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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 consolidated rock is rock that has become hard and coherent through compression and lithification [16].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for hydraulic gradient (Keyword) returned 73 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 61 to 73 of 73
Ferruginous thermal spring complexes, northwest Tasmania: evidence that far-field stresses acting on a fracture mesh can open and maintain vertical flow in carbonate terrains, 2011, Davidson Garry J. , Bavea Michael, Harris Kathryn

Far-field stress changes in the southern Australian plate since 5 Ma have produced significant areas of uplift and seismicity. In northwest Tasmania, there is evidence that this stress reorientation to maximum horizontal NW–SE stress has influenced meteoricderived thermal (15–20°C) discharge patterns of confined karstic aquifers, by placing pre-existing NWtrending faults/fractures into a dilated state or a critically stressed state. Previous studies have shown that spring discharge has operated continuously for at least 65,000 years, and has transported large volumes of solutes to the surface to be deposited as mounds of calcite-goethite-silica up to 7 m high. The thermal spring chemistry at one site, Mella, is consistent with descent to at least 1.2–1.5 km, although the hinterland within 50 km is less than 500 m elevation. Thermal spring chemistry is consistent with most of the deep water–rock interaction occurring in low-strontium Smithton Dolomite. While some of this water is discharged at springs, some instead intersects shallow zones of NE-fracture-controlled rock (2×4 km in area) with karstic permeability where, although confined and subject to a NE-directed hydraulic gradient, it circulates and cools to ambient temperature, with only minor mixing with other groundwaters. 

Clastic Sediments in Caves, 2012, Springer, Gregory S.

This article focuses on the natures, origins, and significances of clastic sediments in caves. Clastic sediments are fragments of preexisting rocks that have been transported and redeposited. Streams transport large quantities of clastic sediments through caves, including stream gravels and mud, but clastic sediments also move as gravity flows by slumping and sliding. Sedimentology and stratigraphy offer the means to understand the origins and transport mechanisms behind individual clastic deposits. Together, the two methodologies consider layering within deposits and grain sizes, sorting, mineralogies, and sedimentary structures within individual beds. Facies are recognized where those variables include diagnostic properties tied to particular depositional processes or driving forces. As is shown using examples, stratigraphy and facies analysis make it possible to reconstruct cave or landscape histories, including system responses to disturbances such as climate change and land use. Notably, system responses typically reflect changes in sediment supply, hydraulic gradients, or obstructions. These factors are recorded in passage morphologies, which should always be considered when studying clastic sediments in caves, and examples are cited.

Speleogenesis, Telogenetic, 2012, Gabrovek, Franci

Speleogenesis refers to the processes by which caves are formed. Telogenetic speleogenesis is the formation of caves in compacted, fractured, soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum by circulating meteoric water. The kinetics of the known chemical reactions can be used to construct models that describe cave development as a function of time and the chemical and geological properties of the system. The common cave patterns of branchworks and mazes can be accounted for by hydraulic gradients and recharge rates.

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.

Microsculpturing of solutional rocky landforms., 2013, Lundberg, J.

Karren (small-scale dissolutional features) have a great variety of forms and are known by a huge suite of terms. Bare rock forms are sharper and more gravitomorphic than subcutaneous forms, where rock-fracture control may dominate. Four controls operate: (1) physical properties of the solvent (fluid flow, surface tension, and percolation); (2) chemical properties of the solvent (unmodified rainwater, enhanced aggressivity, and reduced aggressivity); (3) chemical properties of the solute (rock solubility); and (4) physical properties of the solute (fractures and rock texture). Large expanses of bare rock karren are called karren fields, the more famous including China’s ‘Stone Forest’, Madagascar’s ‘Tsingy’, and Mulu’s ‘Pinnacles’. in caves

The vertical dimension of karst: controls of vertical cave pattern, 2013, Audra P. , Palmer A. N.

The vertical development of karst is related to the geomorphic evolution of the surrounding landscape. Cave profiles and levels reflect the local fluvial base level and its changes through time. These cave features tend to be preserved far longer than correlative surface features, which are more susceptible to weathering and erosion. As a result, cave morphology offers abundant clues that are helpful in reconstructing the regional geomorphic history. In the vadose zone, water is drawn downward by gravity along vertical fractures. In the phreatic zone, water follows the hydraulic gradient along the most efficient paths to available outlets in nearby valleys. Phreatic passages tend to have gentler gradients close to the water table, generally with some vertical sinuosity. Responding to irregular recharge rates, fluctuations in the water table define a transition zone, the epiphreatic zone, in which passages develop by floodwater flow. Free-surface flow in the vadose zone and full pipe flow in the phreatic zone produce distinctive passage morphologies. Identification of former vadose–phreatic transition zones makes it possible to reconstruct the position of former water tables that represent past static fluvial base levels. Early conceptual models considered cave origin mainly in relation to its position relative to the water table. Later, analytical and digital models showed that dramatic enlargement occurs when dissolutional enlargement of initial fissures is sufficient to allow rapid dissolution and turbulent flow to take place throughout the entire conduit length. Cave development is favored by the widest initial openings, and less importantly by the steepest hydraulic gradients and shortest flow distances. Consequently, most phreatic cave development takes place at or near the water table, but the presence of relatively wide fractures can lead to phreatic loops. Cave levels record successive base-level positions as valleys deepen. The oldest levels in Mammoth Cave (USA) and Clearwater Cave (Malaysia) have been dated beyond 3.5 Ma. However, when base level rises, the deepest parts of the karst are flooded and the flow follows phreatic lifts. In the epiphreatic zone, floodwater produces looping tubes above the low-flow water table. In these last two situations, high-level passages with large vertical loops are not necessarily the oldest. The juvenile pattern, composed of steep vadose passages, is common when soluble rock is first exposed. In perched aquifers, vadose erosion can produce very large cross sections. In dammed aquifers, the main drain is established at the water table. Irregular recharge causes backflooding, and passages develop throughout the epiphreatic zone, with looping profiles; however, when recharge is fairly regular, the passages develop along the stable water table. Interconnected cave levels correspond to some of the largest cave systems in the world. When base level rises, the karst is flooded; water rises through phreatic lifts and discharges at vauclusian springs. A per ascensum speleogenesis can produce higher-elevation passages that are younger than passages at lower elevations. Base-level rises occur after tectonic subsidence, filling of valleys, or sea-level rise, especially around the Mediterranean in response to the Messinian Salinity Crisis. Deep-phreatic karst, if not hypogenic, can generally be attributed to flooding by a base-level rise. 

Evaluation of permeability and non-Darcy flow in vuggy macroporous limestone aquifer samples with lattice Boltzmann methods, 2013, Sukop M. C. , Huang H. , Alvarez P. F. , Variano E. A. , Cunningham K. J.

Lattice Boltzmann flow simulations provide a physics-based means of estimating intrinsic permeability from pore structure and accounting for inertial flow that leads to departures from Darcy’s law. Simulations were used to compute intrinsic permeability where standard measurement methods may fail and to provide better understanding of departures from Darcy’s law under field conditions. Simulations also investigated resolution issues. Computed tomography (CT) images were acquired at 0.8 mm interscan spacing for seven samples characterized by centimeter-scale biogenic vuggy macroporosity from the extremely transmissive sole-source carbonate karst Biscayne aquifer in southeastern Florida. Samples were as large as 0.3 m in length; 7–9 cm-scale-length subsamples were used for lattice Boltzmann computations. Macroporosity of the subsamples was as high as 81%. Matrix porosity was ignored in the simulations. Non-Darcy behavior led to a twofold reduction in apparent hydraulic conductivity as an applied hydraulic gradient increased to levels observed at regional scale within the Biscayne aquifer; larger reductions are expected under higher gradients near wells and canals. Thus, inertial flows and departures from Darcy’s law may occur under field conditions. Changes in apparent hydraulic conductivity with changes in head gradient computed with the lattice Boltzmann model closely fit the Darcy-Forchheimer equation allowing estimation of the Forchheimer parameter. CT-scan resolution appeared adequate to capture intrinsic permeability; however, departures from Darcy behavior were less detectable as resolution coarsened.



It is commonly stated in the literature that the “breakthrough” point at the transition from slow high-order to fast firstorder dissolution kinetics in limestone occurs at an exit aperture of about one centimetre, and that this coincides with the transition from a wholly laminar flow to a turbulent flow. These relationships are approximately true for a range of conduit geometries in sub-horizontally bedded strata. However, the exit aperture for the onset of turbulence varies with the hydraulic gradient whereas the exit aperture for the onset of first-order kinetics varies with the hydraulic ratio, which is the hydraulic gradient divided by the path length. These transitions only occur at the same exit aperture for planar fissures and cylindrical tubes of lengths 290 m and 452 m. Breakthrough can occur before or after the onset of turbulence. Aperture sizes for breakthrough and turbulence can be over a metre for long and shallow conduits but sub millimetre for short and steep conduits. This paper analyses these relationships for many conduits in natural and artificial conditions and discusses their relevance to the multitude of possible karst situations, where hydraulic ratios can be considered over 17 orders of magnitude.



Paragenesis results in characteristic speleogens that are found in caves developed under most climatic regimes. However, being a result of sediment excess in the karst conveyor system, it is also a characteristic of the glacier ice-contact (i.e. subglacial) regime. In this case, paragenetic galleries and passage half-tubes may be regarded as a continuation of subglacial esker systems. A unique feature of subglacial speleogenesis – and subglacial paragenesis – is topographically reversed flow from englacial hydraulic gradients superimposed onto adjacent karst.



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

Characteristics of channel networks in unconfi ned carbonate aquifers, 2014,

Carbonate aquifers are some of most challenging to characterize because dissolution can greatly enhance permeability, but its effects are often difficult to determine. This study analyzes data from caves, wells, and tracer tests to explore the extent of solution channel networks and the factors that influence their development. The nonlinear dissolution kinetics of calcite, mixing of waters with different CO2 concentrations, and unstable dissolution fronts all promote the development of solution channels, which are widespread in unconfined carbonate aquifers. Fractures are important for guiding channels at a local scale, but hydraulic gradients are the dominant control at a regional scale. Channels provide continuous, large-aperture pathways that result in rapid groundwater flow. Small channels are much more abundant than large channels, and often account for most of the permeability measured in wells. Caves represent the largest channels; they are more common in limestone than in dolostone, and the development of caves rather than smaller channels is also favored where there is sparse fracturing, low matrix porosity, and the presence of sinking stream recharge rather than percolation recharge. Solution channel networks have fractal properties, and their presence explains why carbonate aquifers have higher permeability than aquifers in any other rock type.

Characteristics of channel networks in unconfined carbonate aquifers, 2014, Worthington, Stephen R. H.

Carbonate aquifers are some of most challenging to characterize because dissolution can greatly enhance permeability, but itseffects are often diffi cult to determine. This study analyzes data from caves, wells, and tracer tests to explore the extent of solution channel networks and the factors that infl uence their development. The nonlinear dissolution kinetics of calcite, mixing of waters with different CO2 concentrations, and unstable dissolution fronts all promote the development of solution channels, which are widespread in unconfi ned carbonate aquifers. Fractures are important for guiding channels at a local scale, but hydraulic gradients are the dominant control at a regional scale. Channels provide continuous, large-aperture pathways that result in rapid groundwater fl ow. Small channels are much more abundant than large channels, and often account for most of the permeability measured in wells. Caves represent the largest channels; they are more common in limestone than in dolostone, and the development of caves rather than smaller channels is also favored where there is sparse fracturing, low matrix porosity, and the presence of sinking stream recharge rather than percolation recharge. Solution channel networks have fractal properties, and their presence explains why carbonate aquifers have higher permeability than aquifers in any other rock type

Evaluating temporal changes in hydraulic conductivities near karst-terrain dams: Dokan Dam (Kurdistan-Iraq) , 2015, Dafny Elad, Tawfeeq Kochar Jamal, Ghabraie Kazem

Dam sites provide an outstanding opportunity to explore dynamic changes in the groundwater flow regime because of the high hydraulic gradient rapidly induced in their surroundings. This paper investigates the temporal changes of the hydraulic conductivities of the rocks and engineered structures via a thorough analysis of hydrological data collected at the Dokam Dam, Iraq, and a numerical model that simulates the Darcian component of the seepage. Analysis of the data indicates increased seepage with time and suggests that the hydraulic conductivity of the rocks increased as the conductivity of the grout curtain decreased. Conductivity changes on the order of 10−8 m/s, in a 20-yr period were quantified using the numerical analysis. It is postulated that the changes in hydraulic properties in the vicinity of Dokan Dam are due to suspension of fine materials, interbedded in small fissures in the rocks, and re-settlement of these materials along the curtain. Consequently, the importance of the grout curtain to minimize the downstream seepage, not only as a result of the conductivity contrast with the rocks, but also as a barrier to suspended clay sediments, is demonstrated. The numerical analysis also helped us to estimate the proportion of the disconnected karstic conduit flow to the overall flow.

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