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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 aguada is (spanish for watering place.) in yucatan, shallow depression generally covering several hectares used for water supply [10].?

Checkout all 2699 terms in the KarstBase Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms

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KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for risk (Keyword) returned 118 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 106 to 118 of 118
Mycological study for a management plan of a neotropical show cave (Brazil)., 2013, Taylor E. L. S, Resendestoianoff M. A. A, Lopes Ferreira R.

Caves are stable environments with characteristics favoring the development of microorganisms. The allocthonous input of organic matter and microbes into the warm Neotropical caves may favor the development of filamentous fungi, including pathogenic species. Histoplasma capsulatum is a pathogenic species commonly found in caves and associated with bat and bird guano. Many Brazilian caves have been historically visited due to scenic and religious tourism. The objective of this study was to perform a microbiology study for a management plan of a show cave in Brazil, focusing on the presence and distribution of pathogenic and opportunistic fungi in the cave. Statistic analysis was used to verify the influence of touristic activity on airborne fungi spore load. Fungi were isolated from air and guano in Lapa Nova Cave. Samples were obtained through serial dilution, direct and settle plate techniques. For H. capsulatum, samples were incubated in specific media and conditions. Airborne fungal spore load was compared prior and during visitation and statistically analyzed. A total of 2,575 isolates from the genera Aspergillus, Calcarisporium, Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Curvularia, Emericella, Eurotium, Fusarium, Geotrichum, Gliocladium, Mucor, Purpureocillium, Paecilomyces, Penicillium, Rhizopus and Trichoderma were identified. Histoplasma capsulatum was not isolated from the cave. Eleven opportunistic species were identified. Significant (p<0.05) variations on fungal richness in the air occurred due to cave visitation. Areas of potential microbiologic risks were indicated and management actions suggested. The results suggest a diverse community inhabiting the cave. Possible opportunistic species should be monitored in show caves and microbiota should always be included in the elaboration of cave management plans. This is the first detailed microbiologic study for a management plan of a show cave in the country. It provides relevant information for future management plans.


The Giant geode of Pulpí (Almería, SE Spain) hosts some of the most outstanding selenite crystals of the world and the largest ones discovered in Europe. Pinacoidal high-purity selenite crystals up to 2 metres long cover totally its walls, floor and ceiling. The cave void where the geode was formed is in an abandoned mine 3 km far from the coastline and 50 m deep from the surface. The peculiar genesis could be related to the mixing processes between hydrothermal fluids and salt water in the aquifer. The discovery (December 2000) was considered an important highlight in the geological heritage of Spain but not many things have been done since 10 years. Projects developed for their conservation were paralysed and no legal figure of protection is active nowadays. Only the interest of touristic valorisation is still alive but in reality the initial tourist projects are stopped. Only one previous project of “waste mining removal” is active. Nevertheless this project is partially provoking a controversial effect: the destruction and/or decontextualization of some surface mining remains. No doubt the Geode has a tourist interest, which must be tempered by environmental restrictions limiting the public visits. First results demonstrated that a continuous visit of two or three people for more than 10 min- utes provokes the appearance of condensation and risks of corrosion of the gypsum crystals. Although any tourist adaptation must not permit direct visits to the geode indoor and levels/contents like Hg and Rn must be controlled. Regrettably, communication to the authorities of this special situation decreased their interest for the protection and touristization. The present proposal is to highlight not only the geode but the mining environment showing that valorization of this geological-natural heritage is still feasible.

KARST HAZARDS, 2013, Andreychouk Viacheslav, Tyc Andrzej

Karst hazards are an important example of natural hazards. They occur in areas with soluble rocks (carbonates, mostly limestone, dolomite, and chalk; sulfates, mostly gypsum and anhydrite; chlorides, mostly rock salt and potassium salt; and some silicates, quartzite and amorphous siliceous sediments) and efficient underground drainage. Karst is one of the environments in the world most vulnerable to natural and human-induced hazards. Karst hazards involve fast-acting processes, both on the surface and underground (e.g., collapse, subsidence, slope movements, and floods) and their effects (e.g., sinkholes, degraded aquifers, and land surface). They frequently cause serious damage in karst areas around the world, particularly in areas of intense human activity. Karst threat is the potential hazard to the life, health, or welfare of people and infrastructure, arising from the particular geological structure and function of karst terrains. The presence of underground cavities in the karst massif masks the threat from the hazards of collapse. This means that in some instances, the potential threats from karst, which are inherent features of the karst environment, become hazards. They range in category from potential to real. The term (karst hazards) is related to two other terms, used mostly in applied geosciences, particularly engineering geology – risk assessment and mitigation. Risk is the probability of an occurrence, and the consequential damages are defined as hazards. Risk assessment is the determination of quantitative or qualitative value of risk related to a concrete situation and a recognized hazard. Quantitative risk assessment requires calculations of two components: the magnitude of the potential loss and the probability that the loss will occur. Risk assessment is a step in a risk management. Mitigation may be defined as the reduction of risk to life and the environment by reducing the severity of collapse or subsidence, building subsidence-resistant constructions, restricting land use, etc.


The assessment of karst conditions and putative karst geohazards prior to residential and commercial development is currently in its infancy, from a scientific aspect. Borrowing from the medical lexicon, most karst features at proposed building sites are dealt with using an approach wherein the “symptoms and conditions” are treated (e.g. sinkhole remediation), often only after site development activities have commenced. If karst hazards are suspected, roadways, foundations and specific at-risk areas may be investigated using various geophysical methods; however the results of these investigations require specialized knowledge to be interpreted and understood. Thus stakeholders without geological training may find the investigator’s results indecipherable, often leading to unnecessary and expensive supplemental studies, the need for which is entirely based on the non-technical stakeholder’s faith in the investigator’s judgment.
In contrast, a recent trend among consulting firms is to attach cursory karst “assessments” to due diligence study reports, particularly Phase I Environmental Site Assessments. These combined assessments are often performed by individuals who are inexperienced in geology, often without any specific training in karst geology. Not unexpectedly, this can lead to numerous mistakes, errors, and oversights. More troubling, these studies often report a lack of karst risks at the site under study, a result that the stakeholders may initially embrace, but which later can result in substantial financial loss and/or significant threats to human health and the environment.
To address these concerns, we propose a proactive, “preventative” standard practice for karst assessments. Ideally, this proactive approach will help to delineate potential karst hazards so that they can be avoided, managed, or corrected by remediation. Requirements for investigators, a proposed scope of services, fieldwork and data review checklist, and a template for a follow-up karst management plan are presented. It is our hope that if carried out and reported accurately, the proposed assessments should allow even a non-technical stakeholder to make informed decisions regarding the relative risk of karst geohazards, the need for further studies, and potential corrective actions that site development may entail.

From Slots to Tubes: The Influence of Dimensionality on Fracture Dissolution Models, 2013, Szymczak, Piotr

We briefly review the models of fracture dissolution process, discussing the experimental and numerical evidence showing that this phenomenon is inherently two-dimensional and hence cannot be accurately described by one-dimensional models. The physical reason for this incompatibility is that a dissolution front in a single rock fracture is potentially unstable to small variations in local permeability, leading to spontaneous formation of dissolution channels in the rock. This leads to a dramatic increase of fissure opening rates, which must be taken into account not only in the estimation of karstification times but also in the assessment of ground subsidence, dam collapse or toxic seepage risks.

Mapping and monitoring geological hazards using optical, LiDAR, and synthetic aperture RADAR image data, 2014, Joyce K. E. , Samsonov S. V. , Levick S. R. , Engelbrecht J. , Belliss S.

Geological hazards and their effects are often geographically widespread. Consequently, their effective mapping and monitoring is best conducted using satellite and airborne imaging platforms to obtain broad scale, synoptic coverage. With a multitude of hazards and effects, potential data types, and processing techniques, it can be challenging to determine the best approach for mapping and monitoring. It is therefore critical to understand the spatial and temporal effects of any particular hazard on the environment before selecting the most appropriate data type/s and processing techniques to apply. This review is designed to assist the decision-making and selection process when embarking on a hazard mapping or monitoring exercise. It focuses on the application of optical, LiDAR, and synthetic aperture RADAR technologies for the assessment of pre-event risk and postevent damage. Geological hazards of global interest summarized here are landslides and erosion; seismic and tectonic hazards; ground subsidence; and flooding and tsunami

Integration of Seismic-Reflection and Well Data to Assess the Potential Impact of Stratigraphic and Structural Features on Sustainable Water Supply from the Floridan Aquifer System, Broward County, Florida, 2014, Cunningham, K. J.

The U.S. Geological Survey and Broward County water managers commenced a 3.5-year cooperative study in July 2012 to refine the geologic and hydrogeologic framework of the Floridan aquifer system (FAS) in Broward County. A lack of advanced stratigraphic knowledge of the physical system and structural geologic anomalies (faults and fractures originating from tectonics and karst-collapse structures) within the FAS pose a risk to the sustainable management of the resource.

The principal objective of the study is to better define the regional stratigraphic and structural setting of the FAS in Broward County. The objective will be achieved through the acquisition, processing, and interpretation of new seismic-reflection data along several canals in Broward County. The interpretation includes integration of the new seismic-reflection data with existing seismic-reflection profiles along Hillsboro Canal in Broward County and within northeast Miami-Dade County, as well as with data from nearby FAS wellbores. The scope of the study includes mapping the geologic, hydrogeologic, and seismic-reflection framework of the FAS, and identifying stratigraphic and structural characteristics that could either facilitate or preclude the sustainable use of the FAS as an alternate water supply or a treated effluent repository. In addition, the investigation offers an opportunity to: (1) improve existing groundwater flow models, (2) enhance the understanding of the sensitivity of the groundwater system to well-field development and upconing of saline fluids, and (3) support site selection for future FAS projects, such as Class I wells that would inject treated effluent into the deep Boulder Zone.

Microhabitat influences the occurrence of airborne fungi in copper mine in Poland, 2014, Pusz W. , Kita W. , Weber R.

From January to April 2012 we studied the occurrence of air-borne fungi in the Lubin mining site, property of KGHM Polska Miedz´ SA. The research was conducted in three copper-mining shafts: Bolesław, Lubin Zachodni (Lubin West shaft), and Lubin Gło´wny (Lubin Main shaft) at about 610 to 850 meters below ground level. Air samples were collected between 6 and 9 a.m. using the impact method (Air Ideal 3P Sampler) onto Potato Dextrose Agar. The volume of air sampled for each agar plate was 50 liters. We found twenty-seven fungal species, the most numerous being Penicillium notatum, P. urticae, and Aspergillus flavus. As the application of log-linear and correspondence analyses have shown, the population of fungi varied considerably among the copper mine shafts or shaft parts. P. notatum and P. urticae were found to be the best adapted to grow in copper-mine conditions. The significant interaction among the shafts and the sample collection sites suggests a substantial microclimate influence on the population-size variations of studied fungal species in each shaft. The fungal-spore concentration in the majority of the shafts of this copper mine does not present a health risk to the mine workers. But it is enhanced in some portions of the mine, so it may constitute a health hazard locally.

A review on natural and human-induced hazards and impacts in karst, 2014, Gutiérrez Francisco, Parise Mario, De Waele Jo, Jourde Hervé

Karst environments are characterized by distinctive landforms related to dissolution and a dominant subsurface drainage. The direct connection between the surface and the underlying high permeability aquifers makes karst aquifers extremely vulnerable to pollution. A high percentage of the world population depends on these water resources. Moreover, karst terrains, frequently underlain by cavernous carbonate and/or evaporite rocks, may be affected by severe ground instability problems. Impacts and hazards associatedwith karst are rapidly increasing as development expands upon these areas without proper planning taking into account the peculiarities of these environments. This has led to an escalation of karst-related environmental and engineering problems such as sinkholes, floods involving highly transmissive aquifers, and landslides developed on rocks weakened by karstification. The environmental fragility of karst settings, togetherwith their endemic hazardous processes, have received an increasing attention from the scientific community in the last decades. Concurrently, the interest of planners and decision-makers on a safe and sustainable management of karst lands is also growing. This work reviews the main natural and human-induced hazards characteristic of karst environments, with specific focus on sinkholes, floods and slope movements, and summarizes the main outcomes reached by karst scientists regarding the assessment of environmental impacts and their mitigation.

Hydrogeological and Environmental Investigations in Karst Systems, 2014,

Karst is the result of climatic and geohydrological processes, mainly in carbonate and evaporite rocks, during geological periods of Earth history. Dissolution of these rock formations over time has generated karst aquifers and environments of significant water and mineral resources. In addition, beautiful landscapes have been created which constitute natural parks, geosites, and caves. Due to their origin and nature, karstified areas require investigation with special techniques and methodology. International collaboration and discussions on advances in karst research are necessary to promote Karst Science. The International Symposium on Karst Aquifers is one of the worldwide events held periodically to specifically address karst environments. The symposium constitutes an ongoing international forum for scientific discussion on the progress made in research in karst environments. The first and second symposiums were organized in Nerja (near Malaga, Spain), in 1999 and 2002; the third and fourth symposiums were held in Malaga city in 2006 and 2010. The 5th International Symposium on Karst Aquifers (ISKA5) occurred in Malaga on during October 14–16, 2014. It was organized by the Centre of Hydrogeology University of Málaga (CEHIUMA) and the Spanish Geological Survey (IGME), in cooperation with UNESCO and the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) Karst Commission. More than 100 contributions were received from 30 countries on five continents. Presentations made during the symposium and published in this book are a compendium of 70 of these manuscripts. Papers submitted by April 2014, were peer-reviewed and subsequently accepted by the Scientific Committee. Contributions are grouped into five sections:

• Methods Utilized to Study Karst Aquifers.

• Karst Hydrogeology.

• Mining and Engineering in Karst media.

• Karst Cavities.

• Karst Geomorphology and Landscape.

A large part of the contributions, 30 %, is related to Methods Utilized to Study Karst Aquifers. Several issues are addressed: methods for groundwater recharge assessment, dye tracer and stable isotope applications, analysis of hydrodynamic data and hydrochemistry, among others. Most contributions, 40 %, however, are on Karst Hydrogeology. These are primarily in connection with various topics such as numerical modeling in karst, floods, karst groundwater flow, protection of karst aquifers or pollution, and vulnerability in karst. Five percent of the published papers deal with Mining and Engineering in Karst Media. These papers are about tunnels, hydrogeological risks, and karst risk assessment in mining and civil engineering. Another section concerning Karst Cavities encompasses 15 % of the contributions. These chapters deal with corrosion and speleogenetic processes, speleothems, CO2 sources, the global carbon cycle in endokarst, and the study of past climate. Karst Geomorphology and Landscape constitutes the remaining 10 % of the contributions. These papers are related to karst features, wetlands, hypogene speleogenesis, geodiversity, and karstic geosites. The results of project work performed by karst specialists worldwide are described in the book. Included in it are experiences from pilot sites, methodologies, monitoring, and data analyses in various climatic, geological, and hydrogeological contexts. Material presented may be utilized for activities such as teaching and technical-professional applications particularly as they apply to the increasingly multidisciplinary nature of karst studies. Information provided may also be useful to decisions makers in making critical decisions regarding development in karst regions. Scientists and engineers and many of the lay public interested in karst environments will benefit from the contents

Niphargus: a silicon band-gap sensor temperature logger for high-precision environmental monitoring. , 2015,

A temperature logger, named “Niphargus”, was developed at the Geological Survey of Belgium to monitor temperature of local natural processes. It has a sensitivity of the order of a few hundredths of degrees on temperature variability in open air, caves, soils and river environment. The newly developed instrument uses a state-of-the-art band-gap silicon temperature sensor with integrated digital output. This sensor reduces the risk of drift associated with thermistor-based sensing devices, especially in humid environments. The Niphargus is designed to be highly reliable, low-cost and powered by a single lithium cell with up to several years autonomy, depending on the sampling rate and environmental conditions. A batch of Niphargus loggers was also compared to a precision thermistor to assess absolute temperature accuracy. Further characterization came from two field case studies in Belgium: monitoring of a mineralized water stream near the town of Spa and air temperature monitoring inside Han-sur-Lesse cave.

Niphargus: a silicon band-gap sensor temperature logger for high-precision environmental monitoring. , 2015,

A temperature logger, named “Niphargus”, was developed at the Geological Survey of Belgium to monitor temperature of local natural processes. It has a sensitivity of the order of a few hundredths of degrees on temperature variability in open air, caves, soils and river environment. The newly developed instrument uses a state-of-the-art band-gap silicon temperature sensor with integrated digital output. This sensor reduces the risk of drift associated with thermistor-based sensing devices, especially in humid environments. The Niphargus is designed to be highly reliable, low-cost and powered by a single lithium cell with up to several years autonomy, depending on the sampling rate and environmental conditions. A batch of Niphargus loggers was also compared to a precision thermistor to assess absolute temperature accuracy. Further characterization came from two field case studies in Belgium: monitoring of a mineralized water stream near the town of Spa and air temperature monitoring inside Han-sur-Lesse cave.

The current status of mapping karst areas and availability of public sinkhole-risk resources in karst terrains of the United States, 2015,

Subsidence from sinkhole collapse is a common occurrence in areas underlain by water-soluble rocks such as carbonate and evaporite rocks, typical of karst terrain. Almost all 50 States within the United States (excluding Delaware and Rhode Island) have karst areas, with sinkhole damage highest in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. A conservative estimate of losses to all types of ground subsidence was $125 million per year in 1997. This estimate may now be low, as review of cost reports from the last 15 years indicates that the cost of karst collapses in the United States averages more than $300 million per year. Knowing when a catastrophic event will occur is not possible; however, understanding where such occurrences are likely is possible. The US Geological Survey has developed and main-tains national-scale maps of karst areas and areas prone to sinkhole formation. Several States provide additional resources for their citizens; Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania maintain databases of sinkholes or karst features, with Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio providing sinkhole reporting mechanisms for the public.

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