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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 forestry compass is a lightweight, compact instrument to be mounted on a tripod, which functions as a compass and a clinometer, and has a telescopic sight. some types facilitate measurement of horizontal angles as well as bearings [25].?

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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 vulnerability. (Keyword) returned 10 results for the whole karstbase:
Recharge of Phreatic Aquifers in (Semi-)Arid Areas, ,
Groundwater use is of fundamental importance to meet the rapidly expanding urban, industrial and agricultural water requirements in (semi) arid areas. Quantifying the current rate of groundwater recharge and define its variability in space and time are thus prerequesites for efficient groundwater resource managment in these regions, where such resources are often the key to economic development. Attention focuses on recharge of phreatic aquifers, often the most readily-available and affordable source of water in (semi) arid regions. These aquifers are also the most susceptible to contamination, with the recharge rate determining their level of vulnerability. (Semi) arid zone recharge can be highly variable, the greater the aridity, the smaller and potentially more variable the natural flux. Its determination is an iterative process, involving progressive data collection and resource evaluation; there is also a need to use more than one technique to verify results. Direct, localised and indirect recharge mechanisms from a spectrum of known sources are addressed in the framework of recharge from precipitation, intermittant flow and permanent water bodies. The approach taken for each of these reflects the nature and current understanding of the processes involved. The volume also reviews current recharge estimation challenges, outlines recent developments and offers guidance for potential solutions.

Transport and variability of fecal bacteria in carbonate conglomerate aquifers, , Goeppert N. , Goldscheider N.

Clastic sedimentary rocks are generally considered non-karstifiable and thus less vulnerable to pathogen contamination than karst aquifers. However, dissolution phenomena have been observed in clastic carbonate conglomerates of the Subalpine Molasse zone of the northern Alps and other regions of Europe, indicating karstification and high vulnerability, which is currently not considered for source protection zoning. Therefore, a research program was established at the Hochgrat site (Austria/Germany), as a demonstration that karst-like characteristics, flow behavior and high vulnerability to microbial contamination are possible in this type of aquifer. The study included geomorphologic mapping, comparative multi-tracer tests with fluorescent dyes and bacteria-sized fluorescent microspheres, and analyses of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) in spring waters during different seasons. Results demonstrate that (i) flow velocities in carbonate conglomerates are similar as in typical karst aquifers, often exceeding 100 m/h; (ii) microbial contaminants are rapidly transported towards springs; and (iii) the magnitude and seasonal pattern of FIB variability depends on the land use in the spring catchment and its altitude. Different ground water protection strategies than currently applied are consequently required in regions formed by karstified carbonatic clastic rocks, taking into account their high degree of heterogeneity and vulnerability.

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Groundwater protection in a Celtic region: the Irish example, 2000, Misstear Bruce D. , Daly Donal,
One of the key environmental objectives of the proposed EU Water Framework Directive is that Member States must prevent the deterioration of groundwater quality. A national groundwater protection scheme for Ireland has been published recently. This scheme shows certain broad similarities to the groundwater protection policy for England and Wales, incorporating the concepts of groundwater vulnerability, source protection zones and responses to potentially polluting activities. However, the Irish scheme is different in several important respects, reflecting the different hydrogeological conditions and pollution concerns in Ireland. Some of these hydrogeological conditions and pollution concerns are common to the other Celtic regions. A major feature of the Irish scheme is the importance given to subsoil permeability in defining groundwater vulnerability. At present, the subsoil permeability is classified in qualitative terms as high, moderate or low. For the protection scheme to be defensible, it is essential to adopt a systematic and consistent approach for assigning subsoil units to these permeability categories. In mapping groundwater vulnerability, it is also useful to take account of secondary indicators such as groundwater recharge potential, natural and artificial drainage density and vegetation characteristics. Another important issue in Ireland is the protection of groundwater in karst areas, since these areas are especially vulnerable to contamination

Total Organic Carbon (TOC) and magnesium (Mg2): two complementary tracers of residence time in karstic systems, 2003, Batiot C, Emblanch C, Blavoux B,
The Total Organic Carbon (TOC) is an interesting tracer of fast infiltration within karstic systems [3,7]. Regular sampling on several aquifers. from the experimental site of Vaucluse, made it possible to demonstrate the high sensitivity of this tracer compared with other commonly used chemical and isotopic tracers in karstic hydrogeology. The complementarity of magnesium, indicator of the residence time of water within the system, and TOC appears as a relevant tool in order to characterize the behaviour of the aquifer, to differentiate the water types which participate to the karstic flow (fast infiltration, unsaturated zone, saturated zone) and then, to evaluate their vulnerability. (C) 2003 Academie des sciences/Editions scientifiques et medicales Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved

Karst aquifers vulnerability or sensitivity?, 2003, Kovač, Ič, Gregor, Ravbar Nataš, A

The concept of karst aquifer vulnerability mapping is commonly used for the determination of water protection zones and planning of land use in the background of the captured karst sources and wells. Several different methodologies for karst aquifer vulnerability mapping exist and the examination of scientific literature shows considerable variations in the definition of the term vulnerability. The authors suggest the distinction between the terms vulnerability and sensitivity of karst aquifers, since the former includes more information, which are required for efficient protection. The interpretation of the applied terms is founded on the conceptual background of the environmental vulnerability studies, which are declared with the Slovene 1993 Environmental Protection Act.


Surface cover infiltration index: a suggested method to assess infiltration capacity for intrinsic vulnerability in karstic areas in absence of quantitative data, 2004, Ekmekci Mehmet, Tezcan Levent
Karst is a hydrogeological environment of importance not only for its water resources potential but also for its scenic and economic potential, thereby increasing the intensity of human impact. The uniqueness of karst in this regard stems from its high sensitivity and vulnerability to imposed pressures and its distinctive response to these pressures. Therefore, a clear definition and formulation of the concept of intrinsic vulnerability is essential for the design of vulnerability and/or management criteria of the karstic system as a resource. In this regard, the recharge rate, the amount of water passing through the unsaturated zone into the aquifer, is among the principal attributes of the intrinsic vulnerability. Where data and measurements are available for even large areas, recharge can be evaluated quantitatively on the basis of field measurements and the water balance equation. However, particularly for countries suffering from lack of essential data for a quantitative evaluation of the net recharge rate, the recharge can be estimated using some derived parameters such as the so called Surface Cover Infiltration Index proposed in this paper. The DRASTIC method which is modified by using SCI, soil thickness and precipitation, allows the unique hydrological behavior of karst to be considered by redistributing of the intrinsic vulnerability values on the basis of hydrologic connections between neighboring cells. Following a detailed description of the SCI index and the modification of DRASTIC method for karst aquifers, a case study carried out to demonstrate this method is presented in this paper whose objective is to discuss and thus elaborate the suggested methodology. The Olimpos National Park area was selected because the great variation in lithology, landuse and topography. It was found that the relative vulnerability may vary particularly in the neighborhood of the highly vulnerable cells covered by carbonate rocks. The methodology was applied using ARC-GIS software. All spatial features used in computations were classified by the appropriate functions built into the software.

Intrinsic vulnerability assessment of Sette Comuni Plateau aquifer (Veneto Region, Italy), 2007, Cucchi Franco, Franceschini Giuliana, Zini Luca, Aurighi Marina
Maps illustrating the different degrees of vulnerability within a given area are integral to environmental protection and management policies. The assessment of the intrinsic vulnerability of karst areas is difficult since the type and stage of karst development and the related underground discharge behavior are difficult to determine and quantify. Geographic Information Systems techniques are applied to the evaluation of the vulnerability of an aquifer in the alpine karst area of the Sette Comuni Plateau, in the Veneto Region of northern Italy. The water resources of the studied aquifer are of particular importance to the local communities. This aquifer must therefore be protected from both inappropriate use as well as possible pollution. The SINTACS and SINTACS PRO KARST vulnerability assessment methods have been utilized here to create the vulnerability map. SINTACS PRO KARST is an adaptation of the parametric managerial model (SINTACS) to karst hydrostructures. The vulnerability map reveals vast zones (81% of the analyzed areas) with a high degree of vulnerability. The presence of well-developed karst structures in these highly vulnerable areas facilitate water percolation, thereby enhancing the groundwater vulnerability risk. Only 1.5 of the studied aquifer have extremely high-vulnerability levels, however these areas include all of the major springs utilized for human consumption. This vulnerability map of the Sette Comuni Plateau aquifer is an indispensable tool for both the effective management of water resources and as support to environmental planning in the Sette Comuni Plateau area.

Karst morphology and groundwater vulnerability of high alpine karst plateaus, 2009, Plan L. , Decker K. , Faber R. , Wagreich M. , Grasemann B.

High alpine karst plateaus are recharge areas for major drinking water resources in the Alps and many other regions. Well-established methods for the vulnerability mapping of groundwater to contamination have not been applied to such areas yet. The paper characterises this karst type and shows that two common vulnerability assessment methods (COP and PI) classify most of the areas with high vulnerability classes. In the test site on the Hochschwab plateau (Northern Calcareous Alps, Austria), overlying layers are mostly absent, not protective or even enhance point recharge, where they have aquiclude character. The COP method classifies 82% of the area as highly or extremely vulnerable. The resulting maps are reasonable, but do not differentiate vulnerabilities to the extent that the results can be used for protective measures. An extension for the upper end of the vulnerability scale is presented that allows identifying ultra vulnerable areas. The proposed enhancement of the conventional approach points out that infiltration conditions are of key importance for vulnerability. The method accounts for karst genetical and hydrologic processes using qualitative and quantitative properties of karst depressions and sinking streams including parameters calculated from digital elevations models. The method is tested on the Hochschwab plateau where 1.7% of the area is delineated as ultra vulnerable. This differentiation could not be reached by the COP and PI methods. The resulting vulnerability map highlights spots of maximum vulnerability and the combination with a hazard map enables protective measures for a manageable area and number of sites.


Variability of groundwater flow and transport processes in karst under different hydrologic conditions, 2013, Ravbar, Nataša

Significance of hydrological variability in karst is presented, which also discusses factors inducing such variability and consequences it may cause. Groundwater flow in karst aquifers is often characterized by strong variability of flow dynamics in response to different hydrologic conditions within a short time period. Consequently, water table fluctuations are often in the order of tens of meters, differences in flow velocities between low- and high-flow conditions can reach ten or even more times. In dependence to respective hydrologic conditions groundwater flow also results in variations of flow directions, and thus in contribution of different parts of the aquifer to a particular spring. The described hydrological variability has many implications for contaminant transport, groundwater availability and vulnerability. Groundwater level rising reduces thickness of the unsaturated zone and decreases protectiveness of the overlying layers. Higher water flow velocities reduce underground retention. Due to more turbulent flow, transport and remobilization of solute and insoluble matter is more effective. During high-flow conditions there is usually more surface flow and hence more concentrated infiltration underground. Particularly in karst systems that show very high hydrologic variability, this should be considered to correctly characterize, understand or predict the aquifers’ hydrological behaviour and to prepare proper protection strategies.


Hydrogeological Characteristics of Carbonate Formations of the Cuddapah Basin, India, 2014, Farooq Ahmad Dar

Karst hydrogeology is an important field of earth sciences as the aquifers in carbonate formations represent vital resource of groundwater that feeds a large part of the world population particularly in semi-arid climates. These unique aquifers posses peculiar characteristics developed by dissolutional activities of water. Karst aquifers possess a typical hydrogeological setup from surface to subsurface. The aquifers are governed by slow groundwater flow in matrix porosity, a medium to fast flow in fractures and rapid flow in conduits and channels. This large variability in their properties makes the prediction and modeling of flow and transport very cumbersome and data demanding. The aquifers are vulnerable to contamination as the pollutants reach the aquifer very fast with little or no attenuation. The geomorphological and hydrogeological properties in these aquifers demand specific techniques for their study. The carbonate aquifers of the semi-arid Cuddapah basin were characterized based on geomorphological, hydrogeological and hydrochemical investigations. All the formations are highly karstified possessing one of the longest and deepest caves of India and few springs along with unique surface features. Karstification is still in progress but at deeper levels indicated by growing speleothems of different architectural size. Model of karstification indicates that lowering of base level of erosion resulted in the dissolution of deeper parts of the limestone as represented by paleo-phreatic conduits in the region. Moist conditions of the past were responsible for the karst development which has been minimized due to the onset of monsoon conditions. Karst has developed at various elevations representing the past base levels in the region.

The recharge processes in these aquifers are complex due to climatic and karst specificities. Point recharge is the major contributor which enters the aquifer as allogenic water. It replenishes the groundwater very rapidly. Diffuse recharge travels through soil and epikarst zone. Average annual recharge of semi-arid Narji limestone aquifer is 29% of the rainfall which occurs during 5-7 rain events in the year.

The hydrogeochemical characteristic of karst aquifers is quite varaible. A significant difference is observed in hydrochemistry. High concentrations of SO42-, Cl-, NO3- suggests the anthropogenic source particularly from agriculture. Local Meteoric Water Line of δ2H and δ18O isotopes of rain and groundwater shows a slope of 7.02. Groundwater isotope data shows more depletion in heavy isotopes -a result of high evaporation of the area. Groundwater samples show a trend with a slope of 4 and 3.1 for δ2H and δ18O respectively. Groundwater during dry months gets more fractionated due to higher temperature and little rainfall. The irrigated water becomes more enriched and then recharges the aquifer as depleted irrigation return flow. The isotopes show large variation in spring water. Few springs are diffuse or mixed type and not purely of conduit type in the area. Tracer results indicate that the tracer output at the sampling location depends on the hydrogeological setup and the nature of karstification.

The study has significantly dealt with in disclosing the typical characteristics of such aquifer systems and bringing out a reliable as well as detailed assessment of various recharges to the system. The groundwater chemistry has been elaborated to establish the nature of possible hydrochemical processes responsible for water chemistry variation in semi-arid karst aquifer. Such study has thrown light on the aquifers that are on one hand very important from social and strategic point of view and on the hand were left unattended from the detailed scientific studies.


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