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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. ...

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That terrain is an area with some specific characteristics. reserved for surficial features only. contrast with terrane.?

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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 salinity (Keyword) returned 101 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 101
THE EFFECT OF ZONES OF HIGH-POROSITY AND PERMEABILITY ON THE CONFIGURATION OF THE SALINE FRESH-WATER MIXING ZONE, 1995, Wicks C. M. , Herman J. S. ,
Coastal karst aquifers have highly variable distributions of porosity and permeability. The ability to assess the volume of aquifer occupied by freshwater in coastal karst aquifers is limited by both the lack of understanding of the effect that regions of cavernous porosity and permeability have on the configuration of the saline-freshwater mixing zone and by the limited knowledge of the location of the cavernous regions. A dual-density ground-water flow and solute transport model was used to explore the effect that the depth, lateral extent, and proximity to the coast of zones of high porosity and permeability has on the configuration of the saline-freshwater mixing zone. These aquifer heterogeneities tend to shift the mixing zone upward relative to the position it would have in aquifers with homogeneous porosity and permeability, Zones of high porosity and permeability located at positions shallow in the aquifer or nearer to the coast had the greatest effect. In fact, for the conditions modeled, position was more important in modifying the configuration of the mixing zone than was changing the ratio of the intrinsic permeability of the cavernous zone to the aquifer matrix from 100 to 1000. Modeling results show that ground-water flow is concentrated into the zones of high porosity and permeability and that flow configuration results in steep salinity gradients with depth, Field observations of the location of the halocline and of step changes in ground-water composition coincident with regions of cavernous porosity in coastal karst aquifers corroborate the model results, In a coastal setting with saline water intruding into an aquifer, the effect of cavernous porosity and associated high permeability is to decrease the volume of aquifer in which freshwater occurs by a greater degree than would occur in an aquifer with homogeneous porosity and permeability

Grottes hydrothermales dans le nord-ouest de la Namibie : splogense et implications dans le dveloppement des karsts en climat aride, 1996, Martini J. E. J. , Marais J. C. E.
The authors investigated ten caves in Western Namibia, which is characterised by a semi- to hyper-arid climate. They seem to have formed in the past under hydrothermal conditions, which are evidenced by circular embayments, ceiling alveoles, avens, deposits of dog-tooth calcite and barite. The latter has been observed in one cave only. Fluid inclusions in calcite and barite indicate very low salinity and temperatures generally below + 70? C. It is proposed that the caves formed by mixing of hydrothermal solutions of deep origin with more surficial ground water in the vicinity of karst springs. Such ground water circulation patterns, close to the water-table, are suggested in several cases by the horizontal extension in caves, forming definite levels of passage networks cutting across the country rock stratigraphy. The alveolar avens developed upwards from these horizontal passages and seem to have formed subaerally by water evaporation from warm pools at the bottom, with condensation and corrosion above, against cooler rock. The suggested genetic processes are in agreement with models proposed by other authors. It is suggested that in arid climates, conditions are more favourable for development of this type of deep karst water circulation than under wetter conditions. It could possibly even be the predominant process of speleogenesis in very arid conditions. By extension, this concept - mixing of water of deep origin, not necessarily significantly hydrothermal with surficial ground water - could explain the peculiar nature of most of the Namibian caves. The latter are typically characterised by the development of very large chambers and phreatic networks, but with restricted extension and not forming well integrated systems.

Geochemistry of submarine warm springs in the limestone cavern of Grotta Azzurra, Capo Palinuro, Italy: evidence for mixing-zone dolomitisation, 1996, Stuben Doris, Sedwick Peter, Colantoni Paolo,
Subtidal springs in and around the submarine limestone cavern of Grotta Azzurra, at Capo Palinuro, Italy, discharge fluids which are warm (-, Na and Mg2, and enriched in Si, alkalinity, Ca2, Sr2, Mn, NH4, PO43- and H2S, relative to surrounding seawater. The compositions of the warm fluid samples collected in and around the cave define mixing lines which suggest dilution of a single thermal fluid (T >= 23[deg]C) by cool overlying seawater (T= 17-17.6[deg]C). The chemical data suggest that the proposed thermal fluid contains two components, one derived from seawater ( 10%). Excess Si, alkalinity, Ca2, Sr2 and Mn relative to seawater are likely derived from the groundwater component or dissolution/hydrothermal alteration of the host rocks. Magnesium has been removed from the seawater component in exchange for Ca2, due to dolomitisation of the limestone and/or hydrothermal alteration reactions. Saturation-state calculations suggest that the vented fluids are near saturation with respect to calcite and supersaturated with respect to dolomite. This and the presence of dolomite in the host rocks and cave-floor sediments suggest that 'mixing-zone' dolomitisation of the limestones is occurring, perhaps kinetically assisted by elevated temperature and/or bacterial mediation in the reducing subseafloor zone. One possible 'end-member' condition is considered for the thermal fluid -- zero-Mg -- which suggests an end-member temperature of 50.5[deg]C and a fluid composition derived from ~ 38% seawater and ~ 62% groundwater. The heat source for the circulating fluids is uncertain, but may involve warm underlying igneous rocks or heating via the geothermal gradient. A continuous in-situ record of vent-fluid temperature, salinity, pH and O2 concentration collected within the cavern is consistent with our interpretation of the fluid origin, and suggests that tidal forcing affects circulation and venting of the warm fluids

Sea water intrusion in coastal karst springs: Example of the Blaz spring (Croatia), 1997, Bonacci O, Rojebonacci T,
Brackish karst springs are common along every karstic sea shore consisting of limestone and dolomite. On the Croatian sea coast there are more than 300 permanent or temporary brackish karst springs. From the standpoint of water supply, the problem of karst spring water salinization is quite significant because large quantities of high quality fresh water are not available to be used either as drinking water or for industrial and agricultural purposes. The salinity of brackish karst springs situated along the Adriatic coast varies from 10 to more than 18 000 mg Cl 1(-1) with an unfavourable distribution during the year. In the wet winter period, when water quantities in the region are abundant, the salinity is exceedingly low. In the warm and dry summer period the chloride concentration is high. At that season, when a shortage of flesh water in the region occurs, especially due to tourism, karst spring water is so salty that it cannot be used at all. The mechanism of sea water intrusion is relatively well known but the problem of karst springs desalinization has not been solved in practice. The Ghyben-Herzberg relationship is formulated exclusively on the basis of hydrostatic equilibrium, and its use under dynamic conditions is limited. The dynamics of fresh water circulation towards karst spring exits are very specific for each individual spring. Using numerous hydrological, hydrometric, hydrogeological and speleological investigations of the brackish Blaz (Croatia) karst spring, this paper gives the plausible position and dimensions of the main karst conduits through which sea water penetrates into the spring exit

Groundwater circulation and geochemistry of a karstified bank-marginal fracture system, South Andros Island, Bahamas, 1997, Whitaker Fiona F. , Smart Peter L. ,
On the east coast of South Andros Island, Bahamas, a major bank-marginal fracture system characterised by vertically extensive cavern systems (blue holes) is developed sub-parallel to the steep-sided deep-water re-entrant of the Tongue of the Ocean. In addition to providing a discharge route for meteoric, mixed and geochemically evolved saline groundwaters, a strong local circulation occurs along the fracture system. This generates enhanced vertical mixing within voids of the fracture system, evidenced by the increasing mixing zone thickness, and the thinning and increasing salinity of brackish lens waters from north to south along the fracture system. Furthermore, tidally driven pumping of groundwaters occurs between the fracture and adjacent carbonate aquifer affecting a zone up to 200 m either side of the fracture.The resultant mixing of groundwaters of contrasting salinity and within and along the fracture system and with the surrounding aquifer waters, together with bacterial oxidation of organic matter, generates significant potential for locally enhanced diagenesis. Undersaturation with respect to calcite within the fresh (or brackish)-salt water mixing zone is observed in the fracture system and predicted in the adjacent aquifer, while mixing between the brackish fracture lens and surrounding high fresh waters causes dissolution of aragonite but not calcite. The latter gives rise to considerable secondary porosity development, because active tidal pumping ensures continued renewal of dissolutional potential. This is evidenced by calcium and strontium enrichment in the brackish lens which indicates porosity generation by aragonite dissolution at a maximum rate of 0.35% ka-1, up to twice the average estimated for the fresh water lens. In contrast saline groundwaters are depleted in calcium relative to open ocean waters suggesting the formation of calcite cements.The development of a major laterally continuous cavernous fracture zone along the margin of the carbonate platform permits enhanced groundwater flow and mixing which may result in generation of a diagenetic `halo' at a scale larger than that generally recognised around syn-sedimentary fractures in fossil carbonates. This may be characterised by increased secondary porosity where a relative fall in sea-level results in exposure and formation of a meteoric groundwater system, or cementation by `marine' calcite both below this meteoric system, and where the bank surface is flooded by seawater

Contribution to knowledge of gypsum karstology, PhD thesis, 1998, Calaforra Chordi, J. M.

The objective of this study was not to establish a definitive judgement regarding a topic for which very little previous information was available, but rather to open new routes for research into karst by means of a particularized analysis of some of the factors involved in the speleogenesis of gypsiferous materials. The main obstacle to the attainment of this goal has been the scientific community's lack of interest in karst in gypsum, particularly in our country, until the nineteen eighties. To overcome this neglect it was decided, in my opinion quite correctly, to extend the bounds of the study as far as possible, so that the information obtained from the contrast found between the most important worldwide zones of karst in gypsum could be applied to the gypsiferous karst in our country, and in particular, to the most significant, the karst in gypsum of Sorbas.
This is the justification for the numerous references in the text to the gypsiferous karst and cavities in gypsum that are most relevant in Spain (Sorbas, Gobantes, Vallada, Archidona, Estremera, Baena, the Ebro Basin, Estella, Beuda, Borreda, etc.) and also to the best-known gypsiferous karsts worldwide (Podolia, Secchia, Venna del Gesso Romagnolo, Sicily and New Mexico). By means of these comparisons, the initial lack of information has been overcome.
The study is based on three central tenets, which are interrelated and make up the first three chapters of this report. The first consideration was to attempt to characterize the particular typology of gypsiferous karst from the geological (both stratigraphic and structural) point of view. This chapter also provides an introduction to each of the gypsiferous karsts examined. The second chapter is dedicated to the geomorphology of gypsiferous karst, under both superficial and subterranean aspects. It is important to note that the study of a gypsiferous karst from the speleological point of view is something that may seem somewhat unusual; however, this is one of the points of principle of this paper, the attempt to recover the true meaning of a word that has historically been unfairly condemned by a large part of the Spanish scientific community. Thirdly, a detailed study has been made of the hydrochemistry of the most important gypsiferous karsts in our region, together with the presentation of a specific analytical methodology for the treatment of the hydrochemical data applicable to the gypsiferous karst.
Geological characterization of gypsum karst
In the characterization of karst in gypsum, the intention was to cover virtually all the possibilities from the stratigraphic and structural standpoints. Thus, there is a description of widely varying gypsiferous karsts, made up of Triassic to Miocene materials, some with a complex tectonic configuration and others hardly affected by folding. The gypsiferous karsts described, and their most significant geological characteristics, are as follows:
Karst in gypsum at Sorbas (Almeria): composed of Miocene gypsiferous levels with the essential characteristic of very continuous marly interstrata between the layers of gypsum, which decisively affect the speleogenesis of the area. The gypsum layers have an average thickness of about 10 m and, together with the fracturing in the zone, determine the development of the gypsiferous cavities. These are mainly selenitic gypsum - occasionally with a crystal size of over 2 m - and their texture also has a geomorphologic and hydrogeologic influence. This area is little affected by folding and so the tectonic influence of speleogenesis is reduced to the configuration of the fracturing.
The Triassic of Antequera (Malaga): this is, fundamentally, the gypsiferous outcrop at Gobantes-Meliones, originating in the Triassic and located within the well-known "Trias" of Antequera. It is made up of very chaotic gypsiferous materials containing a large quantity of heterometric blocks of varied composition; the formation may be defined as a Miocene olitostromic gypsiferous breccia that is affected by important diapiric phenomena. The presence of hypersoluble salts at depth is significant in the modification of the hydrochemical characteristics of the water and in the speleogenetic development of the karst.
The Triassic of Vallada (Valencia): Triassic materials outcrop in the Vallada area; these mainly correspond to the K5 and K4 formations of the Valencia Group, massive gypsum and gypsiferous clays. The influence of dolomitic intercalations in the sequence is crucial to the speleogenesis of the area and this, together with intense tectonic activity, has led to the development in this sector of the deepest gypsiferous cavity in the world: the "Tunel dels Sumidors". As in the above case, the presence of hypersoluble salts at depth and the varied lithology influence the variations in the hydrodynamics and hydrochemistry of the gypsiferous aquifer.
Other Spanish gypsum karsts: this heading covers a group of gypsiferous areas and cavities of significant interest from the speleogenetic standpoint. They include the area of Estremera (Madrid), with Miocene gypsiferous clays and massive gypsum arranged along a large horizontal layer; this has produced the development of the only gypsiferous cavity in Spain with maze configuration, the Pedro Fernandez cave. The study of this cave has important hydrogeological implications with respect to speleogenesis in gypsum in phreatic conditions. The Baena (Cordoba) sector, in terms of its lithology, is comparable to the "Trias de Antequera". Here, the cavities developed in gypsiferous conglomerates, following structural discontinuities have enabled contact between carbonate and gypsiferous levels, and so we may speak of a mixed karstification: a karst in calcareous rocks and gypsum. The karst of Archidona (Malaga) is similar to that of the Gobantes-Meliones group and is significant because of the geomorphologic evolution of the karst, which is related to the diapiric ascent of the area and the formation of karstic ravines. The karst in the Miocene and Oligocene gypsum of the Ebro Basin (Zaragoza), has been taken as a characteristic example of a gypsiferous karst developed under an alluvial cover, with the corresponding geomorphological implications in the evolution of the surface landforms. In the gypsiferous area of Borreda (Barcelona), the presence of anhydritic levels in the sequence might have influenced the speleogenesis of its cavities. The cavity of La Mosquera, in Beuda (Girona), developed in massive Paleogene gypsum. This is the only Spanish example of a phreatic gypsiferous cavity developed in saccaroid gypsum, which is related to the particular subterranean morphology discovered. Finally, this group includes other Spanish gypsiferous outcrops visited during the preparation of this report, the references to which may be found in the relevant chapters.
Karst in gypsum in Europe and America: In order to complete the study of karst in gypsum, and with the idea of using all the available data on the karstology of gypsiferous materials for comparative studies of data for our country, a complementary activity was to define the most significant geological characteristics of the most important gypsiferous karsts in the world. An outstanding example is the gypsiferous karst at Podolia (Ukraine), developed in microcrystalline Miocene gypsum which has undergone block tectonics related to the collapse of the Precarpatic foredeep. This gypsum provides interesting data on speleogenesis in gypsiferous materials, as its evolution is related to the confining of the only gypsiferous stratum (of 10 to 20 m depth) producing interconnected labyrinthine galleries of over 100 km in length. Another well-known karst in gypsum is the one located at "Venna del Gesso Romagnolo" (Italy), in the Bologna region, with a lithology that is very similar to that which developed at Sorbas, but with the difference that it underwent more intense tectonics with folding and fracturing of the Tertiary sediments of the Po basin. In the same Italian province, in "L'alta Val di Sec-chia", there are outcrops of karstified Triassic materials which correspond to the formation of Burano, composed of gypsum and anhydrite with hypersoluble salts at depth and very notable diapiric phenomena. The study of this area has been used for a comparative analysis - geomorphology and hydrogeochemistry - with the Spanish gypsiferous karsts developed in Triassic levels. The third Italian gypsiferous karst to be considered is the one developed in Sicily, which has extensive Messinian outcrops of microcrystalline and selenitic gypsum as well as a great variety of lithologic types within the gypsiferous sequence, which we term the "gessoso solfifera" sequence. This gypsiferous karst is especially interesting from the geomorphologic standpoint due to the great quantity and variety of present superficial karstic forms. This has also served as a guide for the study of Spanish gypsiferous karsts. Finally, considering the relation between climatology and the development of karstic forms, we have also studied the karst in gypsum in New Mexico, where there is an extensive outcrop of Permian gypsum, both micro and macrocrystalline, situated on a large platform almost unaffected by deformation, and where the conditions of aridity are very similar to those found in the gypsiferous karst of Sorbas.
Geomorphological characterization of gypsum karst
From the geomorphological standpoint, the intention is to give an overview of the great variety of karstic forms developed in gypsum, traditionally considered less important than those developed in carbonate areas. This report shows this is not the case.
The theory of Convergence of Forms has been shown to be an efficient tool for the study of the morphology of karst in gypsum. Here, its principles have been used to provide genetic explanations for various gypsiferous forms derived from carbonate studies, and for the reverse case. In fact, studying a karst in gypsum is like having available a geomorphological laboratory where not only are the processes faster but they are also applicable to the karstology of carbonate rocks.
A large number of minor karstic forms (Karren) have been identified. The most important factors conditioning their formation are the texture of the rock, climatology and the presence of overlying deposits. The first, particularly, is largely responsible for determining the abundance of certain forms with respect to others. Thus, Rillenkarren, Trittkarren and small "kamenitzas" are more frequently found in microcrystalline and sandstone gypsum (for example, karst in gypsum in Sicily (Italy) and Va-llada (Valencia, Spain). Others seem to be more exclusive to selenitic gypsum, such as exfoliation microkarren, or are closely related to the climatology of the area (Spitzkarren develops from the alteration of gypsum in semiarid conditions). Others are related either to the presence of developed soil cover (Rundkarren, using Convergence of Forms), or to their specific situation (candelas and Wallkarren around dolines and sinkholes) or to the microtexture of the gypsum and the orientation of the 010 and 111 crystalline planes and twinning planes for the development of nanokarren.
The tumuli are the most peculiar forms of the Sorbas karst in gypsum, though they have also been identified in other gypsiferous karsts (Bolonia, New Mexico, Vallada, etc.). These are subcircular domes of the most superficial layer of the gypsum. Their formation has been related to processes of precipitation-solution and of capillary movement through the gypsiferous matrix. Their extensive development is largely determined by the climatology of the area and by the structural organization. It is therefore clear that the best examples are found in the karst of Sorbas due to the abrupt changes in temperature and humidity that occur in a semiarid climate, and because of the horizontality of the gypsiferous sequence.
Karst in gypsum and its larger exokarstic forms, apart from being climatically determined, also depend on the structural state and lithological determinants of the area. Thus, it is possible to differentiate between gypsiferous karsts where the lithology, together with erosive breakup, is more important (Sorbas and New Mexico) and others where confining hydraulic conditions persist (Estremera and Podolia). In other cases, tectonics has played a significant modelling role, and there is a clear possibility of an inversion of the relief (Bolonia or Sicily) or of the effect of diapiric processes (Secchia, Vallada, Antequera). The typological diversity of the dolines is obviously also related to these premisses. Another example is the relation existing between carbonate precipitation and gypsum solution, as evidenced in contrasting examples (Bolonia versus Sorbas).
Subterranean karstic forms have been examined from a double perspective: the morphology of the passages and the mineralization within the cavities. With respect to the former, a noteworthy example is the interstratification karst of Sorbas, where subterranean channels have developed during two well-differentiated phases, the phreatic and the vadose. The first was responsible for the formation of the small proto-galleries, currently relicts that are observable as false dome channels in the bottom of the gypsiferous strata. The second, with an erosive character, enabled the breakup of the marly interstrata and the formation of the large galleries found today. Other aspects considered include the speleogenetic influence of the presence of calcareous intercalations in the gypsiferous sequence (Vallada karst), gypsiferous agglomerates (Baena karst), anhydrite (Rotgers karst), suffusion processes (Sorbas karst) and the importance of condensation.
Spelothemes in gypsiferous cavities have been approached with special concern for gypsiferous speleothemes, in particular those which, due to their genetic peculiarity or to the lack of previous knowledge about them, are most significant. Among these are gypsum balls, with phenomena of solution, detritic filling, capillarity and evaporation; gypsum hole stalagmites, where the precipitation-solution of the gypsum controlling the formation of the central orifice is related to the previous deposit of carbonate speleothemes; gypsum trays that mark the levels of maximum evaporation; gypsum dust, determined by abrupt changes in temperature and humidity in areas near the exterior of gypsiferous cavities. All of these are characteristic of, and practically exclusive to, gypsiferous karsts in semiarid ztenes such as Sorbas and New Mexico.
Karst in gypsum has been morphologically classified with reference to the previously-mentioned criteria: the presence and typology of epigean karstic forms, both macro and microform; the typology of hypogean karstic forms (passages) and the type of speleothemes within the cavities (gypsiferous or carbonate). All these variables are clearly influenced by climatology, and so a study of the geomorphology of gypsiferous karst is seen to be an efficient tool for the analysis of the paleoclimatology of an area.
Hydrogeochemical characterization of gypsum karst
The hydrogeochemical characterization of karst in gypsum was approached in two stages. The first one was intended to establish themodels to be applied to the hydrochemistry approach, while the second provided various examples of hydrochemical studies carried out in gypsiferous karsts.
The theoretical framework which has been shown to be most accurate with respect to the formulation of chemical equilibria in water related to gypsiferous karst is the Virial Theory and the Pitzer equations.
For this study, we used a simplification of these equations as far as the second virial coefficient by means of a simple, polynomial variation to obtain the equilibrium state of the water with respect to the gypsum, for an ionic strength value greater than 0.1 m and temperatures of between 0.5 and 40 "C. This was the case of the gypsiferous karsts found to be related to hypersaline water at depth (Vallada, Gobantes-Meliones, Poiano). In the remaining situations, where the ionic strength was below 0.1 m, only the theory of ionic matching was used.
The hydrochemical study of the gypsiferous karst of Gobantes-Meliones (Malaga) led to the hypothesis of the possible influence of hypersaline water on karstification in gypsum. Using theoretical examples of the mixing of water derived both from hypersaline water and from water related only to the gypsiferous karst, it was shown that above a percentage content of 0.1:0.9 of saline and sulphated water, the mixture is subsaturated with respect to gypsum and other minerals. On reaching percentages greater than 0.5:0.5, values of oversaturation are again found. This could mean that the contact between sulphated and hypersaline water is a karstification zone in gypsum at depth.
In the gypsiferous karst at Salinas-Fuente Camacho (Granada), a study has been made of the hydrochemical influence of dolomitic levels in the sequence by means of the analysis of the hydrochemical routes between hydraulically-connected points. The generic case of mass transfer in this gypsiferous aquifer implies a precipitation of calcite which is in-congruent with dolomitic solution, proving that the process of dedolomitization in gypsiferous aquifers with an abundance of dolomitic rocks can be an effective process. In situations of high salinity, with contributions of hypersaline water, the process may be inverted, such as occurs in coastal carbonate aquifers influenced by the fresh-saltwater interface.
The gypsiferous aquifer of Sorbas-Tabernas (Almeria) provides the best case of karstification in gypsum in Spain; the hydrochemical study carried out has been used as an example of karstification in gypsum completely uninfluenced by sodium-chloride facies. It is shown, from the hydrochemical similarities between the different sectors, that the uniformity of the flow from the system main spring (Los Molinos) responds to the delayed hydraulic input through the overlying post-evaporitic materials and to the pelitic intercalations of the gypsiferous sequence. The aquifer is partially semiconfined, a situation which is comparable to the onset of the karstification stage, while the area of the Sorbas karst, strictly speaking, bears no hydriaulic relation to the rest of the system, behaving like a free aquifer intrinsically related to the epikarstic zone. This fact is demonstrated by the hydrochemical differences between the main spring and those related to gypsiferous cavities.
Apart from the general study of the Sorbas-Tabemas aquifer, a study was also made of the hydrochemical-time variations within cavities, and in particular within the Cueva del Agua, where it is possible to observe particular processes affecting karstification in gypsum, such as the precipitation of carbonates on the floor of the cavity which produce, in that area, a greater solution of gypsum (the phenomenon of hyperkarstification). Furthermore, the temporal evolution of the chemistry of the cavity, along 800 m of subterranean flow through its interior, shows the existence of inertial sectors where the variations were less abrupt. Only in the case of particular sectors, related to sporadic hydriaulic contributions or to the proximity to points of access., was a notable seasonal influence detected.
A similar hydrochemical study was carried out in the karst of Vallada (Valencia), along the cavity of the Tunel dels Sumidors. The chemistry here was compared with that of the springs of Brolladors (whose water rapidly infiltrates into the cavity) and Saraella (a saline resurgence of the whole system). Unexpected increases in the ionic content of certain salts (sulphates and chlorides) were detected during periods of increased flow; these were interpreted as the effect of the recharging of the Saraella spring arising from the immediate contribution of rapidly circulating sulfated water coming from the cavity and the subsequent mobilization of interstitial water with an ionic content higher than the characteristic level of the spring.
We present as a hypothesis the idea that, in addition to the hydrogeochemical processes described that can affect the evolution of a gypsiferous karst, the processes of sulphate reduction also influence karstification in gypsum, at least during the earliest stages. Some examples such as the presence of gypsum with abundant organic matter reprecipitated into phreatic channels (Sorbas) or veins of sulphur related to gypsiferous karsts (Podolia, Sicily) lend support to this idea.
Studies of the solution-erosion of gypsum have been performed by physical methods (tablets and M.E.M.) showing that the solution-erosion of gypsum within cavities is minimal (0.03 mm/ year) compared to that existing in the exterior (0.3 mm/year). The speleogenetic effect of condensation within the cavities has also been shown, with solution-erosion rates of 0.005 mm/year to be like the equivalent surface lowering. These data correspond to the karst in gypsum at Sorbas, where, additionally, a study about the time variation of the solution-erosion was carried out. It was found that the process is not continuous but clearly sporadic. During periods of torrential rain, the solution-erosion ranges from a weight loss of 400 mg/cm2/year on the surface of the karst to 75 mg/cm2/year inside the caves, while during the rest of the year the weight loss was barely 1 mg/cm2/year. The physical methods were compared with the results obtained from chemical methods, and it was found that, in general, higher values were obtained with the former (10-20% higher when weighted for the rainfall during the measuring periods). Thus it is reasonable to consider that the erosive process is more marked than was at first assumed.
In total, three cavity tracing experiments were carried out, all with fluoresceine, two of them in Cueva del Agua in Sorbas (during periods of high and low water levels) and the other in Tunel dels Sumidors in Vallada. At the first site, the comparison of the two tracing tests reveals a differential hydrodynamic behaviour of the cavity for the two contrasting situations; periods of high water input and periods of low rainfall. This behaviour is characteristic of well developed karstic aquifers, where the hydrodynamic effect of the circulation of water through small channels or, in this case, through the gypsiferous matrix and interbedded marly layers, seems to be more important under conditions of low hydraulic input than when rainfall is abundant. The two situations tested seem to confirm that the Cueva del Agua system, an epikarstic aquifer, which is representative of karstification in gypsum, has scarce retentive power and so large volumes of precipitation are totally discharged via the spring within a few days. However, the explanation of the small but continuous flow from the base of the cavity requires the inclusion of other factors in the interpretation. In this case, the flow seems to be fairly independent of rainfall and attributable to other processes, in addition to the previously described ones, such as the retentive power of the gypsiferous matrix and the marly interstrata. These might include the high degree of condensation measured over long periods, both on the surface of the karst in gypsum and within the cavities. In the case of the Tunel dels Sumidors, a highly irregular response was found, despite the fact that the coefficient of dispersivity was found to be 0.4. This value is similar to that obtained for the karst in gypsum at Sorbas in response to low water conditions, and so, here too, one might assume the influence of greater than expected flow-retaining processes, between the entry and exit points. Doubtless the karstic system of the Tunel dels Sumidors is more complex than was initially expected and in fact, the irregularity reflected by the fluoresceine concentration curve over time implies the existence of other factors to explain the diversity of the relative maxima obtained. Firstly, the presence of numerous Triassic clay intercalations might delay the flow, in addition to retaining a certain quantity of fluoresceine by ionic exchange. There is also a possibility that the flow is dispersed through a network of small conduits and pores, due to the permeability of the gypsiferous matrix. Finally, we cannot discount the possible existence of a deep-level input which, in this case, would be responsible for the variation in the flow and the chemical composition. This set of suppositions, as a whole, would explain the fact that the response of the spring to tracing is so irregular, even though we cannot achieve a definition of the qualitative influence of each one on the hydrodynamics of the system.
In order to verify some of the above hypotheses, particularly those referring to the process of condensation within cavities, an experiment was designed, consisting of a microtracing test at some points where condensation had been detected within the Cueva del Agua at Sorbas. The test produced a range of condensation flow speed values of 0.2 to 30 cm/hour and shows that, in those sections where the presence of condensation flow is visually apparent, there is a rapid dispersion of the colourant. However, it also shows that at points where there is no apparent condensation the process also occurs, but at a lower rate of efficiency. The importance of condensation within cavities has two aspects; firstly, speleogenetic, with the development of solution forms (cupolas) and deposit forms (capillarity boxwork); and secondly, hydrogeological, as this is the reason why certain processes (strong changes in temperature and humidity, multiple routes of airflow exchange with the exterior) may in themselves constitute a hydraulic contribution, of slight importance, but sufficient to explain a large part of the base flow (0.2 - 0.8 L/s) of a whole cavity system such as the Cueva del Agua in semiarid conditions.
With the intention of completing the analyses carried out in various karsts in gypsum, instruments were installed in the Cueva del Agua at Sorbas to measure, by continuous registration, some important physico-chemical parameters that might provide additional data on the hydro-geologic behaviour of this gypsiferous karst, especially at the level of the epikarstic zone. The parameters of temperature and water conductivity were considered most important, due to their singular behaviour patterns. During the experiment there were two periods of rainfall that modified the chemistry of the cavity, one of 30 mm in two days and another of 200 mm (almost the annual total) in four days. In the second case, which was much more extreme, a very significant increase in water temperature (up to 7 °C during the initial period of high water flow) was detected, while conductivity fell. But suddenly, when the minimum conductivity was reached, the temperature dropped sharply by 6-7 °C to return to the base temperature of the cavity. Subsequently, the temperature again stabilized at about 7 °C above the data recorded during the dry period. This behaviour pattern was not detected when the rainfall was slight. The explanation for this dual behaviour observed is fundamentally based on the quantity of rainfall and on the differences between the exterior air temperature, the temperature of interstitial water and the temperature recorded in the spring during high water flow. When water temperature in the cavity during high water flow is higher than the base temperature recorded in the period immediately before, it means that the interstitial water does not mobilize. However, when at any time the two temperatures coincide, one might suppose that there might have existed a process of mobilization of the water previously resident in the rock, by a piston effect, but in the unsaturated zone. On the other hand, the temporal variations of these parameters during the months following periods of high rainfall have enabled us to detect the existence of distinct periods during the return to normal cavity conditions. By carefully examining the decrease curve of water temperature inside the cavity while conductivity regained its maximum stable value, two periods may be differentiated. The first may be termed the "inertial influence period", when the rainfall occurring removes all signs of natural variation in the cavity. Thus, the daily external influences are not clearly detectable and the curve is downward-sloping and asymptotic with no significant oscillations. In the second period, which ends with the total stabilization of the parameter at the level of the initial conditions, the asymptotic descent is seen to be affected by daily temperature variations. This is termed the "inertial recovery period", during which external variations start to have an effect on the interior of the cavity such that there is a progressive increase in the amplitude of the daily variation in water temperature, air temperature and relative humidity. This behaviour pattern of variation of these parameters during periods of high rainfall, might be extended to all karstic systems, varying only in magnitude and temporal extent.


Facies differentiation and sequence stratigraphy in ancient evaporite basins - An example from the basal Zechstein (Upper Permian of Germany), 1999, Steinhoff I. , Strohmenger C. ,
Due to excellent preservation, the Werra Anhydrite (Al), the upper member of the Upper Permian Zechstein cycle I (Ist cycle, Z1), is readily studied in terms of the distribution of sulfate facies and sequence stratigraphy that can be interpreted from these facies. In this study cores taken from seven wells in the Southern Zechstein Basin were examined for their sedimentary structures and various petrographic features. Facies interpretation and depositional sequences are based on detailed examination of core material. Four main facies environments have been identified: (I) supratidal (II) intertidal (III) shallow subtidal, and (IV) deeper (hypersaline) subtidal. These are further subdivided into 10 subfacies types: (1) karst and (2) sabkha within the supratidal environment (I), (3) algal tidal-flat, (4) tidal flat and (5) beach deposit within the intertidal environment (II), (6) salina, and (7) sulfate arenites within the shallow subtidal enviromnent (III). The (8) slope subfacies type commonly associated with (9) turbidites and the (10) basin subfacies type subdivide the deeper subtidal environment (IV). Vertical stacking patterns of these facies and subfacies types reveal the sequence stratigraphic development of the sulfate cycles in response to sea-level and salinity fluctuations. The lower Werra Anhydrite (belonging to Zechstein Sequence ZS2) is characterized by a transgressive systems tract (IST) overlying the transgressive surface of Zechstein Sequence ZS2 within the Al-underlying upper Zechstein Limestone (Cal). The TST of the AT is several tens of meters thick in platform areas, where it is built up by sulfate arenites and swallow-tail anhydrite-after-gypsum, and thins out to a few meters of thickness toward the condensed basinal section, where laminites ('Linien-Anhydrit') are predominant. Most of the Al succession consists of three relatively thick parasequences belonging to the highstand systems tract (HST) that shows typical prograding sets. Enhanced platform Buildup, including sulfate arenites, salina deposits, intertidal sediments, and sabkha precipitation as well as turbidite shedding off the platforms produced marginal ''sulfate walls' up to 400 m thick as platform to slope portions of the Werra Anhydrite. Seaward, the Al thins to a few tens of meters of laminated sulfate basin muds. Increasingly pronounced Al topography during highstand narrowed the slope subfacies belt parallel to the platform margin This contrasts with the broad but considerably thinner slope deposits of transgressive times with much shallower slopes. The ensuing sea-level lowstand is reflected by a sequence boundary on top of the karstified Al-platform and a lowstand wedge (Zechstein Sequence ZS3) overlying portions of the slope and basinal subfacies of the Al highstand systems tract Beyond the lateral limits of the lowstand wedge, the sequence boundary merges with the transgressive surface of ZS3, shown by the lithologic change from the Al anhydrites to the overlying carbonates of the Stassfurt Carbonates ('Haupt Dolomit' Main Dolomite, Ca2). The Basal Anhydrite (A2), which overlies and seals the carbonate reservoir of the Ca2, can also be subdivided into systems tracts by means of facies analysis. It is, however, much less complex than the Al and is comprised almost exclusively of a transgressive systems tract of Zechstein Sequence ZS4

Chronology, causes and progression of the Messinian salinity crisis, 1999, Krijgsman W. , Hilgen F. J. , Raffi I. , Sierro F. J. , Wilson D. S. ,

Coral Record of Equatorial Sea-Surface Temperatures During the Penultimate Deglaciation at Huon Peninsula, 1999, Mcculloch Malcolm T. , Tudhope Alexander W. , Esat Tezer M. , Mortimer Graham E. , Chappell John, Pillans Bradley, Chivas Allan R. , Omura Akio,
Uplifted coral terraces at Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea, preserve a record of sea level, sea-surface temperature, and salinity from the penultimate deglaciation. Remnants have been found of a shallow-water reef that formed during a pause, similar to the Younger Dryas, in the penultimate deglaciation at 130,000 2000 years ago, when sea level was 60 to 80 meters lower than it is today. Porites coral, which grew during this period, has oxygen isotopic values and strontium/calcium ratios that indicate that sea-surface temperatures were much cooler (22 degrees 2 degrees C) than either Last Interglacial or present-day tropical temperatures (29 degrees 1 degrees C). These observations provide further evidence for a major cooling of the equatorial western Pacific followed by an extremely rapid rise in sea level during the latter stages of Termination II

Conduit hydrogeology of a tropical coastal carbonate aquifer. MSc thesis, 1999, Beddows, P. A

The aim of this study is to investigate the hydrogeology of the submerged conduit systems of a coastal carbonate aquifer (Caribbean coast, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico), and thereby better understand their significance as large permeability heterogeneities. A complex spatial trend in conduit flow rates (determined by quantitative fluorescent dye tracing initiated 6 km inland) was found, including significant velocity variation between consecutive conduit segments. Elevated coastal velocities under low tide conditions are shown by salinity profiling, to be induced by the volumetric increase of discharging water from mixing with marine water. Semi-diurnal micro-tidal loading is sufficient to induce flooding from the sea into the conduits at one coastal discharge point, and significantly reduce flow rates at another. Furthermore, a network of four observation sites extending 5 km inland indicates efficient propagation of the ~0.30 m tidal signal through the Nohoch Nah Chich conduit system, a distance several time greater than previously appreciated in this environment. The field results clearly indicate that the hydrogeological flux is dominated by cavernous porosity, and that the aquifer is dynamically responsive to the high-frequency low-magnitude tidal loading to a significant distance inland. Conventional coastal groundwater models such as the Ghyben-Herzberg lens model, assume isotropic homogeneous equivalent-porous-medium conditions. Because the corollaries of the conventional models are inconsistent with the field evidence, they are inapplicable in this environment. It is hoped that these results will aid future modelling efforts, and improve our capacity to manage the valuable groundwater resources which represents the unique source of potable water to the local population.


Vein and Karst Barite Deposits in the Western Jebilet of Morocco: Fluid Inclusion and Isotope (S, O, Sr) Evidence for Regional Fluid Mixing Related to Central Atlantic Rifting, 2000, Valenza Katia, Moritz Robert, Mouttaqi Abdellah, Fontignie Denis, Sharp Zachary,
Numerous vein and karst barite deposits are hosted by Hercynian basement and Triassic rocks of the western Jebilet in Morocco. Sulfur, oxygen, and strontium isotope analyses of barite, combined with fluid inclusion microthermometry on barite, quartz, and calcite were used to reveal the nature and source of the ore-forming fluids and constrain the age of mineralization. The{delta} 34S values of barite between 8.9 and 14.7 per mil are intermediate between the sulfur isotope signatures of Triassic evaporites and Triassic-Jurassic seawater and lighter [IMG]f1.gif' BORDER='0'>, probably derived from the oxidation of dissolved H2S and leaching of sulfides in the Hercynian basement. The 87Sr/86Sr ratios of barite between 0.7093 and 0.7130 range between the radiogenic strontium isotope compositions of micaceous shale and sandstone and the nonradiogenic isotopic signature of Triassic to Jurassic seawater and Cambrian limestone. The{delta} 18O values of barite between 11 and 15 per mil (SMOW) support mixing between two or more fluids, including Late Triassic to Jurassic seawater or a water dissolving Triassic evaporites along its flow path, hot basinal, or metamorphic fluids with{delta} 18O values higher than 0 per mil and/or meteoric fluids with{delta} 18O values lower than 0 per mil. The general trend of decreasing homogenization temperatures and initial ice melting temperatures with increasing salinities of H2O-NaCl {} CaCl2 fluid inclusions trapped in barite, quartz, and calcite indicates that a deep and hot basinal fluid with salinities lower than 6 wt percent NaCl equiv might have mixed with a cooler surficial solution with a mean salinity of 20 wt percent NaCl equiv. Calcium was leached from the Cambrian limestone and the clastic and mafic volcanic rocks of the Hercynian basement. Alkali feldspars and micas contained in the Cambrain sandstones provided most of the Ba to the hydrothermal system. Vein and karst deposits are modeled as a two-component mixing process in which the temperature and the S and Sr isotope composition of the end members changed during the 220 to 155 Ma interval. The hot basinal fluid remained volumetrically dominant during the entire mineralization process. Differences in mean S, O, and Sr isotope compositions among the barite families are interpreted as reflecting differences in mineralization age. Most barite deposits formed before the Kimmeridgian, except for north-south-oriented vein barite, karst barite, and barite cement in the conglomeratic Upper Jurassic, which were deposited later, possibly around 155 Ma. Similar genetic processes have been described for late Paleozoic to Mesozoic F-Ba vein deposits in western Europe. The vein and karst barite in the western Jebilet of Morocco reveals a wide-scale regional mineralization event related to Central Atlantic rifting

Interpretation of groundwater level monitoring results in karst aquifers: examples from the Dinaric karst, 2000, Bonacci O, Rojebonacci T,
The paper presents an attempt to determine the characteristics of karst aquifers using information on groundwater lever (GWL) in natural holes and boreholes with different data quantity and time resolution of GWL measurements. In this paper the particulars of karst aquifers were analysed for four examples from the Dinaric karst. In all four study areas, aquifers are formed in bare, deep and well-developed Dinaric karst consisting of Cretaceous limestones. The first example represents a wide area of Imotsko polje in the karst. The aquifer was analysed on the basis of infrequent water level monitoring in natural karst water features (jamas, lakes, wells) and discharges of springs and rivers. The karst aquifer in this example is complex, non-homogenous and variable in space and time, which is frequent in the Dinaric karst. Regardless of the aforementioned it was possible to determine its elementary characteristics. The second example represents 10 wells used for the water supply for the city of Pula. The GWL and salinity were measured once a week in the period between 1981 and 1996. Even though these measurements were relatively infrequent in space and time, they served as bases for assessment of average and maximum aquifer conditions as well as boundaries of saltwater intrusion. In the third example only a portion of aquifer of the karst spring Blaz, which is in the contact with the Adriatic Seas, has been analyzed. It is a spring with an intrusion of salt water. For purposes of study of saltwater intrusion, 26 piezometers were drilled in its vicinity in which GWL, salinity and temperature were measured once a day during 168 days, a period comprising one complete cycle of seawater intrusion and retreat. These measurements proved the existence of dispersed discharge from the aquifer into the sea and its non-homogeneity in space. In the fourth example GWL was measured continuously in 10 deep (up to 300 m) piezometers in the hinterland of the Ombla Spring catchment. The measurement period lasted 2 years (January 1988 to December 1989). The analyses are made with hourly data. The results made it possible to determine numerous characteristics of the karst aquifer and a significant non-homogeneity of groundwater distribution in karst aquifers, depending more on the underground karst phenomena than the surface karst forms

Dolomitization of Holocene Shallow-Marine Deposits Mediated by Sulfate Reduction and Methanogenesis in Normal-Salinity Seawater, Northern Belize, 2000, Teal Chellie S. , Mazzullo S. J. , Bischoff William D. ,
Dolomite constitutes an average of 12% of the Holocene organic-rich sediments over a 15 km2 area of the Cangrejo Shoals mudbank in northern Belize. Although it defines a laterally persistent stratiform body that averages 3 m thick, it is present throughout the 7.6-m-thick sediment section. These transgressive sediments are less than [~]6400 years old and were deposited in shallow-marine environments of normal salinity. The dolomite is dominantly cement, and average crystal size is 7 m. There are no significant correlations among amount of dolomite vs. sediment texture, mineralogy, porosity, or mole % MgCO3 in associated particulate high-Mg calcite, depth, or location on the shoals. The dolomites are poorly ordered and calcic (39.5-44.5 mole % MgCO3), with low mean Mn (210 ppm) and relatively high mean Sr (1034 ppm) concentrations. There is no evidence of recrystallization or geochemical alteration of the dolomite. {delta}18O values of the dolomites range from 0.5 to 2.8{per thousand}PDB, and the mean value (2.1{per thousand}) suggests that the dolomite precipitated from normal-salinity pore water. Dolomite {delta}13C values range from -5.2{per thousand} to .6{per thousand}PDB (mean seawater {delta}13C = 0.5{per thousand}), which suggests dolomitization promoted by both bacterial sulfate reduction and methanogenesis in environments with anoxic pore water. Dolomitization attending these organodiagenetic reactions apparently was reversible over time, and episodic rather than continual precipitation is indicated. Requisite Mg and Ca were provided by seawater and by some dissolution of host sediments. The most rapid period of dolomitization may have been during early transgression, when relatively high sedimentation rates sustained high levels of organodiagenesis and pore-water alkalinities

Dolomitization and Dolomite Neomorphism: Trenton and Black River Limestones (Middle Ordovician) Northern Indiana, U.S.A, 2000, Yoo Chan Min, Gregg Jay M. , Shelton Kevin L. ,
The Trenton and Black River Limestones are dolomitized extensively along the axis of the Kankakee Arch in Indiana, with the proportion of dolomite decreasing to the south and southeast of the arch. Planar and nonplanar dolomite replacement textures and rhombic (type 1) and saddle (type 2) void-filling dolomite cements are present. Three stages of dolomitization, involving different fluids, are inferred on the basis of petrographic and geochemical characteristics of the dolomites. Nonferroan planar dolomite has relatively high {delta}18O values (-1.8 to -6.1{per thousand} PDB) and has 87Sr/86Sr ratios (0.70833 to 0.70856) that overlap those of Middle Ordovician seawater. Petrography, geochemistry, and the geometry of the dolomitized body suggest that the planar dolomite was formed in Middle and Late Ordovician seawater during the deposition of the overlying Maquoketa Shale. Ferroan planar and nonplanar dolomite occurs in the upper few meters of the Trenton Limestone, confined to areas underlain by planar dolomite. This dolomite contains patches of nonferroan dolomite with cathodoluminescence (CL) characteristics similar to underlying planar dolomite. Ferroan dolomite has relatively low {delta}18O values (-5.1 to -7.3{per thousand} PDB) and has slightly radiogenic 87Sr/86Sr ratios (0.70915 to 0.70969) similar to those obtained for the overlying Maquoketa Shale. These data indicate that ferroan dolomite formed by neomorphism of nonferroan planar dolomite as fluids were expelled from the overlying Maquoketa Shale during burial. The absence of ferroan dolomite at the Trenton-Maquoketa contact, in areas where the earlier-formed nonferroan planar dolomite also is absent, indicates that the fluid expelled from the overlying shale did not contain enough Mg2 to dolomitize limestone. Type 1 dolomite cement has isotopic compositions similar to those of the ferroan dolomite, suggesting that it also formed from shale-derived burial fluids. CL growth zoning patterns in these cements suggest that diagenetic fluids moved stratigraphically downward and toward the southeast along the axis of the Kankakee Arch. Type 2 saddle dolomite cements precipitated late; their low {delta}18O values (-6.0 to -7.0{per thousand} PDB) are similar to those of the type 1 dolomite cement. However, fluid-inclusion data indicate that the saddle dolomite was precipitated from more saline, basinal fluids and at higher temperatures (94{degrees} to 143{degrees}C) than the type 1 cements (80{degrees} to 104{degrees}C). A trend of decreasing fluid-inclusion homogenization temperatures and salinities from the Michigan Basin to the axis of Kankakee Arch suggests that these fluids emerged from the Michigan Basin after precipitation of type 1 cement

Feeding ecology and evolutionary survival of the living coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae, 2000, Fricke H, Hissmann K,
One concept of evolutionary ecology holds that a living fossil is the result of past evolutionary events, and is adapted to recent selective forces only if they are similar to the selective forces in the past. We describe the present environment of the living coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae Smith, 1939 at Grande Comore, western Indian Ocean and report depth-dependent cave distribution, temperature, salinity and oxygen values which are compared to the fish's distribution and its physiological demands. We studied the activity pattern, feeding behaviour, prey abundance and hunting success to evaluate possible links between environmental conditions, feeding ecology and evolutionary success of this ancient fish. Transmitter tracking experiments indicate nocturnal activity of the piscivorous predator which hunts between approximately 200 m below the surface to 500 m depth. Fish and prey density were measured between 200 and 400 m, both increase with depth. Feeding tracks and feeding strikes of the coelacanth at various depths were simulated with the help of video and laser techniques. Along a 9447 m video transect a total of 31 potential feeding strikes occurred. Assuming 100% hunting success, medium-sized individuals would obtain 122 g and large females 299 g of prey. Estimates of metabolic rates revealed for females 3.7 ml O-2 kg(-1) h(-1) and for males 4.5 ml O-2 kg(-1) h(-1). Today coelacanths are considered to be a specialist deep-water form and to inhabit, with their ancient morphology, a contemporary environment where they compete with advanced, modern fish

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