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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 hydraulic profile is a vertical section of the potentiometric surface [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 microgravity (Keyword) returned 18 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 18
A comparative integrated geophysical study of Horseshoe Chimney Cave, Colorado Bend State Park, Texas, , Brown Wesley A. , Stafford Kevin W. , Shawfaulkner Mindy , Grubbs Andy

An integrated geophysical study was performed over a known cave in Colorado Bend State Park (CBSP), Texas, where shallow karst features are common within the Ellenberger Limestone. Geophysical survey such as microgravity, ground penetrating radar (GPR), direct current (DC) resistivity, capacitively coupled (CC) resistivity, induced polarization (IP) and ground conductivity (GC) measurements were performed in an effort to distinguish which geophysical method worked most effectively and efficiently in detecting the presence of subsurface voids, caves and collapsed features. Horseshoe Chimney Cave (HCC), which is part of a larger network of cave systems, provides a good control environment for this research. A 50 x 50 meter grid, with 5 m spaced traverses was positioned around the entrance to HCC. Geophysical techniques listed above were used to collect geophysical data which were processed with the aid of commercial software packages. A traditional cave survey was conducted after geophysical data collection, to avoid any bias in initial data collection. The survey of the cave also provided ground truthing. Results indicate the microgravity followed by CC resistivity techniques worked most efficiently and were most cost effective, while the other methods showed varying levels of effectiveness.


Land subsidence in the AI-Dahr residential area in Kuwait: a case history study, 1990, Airifaiy Ia,
Four cylindrical sinkholes occurred between April 1988 and June 1989 in a residential area located 27 km south of Kuwait City. The physiographic and geological conditions of their development and the methods of survey followed to detect potential subsurface cavities in the area are discussed. The major sinkhole is 15 m in diameter and 31 m deep; the others are a few metres in size. A mechanism of migrating sinkholes is suggested, where the upper elastic sediments have been moved down into cavities of the underlying Dammam Limestone. Such movement could have been triggered by garden irrigation and urbanization. A conceptual model is introduced to explain the mechanism of this subsidence. Microgravity techniques were applied using a La Coste Model-D gravimeter to detect areas of subsurface weakness. Negative anomalies in the order of 80 microgals were recorded and considered to indicate underground cavities or zones of contrasted mass-deficiencies representing high risk areas. Moderate anomalies were also recorded and attributed to poor compaction of the ground prior to construction

The detection of cavities using the microgravity technique: case histories from mining and karstic environments, 1997, Bishop I, Styles P, Emsley Sj, Ferguson Ns,
The presence of mining-related cavities (workings, shafts and tunnels) or karstic (solution cavities and sinkholes in limestone) within the top 100 m in the rock mass restricts land utilisation, and their migration to the surface may damage property or services or cause loss of life. Confirmation of features marked on existing plans prior to design and construction may be sufficient but it is often necessary to determine the detailed sub-surface structure. The standard method of siteinvestigation is to drill a pattern of boreholes to locate the spatial extent of any cavities. However, unless the spacing is less than the cavity dimensions it is possible to miss it completely. A cavity may be filled with air, water, or collapse material resulting in a contrast in physical properties which may be detected using appropriate geophysical methods. One powerful technique is microgravity which locates areas of contrasting sub-surface density from surface measurements of the earth's gravity. Although the method is fundamentally simple, measurement of the minute variations in gravity (1 in 108) requires sensitive instruments, careful data acquisition, and data reduction and digital data analysis. Final interpretation must be performed in conjunction with independent information about the site's history and geology. This paper presents three examples in both mining and karstic environments demonstrating that microgravity is a very effective technique for detectingand delineating cavities in the sub-surface

The use of geophysical techniques in the detection of shallow cavities in limestone, MSc thesis, 1997, Walker, D. C.

Electromagnetic, resistivity and microgravity techniques were compared for their ability to delineate and resolve shallow natural cavity systems in limestone. Geophysical work was carried out at two field sites. Electromagnetic and resistivity constant-depth profiling surveys were carried out at Kitley Caves in Yealmpton, South Devon, with the purpose of determining the lateral extent of the already partially mapped system. Lower Long Chum Cave in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire, was used as a control site for the testing of resistivity tomography and microgravity techniques. Several cavities had already been mapped at this site, and were known to be approximately cylindrical passages, with radii of 2-4m within a depth range of 5-20m, in the area to be surveyed.
At Kitley Caves, both the EM31 and resistivity surveys were carried out over a 20x30m grid, approximately 50m west of Western Ton's Quarry. The station interval for the EM31 survey was 2.5m, whereas resistivity readings were taken at 1m intervals. Both techniques identified a linear, low resistivity, anomaly orientated close to the primary joint direction. This feature is interpreted as a sediment-filled fissure, but excavation of the site would be required for verification.
The main Lower Long Chum Cave passage was also identified using EM mapping at 2.5m intervals. Four 155m lines were surveyed using resistivity tomography technique, with 32 electrodes at 5m spacing selected in a Wenner configuration. This survey successfully delineated Diccan Pot and Lower Long Churn caves in the locations and depth ranges expected, and also identified a previously unmapped feature that was interpreted as an air-filled cave or fissure 40m to the south of the main passage. The inversion process caused the features to be horizontally smeared to approximately twice their true dimensions, and in some cases anomalies from separate features were combined.
Lower Long Churn Cave was also successfully delineated using microgravity. Analysis of the residual Bouguer anomaly, combined with two dimensional forward modelling, implied a density contrast of 2.0g/cc, a radius of 2.1m and a depth of 5m. This agreed to within 2.5m with the depth given by resistivity. The position of the tunnel axis found using the two techniques differed by a maximum of 4m.
Resistivity tomography and microgravity were thus concluded to be techniques accurate in the delineation of shallow subsurface cavities. Future improvements in the latter method depend on the development of instruments that are sensitive enough to detect small changes in gravitational acceleration, whilst remaining relatively insensitive to background noise. Resistivity tomography is becoming an increasingly more valuable technique as refinements in the inversion process reduce smearing of anomalous features and improve the accuracy of the subsurface images produced.


Subsidence hazards caused by the dissolution of Permian gypsum in England: geology, investigation and remediation, 1998, Cooper Ah,
About every three years natural catastrophic subsidence, caused by gypsum dissolution, occurs in the vicinity of Ripon, North Yorkshire, England. Holes up to 35 m across and 20 m deep have appeared without warning. In the past 150 years, 30 major collapses have occurred, and in the last ten years the resulting damage to property is estimated at about {pound}1000000. Subsidence, associated with the collapse of caves resulting from gypsum dissolution in the Permian rocks of eastern England, occurs in a belt about 3 km wide and over 100 km long. Gypsum (CaS04.2H20) dissolves rapidly in flowing water and the cave systems responsible for the subsidence are constantly enlarging, causing a continuing subsidence problem. Difficult ground conditions are associated with caves, subsidence breccia pipes (collapsed areas of brecciated and foundered material), crown holes and post-subsidence fill deposits. Site investigation methods that have been used to define and examine the subsidence features include microgravity and resistivity geophysical techniques, plus more conventional investigation by drilling and probing. Remedial measures are difficult, and both grouting and deep piling are not generally practical. In more recent times careful attention has been paid to the location for development and the construction of low-weight structures with spread foundations designed to span any subsidence features that may potentially develop

Microgravity techniques for subsurface investigations of sinkhole collapses and for detection of groundwater flow paths through karst aquifers, 1999, Crawford N. C. . , Lewis M. A. , Winter S. A. , Webster J. A.

Cave detection and 4-D monitoring: A microgravity case history near the Dead Sea, 2001, Rybakov M. , Goldshmidt V. , Fleischer L. , Rotstein Y. ,

The engineering classification of karst with respect to the role and influence of caves, 2002, Waltham Tony
The engineering classification of karst defines various complexities of ground conditions, in terms of the hazards that they provide to potential construction. Karst is divided into five classes (from immature to extreme). The three key parameters within the classification are caves (size and extent), sinkholes (abundance and collapse frequency) and rockhead (profile and relief). As one component of karst, caves are a hazard to foundation integrity, though natural surface collapses over caves are extremely rare. A cave roof is normally stable under engineering loading where the roof thickness is greater than 70% of the cave width. Construction can proceed over or around caves that are known. The main difficulty is finding unseen voids; ground investigation in mature karst may require extensive borehole probing, and microgravity is the most useful geophysical technique.

Deep karst conduits, flooding, and sinkholes: lessons for the aggregates industry, 2002, Lolcama J. L. , Cohen H. A. , Tonkin M. J. ,
Limestone aggregate quarries in deeply penetrating karst terrain are often at considerable risk of artesian inflow from groundwater or surface water channeled through the karstic aquifer. The inflow occurs through what are likely to be complex conduits that penetrate hundreds of feet into bedrock. Rates of inflow can exceed the operation's pumping capabilities proving to be uneconomic to manage over the long term. Over time, inflow rates can increase dramatically as turbulent flow through the conduit erodes its soft residual clay-rich fill. One recent investigation observed an inflow rate of more than 40,000 gpm from a surface water source. Floodwater persistently laden with sediment is an indicator of conduit washout and implies increasing inflow rates over time. Conduits carrying floodwater can exist in a variety of forms: along deeply penetrating geologic faults, joints, or following the path of preferentially eroded bedding. Preferential structural deformation along faults or bedding can enhance dissolution during subsequent interaction with groundwater. The resulting conduit may be a complex combination of many geological features, making the exploration and remediation of the pathway difficult. Sinkholes at the site can occur within several contexts. Pre-existing subsidence structures can reactivate and subside further, forming new collapse sinkholes within soil directly overlying the conduit. Cover-collapse sinkhole development can be a direct result of increasing downward groundwater velocities and subsurface erosion associated with the enlargement of a conduit. Normal operation events such as a quarry blast can also provide a significant new linkage between the groundwater and the quarry, allowing rapid drainage of the groundwater reservoir. With such drainage and erosion of karst-fill, sinkholes will develop over localized water table depressions, most significantly over enhanced permeability zones associated with fractures. Paradoxically, although the rise in quarry water level will lead to regional reduction in the hydraulic gradients, on local scales, drainage of the groundwater reservoir increases gradients and leads to the development of cover-collapse sinkholes. Recommended methods for preliminary site investigation can include a detailed review of geological literature and drilling logs to compile a conceptual model of the site. A fracture trace analysis with EM geophysics can confirm the locations of major faults and fractures. Fingerprinting of the various water sources to the quarry and the water in the quarry is an inexpensive and effective means of identifying the source and likely direction of the groundwater and surface water flow. Automated geophysical equipment on the market for performing rapid resistivity and microgravity surveys speeds up the site screening process during reconnaissance exploration for deep structure. It is recommended that mine planning fully incorporate this information so that quarry operators can take proactive measures to avoid catastrophic and costly flooding events. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Integrated high-resolution geophysical investigations as potential tools for water resource investigations in karst terrain, 2002, Mcgrath R. J. , Styles P. , Thomas E. , Neale S. ,
Karstic aquifers can be particularly vulnerable to both pollution from surface activities and large-scale dewatering from mineral winning operations. This is because of the enhanced vertical and lateral flow paths, resulting from the dissolution of carbonate species by rainfall. Often this process results in the development of voids that can range in size from several centimetres to several tens of metres. To date, groundwater vulnerability maps for England and Wales, including karst areas, have been produced using a methodology that does not consider the presence of karst features. The uncertainties that are presented by the potential for pollution by the presence of water-carrying conduits in karst areas, where there are proposed or existing limestone quarries, require new techniques for detecting and delineating underground cave systems. In order for any mapping technique to provide an acceptable assessment of vulnerability, the location and spatial distribution of high permeability flow paths need to be established. Of the available geophysics techniques that may allow for the identification of such features, microgravity and resistivity imaging are likely to be the most successful. Microgravity surveying has the potential to identify the presence and location of such voids, and with the integration of electrical tomographic work, can provide 'targets' for the location of monitoring boreholes. Whilst these techniques are intensive and may not be cost effective on a regional scale, they do have the potential to provide high-resolution data over smaller areas, which would be invaluable to any site or area-specific assessment of vulnerability

The application of Time-Lapse Microgravity for the Investigation and Monitoring of Subsidence at Northwich, Cheshire, 2003, Branston Mw, Styles P,
Peter Street is an area of terraced houses in Northwich suffering from subsidence, thought to be related to salt extraction in the 19th century. Microgravity and resistivity profiling have been used as non-invasive techniques to investigate the cause of this subsidence. Repeat (or time-lapse) microgravity has been used to assess the stability and evolution of the low-density areas. Time-lapse microgravity uses the characteristics of anomaly size and gradient to track the development of cavities as they propagate to the surface. It is possible to monitor the change in gravity with time and to model the increase in cavity volume and/or depth. A gravity low was found to be coincident with the area experiencing subsidence. Integratedmodelling techniques including Euler deconvolution, Cordell & Henderson inversion and GRAVMAG modelling have been used to investigate the depth and size of the body responsible for this anomaly. Resistivity imaging has been used to investigate the conductivity of the near surface and constrain the gravity models. Results from both techniques suggest that low density ground is now present at a depth of 3-4 m below the surface in the subsidence affected area. The use of time-lapse microgravity has shown that there has been an upwardmigration of a low-density zone at gravity anomaly C over the monitoring period

The use of microgravity for cavity characterization in karstic terrains, 2005, Styles P. , Mcgrath R. , Thomas E. , Cassidy N. J. ,
Microgravity is the interpretation of changes in the subsurface density distribution from the measurement of minute variations in the gravitational attraction of the Earth. As a technique, it is particularly suited to the investigation of subsurface structures, mapping of geological boundaries and, most importantly in this case, the location and characterization of voids or cavities. Gravity variations due to the geological/petrophysical changes associated with fracturing and changes in pore composition are superimposed upon much larger variations due to elevation, latitude, topography, Earth tides and regional geological variations. However, these external changes can be modelled or monitored with sufficient accuracy to be removed from the data. With the recent development of high-resolution instruments, careful field acquisition techniques and sophisticated reduction, processing and analysis routines, anomalies as small as 10 microgal can be detected and interpreted effectively. This paper describes the state-of-the-art' application of the microgravity technique for the detection and characterization of karstic cavities in a variety of limestone terrains, including the Carboniferous Limestone of the United Kingdom and Eire and the coral limestones of the Bahamas. The case study examples show how the recorded gravity anomalies have revealed the location of density variations associated with underground cave systems and, ultimately, provided information on their depths, shapes and morphology from a combined analysis of their spectral content, characteristic gradient signatures and modelling responses. In addition, mass deficiencies have been estimated, directly from the anomaly map, by the use of Gauss's theorem without any prior knowledge of the exact location, or nature, of the causative bodies

The search for Palmer's Chamber, Lamb Leer, Somerset, United Kingdom, 2006, Butcher, Antony, Phillip J Murphy, Simon Beaney And Roger Clark.
During the late 1930s and 1950s a series of geophysical resistivity measurements were acquired by Professor Leo Palmer of Hull University over the Lamb Leer cave system (referred to as Lamb Lair by Palmer), which is located within the Mendip Hills, Somerset. Through his surveys, Professor Palmer reportedly delineated a resistive zone that he believed to correspond to the location of the Great Chamber of Lamb Leer, a 30m-diameter cavity located at 35m below ground level. Additionally, he concluded that a further large cavern of similar size existed some 100m northeast of the Great Chamber. In an attempt to confirm the existence and establish the nature of "Palmer's Chamber", a series of resistivity and microgravity profiles were carried out during the summers of 2004 and 2006. The resistivity survey confirmed the presence of a resistive anomaly within the vicinity of "Palmer's Chamber"; however the resulting microgravity data do not suggest the presence of a mass deficiency feature that would be expected over a significant void.

THE USE OF MULTIPLE TECHNIQUES FOR CONCEPTUALISATION OF LOWLAND KARST, A CASE STUDY FROM COUNTY ROSCOMMON, IRELAND, 2010, Hickey C.
This paper summarises research carried out in county Roscommon, Ireland to characterise the workings of low-lying karst, of which little is known. The research employed a combination of five main investigative techniques, in conjunction: geomorphological mapping, spring chemistry and discharge analyses, dye-tracing, microgravity geophysical investigations and bedrock core drilling. The results enabled the production of a detailed conceptual model for the area. Surface and subsurface karst landform mapping revealed a high level of karstification. Clustering and alignment of recharge landforms is found to be a significant aspect of the karst. Analyses of spring chemistry and discharge data revealed characteristics of the aquifer systems in operation. It was found that a significant percentage of flow is via enlarged conduits but that the smaller fractures are important for providing base flow. Water tracing experiments proved that water moved from highly karstified, elevated recharge zones to springs at the periphery. Microgravity geophysical investigations, detected and located solutionally enlarged voids in the bedrock and demonstrated the importance of the shallow epikarst system as well as a deeper conduit network. Bedrock core drilling detailed the nature of the bedrock underneath karst landforms and showed the successes and failings of the geophysical investigations. Spring catchment boundaries were then delineated using water balance equations and a combination of the information retrieved from the other methods. Using these results in combination large amounts of information were gathered leading to the production of the first conceptual model for the karst of Roscommon, which can be adapted and applied to Irish Lowlands in general. The use of multiple, complimentary, investigative techniques in conjunction greatly enhanced the accuracy and success of this project. The aim of this paper, therefore is to highlight the benefits of using many analytical techniques together.

Time‐lapse microgravity surveys reveal water storage heterogeneity of a karst aquifer, 2010, Jacob T. , Bayer R. , Chery J. , Le Moigne N.

Time‐lapse microgravity surveying combined with absolute gravity measurements is  used to investigate water storage changes in a karst aquifer of ∼100 km2 area. The survey  consists of 40 gravity stations measured with a relative gravimeter; absolute gravity is  measured at three stations for each survey. In total, four gravity surveys are performed over  a 2 year time period during consecutive wet and dry periods. Survey precisions range  between 2.4 and 5 mGal, enabling statistically significant detection of 10 mGal change, i.e.,  ∼0.25 m equivalent water level change. Observed gravity changes are coherent between  consecutive survey periods, i.e., net water withdrawal and net water recharge is observed,  reaching changes as high as 22 mGal. Observed gravity changes allow refining  evapotranspiration estimates, which may serve to improve the water budget of the aquifer.  High‐and low‐gravity amplitude zones characterize the karst system, demonstrating  spatially variable storage behavior. Geomorphologic considerations are invoked to explain  the location of preferential zones of water storage, and a conceptual model of water storage  is discussed for the studied karst. 


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