and Karst, 2015, White, William B.

The processes of initiation and development of characteris­tic surface karst landforms and underground caves are nearly all chemical processes. This paper reviews the advances in understanding of karst chemistry over the past 60 years. The equilibrium chemistry of carbonate and sulfate dissolution and deposition is well established with accurate values for the necessary constants. The equations for bulk kinetics are known well enough for accurate modeling of speleogenetic processes but much is being learned about atomic scale mechanisms. The chemistry of karst waters, expressed as parameters such as total dissolved carbonates, saturation index, and equilibrium carbon dioxide pressure are useful tools for probing the internal char­acteristics of karst aquifers. Continuous records of chemical parameters (chemographs) taken from springs and other karst waters mapped onto discharge hydrographs reveal details of the internal flow system. The chemistry of speleothem deposi­tion is well understood at the level of bulk processes but much has been learned of the surface chemistry on an atomic scale by use of the atomic force microscope. Least well understood is the chemistry of hypogenetic karst. The main chemical reac­tions are known but equilibrium modeling could be improved and reaction kinetics are largely unknown.

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