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Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology


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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 stress, shear is stress directed parallel (tangential) to the surface element across which it acts.?

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.
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 inception (Keyword) returned 49 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 49
The Forest of Dean Caves and Karst: Inception Horizons and Iron-Ore Deposits, 1993,
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Lowe D. J.

The influence of bedding planes on the development of karst caves (in Slovenian and with an English summary and abstract), PhD thesis, 1996,
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Knez, M.

There have been much less researchers looking for the initial water ways in karst along the bedding-planes than those who deduced the origin of cave channels from tectonic structures. The aim of my research was to focus scientific attention on the sphere where the answers within the sedimentology might be expected. The study identified that the basic idea of bedding-plane importance at the initiation of cave channels was correct but also, that the interrelation is different from how it had been supposed. Single lithological, petrological or stratigraphical parameters of the inception are only partly known, or merely guessed. My research threw light on the problem of initial channels met in Velika dolina in Skocjanske jame. Cave passages, or their fragments and other traces of the underground karstification do not appear scattered at random on the walls but they are obviously gathered along a small number of so-called bedding-planes.
The basic working method was to locate the phreatic channels or their fragments, to sample and microscope those parts of the layers adjacent to a bedding-plane. Somewhere a whole layer was considered. Other methods were: regional distribution of caves, photographing, inventarisation and classification of speleogens and complexometry, the latter providing the purity of limestones.
The original channels are practically gathered along only three formative bedding-planes (out of 62 measured); their close vicinity differs from the others in several important properties: typically damaged rock, higher level of calcium carbonate, smaller porosity and others. Consequently the mentioned concordance cannot possibly be only apparent.
From the lithological point of view, I got neither substantial argument nor explanation for selective karstification. However, it was identified that at least in respect of a concrete example from Velika dolina, the inception started along interbedded slides that without doubt pushed the beds aside leaving an interval.


Symposium Abstract: Initial thoughts on Cave Inception and development on Cuilcagh mountain [Ireland], 1997,
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Brown L. , Lowe D. J. , Gunn J.

The necessity for inception, 1998,
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Lowe, Davidj.

On the role of clay-carbonate reactions in speleo-inception, A contribution to the understanding of the earliest stage of karst channel formation , 1998,
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Pezdič, Jož, E, Š, Uš, Terš, Ič, France, Miš, Ič, Miha

The Inception Horizon hypothesis in vertical to steeply-dipping linestone; applications in New South Wales, Australia, 1999,
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Osborne R. A.

Alpine (?) karst of Eastern Serbia, 1999,
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Zlokolicamandić, Milena, Ć, Alić, Ljubojević, Jelena

Eastern Serbia abounds in various karst features which could be classified into different traditionally determined types (tropical, alpine...), although it does not have either climatic or elevation parameters characteristic for those types. After introducing the basic postulates of the pure karst model, as well as the theories of inception and development, the fact which becomes evident is that, for example, Alpine and Dinaric karst differ only in dimensions and frequency of features, but not in the basic morphological characteristics. Eastern Serbia is an area which was explored more than a hundred of years ago (the area of classical explorations done by Jovan Cviji }). On the basis of the knowledge of that time, the karst of Eastern Serbia was determined as an example of the Jura type. In recent explorations, however, many entirely new facts have been established regarding sorts, dimensions, frequency and development factors of karst features. That is to say that the main difference lies in the extent of exploration and level of knowledge of an area, or, in other words, whether the karst is explored or unexplored.


Why and how are caves "organized": does the past offer a key to the present, 1999,
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Lowe, David J.

Many caves within carbonate (and perhaps other) rock sequences display marked spatial organization, particularly a tendency to group within vertical clusters. Most past explanations of clustering involve "recent" effects and interactions. New ideas, based on study of "denuded" or "unroofed" caves, acknowledge but re-interpret features and relationships that were observed long ago and commonly dismissed as "atypical", "irrelevant" or "impossible". Some traditional explanations of vertical clustering must now be re-assessed. Assumptions that any stratigraphical (bedding plane) or joint/fault fissure in carbonate rock provides (or provided) a de facto route for fluid transfer, and hence a focus for void development, are not confirmed by observation. Primitive pre-cave, but potentially cavernous, carbonate masses are not inevitably active hydrologically; nor are they geologically homogeneous. New evidence, and re-evaluation of earlier observations, implies that dissolutional void "inception" is related to a minor subset of all stratigraphical partings, which dominate initially, imprinting incipient guidance for later cave development. Recognition of this fundamental role provides a possible key to understanding the organization of cave systems and necessitates acceptance of an expansion of speleogenetic timescales back to the time of diagenesis.


Forum: Cave inception horizons in Beck Head Stream Cave, Clapham, North Yorkshire, 2000,
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Cordingley J.

Cave inception horizons in Beck Head Stream Cave, Clapham, North Yorkshire [Corrigendum], 2000,
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Cordingley J.

Dynamics of the evolution of single karst conduit, 2000,
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Dreybrodt W. , Gabrovsek F.
The evolution of karst conduits by calcite-aggressive water flowing in initially narrow fractures require a non-linear rate law FSUBn(c)=kSUBn(1-c/cSUB eg)SUPn for limestone dissolution close to equilibrium with respect to calcite. A mathematical analysis of the evolution of limestone dissolution rates of water in such early, narrow fractures as a function of the distance from the input reveals an exponential decrease of the dissolution rates for linear dissolution rate laws (n=1), such that subsurface karstification is prevented. For non-linear kinetics (n>2), however, the decrease of rates proceeds by a hyperbolic relation, such that dissolution rates at the exit of the fracture are still sufficiently high to create a feedback mechanism by which after a long time of gestation a dramatic increase in the widths of the conduits is established. After this breakthrough event, uniform widening along the entire channel determines the further evolution. The time to achieve breakthrough is given by T=aSUB0/2gammaF(L,0), where 2gammaF(L,0) is the initial widening in cm/year at the exit of the conduit. This however is only true when the inflow solution is at less than 99% of saturation. Otherwise the positive feedback loop is switched off and the conduit widens evenly along its entire length with rates of 10SUP-9 cm/year to enlarge extremely narrow fractures with initial widths of several ten microns over distances of kilometers to sizes of about 0.1mm within several ten millions of years. This provides a general explanation for the concept of inception horizons, where usually other mechanisms have been assumed.

Speleogenesis on tectonically active carbonate islands, 2000,
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Gunn J. , Lowe D. J.
Studies of the geologically young, relatively porous limestones on Tongatapu Island in the Tongan archipelago suggest that the effect of dissolution at the interface between fresh and saline groundwater has been, and continues to be, crucial to the inception and development of underground conduits within young carbonate rock sequences. So far as it is possible to reconstruct the earliest speleogenetic events in the older preserved sequences on the nearby 'Eua Island, it appears that the processes that acted upon young reefal and back-reef carbonates during the Eocene were effectively the same as the processes that have acted on subsequent deposits and are still active today. It is commonly assumed that tectonism promotes the erosional removal of any early speleogenetic activity on carbonate islands and coasts. However, there is evidence on 'Eua to suggest that littoral cave systems and higher level conduits that target upon them, may survive gentle uplift, or even more extreme tectonism. This raises the possibility that some of the caves that can be explored today in both tropical and extra-tropical areas owe their origins to development of cavernous porosity in the littoral zone that was penecontemporaneous with rock formation.

Speleogenesis under deep-seated and confined settings, 2000,
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Klimchouk A. B.
The terms deep-seated, hypogenic and artesian speleogenesis refer to closely related and overlapping (although not entirely equivalent) concepts. Concerning groundwater hydrodynamics, the vast majority of deep-seated and hypogenic karst develops under confined settings, or settings that are unconfined but paragenetic or subsequent to confinement. Certain diagnostic features of confined groundwater circulation and deep-seated environments distinguish these conditions from those formed in unconfined settings. The last few decades have seen a growing recognition of the variety and importance of hypogenic dissolution processes and of speleogenesis under confined settings which commonly precedes unconfined development. Views of artesian speleogenesis are controversial. It was commonly ignored as a site for cave origin because the classic concept of artesian flow implies long lateral travel distances for groundwater within a soluble unit, resulting in a low capacity to generate caves within the confined area. However, the recognition of aspects derived from non-classical views of artesian flow, namely the role of cross-formation hydraulic communication within artesian basins, the concept of transverse speleogenesis, and the inversion of hydrogeologic function of beds in a sequence, allows a revision of the theory of artesian speleogenesis and views on the origin of many cave types. Under artesian speleogenesis, discharge through a cave is always hydraulically controlled, being constrained either by the hydraulic capacity of the passages or by that of the major confining bed or other overlying formations. In contrast to normal phreatic conditions, the discharge and enlargement rate do not increase dramatically after the kinetic breakthrough in the early evolution of conduits. Dissolution rates depend mainly on the mass balance rather than on solution kinetics during the artesian stage. Artesian speleogenesis is immensely important to speleo-inception, but it also accounts for the development of some of the largest known caves in the world and of many smaller caves. Typical conditions of recharge, the flow pattern through the soluble rocks, and groundwater aggressiveness favor uniform, rather than competing, development of conduits, resulting in maze caves where the proper structural prerequisites exist. The most common flow pattern favoring artesian speleogenesis is upward cross-formation flow in areas of topographic/potentiometric lows. The hydrodynamic influence of prominent valleys or depressions may extend more than a thousand meters below the surface. Artesian speleogenesis and flow through soluble beds are commonly transverse, with conduit development occurring across the beds rather than laterally. Cross-formational flow favors a variety of dissolution mechanisms that commonly involve mixing. Hydrogeochemical mechanisms of speleogenesis are particularly diverse and potent where carbonate and sulfate beds alternate and within or adjacent to hydrocarbon-bearing basins.

Role of stratigraphic elements in speleogenesis: the speleoinception concept, 2000,
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Lowe D. J.
Inception, the earliest phase of cave development, may begin during diagenesis. Within sedimentary rock sequences inception is generally related to specific favorable horizons or zones within the rock mass. These relatively thin inception horizons tend to display atypical chemical and/or physical properties, compared to the primary properties of the bulk of potentially cavernous rock successions. Commonly they correspond to depositional breaks or interruptions, particularly boundaries between major depositional cycles. Thus, according to the Inception Horizon Hypothesis, inception in sedimentary sequences (as typified by carbonate rocks) is inevitably related to, and guided by, thin relatively impure layers within thicker, otherwise pure beds, or at boundaries between impure and pure lithologies. Growth of incipient voids occurs potentially across the full lateral extent of inception horizons, generally very slowly during extended timescales. Growth may progress simultaneously at more than one stratigraphic level in a sequence, in deeply buried, confined or artesian conditions. Voids along individual inception horizons can be linked hydrologically by others that form concurrently or subsequently along tectonic or lithogenetic fissures. Later, interference between the imprinted inception framework and evolving surface landscapes leads to structurally advantageous elements of the potential three dimensional network being selected, linked and enlarged to form the skeletons of developing cave systems.

Some case studies of speleogenesis by sulfuric acid, 2000,
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Lowe D. J. , Bottrell S. H. , Gunn J.
Minerals that can weather to produce sulfuric acid directly or indirectly, with or without microbial mediation, occur as trace components in most carbonate sequences, but they are more concentrated at specific horizons. The latter comprise beds of atypical lithology, together termed inception horizons, and they are commonly associated with breaks between major depositional cycles. Some cycle boundaries are marked by concentrations of sulfide minerals, particularly pyrite, that are readily oxidized to generate sulfuric acid. Cycle boundaries may also be marked by the presence of primary evaporite minerals such as gypsum, and their removal by direct dissolution or by their reduction to hydrogen sulfide may be implicated in early porosity development. Though few caves in carbonate sequences are largely, or entirely, the product of calcite dissolution by sulfuric acid or of evaporite removal, such processes may play an important role in cave inception. This chapter examines a number of situations where processes other than carbonic acid dissolution have played an important role in secondary porosity generation and influenced subsequent speleogenesis.

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