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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 cave is 1. 'a natural home in the ground, large enough for human entry' is probably the most useful definition. this covers the enormous variety of caves that do occur but eliminates the many artificial tunnels and galleries incorrectly named caves. the size criterion is arbitrary and subjective, but practical, as it eliminates narrow openings irrelevant to explorers but very significant hydrologically, that may be better referred to as proto-caves, sub-conduits or fissures. a cave may be a single, short length of accessible passage, or an extensive and complex network of tunnels as long as the hundreds of kilometers in the flint mammoth cave system. most caves are formed by dissolution in limestone but sandstone caves, lava caves, glacier caves and tectonic caves also occur. marginal candidates for use of the name cave include riverbank undercuts and rock shelters of various origins. in some countries a cave is regarded as being a horizontal opening, as opposed to a pothole, which is a vertical opening. this usage is common in england but is not ubiquitous [9]. 2. a natural opening formed in the rocks below the surface of the ground large enough for a man to enter. it may consist of a single connected opening or a series of small or large chambers connected by galleries [20]. 3. a similar artificial opening [10]. related to cavern. synonyms: (french.) grotte, caverne; (german.) hohle, grotte; (greek.) speleon; (italian.) caverna, grotta; (russian.) pescera; (spanish.) cueva; (turkish.) magara; (yugoslavian.) pecina. pec, pestera, spilja, zijjalka, jama. see also active cave; bedding cave; cave system; grotto; sea cave.?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
See all featured articles
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 mature (Keyword) returned 71 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 61 to 71 of 71
Ecological studies of an epikarst community in Snena jama na planini Arto an ice cave in north central Slovenia , 2011, Papi Federica, Pipan Tanja
Epikarst biodiversity in relation to environmental conditions was studied for the first time in an ice cave, Snena jama na planini Arto on Mt. Raduha in north central Slovenia. In this alpine cave five sampling sites were monitored for fauna in percolation water in the period of one year. Temperature, conductivity, discharge, pH, total hardness and concentrations of various ions (calcium, chloride, nitrite, sulphate and phosphate) of water were measured. At the entrance of the cave ice is present all year round and the temperature inside the cave rises to a maximum of 4°C. These circumstances are reflected in the fauna found in percolating water. The first sampling site in the permanent ice was without fauna, as did the sampling site in an area with moonmilk. In the other three sampling sites, individuals of ten invertebrate taxa were found, Copepoda being the most abundant. Their abundance was positively correlated with discharge, pH and temperature of percolation water and additionally in the most abundant drip also with conductivity and total hardness. High proportion of immature copepods in drips shows that epikarst is their primary (i.e. source) habitat. Investigations of the alpine epikarst fauna can help to understand better the ecology of the epikarst fauna and its roles within the large range of different shallow subterranean habitats.

Giant pockmarks in a carbonate platform (Maldives, Indian Ocean), 2011, Betzler C. , Lindhorst S. , Hubscher C. , Ludmann T. , Furstenau J. , Reijmer J.

Circular structures and depressions in carbonate platforms are known to represent karst chimneys or sinkholes which form as a response to rock solution. This formation mechanism is plausible for shallow-water carbonates which lie in the reach of meteoric diagenesis or fresh-water lenses. Circular structures which occur in deeper waters, however, need an alternative interpretation. Such an example of sea-floor depressions in more than 300. m deep waters occurs in the Inner Sea of the Maldives carbonate platform in the Indian Ocean. The structures were mapped with multibeam and Parasound, multi-channel seismics were used to link the depressions with structures at depth. The circular depressions have diameters of up to 3000. m and depths of up to 180. m. The craters are interpreted as pockmarks formed through the venting of gas and fluids. Gas and fluid lenses below the pockmarks are reflected by bright spots in the seismic sections as well as a reduction of the instantaneous frequency. These areas at depth are linked to chimneys connected to faults and drowned Oligocene carbonate banks. A model is presented that relates the different forms and sizes of the structures to distinct development stages of sea floor deformation to one process. Early stages of gas and fluid migration into the shallow part of the sedimentary succession induce formation of dome-shaped bodies. Initial gas and fluid escape to the sea floor is reflected by the formation of sand volcanoes and aligned small pockmarks. Active pockmarks are the deepest, and have the shape of truncated cones in cross section. Mature pockmarks are characterized by erosion of the flanks of the structure by bottom currents. Late stage pockmarks are bowl-shaped in cross section, and are to different degrees filled by drift sediments. Packages of strata revealing high reflection amplitudes and high interval velocities interpreted as microbially-mediated carbonate precipitates underlie some of the pockmarks. The pockmarks in the Maldives show that circular structures other than solution-related features can be abundant in carbonate platform deposits and that such structures may be more abundant in the geological record of carbonate platforms as previously thought. Pockmarks in the Maldives indicate that the archipelago is an example of a hydrocarbon system which consists of an isolated oceanic carbonate platform overlying a volcanic basement and lacustrine source rocks.


Paleokarst Breccia-Pipe Reservoir Analogue, Carboniferous, Svalbard, 2011, Wheeler Walter, Tveranger Jan, Lauritzen Steinerik, Heincke Björn, Rossi Guiliana, Allroggen Niklas, Buckley Simon

Upwards-propagating collapse pipes typically form sinkholes where they meet the land surface. Renewed dissolution of breccia in ancient pipes can have a similar effect. For these cases, probability-based models of sinkhole hazard are closely related to the expected mature architecture of the collapse-pipe field. We present a case study of the architecture of a square-kilometre field of collapse-pipes from the Carboniferous-Permian in which the pipes are documented in outcrop and using shallow geophysical methods.

The study site is located on the Wordiekammen plateau in the Carboniferous Billefjorden half-graben basin on Spitsbergen. Cliffs bounding the plateau expose breccia pipes cutting a gently-dipping 200-m-thick series of platform carbonates, in turn underlain by stratiform breccias and residual pods of gypsum. Many of the breccia pipes are tall (>250 m) and postdate several shallow karstification episodes. Most pipes are inferred not to have reached the surface based on a lack of terrigenous material and fluvial structure, although several pipes show indications of such surface communication. Although the pipes are generally attributed to gypsum dissolution, a deep carbonate karstification event is inferred based on high temperature calcite cement, and burial dehydration of gypsum, may also have contributed to void formation.

On the plateau top the collapse pipes are obscured by thick scree, thus km-scale size and spacing data for the pipes and faults was collected by mapping the bedrock with 2D ground-penetrating radar (GPR). GPR profiles were acquired on a grid with 25-meter line spacing, using 50 MHz antennas and achieving 30-40 m penetration. Breccia bodies were identified by steep-sided zones of complex diffraction patterns interrupting bedding-related continuous reflections. Two pipes were further studied in 3D using high-resolution GPR, tomographic seismic and geo-electric. These geophysical data were merged into a comprehensive 3D framework including helicopter-borne lidar and photo scans of the plateau rim geology, thus allowing an integrated visualization and interpretation of the different datasets. The GPR data show the breccia pipes to be slightly oblate with diameters ranging from 20 to over 100 m; 60 meters is a typical value. Approximately 10 pipes are identified in cliff-side outcrops bordering the GPR area, whereas 30 more are identified within the plateau by the GPR data. The GPR volume lies about 200 m above the pipe base, hence the pipe-length frequency-distribution data are incomplete. The strata are cut by small-offset (<5m) faults related to collapse processes and larger-offset faults related to regional basin extension. The breccia pipe field appears to be delimited by these more regional faults, in turn inferred to control the thickness of syn-rift gypsum and/or the hydrology of its dissolution. Collapse breccia pipes form strong vertical heterogeneities in rock properties such as porosity and permeability, matrix density, cement, mechanical strength and lithology, affecting fluid-flow characteristics on a meter to hundred-meter scale. It is rare that pipe fields are well exposed at the kilometre scale. Although some scaling data can be obtained from 3D oil-industry seismic reflection data but the resolution insufficient to visualize critical details. The outcrop combination of seismic, electric and geologic techniques facilitates the interpretation of 3D facies architectures and by proxy porosity-permeability relationships. Studies at the km scale are fundamental for understanding basic karst and collapse processes, and yield petrophysical models that can be applied predictively to natural hazards and groundwater or hydrocarbon exploitation in paleokarst settings.


Characterizing moldic and vuggy pore space in karst aquifers using borehole-wall, slabbed-core and thin-section images, 2013, Manda A. K. , Culpepper A. R.

Carbonate aquifers are prolific and important sources of potable water in many parts of the world owing toenlarged dissolution features that enhance porosity and interconnectivity. To better understand the variationsof pore space in different karst aquifers, image and geospatial analyses are used to analyze pore attributes(i.e., pore area and perimeter) in images of vuggy aquifers. Pore geometry and 2D porosity derivedfrom images of the moldic Castle Hayne and vuggy Biscayne aquifers are analyzed at three scales of observation:borehole televiewer, core and thin-section. The Castle Hayne and Biscayne aquifers are the foci of thisstudy because the pore spaces that control the hydrologic properties in each of these aquifers are markedlydifferent even though both of these carbonate reservoirs are prolific aquifers. Assessments of pore area,perimeter and shape index (a measure of shape complexity) indicate that pore geometries and pore complexitiesvary as a function pore type and scale of observation. For each aquifer type, the areas, perimetersand complexities of pores are higher at the larger scale of observation (e.g., borehole) than the smallerscale of observation (e.g., thin section). When the complexity of the moldic pores is compared to the complexityof vuggy pores, the results indicate that moldic pores are generally more complex than vuggy poresat the same scale of observation. Whereas estimates of 2D porosity from the borehole televiewer image ofthe vuggy aquifer are higher than those derived from the moldic aquifer, the range of 2D porosities is largerin core and thin section images for the vuggy aquifer than themoldic aquifer. A model for the development ofpores is presented that suggests that the coalescence of small pores with simple shapes leads to the growth oflarger pores with more complex shapes. The model suggests that the younger Biscayne aquifer is a moremature karst than the Castle Hayne aquifer.


Hydrogeological approach to distinguishing hypogene speleogenesis settings, 2013, Klimchouk, A. B.

The hydrogeological approach to defining hypogene speleogenesis (HS) relates it to ascending groundwater flow (AF). HS develops where AF causes local disequilibria conditions favoring dissolution and supports them during sufficiently long time in course of the geodynamic and hydrogeological evolution. The disequilibrium conditions at depth are invoked by changing physical-chemical parameters along an AF paths, or/and by the interaction between circulation systems of different scales and hydrody-namic regimes. The association of HS with AF suggests a possibility to discern regulari-ties of development and distribution of HS from the perspectives of the regional hy-drogeological analysis. In mature artesian basins of the cratonic type, settings favorable for AF and HS, are as follows: 1) marginal areas of discharge of the groundwaters of the 2nd hydrogeological story (H-story), 2) zones of topography-controlled upward cir-culation within the internal basin area (at the 1st and, in places, at the 2nd H-stories; 3) crests of anticlinal folds or uplifted tectonic blocs within the internal basin area where the upper regional aquitard is thinned or partially breached; 4) linear-local zones of deep-rooted cross-formational faults conducting AF from internal deep sources across the upper H-stories. Hydrodynamics in the 3rd and 4th stories is dominated by ascending circulation strongly controlled by cross-formational tectonic structures. Specific circula-tion pattern develops in large Cenozoic carbonate platforms (the Florida-type), side-open to the ocean, where AF across stratified sequences in the coastal parts, driven by both topography-induced head gradients and density gradients, involves mixing with the seawater. The latter can be drawn into a platform at deep levels and rise in the plat-form interior (the Kohout’s scheme). In folded regions, AF and HS are tightly con-trolled by faults, especially those at junctions between large tectonic structures. In young intramontaine basins with dominating geostatic regime, HS is favored at margin-al discharge areas where circulation systems of different origins and regimes may inter-act, such as meteoric waters flows from adjacent uplifted massifs, basinal fluids expelled from the basin’s interiors, and endogenous fluids rising along deep-rooted faults. Spe-cific and very favorable settings for HS are found in regions of young volcanism with carbonate formations in a sedimentary cover


Characterisation and modelling of conduit restricted karst aquifers – Example of the Auja spring, Jordan Valley, 2014, Schmidta Sebastian, Geyera Tobias, Guttmanb Joseph, Mareic Amer, Riesd Fabian, Sauter Martin

The conduit system of mature karstified carbonate aquifers is typically characterised by a high hydraulic conductivity and does not impose a major flow constriction on catchment discharge. As a result, discharge at karst springs is usually flashy and displays pronounced peaks following recharge events. In contrast, some karst springs reported in literature display a discharge maximum, attributed to reaching the finite discharge capacity of the conduit system (flow threshold). This phenomenon also often leads to a non-standard recession behaviour, a so called “convex recession”, i.e. an increase in the recession coefficient during flow recession, which in turn might be used as an indicator for conduit restricted aquifers. The main objective of the study is the characterisation and modelling of those hydrogeologically challenging aquifers. The applied approach consists of a combination of hydrometric monitoring, a spring hydrograph recession and event analysis, as well as the setup and calibration of a non-linear reservoir model. It is demonstrated for the Auja spring, the largest freshwater spring in the Lower Jordan Valley. The semi-arid environment with its short but intensive precipitation events and an extended dry season leads to sharp input signals and undisturbed recession periods. The spring displays complex recession behaviour, exhibiting exponential (coefficient α) and linear (coefficient β) recession periods. Numerous different recession coefficients α were observed: ∼0.2 to 0.8 d−1 (presumably main conduit system), 0.004 d−1 (fractured matrix), 0.0009 d−1 (plateau caused by flow threshold being exceeded), plus many intermediate values. The reasons for this observed behaviour are the outflow threshold at 0.47 m3 s−1 and a variable conduit–matrix cross-flow in the aquifer. Despite system complexity, and hence the necessity of incorporating features such as a flow threshold, conduit–matrix cross-flow, and a spatially variable soil/epikarst field capacity, the developed reservoir model is regarded as relatively simplistic. As a number of required parameters were calculated from the hydrogeological analysis of the system, it requires only six calibration parameters and performs well for the highly variable flow conditions observed. Calculated groundwater recharge in this semi-arid environment displays high interannual variability. For example, during the 45-year simulation period, only five wet winter seasons account for 33% of the total cumulative groundwater recharge.


Karstification of Dolomitic Hills at south of Coimbra (western-central Portugal) - Depositional facies and stratigraphic controls of the (palaeo)karst affecting the Coimbra Group (Lower Jurassic), 2014, Dimuccio, Luca Antonio

An evolutionary model is proposed to explain the spatio-temporal distribution of karstification affecting the Lower Jurassic shallow-marine carbonate succession (Coimbra Group) of the Lusitanian Basin, cropping out in the Coimbra-Penela region (western-central Portugal), in a specific morphostructural setting (Dolomitic Hills). Indeed, in the Coimbra Group, despite the local lateral and vertical distributions of dolomitic character and the presence of few thick sandy-argillaceous/shale and marly interbeds, some (meso)karstification was identified, including several microkarstification features. All types of karst forms are commonly filled by autochthonous and/or allochthonous post-Jurassic siliciclastics, implying a palaeokarstic nature.

The main aim of this work is to infer the interplay between depositional facies, diagenesis, syn- and postdepositional discontinuities and the spatio-temporal distribution of palaeokarst. Here, the palaeokarst concept is not limited to the definition of a landform and/or possibly to an associated deposit (both resulting from one or more processes/mechanisms), but is considered as part of the local and regional geological record.

Detailed field information from 21 stratigraphic sections (among several dozens of other observations) and from structural-geology and geomorphological surveys, was mapped and recorded on graphic logs showing the lithological succession, including sedimentological, palaeontological and structural data. Facies determination was based on field observations of textures and sedimentary structures and laboratory petrographic analysis of thin-sections. The karst and palaeokarst forms (both superficial and underground) were classified and judged on the basis of present-day geographic location, morphology, associated discontinuities, stratigraphic position and degree of burial by post-Jurassic siliciclastics that allowed to distinguish a exposed karst (denuded or completely exhumed) than a palaeokarst (covered or partially buried).

A formal lithostratigrafic framework was proposed for the local ca. 110-m-thick combined successions of Coimbra Group, ranging in age from the early Sinemurian to the early Pliensbachian and recorded in two distinct subunits: the Coimbra formation, essentially dolomitic; and the overlying S. Miguel formation, essentially dolomitic-limestone and marly-limestone.

The 15 identified facies were subsequently grouped into 4 genetically related facies associations indicative of sedimentation within supra/intertidal, shallow partially restricted subtidal-lagoonal, shoal and more open-marine (sub)environments - in the context of depositional systems of a tidal flat and a very shallow, inner part of a low-gradient, carbonate ramp. In some cases, thick bedded breccia bodies (tempestites/sismites) are associated to synsedimentary deformation structures (slumps, sliding to the W to NW), showing the important activity of N–S and NNE–SSW faults, during the Sinemurian. All these deposits are arranged into metre-scale, mostly shallowing-upward cycles, in some cases truncated by subaerial exposure events. However, no evidence of mature pedogenetic alteration, or the development of distinct soil horizons, was observed. These facts reflect very short-term subaerial exposure intervals (intermittent/ephemeral), in a semiarid palaeoclimatic setting but with an increase in the humidity conditions during the eogenetic stage of the Coimbra Group, which may have promoted the development of micropalaeokarstic dissolution (eogenetic karst).

Two types of dolomitization are recognized: one (a) syndepositional (or early diagenetic), massive-stratiform, of “penesaline type”, possibly resulting from refluxing brines (shallow-subtidal), with a primary dolomite related to the evaporation of seawater, under semiarid conditions (supra/intertidal) and the concurrent action of microbial activity; another (b) later, localized, common during diagenesis (sometimes with dedolomitization), particularly where fluids followed discontinuities such as joints, faults, bedding planes and, in some cases, pre-existing palaeokarstic features.

The very specific stratigraphic position of the (palaeo)karst features is understood as a consequence of high facies/microfacies heterogeneities and contrasts in porosity (both depositional and its early diagenetic modifications), providing efficient hydraulic circulation through the development of meso- and macropermeability contributed by syn- and postdepositional discontinuities such as bedding planes, joints and faults. These hydraulic connections significantly influenced and controlled the earliest karst-forming processes (inception), as well as the degree of subsequent karstification during the mesogenetic/telogenetic stages of the Coimbra Group. Multiple and complex karstification (polyphase and polygenic) were recognized, including 8 main phases, to local scale, integrated in 4 periods, to regional scale: Jurassic, Lower Cretaceous, pre-Pliocene and Pliocene-Quaternary. Each phase of karstification comprise a specific type of (palaeo)karst (eogenetic, subjacent, denuded, mantled-buried and exhumed).

Finally, geological, geomorphological and hydrogeological characteristics allowed to describe the local aquifer. The elaborated map of intrinsic vulnerability shows a karst/fissured and partially buried aquifer (palaeokarst) with high to very high susceptibility to the contamination.


Research frontiers in speleogenesis. Dominant processes, hydrogeological conditions and resulting cave patterns, 2015,

Speleogenesis is the development of well-organized cave systems by fluids moving through fissures of a soluble rock. Epigenic caves induced by biogenic CO2 soil production are dominant, whereas hypogenic caves resulting from uprising deep flow not directly connected to adjacent recharge areas appear to be more frequent than previously considered. The conceptual models of epigenic cave development moved from early models, through the “four-states model” involving fracture influence to explain deep loops, to the digital models demonstrating the adjustment of the main flow to the water table. The relationships with base level are complex and cave levels must be determined from the elevation of the vadose-phreatic transitions. Since flooding in the epiphreatic zone may be important, the top of the loops in the epiphreatic zone can be found significantly high above the base level. The term Paragenesis is used to describe the upward development of conduits as their lower parts fill with sediments. This process often records a general baselevel rise. Sediment influx is responsible for the regulation of long profiles by paragenesis and contributes to the evolution of profiles from looping to water table caves. Dating methods allow identification of the timing of cave level evolution. The term Ghost-rock karstification is used to describe a 2-phase process of speleogenesis, with a first phase of partial solution of rock along fractures in low gradient conditions leaving a porous matrix, the ghost-rock, then a second phase of mechanical removing of the ghost-rock mainly by turbulent flow in high gradient conditions opening the passages and forming maze caves. The first weathering phase can be related either to epigenic infiltration or to hypogenic upflow, especially in marginal areas of sedimentary basins. The vertical pattern of epigenic caves is mainly controlled by timing, geological structure, types of flow and base-level changes. We define several cave types as (1) juvenile, where they are perched above underlying aquicludes; (2) looping, where recharge varies greatly with time, to produce epiphreatic loops; (3) water-table caves where flow is regulated by a semi-pervious cover; and (4) caves in the equilibrium stage where flow is transmitted without significant flooding. Successive base-level drops caused by valley entrenchment make cave levels, whereas baselevel rise is defined in the frame of the Per ascensum Model of Speleogenesis (PAMS), where deep passages are flooded and drain through vauclusian springs. The PAMS can be active after any type of baselevel rise (transgression, fluvial aggradation, tectonic subsidence) and explains most of the deep phreatic cave systems except for hypogenic.

The term Hypogenic speleogenesis is used to describe cave development by deep upflow independent of adjacent recharge areas. Due to its deep origin, water frequently has a high CO2-H2S concentration and a thermal anomaly, but not systemati­cally. Numerous dissolution processes can be involved in hypogenic speleogenesis, which often include deep-seated acidic sources of CO2 and H2S, “hydrothermal” cooling, mixing corrosion, Sulfuric Acid Speleogenesis (SAS), etc. SAS particularly involves the condensation-corrosion processes, resulting in the fast expansion of caves above the water table, i.e. in an atmo­spheric environment. The hydrogeological setting of hypogenic speleogenesis is based on the Regional Gravity Flow concept, which shows at the basin scales the sites of convergences and upflows where dissolution focuses. Each part of a basin (mar­ginal, internal, deep zone) has specific conditions. The coastal basin is a sub-type. In deformed strata, flow is more complex according to the geological structure. However, upflow and hypogenic speleogenesis concentrate in structural highs (buried anticlines) and zones of major disruption (faults, overthrusts). In disrupted basins, the geothermal gradient “pumps” the me­teoric water at depth, making loops of different depths and characteristics. Volcanism and magmatism also produce deep hypogenic loops with “hyperkarst” characteristics due to a combination of deep-seated CO2, H2S, thermalism, and microbial activity. In phreatic conditions, the resulting cave patterns

can include geodes, 2–3D caves, and giant ascending shafts. Along the water table, SAS with thermal air convection induces powerful condensation-corrosion and the development of upwardly dendritic caves, isolated chambers, water table sulfuricacid caves. In the vadose zone, “smoking” shafts evolve under the influence of geothermal gradients producing air convectionand condensation-corrosion.

Likely future directions for research will probably involve analytical and modeling methods, especially using isotopes, dating, chemical simulations, and field investigations focused on the relationships between processes and resulting morphologies.


Research frontiers in speleogenesis. Dominant processes, hydrogeological conditions and resulting cave patterns, 2015,

Speleogenesis is the development of well-organized cave systems by fluids moving through fissures of a soluble rock. Epigenic caves induced by biogenic CO2 soil production are dominant, whereas hypogenic caves resulting from uprising deep flow not directly connected to adjacent recharge areas appear to be more frequent than previously considered. The conceptual models of epigenic cave development moved from early models, through the “four-states model” involving fracture influence to explain deep loops, to the digital models demonstrating the adjustment of the main flow to the water table. The relationships with base level are complex and cave levels must be determined from the elevation of the vadose-phreatic transitions. Since flooding in the epiphreatic zone may be important, the top of the loops in the epiphreatic zone can be found significantly high above the base level. The term Paragenesis is used to describe the upward development of conduits as their lower parts fill with sediments. This process often records a general baselevel rise. Sediment influx is responsible for the regulation of long profiles by paragenesis and contributes to the evolution of profiles from looping to water table caves. Dating methods allow identification of the timing of cave level evolution. The term Ghost-rock karstification is used to describe a 2-phase process of speleogenesis, with a first phase of partial solution of rock along fractures in low gradient conditions leaving a porous matrix, the ghost-rock, then a second phase of mechanical removing of the ghost-rock mainly by turbulent flow in high gradient conditions opening the passages and forming maze caves. The first weathering phase can be related either to epigenic infiltration or to hypogenic upflow, especially in marginal areas of sedimentary basins. The vertical pattern of epigenic caves is mainly controlled by timing, geological structure, types of flow and base-level changes. We define several cave types as (1) juvenile, where they are perched above underlying aquicludes; (2) looping, where recharge varies greatly with time, to produce epiphreatic loops; (3) water-table caves where flow is regulated by a semi-pervious cover; and (4) caves in the equilibrium stage where flow is transmitted without significant flooding. Successive base-level drops caused by valley entrenchment make cave levels, whereas baselevel rise is defined in the frame of the Per ascensum Model of Speleogenesis (PAMS), where deep passages are flooded and drain through vauclusian springs. The PAMS can be active after any type of baselevel rise (transgression, fluvial aggradation, tectonic subsidence) and explains most of the deep phreatic cave systems except for hypogenic.

The term Hypogenic speleogenesis is used to describe cave development by deep upflow independent of adjacent recharge areas. Due to its deep origin, water frequently has a high CO2-H2S concentration and a thermal anomaly, but not systemati­cally. Numerous dissolution processes can be involved in hypogenic speleogenesis, which often include deep-seated acidic sources of CO2 and H2S, “hydrothermal” cooling, mixing corrosion, Sulfuric Acid Speleogenesis (SAS), etc. SAS particularly involves the condensation-corrosion processes, resulting in the fast expansion of caves above the water table, i.e. in an atmo­spheric environment. The hydrogeological setting of hypogenic speleogenesis is based on the Regional Gravity Flow concept, which shows at the basin scales the sites of convergences and upflows where dissolution focuses. Each part of a basin (mar­ginal, internal, deep zone) has specific conditions. The coastal basin is a sub-type. In deformed strata, flow is more complex according to the geological structure. However, upflow and hypogenic speleogenesis concentrate in structural highs (buried anticlines) and zones of major disruption (faults, overthrusts). In disrupted basins, the geothermal gradient “pumps” the me­teoric water at depth, making loops of different depths and characteristics. Volcanism and magmatism also produce deep hypogenic loops with “hyperkarst” characteristics due to a combination of deep-seated CO2, H2S, thermalism, and microbial activity. In phreatic conditions, the resulting cave patterns

can include geodes, 2–3D caves, and giant ascending shafts. Along the water table, SAS with thermal air convection induces powerful condensation-corrosion and the development of upwardly dendritic caves, isolated chambers, water table sulfuricacid caves. In the vadose zone, “smoking” shafts evolve under the influence of geothermal gradients producing air convectionand condensation-corrosion.

Likely future directions for research will probably involve analytical and modeling methods, especially using isotopes, dating, chemical simulations, and field investigations focused on the relationships between processes and resulting morphologies.


Research frontiers in speleogenesis. Dominant processes, hydrogeological conditions and resulting cave patterns, 2015,

Speleogenesis is the development of well-organized cave systems by fluids moving through fissures of a soluble rock. Epigenic caves induced by biogenic CO2 soil production are dominant, whereas hypogenic caves resulting from uprising deep flow not directly connected to adjacent recharge areas appear to be more frequent than previously considered. The conceptual models of epigenic cave development moved from early models, through the “four-states model” involving fracture influence to explain deep loops, to the digital models demonstrating the adjustment of the main flow to the water table. The relationships with base level are complex and cave levels must be determined from the elevation of the vadose-phreatic transitions. Since flooding in the epiphreatic zone may be important, the top of the loops in the epiphreatic zone can be found significantly high above the base level. The term Paragenesis is used to describe the upward development of conduits as their lower parts fill with sediments. This process often records a general baselevel rise. Sediment influx is responsible for the regulation of long profiles by paragenesis and contributes to the evolution of profiles from looping to water table caves. Dating methods allow identification of the timing of cave level evolution. The term Ghost-rock karstification is used to describe a 2-phase process of speleogenesis, with a first phase of partial solution of rock along fractures in low gradient conditions leaving a porous matrix, the ghost-rock, then a second phase of mechanical removing of the ghost-rock mainly by turbulent flow in high gradient conditions opening the passages and forming maze caves. The first weathering phase can be related either to epigenic infiltration or to hypogenic upflow, especially in marginal areas of sedimentary basins. The vertical pattern of epigenic caves is mainly controlled by timing, geological structure, types of flow and base-level changes. We define several cave types as (1) juvenile, where they are perched above underlying aquicludes; (2) looping, where recharge varies greatly with time, to produce epiphreatic loops; (3) water-table caves where flow is regulated by a semi-pervious cover; and (4) caves in the equilibrium stage where flow is transmitted without significant flooding. Successive base-level drops caused by valley entrenchment make cave levels, whereas baselevel rise is defined in the frame of the Per ascensum Model of Speleogenesis (PAMS), where deep passages are flooded and drain through vauclusian springs. The PAMS can be active after any type of baselevel rise (transgression, fluvial aggradation, tectonic subsidence) and explains most of the deep phreatic cave systems except for hypogenic.

The term Hypogenic speleogenesis is used to describe cave development by deep upflow independent of adjacent recharge areas. Due to its deep origin, water frequently has a high CO2-H2S concentration and a thermal anomaly, but not systemati­cally. Numerous dissolution processes can be involved in hypogenic speleogenesis, which often include deep-seated acidic sources of CO2 and H2S, “hydrothermal” cooling, mixing corrosion, Sulfuric Acid Speleogenesis (SAS), etc. SAS particularly involves the condensation-corrosion processes, resulting in the fast expansion of caves above the water table, i.e. in an atmo­spheric environment. The hydrogeological setting of hypogenic speleogenesis is based on the Regional Gravity Flow concept, which shows at the basin scales the sites of convergences and upflows where dissolution focuses. Each part of a basin (mar­ginal, internal, deep zone) has specific conditions. The coastal basin is a sub-type. In deformed strata, flow is more complex according to the geological structure. However, upflow and hypogenic speleogenesis concentrate in structural highs (buried anticlines) and zones of major disruption (faults, overthrusts). In disrupted basins, the geothermal gradient “pumps” the me­teoric water at depth, making loops of different depths and characteristics. Volcanism and magmatism also produce deep hypogenic loops with “hyperkarst” characteristics due to a combination of deep-seated CO2, H2S, thermalism, and microbial activity. In phreatic conditions, the resulting cave patterns

can include geodes, 2–3D caves, and giant ascending shafts. Along the water table, SAS with thermal air convection induces powerful condensation-corrosion and the development of upwardly dendritic caves, isolated chambers, water table sulfuricacid caves. In the vadose zone, “smoking” shafts evolve under the influence of geothermal gradients producing air convectionand condensation-corrosion.

Likely future directions for research will probably involve analytical and modeling methods, especially using isotopes, dating, chemical simulations, and field investigations focused on the relationships between processes and resulting morphologies.


Research frontiers in speleogenesis. Dominant processes, hydrogeological conditions and resulting cave patterns, 2015,

Speleogenesis is the development of well-organized cave systems by fluids moving through fissures of a soluble rock. Epigenic caves induced by biogenic CO2 soil production are dominant, whereas hypogenic caves resulting from uprising deep flow not directly connected to adjacent recharge areas appear to be more frequent than previously considered. The conceptual models of epigenic cave development moved from early models, through the “four-states model” involving fracture influence to explain deep loops, to the digital models demonstrating the adjustment of the main flow to the water table. The relationships with base level are complex and cave levels must be determined from the elevation of the vadose-phreatic transitions. Since flooding in the epiphreatic zone may be important, the top of the loops in the epiphreatic zone can be found significantly high above the base level. The term Paragenesis is used to describe the upward development of conduits as their lower parts fill with sediments. This process often records a general baselevel rise. Sediment influx is responsible for the regulation of long profiles by paragenesis and contributes to the evolution of profiles from looping to water table caves. Dating methods allow identification of the timing of cave level evolution. The term Ghost-rock karstification is used to describe a 2-phase process of speleogenesis, with a first phase of partial solution of rock along fractures in low gradient conditions leaving a porous matrix, the ghost-rock, then a second phase of mechanical removing of the ghost-rock mainly by turbulent flow in high gradient conditions opening the passages and forming maze caves. The first weathering phase can be related either to epigenic infiltration or to hypogenic upflow, especially in marginal areas of sedimentary basins. The vertical pattern of epigenic caves is mainly controlled by timing, geological structure, types of flow and base-level changes. We define several cave types as (1) juvenile, where they are perched above underlying aquicludes; (2) looping, where recharge varies greatly with time, to produce epiphreatic loops; (3) water-table caves where flow is regulated by a semi-pervious cover; and (4) caves in the equilibrium stage where flow is transmitted without significant flooding. Successive base-level drops caused by valley entrenchment make cave levels, whereas baselevel rise is defined in the frame of the Per ascensum Model of Speleogenesis (PAMS), where deep passages are flooded and drain through vauclusian springs. The PAMS can be active after any type of baselevel rise (transgression, fluvial aggradation, tectonic subsidence) and explains most of the deep phreatic cave systems except for hypogenic.

The term Hypogenic speleogenesis is used to describe cave development by deep upflow independent of adjacent recharge areas. Due to its deep origin, water frequently has a high CO2-H2S concentration and a thermal anomaly, but not systemati­cally. Numerous dissolution processes can be involved in hypogenic speleogenesis, which often include deep-seated acidic sources of CO2 and H2S, “hydrothermal” cooling, mixing corrosion, Sulfuric Acid Speleogenesis (SAS), etc. SAS particularly involves the condensation-corrosion processes, resulting in the fast expansion of caves above the water table, i.e. in an atmo­spheric environment. The hydrogeological setting of hypogenic speleogenesis is based on the Regional Gravity Flow concept, which shows at the basin scales the sites of convergences and upflows where dissolution focuses. Each part of a basin (mar­ginal, internal, deep zone) has specific conditions. The coastal basin is a sub-type. In deformed strata, flow is more complex according to the geological structure. However, upflow and hypogenic speleogenesis concentrate in structural highs (buried anticlines) and zones of major disruption (faults, overthrusts). In disrupted basins, the geothermal gradient “pumps” the me­teoric water at depth, making loops of different depths and characteristics. Volcanism and magmatism also produce deep hypogenic loops with “hyperkarst” characteristics due to a combination of deep-seated CO2, H2S, thermalism, and microbial activity. In phreatic conditions, the resulting cave patterns

can include geodes, 2–3D caves, and giant ascending shafts. Along the water table, SAS with thermal air convection induces powerful condensation-corrosion and the development of upwardly dendritic caves, isolated chambers, water table sulfuricacid caves. In the vadose zone, “smoking” shafts evolve under the influence of geothermal gradients producing air convectionand condensation-corrosion.

Likely future directions for research will probably involve analytical and modeling methods, especially using isotopes, dating, chemical simulations, and field investigations focused on the relationships between processes and resulting morphologies.


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