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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 dog-tooth crystal; dog-tooth spar is a variety of calcite in the form of sharppointed crystals [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 solution features (Keyword) returned 30 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 1 to 15 of 30
Towards the prediction of subsidence risk upon the Chalk outcrop, 1983, Edmonds Cn,
Surface karst landforms such as solution pipes, swallow holes and dolines are well developed on the Cretaceous chalk outcrop in Britain. The local frequency of these solution features on the chalk can be as high as on any of the best developed karst areas on other British limestones. However, the overall frequency of solution features for major regions of the chalk outcrop is much lower. Solution pipes, swallow holes and dolines often represent an engineering hazard because of metastable conditions, which, if disturbed, can result in ground subsidence. The research described here is aimed at producing a model to predict areas of subsidence risk upon the chalk outcrop. Considerations for the prediction of subsidence risk are outlined with preliminary analysis for two areas

Subsidence hazard prediction for limestone terrains, as applied to the English Cretaceous Chalk, 1987, Edmonds Cn, Green Cp, Higginbottom Ie,
Soluble carbonate rocks often pose a subsidence hazard to engineering and building works, due to the presence of either metastable natural solution features or artificial cavities. There is also an inherent danger to the public and lives have been lost because of unexpected ground collapses. Although site investigation techniques are becoming increasingly elaborate, the detection of hazardous ground conditions associated with limestones is frequently difficult and unreliable. Remedial measures to solve subsidence problems following foundation failure are expensive. It would be advantageous if areas liable to subsidence could be identified in a cost-effective manner in advance of planning and ground investigation. Hazard mapping could then be used by planners when checking the geotechnical suitability of a proposed development or by engineering geologists/geotechnical engineers to design the type of ground investigation best suited to the nature and scale of the potential hazard. Recent research focussed on the English Chalk outcrop has led to the development of two new models to predict the subsidence hazard for both natural solution features and artificial cavities. The predictive models can be used to map the hazard at any given chalkland locality, as a cost-effective precursor to ground investigation. The models, although created for the Chalk outcrop, have important implications for all types of limestone terrain. The basis of the predictive modelling procedure is an analysis of the spatial distribution of nearly 1600 natural solution features, and more than 850 artificial cavity locations, identified from a wide varietyy of sources, including a special appeal organized by CIRIA. A range of geological, hydrogeological and geomorphological factors are evaluated to identify significant relationships with subsidence. These factors are ranked, numerically weighted and incorporated into two quantitative subsidence hazard model formulae. The models can be applied to perform hazard mapping

The application of airborne remote sensing to the detection of solution features in limestone, 1987, Edmonds Cn, Kennie Tjm, Rosenbaum Ms,
Airborne remote sensing techniques have been developed for the detection of collapse and subsidence features in chalk and other limestone rocks. The detection of such features in the early stages of an engineering project is of crucial importance if serious geotechnical problems to building construction and public safety are to be avoided. Particular attention is paid to the potential of airborne multispectral scanner (MSS) and thermal infrared (IR) data as a means of detection. Background information is also provided concerning a project to obtain multitemporal thermal IR data over two test sites on the Cretaceous Chalk outcrop of southern England

Limestone weathering: its engineering significance and a proposed classification scheme, 1988, Fookes Pg, Hawkins Ab,
As a foundation material, limestone differs from other rocks in that voids may be found at almost any depth within the rock mass. They may result directly from solution weathering near the surface and along discontinuities, or as specific cave systems at depths related to present or past ground water levels. The paper reviews the processes involved in the weathering by solution of the crystalline limestones, typically of Palaeozoic age. It offers a tentative, simple engineering classification of the solution features characteristic of limestones; and presents case histories to illustrate some of the problems which may be encountered during construction in areas of limestone bedrock

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FRACTURES AND KARSTIFICATION - THE OIL-BEARING PALEOKARST OF ROSPO MARE (ITALY), 1994, Soudet H. J. , Sorriaux P. , Rolando J. P. ,
The Rospo Mare oil field is located in the Adriatic Sea, 20 km off the Italian coast. The reservoir lies at a depth of 1300 m and consists of a paleokarst oi Oligocene to Miocene age which developed within Cretaceous limestones, now covered by 1200 m of Mio-Pliocene sequences. The oil column is about 140 m 8 high. The karstic nature of the reservoir was identified through vertical, cored drill holes which allowed us to analyse the various solution features and the sedimentary infilling (speleothems, terra rossa, marine clays), as well as their vertical distribution. Erosion morphology at the top of the karst is highly irregular, including in particular paleovalleys as well as many pit-shaped sink holes. Detailed geophysical knowledge of that morphology helped to optimize the development of the field through horizontal drilling. Observations concerning the upper part of the reservoir were compared to a palaeokarst of the same age, outcropping widely onshore, in quarries located nearby. The Rospo Mare paleokarst is an integral part of the ante Miocene paleokarst assemblages of the periphery of the Mediterranean which were formed in tropical conditions. Only the fractures enhanced by meteoric water during the formation of the karat are important for reservoir connectivity. During the formation of the karst there were several phases of dissolution and infilling which modified the geometry of the open fissures and only these fractures play an important role in the reservoir drainage. Vertically we can distinguish three very different zones from top to bottom: at the top the epikarst (0-35 m) in a zone of extension. All the fractures have been enlarged by dissolution but the amount of infilling by clay is substantial. The clays are derived either from alteration of the karat fabric or by deposition during the Miocene transgression; the percolation zone (15-45 m) is characterized by its network of large fractures vertically enlarged by dissolution which corresponds to the relict absorption zones in the paleokarst. These fractures, which usually have a pluridecametric spacing, connect the epi-karst with the former sub-horizontal river system. This zone has been intersected by the horizontal wells during the field development. In this zone there are local, horizontal barriers oi impermeable clay which can block vertical transmissibility. In these low permeability zones the vertical fractures have not been enlarged due to dissolution hence the horizontal barrier; the zone of underground rivers (35-70 m) is characterized by numerous horizontal galleries which housed the subterranean ground water circulation. When these fissures are plurimetric in extent this can lead to gallery collapse with the associated fill by rock fall breccia. This can partly block the river system but always leaves a higher zone of free circulation with high permeabilities of several hundreds of Darcys. These galleries form along the natural fracture system relative to the paleohydraulic gradient which in some cases has been preserved. The zone below permanent ground water level with no circulation of fluids is characterized by dissolution limited to non-connected vugs. Very locally these fissures can be enlarged by tectonic fractures which are non-connected and unimportant for reservoir drainage. Laterally, only the uppermost zone can be resolved by seismic imaging linked with horizontal well data (the wells are located at the top of the percolation zone). The Rospo Mare reservoir shows three distinct horizontal zones: a relict paleokarst plateau with a high index of open connected fractures, (area around the A and B platforms); a zone bordering the plateau (to the north-east of the plateau zone) very karstified but intensely infilled by cap rock shales (Miocene - Oligocene age); a zone of intensely disturbed and irregular karst paleotopography which has been totally infilled by shales. The performance of the production wells is dependent on their position with respect to the three zones noted above and their distance from local irregularities in the karst paleotopography (dolines, paleovalleys)

Potential construction problems for bridge foundations in areas underlain by a complex marble formation in Hong Kong, 1995, Irfan T. Y. ,
Complex and varied geological conditions were encountered during the site investigation for a number of bridge foundations along the proposed route of a trunk road between two new towns in the North West New Territories of Hong Kong. Special care is needed in the construction of the deep foundations for these bridges, particularly in areas underlain by a marble formation which has a varied karstic surface underneath a thick superficial cover and locally contains solution features, includinglarge cavities. Foundation conditions are further complicated by varying lithology, weathering, dyke intrusions and the related alterations and thrust faulting

Mapping karst solution features by the integrated geophysical method, 1995, Rodriguez R.

A hazard map of the Magnesian Limestone in County Durham, 1998, Green M. R. , Forth R. A. , Beaumont D. ,
A large part of County Durham is underlain by carbonate rocks of Permian age, principally Magnesian Limestone. In recent years problems have been encountered in constructing on the Permian carbonates, due to dissolution followed by subsidence and/or sink hole formation. Features believed to be triggers for dissolution of limestone have been mapped and a weighted factor hazard map has been created. The map is based on an extensive review of existing site investigation data including a study of aerial photographs. Records of dissolution features noted by the County Council engineers have been incorporated into the hazard map. The map is intended as a guide for County Council Engineers who are planning site investigations within the area. The preparation of the map and its limitations are discussed

Changes in the isotopic and chemical composition of ground water resulting from a recharge pulse from a sinking stream, 1998, Katz B. G. , Catches J. S. , Bullen T. D. , Michel R. L. ,
The Little River, an ephemeral stream that drains a watershed of approximately ss km(2) in northern Florida, disappears into a series of sinkholes along the Cody Scarp and flows directly into the carbonate Upper Floridan aquifer, the source of water supply in northern Florida. The changes in the geochemistry of ground water caused by a major recharge pulse from the sinking stream were investigated using chemical and isotopic tracers and mass-balance modeling techniques, Nine monitoring wells were installed open to the uppermost part of the aquifer in areas near the sinks where numerous subterranean karst solution features were identified using ground penetrating radar. During high-flow conditions in the Little River, the chemistry of water in some of the monitoring wells changed, reflecting the mixing of river water with ground water. Rapid recharge of river water into some parts of the aquifer during high-flow conditions was indicated by enriched values of delta O-18 and delta deuterium (-1.67 to -3.17 per mil and -9.2 to -15.6 per mil, respectively), elevated concentrations of tannic acid, higher (more radiogenic) Sr-87/Sr-86 ratios, and lower concentrations of Rn-222, silica, and alkalinity compared to low-how conditions. The proportion of river water that mixed with ground water ranged from 0.10 to 0.67 based on binary mixing models using the tracers O-18, deuterium, tannic acid, silica, Rn-222, and Sr-87/Sr-86. On the basis of mass-balance modeling during steady-state how conditions, the dominant processes controlling carbon cycling in ground water are the dissolution of calcite and dolomite in aquifer material, and aerobic degradation of organic matter. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Linear systems analysis in a karst aquifer, 1999, Long A. J. , Derickson R. G. ,
A linear systems analysis applied to ground-water flow is presented as an alternative modeling technique to traditional discretized ground-water models (i.e. finite-difference and finite-element), which require elaborate parameters and boundary conditions. Linear systems analysis has been used extensively for surface-water modeling and to 3 lesser extent for groundwater applications. We present a method for the analysis of an aquifer's response in hydraulic head to recharge that comprises two major components. The first component is to predict the drop in hydraulic head over time if recharge is eliminated. By fitting logarithmic curves to selected short-term hydraulic head recession periods, a long-term recession or 'base head' can be established. The estimation of base head is necessary for the second component of the method, which is the derivation of an impulse response function or transfer function. The transfer function H-as derived by deconvolution of two time series data sets - estimated recharge and the measured response in hydraulic head. An aquifer's response to recharge can be characterized and modeled by using the transfer function. which also establishes the time to peak response. the response time distribution, and the total memory length of the system. The method requires fitting smooth curves to the oscillatory transfer function derived by deconvolution in the Fourier transform domain. The smooth curve is considered to be the physically valid transfer function. In this analysis, curve fitting was more effective than other smoothing techniques commonly used. We applied the method to the karstic Madison aquifer and found that thr time to peak response is less than one month, the system's total memory is about six years, and a logarithmic curve best fits the system response. This method has potential to be useful as 3 predictive tool in aquifer management. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Locating dissolution features in the Chalk, 2000, Matthews M. C. , Clayton C. R. I. , Rigbyjones J. ,
Dissolution features are common in the Chalk and may result in differential or collapse settlement of foundations if undetected. Dissolution pipes and cavities may be easily missed by conventional drilling methods. Probing and geophysical methods of investigation offer an attractive alternative due to their ability to cover large areas rapidly and thus minimize cost. The success of geophysical methods depends on many factors, principally the size of the feature in relation to the depth of burial and the cover material. This paper describes a study of dynamic probing and a number of geophysical methods used to locate dissolution features at two sites with contrasting ground conditions. The first site contained a bowl-shaped doline over a clay-filled dissolution pipe beneath a relatively thin soil cover. At the second site there was a thick, predominantly granular cover material that contained cavities which had migrated from dissolution pipes in the chalk below. Ground truth data from trenching was obtained to provide a basis for evaluating the investigation methods used. The ability of both dynamic probing and geophysical methods to locate and map dissolution features is discussed

Geochemical methods for distinguishing surface water from groundwater in the Knox Aquifer System, 2002, Redwine J. C. , Howell J. R. ,
The Knox Group, a thick package of Cambro-Ordovician rocks, occurs over a wide geographic area in the southeastern US. Characteristics of the Knox Group include strong structural control on porosity and permeability, deep near-vertical solution features, great depth of water circulation, dolomite, as well as limestone, hosting the karstic features, and extreme anistropy and heterogeneity. In this study, geochemical methods were used to distinguish ambient groundwater, in the Knox aquifer from surface water, specifically, water leaking from the Logan Martin resevoir in east-central Alabama. Major cations and anions, as well as stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen, were used to distinguish lake water from groundwater, and to determine mixed waters. Lake water and groundwater components for mixed waters were calculated, and mapped in plan view. A relatively narrow zone of mixing occurs in the vicinity of Logan Martin dam in map view, which is consistent with the hydrogological conceptual model of deep near-vertical solution-widened fractures (fissures), oriented east-norteast and to a lesser extent north-west, in a much less permeable dolomite matrix

Lower Miocene gypsum palaeokarst in the Madrid Basin (central Spain): dissolution diagenesis, morphological relics and karst end-products, 2002, Rodriguezaranda J. P. , Calvo J. P. , Sanzmontero M. E. ,
The Miocene sedimentary record of the Madrid Basin displays several examples of palaeokarstic surfaces sculpted within evaporite formations. One of these palaeokarstic surfaces represents the boundary between two main lithostratigraphic units, the Miocene Lower and Intermediate units of the Madrid Basin. The palaeokarst formed in lacustrine gypsum deposits of Aragonian age and corresponds to a surface palaeokarst (epikarst), further buried by terrigenous deposits of the overlying unit. Karst features are recognized up to 5.5 m beneath the gypsum surface. Exokarst and endokarst zones are distinguished by the spatial distribution of solution features, i.e. karren, dolines, pits, conduits and caves, and collapse breccias, sedimentary fills and alteration of the original gypsum across the karst profiles. The development of the gypsum palaeokarst began after drying out of a saline lake basin, as supported by recognition of root tubes, later converted to cylindrical and funnel-shaped pits, at the top of the karstic profiles. The existence of a shallow water table along with low hydraulic gradients was the main factor controlling the karst evolution, and explains the limited depth reached by both exokarst and endokarst features. Synsedimentary fill of the karst system by roughly laminated to massive clay mudstone with subordinate carbonate and clastic gypsum reflects a punctuated sedimentation regime probably related to episodic heavy rainfalls typical of arid to semi-arid climates. Duration of karstification is of the order of several thousands of years, which is consistent with previous statements that gypsum karstification can develop rapidly over geologically short time 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.


2D and 3D GPR imaging of sinkholes and dissolution features in Jandaíra karst of Fazenda Belém oil field, Potiguar Basin-CE, northeast of Brazil, PhD Thesis, 2005, Xavier Neto, Pedro

In Fazenda Belém oil field (Potiguar Basin, Ceará State, northeast Brazil) occur frequently sinkholes and sudden terrain collapses associated to an unconsolidated sedimentary cap covering the Jandaíra karst. This research was carried out in order to understand the mechanisms of generation of these collapses. The main tool used was Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). This work is developed twofold: one aspect concerns methodology improvements in GPR data processing whilst another aspect concerns the geological study of the Jandaíra karst. This second aspect was strongly supported both by the analysis of outcropping karst structures (in another regions of Potiguar Basin) and by the interpretation of radargrams from the subsurface karst in Fazenda Belém.


It was designed and tested an adequate flux to process GPR data which was adapted from an usual flux to process seismic data. The changes were introduced to take into account important differences between GPR and Reflection Seismic methods, in particular: poor coupling between source and ground, mixed phase of the wavelet, low signal-to-noise ratio, monochannel acquisition, and high influence of wave propagation effects, notably dispersion. High frequency components of the GPR pulse suffer more pronounced effects of attenuation than low frequency components resulting in resolution losses in radargrams. In Fazenda Belém, there is a stronger need of an suitable flux to process GPR data because both the presence of a very high level of aerial events and the complexity of the imaged subsurface karst structures. The key point of the processing flux was an improvement in the correction of the attenuation effects on the GPR pulse based on their influence on the amplitude and phase spectra of GPR signals. In low and moderate losses dielectric media the propagated signal suffers significant changes only in its amplitude spectrum; that is, the phase spectrum of the propagated signal remains practically unaltered for the usual travel time ranges. Based on this fact, it is shown using real data that the judicious application of the well known tools of time gain and spectral balancing can efficiently correct the attenuation effects. The proposed approach can be applied in heterogeneous media and it does not require the precise knowledge of the attenuation parameters of the media. As an additional benefit, the judicious application of spectral balancing promotes a partial deconvolution of the data without changing its phase. In other words, the spectral balancing acts in a similar way to a zero phase deconvolution. In GPR data the resolution increase obtained with spectral balancing is greater than those obtained with spike and predictive deconvolutions.


The evolution of the Jandaíra karst in Potiguar Basin is associated to at least three events of subaerial exposition of the carbonatic plataform during the Turonian, Santonian, and Campanian. In Fazenda Belém region, during the mid Miocene, the Jandaíra karst was covered by continental siliciclastic sediments. These sediments partially filled the void space associated to the dissolution structures and fractures. Therefore, the development of the karst in this region was attenuated in comparison to other places in Potiguar Basin where this karst is exposed. In Fazenda Belém, the generation of sinkholes and terrain collapses are controlled mainly by: (i) the presence of an unconsolidated sedimentary cap which is thick enough to cover completely the karst but with sediment volume lower than the available space associated to the dissolution structures in the karst; (ii) the existence of important structural of SW-NE and NW-SE alignments which promote a localized increase in the hydraulic connectivity allowing the channeling of underground water, thus facilitating the carbonatic dissolution; and (iii) the existence of a hydraulic barrier to the groundwater flow, associated to the Açu-4 Unity.


The terrain collapse mechanisms in Fazenda Belém occur according to the following temporal evolution. The meteoric water infiltrates through the unconsolidated sedimentary cap and promotes its remobilization to the void space associated with the dissolution structures in Jandaíra Formation. This remobilization is initiated at the base of the sedimentary cap where the flow increases its abrasion due to a change from laminar to turbulent flow regime when the underground water flow reaches the open karst structures. The remobilized sediments progressively fill from bottom to top the void karst space. So, the void space is continuously migrated upwards ultimately reaching the surface and causing the sudden observed terrain collapses. This phenomenon is particularly active during the raining season, when the water table – that normally is located in the karst – may be temporarily located in the unconsolidated sedimentary cap.


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