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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 fouling is the process in which undesirable foreign matter accumulates in a bed of filter media or ion exchanger, clogging pores and coating surfaces and thus inhibiting or retarding the proper operation of the bed [6].?

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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 seeps (Keyword) returned 15 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 15
Distribution and Habitat Diversity of Subterranean Amphipods in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, U.S.A., 1981, Holsinger John R. , Ward James W.
Subterranean amphipods have been collected from 35 locations on the eastern and western slopes of the Continental Divide in Colorado. All belong to the exclusively subterranean genus Stygobromus. Five species have been identified, two of which are undescribed. Specimens have been collected from (a) the hyporheic zone of rivers, (b) interrupted streams, (c) springs, and (d) seeps at elevations from 1597-2134 m a.s.l. Stygobromus occurs in several habitat types in interrupted drainage basins including sources, seeps, and isolated pools containing leaf detritus. All habitats contained waters which were cool to cold with dissolved oxygen values ranging from 4.3 ppm to fully saturated. Most waters exhibited soft or medium hardness, although one spring containing an undescribed species of Stygobromus had very hard waters (203 ppm bound CO2) and was mildly saline (913 mg/l TDS). There is evidence that the subterranean amphipods are phreatobites which, only under special conditions, establish relatively permanent populations in epigean habitats. Although little is known regarding ecology, zoogeography, or even taxonomy of the subterranean fauna of this region, stygobromid amphipods from the Cordilleran of western North America are apparently represented by fewer well differentiated species per unit area than their congeners from the geobiologicably older Appalachian region of eastern North America where numerous species are found in caves.

Carbonate chemistry of surface waters in a temperate karst region: the southern Yorkshire Dales, UK, 1992, Pentecost Allan,
A detailed study of surface water chemistry is described from an important limestone region in northern England. Major ions and pH were determined for 485 sites (springs, seeps, streams, rivers and lakes) during summertime. The saturation state of the waters with respect to calcite was determined as the calcite saturation ratio ([Omega]). An unexpectedly large number of samples were found to be supersaturated (65.5% of the 268 km of watercourses surveyed). As a consequence, several streams entering major cave systems were incapable of further limestone solution, at least during periods of low flow. Many waters were supersaturated from their source and some deposited travertine. A significant negative correlation was found between spring discharge and both ([Omega]) and pH. Supersaturation was caused primarily by atmospheric degassing, with some contribution from aquatic plant photosynthesis.The median total dissolved inorganic carbon and Ca concentrations were 2.49 and 1.35 millimoles 1-1 respectively. Calcium originated exclusively from limestone, and carbon dioxide mainly from the soil and dissolved limestone. South facing catchments provided springwaters with significantly higher levels of TDIC and Ca when compared with north facing catchments. The study suggests that acid rain made a measurable contribution to limestone dissolution.Carboniferous limestone denudation rates were estimated as 54 to 63 m3 km-2 a-1 (54 to 63 mm 1000 years-1). About 50% of the Mg came from limestone and the remainder, together with most K, Na, SO4 and Cl from precipitation.Concentrations of dissolved nutrients were low, medians for NO3, NH4, total PO4 and SiO3 were 24 [mu]mol, 1.4 [mu]mol, 0.64 [mu]mol and 15.5 [mu]mol 1-1 respectively. The concentration of a further 23 trace elements was determined

Chemoautotrophic microbial mats in submarine caves with hydrothermal sulphidic springs at Cape Palinuro, Italy, 1998, Mattison R. G. , Abbiati M. , Dando P. R. , Fitzsimons M. F. , Pratt S. M. , Southward A. J. , Southward E. C. ,
Observations were made on the distribution, morphology, and chemoautotrophic potential of microbial mats found in submarine caves of dolomitized limestone which contain hydrothermal sulphidic springs at Cape Palinuro, Italy. The distribution of microbial mats is closely associated with the flow of hydrothermal fluid from springs whose activity is intermittent and initiated during low tide. Fluid emitted from active springs in the Grotta Azzurra has a maximum temperature of 24.6 degrees C and is enriched in dissolved sulfur species (H2S, S2O32-) and dissolved gases (CH4, CO2). However, it is depleted in NaCl and dissolved O-2, in comparison with ambient seawater. This fluid is less dense and rises above the ambient seawater to form a visible thermocline and chemocline separating both lavers in the submarine caves. Microbial mats were attached to rock surfaces immersed in fluid above the chemocline and were differentiated into brown and white forms. Brown mats were composed of trichomes (4.2 0.1 mu m and 20.3 0.7 mu m in diameter) resembling the calcareous rock-boring cyanobacterium Schizothrix and clusters (6 mu m in diameter) of sarcina-like cells morphologically resembling methanogenic bacteria. White mats were composed of attached filaments resembling Beggiatoa (19.3 0.5 mu m, 39.0 1.7 mu m, and 66.9 3.3 mu m in diameter) and Thiothrix (4.2 0.2 mu m in diameter). Flexibacteria (<1 mu m in diameter) were common to both mats. Beggiatoa-like filaments were morphologically similar to those attached to rocks and the byssal threads of mussels from Lucky Strike vent field on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Morphological comparisons were also made with typical gliding Beggiatoa from shallow seeps in Eckernforder Bucht, Baltic Sea. White mats displayed chemoautotrophic fixation of CO2 under relatively well-oxygenated laboratory conditions (maximum rate 50.2 nmol CO2/mg dry wt/h) using internal S-0 or possibly S2O32- as electron donor. Photosynthesis may be limited in the Grotta Azzurra by insufficient illumination (6.3 x 10(-7) mu einsteins/cm(2)/s), with the possibility of Schizothrix living (at least in part) as a chemoheterotroph on while mats. Chemoautotrophic fixation of CO2 by white mats is proposed as a significant source of nutrition for benthic fauna in these caves, and has been estimated as contributing 50-70 mu mol CO2/m(2) of mat/min, as measured under laboratory conditions

The hypogenic caves: a powerful tool for the study of seeps and their environmental effects, 2002, Forti P, Galdenzi S, Sarbu Sm,
Research performed in caves has shown the existence of significant effects of gas seeps, especially CO2 and H2S, within subterranean voids. Carbon dioxide causes important corrosive effects and creates characteristic morphologies (e.g., bell-shaped domes, bubble's trails), but is not involved in the deposition of specific cave minerals. On the other hand, in carbonate environments, hydrogen sulfide when oxidized in the shallow sections of the aquifer generates important corrosion effects and is also responsible for the deposition of specific minerals of which gypsum is the most common.Studies performed in the last few years have shown that H2S seeps in caves are associated with rich and diverse biological communities, consisting of large numbers of endemic species. Stable isotope studies (carbon and nitrogen) have demonstrated that these hypogean ecosystems are entirely based on in situ production of food by chemoautotrophic microorganisms using energy resulting from the oxidation of H2S.Although located only 20 m under the surface, Movile Cave does not receive meteoric waters due to a layer of impermeable clays and loess that covers the Miocene limestone in which the cave is developed. In the Frasassi caves, where certain amounts of meteoric water seep into the limestone, the subterranean ecosystems are still isolated from the surface. As the deep sulfidic waters mix with the oxigenated meteoric waters, sulfuric acid limestone corrosion is accelerated resulting in widespread deposition of gypsum onto the cave walls.Both these caves have raised a lot of interest for biological investigations regarding the chemoautotrophically based ecosystems, demonstrating the possibility of performing such studies in environments that are easily accessible and easy to monitor compared to the deep-sea environments where the first gas seeps were discovered

Characterization of ground water flow from spring discharge in a crystalline rock environment, 2004, Gentry Wm, Burbey Tj,
Recent investigations describing the hydrogeology of the Blue Ridge Province of Virginia suggest the occurrence of multiple aquifers and flow paths that may be responsible for the variable flow behavior of springs and seeps appearing throughout the region. Deep, confined aquifers associated with ubiquitous faults and shallow, variably confined saprolite aquifers may contribute water to spring outlets resulting in significantly different quantities of discharge and water quality. Multiple analyses are required to adequately identify the flow paths to springs. In this investigation, hydrograph analyses, surface electrical resistivity surveys, aquifer tests, and nitrate concentrations are used in conjunction with previously reported analyses from borehole logs and age dating of ground water to identify two distinct flow paths. Results indicate that base flow occurs from a deep fault zone aquifer and such discharge can be maintained even during prolonged periods of drought, while increased discharge identified on hydrograph peaks suggests the occurrence of rapid flow through the saprolite aquifer within a radius of about 25 meters of the spring orifice. Springflow hydrograph analysis is suitable for rapid characterization of flow paths leading to spring outlets. Rapid characterization is important for evaluation of potential water quality problems arising from contamination of shallow and deep aquifers and for evaluation of water resource susceptibility to drought. The techniques evaluated here are suitable for use in other locations in fractured crystalline rock environments

Superficial subterranean habitats gateway to the subterranean realm, 2008, Culver, David C And Tanja Pipan.
Superficial subterranean habitats (SSHs) include small drainages that emerge as seeps (hypotelminorheic), small cavities in the uppermost part of karstified rock (epikarst), talus slopes (milieu souterrain superficiel), and cracks and shallow tubes in lava. They share only two important features with better known subterranean habitats, especially caves they are aphotic environments and they harbour a fauna modified for subterranean life, including species that are eyeless and without pigment. The occupants and environmental characteristics of these habitats are reviewed. The presence of troglomorphic species in SSHs suggests that the absence of light is the primary selective factor in the evolution of the distinctive morphology of cave animals, and that species in SSHs might have given rise to species in deeper subterranean habitats such as caves.

A recently evolved symbiosis between chemoautotrophic bacteria and a cave-dwelling amphipod, 2009, Dattagupta, S. , Schaperdoth, I. , Montanari, A. , Mariani, S. , Kita, N. , Valley, J. W. And Macalady, J. L.
Symbioses involving animals and chemoautotrophic bacteria form the foundation of entire ecosystems at deep-sea hydrothermal vents and cold seeps, but have so far not been reported in terrestrial or freshwater environments. A rare example of a terrestrial ecosystem sustained by chemoautotrophy is found within the sulfide-rich Frasassi limestone cave complex of central Italy. In this study, we report the discovery of abundant filamentous bacteria on the exoskeleton of Niphargus ictus, a macroinvertebrate endemic to Frasassi. Using 16S rDNA sequencing and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), we show that N. ictus throughout the large cave complex are colonized by a single phylotype of bacteria in the sulfur-oxidizing clade Thiothrix. The epibiont phylotype is distinct from Thiothrix phylotypes that form conspicuous biofilms in the cave streams and pools inhabited by N. ictus. Using a combination of 13C labeling, FISH, and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS), we show that the epibiotic Thiothrix are autotrophic, establishing the first known example of a non-marine chemoautotroph-animal symbiosis. Conditions supporting chemoautotrophy, and the N. ictus-Thiothrix association, likely commenced in the Frasassi cave complex between 350 000 and 1 million years ago. Therefore, the N. ictus-Thiothrix symbiosis is probably significantly younger than marine chemoautotrophic symbioses, many of which have been evolving for tens to hundreds of million years.

Karstification in unconfined limestone aquifers by mixing of phreatic water with surface water from a local input: A model, 2010, Gabrovš, Ek F. , Dreybrodt W.

When water from the surface of a limestone plain seeps down through the fractured rock to the water table of an unconfined aquifer with low hydraulic gradient containing water saturated with respect to calcite, mixing of these waters causes renewed aggressivity. A model is presented, which describes the evolution of karstification by dissolutional widening of the fractures downgradient from the local input of surface water. The model couples flow in the fractures with dissolution rates. Dissolution rates are given by F = k (1 [1] c (x)/ceq)4, where c (x) is the calcium concentration at distance x from the entrance of the fracture, ceq is the equilibrium calcium concentration of the H2O–CaCO3–CO2 solution in the fracture, and k is a rate constant. The model describes two domains of waters saturated with respect to calcite at different partial pressure of CO2. At the borders of these domains the waters mix and create dissolutional widening of the fractures by mixing corrosion. A channel evolves along the border in the downgradient direction by about 100 m in 100 ky. Below this channel a zone of fractures with aperture widths up to 1 cm has originated. The change of the hydraulic conductivity in the mixing zone shifts the border of the domains, allowing the channel to grow in the downgradient direction. Below it the zone of widened fractures is invaded by saturated phreatic water and dissolution stops. This process continues at the downgradient part of the conduit. In summary, we find cave conduits evolving close to the water table, leaving significant cavernous structures below them. A variety of modelling scenarios with different choices of parameters show that this evolution is typical and changes only in details but not in its basic behaviour.


INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE POTENTIAL FOR HYPOGENE SPELEOGENESIS IN THE CUMBERLAND PLATEAU OF SOUTHEAST KENTUCKY, U.S.A., 2013, Florea Lee J.

 

This manuscript offers preliminary geochemical evidence that investigates the potential for hypogene speleogenesis in the Cumberland Plateau of southeastern Kentucky, U.S.A. The region was traditionally considered a classic example of epigenic karst, but new insights have uncovered tantalizing observations that suggest alternatives to simple carbonic acid speleogenesis. Such first-order observations have included natural petroleum seeps at the surface and in caves, occasional cave morphologies consistent with action of hypogene fluids, and prolific gypsum within cave passages. To this point, geochemical data from caves and springs verify carbonic acid as the primary dissolutional agent; however, these same analyses cannot rule out sulfuric acid as a secondary source of dissolution. In this paper, Principal Component Analysis of ionic data reveals two components that coordinate with parameters associated with “karst water” and shallow brine. In contrast, molar ratios of Ca+ and Mg+ as compared to HCO3 - and SO4 2- closely follow the reaction pathway stipulated by the carbonate equilibria reactions. Despite these data, the role, if any, of hypogene speleogenesis in the karst of the Cumberland Plateau remains inconclusive. It is very likely that carbonic acid dominates speleogenesis; however, contributions from sulfuric acid may influence our understanding of “inception” and carbon flux within these aquifers.


LITTLE LIMESTONE LAKE: A BEAUTIFUL MARL LAKE IN MANITOBA, CANADA, 2013, Ford Derek

 

Marl lakes are those accumulating fine-grained bottom sediments that include at least 15% CaCO3. They are found worldwide. The most visually attractive, however, have higher proportions of CaCO3, with crystallites precipitating in the water to give it a rich and opaque duck-egg blue colouration. From the literature, such lakes are largely limited to recently glaciated carbonate rock terrains. Most are also shallow, with much or all of the water column being in the photic zone. Little Limestone Lake, (Lat. 53°47’N, Long. 99°19’W in the province of Manitoba) is the finest example that the author has seen. It stands out sharply from neighbouring lakes in summertime colour satellite imagery due to the intensity and uniformity of its colour. The lake occupies a shallow glacial trough scoured in a plain of flat-lying cyclothem dolomites. It is ~12 km long, 1–5 km wide, rarely >7 m deep. Including bordering wetlands, it occupies ~45 % of the area of an elongated, narrow topographic basin. Recharge is through impoverished boreal forest with little soil cover; it discharges chiefly as springs and seeps along and below the shore. Mean annual temperature is ~0 °C, and precipitation is ~475 mm.y1. Previous studies of springs in the surrounding region showed ground waters to be simple bicarbonate composition, with TDS = 230–300 mg.l-1 (Ca 40–60 mg.l-1, Mg 30–40 mg.l-1). Grab sampling at 27 sites throughout the lake found the waters de-gassed to 125–135 mg.l-1, placing them in the mid-range of one hundred marl lakes investigated in more detail in the British Isles. Ca was reduced to 25–30 mg.l-1, while Mg was stable at 30–40 mg.l-1. There were 2–3 mg.l-1 of free CO3 in two fully analysed samples, indicating that plankton photosynthesis might be occurring. However, samples of the bottom marl were predominantly inorganic in their composition. Little Limestone Lake is visually spectacular because it is almost entirely groundwater-fed, with a ratio of recharge area to lake area that is low. It has no large, chemically equilibrated, surface streams entering it. In contrast, the dozens of nearby lakes (similar, larger or smaller in size) are regularly flushed by channelled storm water and, although they also produce some carbonate marl, cannot maintain high densities of crystallites in suspension. Little Limestone Lake was placed under legislated protection as a provincial park in June 2011.


Isotopes of Carbon in a Karst Aquifer of the Cumberland Plateau of Kentucky, USA, 2013, Florea Lee J.

In this study, the concentration and isotopic composition of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) are measured in the karst groundwater of the Otter Creek watershed of the Cumberland Plateau of Kentucky, USA. Comparisons among these data and with the geochemistry of carbonate and gypsum equilibrium reactions reveal that DOC concentration is inversely related to discharge, multiple reaction pathways provide DIC with isotopic enrichment that may be directly related to mineral saturation, and oxidation of reduced sulfur is possible for dissolution. DOC is derived from C3 vegetation with an average δ13C DOC of ‒27‰. DIC in groundwater is derived from both pedogenic CO2  and HCO3 - from dissolved carbonate. At input sites to the karst aquifers DIC concentrations are expectedly low, less than 1 mmol/L, in waters that are undersaturated with respect to calcite. At the output of these karst aquifers DIC concentrations reach 3 mmol/L in waters that are at or above calcite saturation. Values of δ13C DIC range between ‒6.3 and ‒12.4‰ with CO2 degassing and calcite precipitation at some sites obfuscating a simple relationship between δ13C DIC, discharge, and mineral saturation. In addition, concentrations of DIC in sulfur seeps within the watershed range between 2–7 mmol/L with δ13C DIC values in some samples skewed more toward the anticipated value of carbonate bedrock than would be expected from reactions with carbonic acid alone. This suggests that the oxidation of reduced sulfur from shallow oilfield brines liberates bedrock DIC through reactions with sulfuric acid.


Flow characterization in the Santee Cave system in the Chapel Branch Creek watershed, upper coastal plain of South Carolina, USA., 2013, Edwards A. E. , Amatya D. M. , Williams T. M. , Hitchcock D. R. , James A. L.

Karst watersheds possess both diffuse and conduit flow and varying degrees of connectivity between surface and groundwater over spatial scales that result in complex hydrology and contaminant transport processes. The flow regime and surface-groundwater connection must be properly identified and characterized to improve management in karst watersheds with impaired water bodies, such as the Chapel Branch Creek (CBC), South Carolina watershed, which has a long-term sampling station presently listed on an EPA 303(d) list for phosphorous, pH, and nitrogen. Water from the carbonate limestone aquifer of the Santee Cave system and spring seeps in the CBC watershed were monitored to characterize dominant flow type and surface-groundwater connection by measuring dissolved calcium and magnesium, total suspended solids, volatile suspended solids, alkalinity, pH, specific conductance, and stable isotopes (d18O, d2H). These measurements indicated that the conduit flow to Santee Cave spring was recharged predominantly from diffuse flow, with a slow response of surface water infiltration to the conduit. Qualitative dye traces and stage elevation at Santee Cave spring and the adjacent Lake Marion (equal to the elevation of the flooded portion of CBC) also indicated a relation between fluctuating base level of the CBC reservoir-like embayment and elevation of the Santee Limestone karst aquifer at the spring. Methods described herein to characterize the flow type and surface-groundwater connection in the Santee Cave system can be applied not only to watershed management in the Chapel Branch Creek watershed, but also to the greater region where this carbonate limestone aquifer exists. 


‘Looping caves’ versus ‘water table caves’: The role of base-level changes and recharge variations in cave development, 2014, Gabrovšek Franci, Häuselmann Philipp, Audra Philippe

The vertical organisation of karst conduit networks has been the focus of speleogenetic studies for more than a century. The four state model of Ford and Ewers (1978), which still is considered as the most general, relates the geometry of caves to the frequency of permeable fissures. The model suggests that the ‘water table caves’ are common in areas with high fissure frequency, which is often the case in natural settings. However, in Alpine karst systems, water table caves aremore the exception than the rule. Alpine speleogenesis is influenced by high uplift, valley incision rates and irregular recharge. To study the potential role of these processes for speleogenesis in the dimensions of length and depth, we apply a simple mathematical model based on coupling of flow, dissolution and transport.We assume a master conduit draining thewater to the spring at a base level. Incision of the valley triggers evolution of deeper flow pathways,which are initially in a proto-conduit state. Themaster conduit evolves into a canyon following the valley incision,while the deep pathways evolve towards maturity and tend to capture the water fromthe master conduits. Two outcomes are possible: a) deep pathways evolve fast enough to capture all the recharge, leaving the master conduit dry; or b) the canyon reaches the level of deep pathways before these evolve to maturity. We introduce the Loop-to-Canyon Ratio (LCR), which predicts which of the two outcomes is more likely to occur in certain settings. Our model is extended to account for transient flow conditions. In the case of an undulating master conduit, floodwater is stored in troughs after the flood retreat. This water seeps through sub-vertical fractures (‘soutirages’) connecting the master conduitwith the deep pathways. Therefore, the loops evolve also during the dry season, and the LCR is considerably increased. Although themodel is based on several approximations, it leads to some important conclusions for vertical organisation of karst conduit networks and stresses the importance of base-level changes and transient recharge conditions. It therefore gives an explanation of speleogenesis that relies much more on the dynamic nature of water flow than on the static fracture density


Occurrence of diagenetic alunites within karst cavity infill of the Dammam Formation, Ahmadi, Kuwait: an indicator of hydrocarbon gas seeps, 2014, Khalaf F. I. , Abdullah F. A.

Alunite minerals occur as white powdery lumps and laminated coloured deposits within cavity and solution channel infill of the palaeokarst zone of the Upper Eocene Dammam Formation. This formation is exposed in a quarry located on the Al Ahmadi ridge within the Greater Burgan oil field in southern Kuwait. Field occurrences and sedimentary structures of the alunite deposits were described. Collected samples were petrographically described, and their mineralogy and geochemistry were determined using X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence, respectively. Microfabrics were investigated using SEM, revealing that they are primarily composed of fibrous alunogen (hydrous aluminium sulphate) and pseudo-cubical K-alunite (hydrous potassium aluminium sulphate). Their mode of occurrence suggests a hypogenetic origin, where sulphide gases associated with hydrocarbon gases reacted with an Al-rich solution leached from clay minerals and feldspars of the cavity-fill muddy sand sediments. The hydrocarbon gases may have seeped from subsurface petroliferous formations within the Greater Burgan oil field along vertical fractures. This study suggests that these acidic seeps may have played a role in the development of the palaeokarst zone of the Dammam Formation


Occurrence of diagenetic alunites within karst cavity infill of the Dammam Formation, Ahmadi, Kuwait: an indicator of hydrocarbon gas seeps, 2014,

Alunite minerals occur as white powdery lumps  and laminated coloured deposits within cavity and solution  channel infill of the palaeokarst zone of the Upper Eocene  Dammam Formation. This formation is exposed in a quarry  located on the Al Ahmadi ridge within the Greater Burgan oil  field in southern Kuwait. Field occurrences and sedimentary  structures of the alunite deposits were described. Collected  samples were petrographically described, and their mineralogy  and geochemistry were determined using X-ray diffraction  and X-ray fluorescence, respectively. Microfabrics were investigated  using SEM, revealing that they are primarily composed  of fibrous alunogen (hydrous aluminium sulphate) and  pseudo-cubical K-alunite (hydrous potassium aluminium sulphate).  Their mode of occurrence suggests a hypogenetic  origin, where sulphide gases associated with hydrocarbon  gases reacted with an Al-rich solution leached from clay  minerals and feldspars of the cavity-fill muddy sand sediments.  The hydrocarbon gases may have seeped from subsurface  petroliferous formations within the Greater Burgan oil  field along vertical fractures. This study suggests that these  acidic seeps may have played a role in the development of the  palaeokarst zone of the Dammam Formation.


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