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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 struga is (slavic.) a corridor formed along a bedding plane in karst country [10].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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Karst environment, Culver D.C.
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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 grikes (Keyword) returned 13 results for the whole karstbase:
Geomorphology of the North Karst, South Nahanni River Region, Northwest Territories, Canada, PhD Thesis, 1976, Brook, George Albert,

First investigated on the ground in June 1972, the Nahanni karst of northern Canada is the most complex karst terrain yet reported from high latitudes. It is centered at 61°28' N, longitude 124°05' W and lies within the zone of discontinuous permafrost. Mean annual temperature is 24°F and mean total precipitation 22.3 inches. Principal karst forms are fracture-located karst streets and irregularly-shaped closed depression called karst platea which may be up to 600 feet in depth. Platea often contain karst towers which are residuals of wall recession. Vertical-walled pond dolines up to 120 feet deep are common in bare karst areas while subjacent karst collapse, subsidence and suffosion depressions occur on marginal shale- and drift-mantled surfaces. Three small poljes have been identified, two produced entirely by solution, the other a structural form. These are periodically inundated. There are several peripheral fluvial canyons up to 3,000 feet deep that are blocked by glacial drift and which presently drain underground. Similarity in the hydrogeological properties of Nahanni Formation limestones at a variety of scales has led to the development of morphologically-identical karst forms which range in size from inches up to hundreds of feet. Furthermore, many of these landforms are part of a developmental sequence that at one scale links vertical-walled dolines, karst streets, platea and poljes; and at another links solution pits, grikes and joint hollows on limestone pavements. The evidence suggests that poljes form by the coalescence of dolines and uvalas just as Cvijic suggested in 1918. In attempting to explain the almost "tropical" nature of the sub-arctic Nahanni karst landform assemblage, a number of facts are of importance.
(a) The Nahanni Formation limestones have been highly warped and intensively fractures during the past one million years. Open fractures have encouraged karstification by allowing easy movement of water underground. Warping has provided the relief necessary for the development of solutional forms with a distinct vertical component.
(b) The karst can not be considered relict because it was glaciated during the Pleistocene. In addition the hydrological activity in it today is comparable with that in many humid tropical karst areas.
(c) Solutional denudation rates governed by aspects of surficial and bedrock geology may in some localized areas be equivalent to rates in humid tropical carbonate regions.
(d) At present rates, the most highly developed forms could have been produced within the last 200,000 years and because there is evidence to indicate that the karst may not have been glaciated for up to 250,000 years, such a period has been available for solutional development.
Because the Nahanni region has not been glaciated for an extremely long period, it may be one of only a few high-latitude carbonate terrains that have had time to develop fully. Its very existence questions the validity of the concept that the intensity and direction of karst development is climate-controlled. In the Nahanni at least, the structural and lithological properties of the host limestone appear to have been of greater importance. The labyrinth karst type present in regions of humid-tropical to sub-arctic climate, is an outstanding example of a structurally-controlled karst landscape. It may well be that the same controls also influence the distributions of other karst types.


Solutional landforms in quartz sandstones of the Sydney Basin, PhD thesis, 1995, Wray, R. A. L

Solutional landforms have been described for over a hundred years from limestone terrains and are termed karst. In many tropical regions landforms of similar morphology but on highly siliceous sandstones and quartzites have also recently been identified. The similarity of many of these features in morphology and also in genetic solutional processes to those on limestone has prompted recent calls for these quartzose landforms to also be regarded as true karst.
Although not unknown in temperate latitudes, these highly siliceous solutional landforms have been most commonly studied in present-day tropical regions, or areas believed to have been tropical in the recent past. This concentration of research in hot-wet areas, allied with the long held assertion of the insolubility of silica, especially quartz, led to a belief that tropical climatic conditions are necessary for karstic solution of these rocks. However, some of these quartzose solutional landforms are known in areas of temperate climate where there is little evidence for prior tropical conditions. A comprehensive worldwide review of these landforms, and the processes involved in their formation, has not previously been conducted and forms the basis from which this study stems.
The Sydney Basin in southeastern Australia has had a stable temperate climate for much of the Cainozoic with no evidence of tropical climate. The highly quartzose Permo-Triassic sandstones of this area have little carbonate, but nevertheless display a wide range of landforms morphologically similar to those both on limestones and also tropical quartzites These include large bedrock towers, grikes, caves, smaller solution basins and runnels, and even widespread silica speleothems. This study describes the morphology of this suite of landforms in detail, and provides a comparative analysis of these sandstone forms to those reported from quartzites of tropical areas and also their limestone analogues. Various microscopic and natural water chemistry analysis are then utilised in examining the poorly understood natural processes responsible for their formation. The process of sandstone solutional weathering in the Sydney Basin is also compared with that reported from the tropics, finding very little difference in either the form or magnitude of attack between these two climatically distinct regions. No previous studies have examined the wide range of solutional features found on quartz sandstones in one region of a climate comparable to Sydney, nor the processes involved in the genesis of these forms.


The geomorphology of solution cave sequences in the Kalk Bay Mountains, southern Cape Peninsula. BSc thesis, 1996, Shearer, H.

The Kalk Bay Mountains of the southern Cape Peninsula, South Africa, show marked development of pseudokarstic features such as caverns, dolines and grikes. These features have formed over at least 100 million years on supposed inert quartzitic sandstones of the Peninsula Formation of the Table Mountain Group. Pseudokarst on sandstone is relatively rare world-wide and various aspects of cave genesis are highlighted in the Cape Peninsula. Cape Peninsula pseudokarst is relict, occurs at high altitudes above the present water table and could provide clues to palaeoenvironmental conditions during the African erosion period.
The cave systems in the Kalk Bay Mountains occur in at least three levels in the thickly-bedded sandstone. These different levels are the result of differential uplift during the Miocene and Pliocene. The Cape Peninsula Mountains are tabular and blocky, as opposed to the fold mountains of the rest of the South Western Cape. Much more of the overlying sedimentary layers in the Cape Peninsula have also been removed by weathering and erosive processes. The caves can be compared to similar pseudokarst features on sandstone in areas such as Gran Sabana, Venezuela. The acidic water chemistry in Venezuela contributes to a very intensive weathering environment. Present day humid tropical conditions in Venezuela are likely to be similar to palaeoclimatic conditions in the Kalk Bay Mountains, contributing to sandstone cave genesis.


A global review of solutional weathering forms on quartz sandstones, 1997, Wray R. A. L. ,
Solutional landforms in limestone have been described for over a hundred years, but landforms of similar morphology on highly siliceous sandstones and quartzites have also been identified in a wide variety of environments and generally termed pseudokarst. These include large bedrock pinnacles and towers, caves, corridors, grikes, solution basins and runnels, and even silica speleothems. Quartzites and quartz sandstones have been held to be amongst the most chemically resistant of rocks, but the similarity, both in morphology and genetic process of many landforms developed from them to features of known solutional origin on limestone, has prompted some authors to refer to these quartzose landforms as true karst.The most detailed studies of quartzose karst landforms have been in present-day tropical regions, or areas believed to have been tropical in the geologically recent past. This concentration of research in hot-wet areas, allied with the long held assertion of the insolubility of silica, especially quartz, has led to a belief that tropical climatic conditions are necessary for karstic solution of these rocks. However, the existence of quartzose karst landforms in temperate and even sub-polar latitudes, especially where there is no evidence of prior tropical conditions, suggests that the requirement of tropical weathering is no longer tenable.The reports of these quartzose solutional landforms are widely scattered through the geomorphological and geological literature, but a comprehensive world-wide review of the range of solutional landforms on quartzose rocks has not previously been published. Because of the increasing awareness in this karst type such a summary is sorely overdue

The occurrence of sinkholes and subsidence depressions in the far west Rand and Gauteng Province, South Africa, and their engineering implications, 2001, De Bruyn Ia, Bell Fg,
Dewatering associated with mining in the gold-bearing reefs of the Far West Rand, which underlie dolomite and unconsolidated deposits, led to the formation of sinkholes and subsidence depressions. Hence, certain areas became unsafe for occupation and were evacuated. Although sinkholes were initially noticed in the 1950s, the seriousness of the situation was highlighted in December 1962 when a sinkhole engulfed a three-story crusher plant at West Driefontein Mine. Consequently, it became a matter of urgency that the areas at risk of subsidence and the occurrence of sinkholes were delineated. Sink-holes formed concurrently with the lowering of the water table in areas which formerly had been relatively free of sinkholes. In addition, subsidence occurred as a consequence of consolidation taking place in the unconsolidated deposits as the water table was lowered. In the latter case, the degree of subsidence which occurred reflected the thickness and original density of the unconsolidated deposits which were consolidated. These deposits vary laterally in thickness and thereby gave rise to differential subsidence. Subsidence also occurred due to the closure of dewatered voids at the rock-soil interface. The risk of sinkhole and subsidence occurrence is increased by urban development, since interrupted natural surface drainage, increased runoff, and leakage from water-bearing utilities can result in the concentrated ingress of water into the ground. Where the surficial deposits are less permeable, the risk of instability is reduced. In the area underlain by dolomite, which extends around Johannesburg and Pretoria, these problem have been more notable in recent years because of housing development, both low-cost and up-market, and the growth of informal settlements. Residential densities may be very high, especially for low-cost housing, the development of which frequently has proceeded without recognition of the risk posed by karst-related ground instability. The appearance of significant numbers of small sinkholes has been associated with dolomite at shallow depth, that is, occurring at less than 15 m beneath the ground surface. The vulnerability of an area overlying dolomite bedrock at shallow depth is largely dependent on the spacing, width and continuity of grikes. When dolomite is located at depths greater than 15 m, the sinkholes which appear at the surface usually are larger in diameter. The risk of sinkhole occurrence in areas of shallow dolomite in general, may be greater, although the hazard itself is less severe. A classification system for the evaluation of dolomitic land based on the risk of formation of certain sized sinkholes has enabled such land to be zoned for appropriate development. Ongoing monitoring and maintenance of water bearing services, and the implementation of precautionary measures relating to drainage and infiltration of surface water are regarded as essential in developed areas underlain by dolomite. Special types of foundation construction for structures are frequently necessary

Soil carbon dioxide in a summer-dry subalpine karst, Marble Mountains, California, USA, 2001, Davis J, Amato P, Kiefer R,
Studies of the seasonality, spatial variation and geomorphic effects of Soil CO2 concentrations in a summer-dry subalpine karst landscape in the Marble Mountains, Klamath National Forest, California, demonstrate the significance of soil moisture as a limiting factor. Modeled actual evapotranspiration (AET) in the four weeks prior to sampling explains 36% of the observed soil-CO2 concentrations, pointing to the importance of root respiration processes in these systems. Late snows are significant in controlling the timing of a snowmelt-initiated pulse of respiration and groundwater. CO2 concentrations were measured at multiple sites in two seasons - 1995 and 1997 - with contrasting patterns of snowmelt. Other than wet-meadow anomalies, where CO2 concentrations reached up to 3.8% in midsummer, alpine meadows on schist were the sites of the highest spring peak concentrations of approximately 1%. Forest sites and sites with thin soils on marble typically peaked at approximately 0.5%, also within a month of snowmelt exposure. Ongoing karstification in the upper bare karst is focused in soil-filled grikes where late-season snowmelt concentrates flow during high-respiration periods, but the lack of active speleothem development suggests that the carbonate solution system is greatly reduced from preglacial periods

Limestone pavements in Great Britain and the role of soil cover in their evolution, 2003, Zseni Aniko, Goldie Helen, Bá, Rá, Nykevei Ilona

The goal of the research was to verify the connection between the solutional power of soil and the shape of rocky features in limestone. Soil samples from runnels, grikes, foot of pavements, top of limestone, grass patches and dolines were collected on limestone pavement areas of North England and examined for the pH and carbonate content. The results of the measurements proved that the soils with lower pH are related to deeper solution features and that proximity to limestone causes a higher soil-pH.


An approach to the multi-element and multi-scale classification of the Limestone Pavement environment of Hutton Roof and Farleton Fell, Cumbria, UK, 2004, Huxter, Eric Andrew

 Limestone Pavements are highly significant components of the physiographic and ecological landscapes of the UK. As relict glacial features they are subject to destruction by natural processes but also by human intervention. This thesis identifies the most effective methods to monitor such change at a variety of temporal and spatial scales, based on the Morecambe Bay pavements at Hutton Roof and Farleton Fell. The starting point for such a study is a methodology to define the baseline on which to base change detection and the key to this is the development of a suitably detailed scene model. This must reflect the environment at the macro-, meso- and micro- scales and also incorporate considerations of the dynamics involved in the landscape evolution. The scene model (the Land Surface Classification Hierarchy (LSCH)) was developed by field measurement of the reflectance spectra of the main elements, biotic and abiotic, with measurements of the pavement surface in terms of the scale of karren development and the texture of the limestone itself. Study of the DEM allowed a fractal dimension to be established and also the nature of ice-flow and its contribution to pavement development, with extending flow, entraining fractured limestone blocks above a plastic, impermeable shale band, being the main mechanism. At the meso scale pavements were classified according to clint form derived from intra-pavement trends in grike direction calculated by Preferred Direction Analysis. Measurements of the key karren forms, runnels, solution pits and pipes and grikes allow assessment of their contribution to the variability of the pavement surface as an element of the scene model through the identification of solution domains. Identification of different lithologies allowed an investigation of spatial variation across the study area, although lithological control on karren form and magnitude is weaker than variability from age of exposure as shown by statistical analysis of karren morphometry using univariate comparative methods and Link diagrams, bivariate and multivariate regression, discriminant analysis, cluster analysis, multi-dimensional scaling and star diagrams with the derived Star Index. Pavements were classified according to karren morphometry. The traditional view of pedestals as an indicator of solution rates, and hence the concentration of solution at the surface, is challenged through the investigation of water flow over the pavement surface and the consideration of the role of lichen as a protective agent as well as the size of solution pits and grike width. It is suggested that only 10% of solution potential is achieved at the surface with 43% in the immediate epikarst. From this solution rate diagrams were developed, allowing the dating of exposure of pavements. These were shown to be within the period when human impact in the area was becoming significant and confirms an early anthropogenic impact on this element of the landscape. Further to this the development of grikes as emergent features was confirmed and this linked to the concept of breakthrough, allowing a model of grike development to be proposed, an important consideration in the dynamics of pavement change. At the micro scale texture analysis allowed the calculation of fractal measures which are related to variations in reflectance. The radiometric response of biotic and abiotic elements of the scene model was analysed confirming the facility of the baseline scene reflectance model of the pavement. Remotely sensed images from the Airborne Digital Camera were linked to ATM, CASI and TM images assessing the effect of scale on change detection and the evaluation of the pavement environment.


Small karst features (karren) of Dugi otok island and Kornati archipelago coastal karst (Croatia), 2004, Perica Draž, En, Marjanac Tihomir, Anič, Ić, Branka, Mrak Irena, Jurač, Ić, Mladen

Dugi otok Island and Kornati archipelago islands are characterized by karst morphology. Small karst features are particulary well developed along the coast in the swash zone, and significant differences can be observed due to different interaction of wave action, bedding attitude, bed thicknesses and lithology. Among other karren types, fissure- and network-type karren are particulary interesting, both of which start developing from initial root karren. The age of some of these small karst features can be estimated by their occurrence in ancient quarries, and we suggest their historic age. We can envisage the future development of these small coastal corrosion forms.


Les Pavements calcaires (Limestone pavements). Caractrisation et valeur patrimoniale dun habitat complexe selon une approche pluridisciplinaire, 2008, Gaudillat V.
Limestone pavements. Characterization and patrimonial value of a complex habitat according to a pluridisciplinary approach. The "Habitats" directive aims to preserve biodiversity within the European Union. Within habitats of community interest that have to be maintained in good conservation are limestone pavements. Difficulties in their characteristics led to specifying its definition for France. A pluridisciplinary study proved to be necessary, with a geomorphological approach in the first time, later adding vegetation. In the beginning, the habitat was mentioned only in the United Kingdom and in Ireland, its official definition is built on its expression in these two States. To help with comprehension, a short presentation of British and Irish pavements is made. It turns out that limestone pavements constitute a type of tabular karren field with a network of fissures (grikes or Kluftkarren) which flat blocks in between (clints or Flachkarren). The vegetation is characterized by a mosaic made up of fissure plant communities rich in ferns, moist vegetations of pits and pans, grasslands, heaths, thickets, even wooded parts. In France this habitat is mainly present in the calcareous Forealps and more sparsely in the Jura, the internal and middle Alps, the Mediterranean region and the Pyrenees. Very little synthetic studies about this habitat exist in France, and its patrimonial value is hardly documented. However, it has a real geological and geomorphological interest, in particular as a record of the landscape and climate evolution. The habitat offers a great diversity of ecological niches corresponding to an important diversity of flora and fauna. These, however, are rarely specific to the habitat and can be found also in other contexts.Still, threatened or rare species with high patrimonial value can be found on the pavements. The situation highly varies from one site to another. This pluridisciplinary approach presents the various aspects of the habitat according to the used disciplines and to sensibilizes specialists and users of this habitat towards its preservation.

The origin of the Bemaraha tsingy (Madagascar), 2008, Veress M. , Lczy D. , Zentai Z. , Tth G. , Schlffer R.
On Madagascar the most representative occurrences of tsingy are at Ankarana and Bemaraha. The tsingy are built up of giant grikes developed along cracks as well as karren features of much smaller size which cover the surfaces between grikes. We investigated the Bemaraha tsingy of Madagascar (surveyed profiles, measured grike directions, etc.) in order to reconstruct their development. The observations indicate that the majority of grikes of the tsingy are created from caves formed under the karst water table and subsequently opened up to the surface. The predominant processes may have been downward progressing dissolution or the collapse of cave roofs.

The origin of the Bemaraha tsingy (Madagascar), 2008, Veress M. , Lczy D. , Zentai Z. , Tth G. , Schlffer R.

On Madagascar the most representative occurrences of tsingy are at Ankarana and Bemaraha. The tsingy are built up of giant grikes developed along cracks as well as karren features of much smaller size which cover the surfaces between grikes. We investigated the Bemaraha tsingy of Madagascar (surveyed profiles, measured grike directions, etc.) in order to reconstruct their development. The observations indicate that the majority of grikes of the tsingy are created from caves formed under the karst water table and subsequently opened up to the surface. The predominant processes may have been downward progressing dissolution or the collapse of cave roofs.


Solutional Weathering and Karstic Landscapes on Quartz Sandstones and Quartzite, 2013, Wray, R. A. L.

Landscapes on highly quartzose bedrock that exhibit almost identical scale and morphology to those on karstified limestones occur under a range of climates and on most continents. These include ruiniform towers, grikes, stone cities, caves, dolines, smaller surface karren, and silica speleothems.

However, these rocks are much less soluble than most carbonates, and the weathering processes are quite different. However, because chemical solution is demonstratively a critical component in the genesis of these landforms, they may be regarded as karst. This chapter summarizes the processes of karstification in quartz sandstones and then reviews the incidence of these landforms around the world.


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