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Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology

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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 maze cave pattern is a cave system which consists of a labyrinth of intersecting passages of rather uniform character that form closed loops. see also anastomotic cave pattern; maze cave; network cave pattern; spongework cave pattern.?

Checkout all 2699 terms in the KarstBase Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms

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What is Karstbase?



Browse Speleogenesis Issues:

KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

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;
See all featured articles from other geoscience journals

Search in KarstBase

Your search for fluvial (Keyword) returned 132 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 132
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Dehon Ra,
Hrad Vallis is located in the transition zone between Elysium Mons and Utopia Planitia. Near its origin, at the northern edge of Elysium lavas, Hrad Vallis is characterized by a low-sinuousity channel within a north-northwest-trending, broad, flat-floored valley. A nearby flat-floored valley is parallel to the Hrad trend and parallel to elongate depressions, fissures, and faults in the region. An apparent hierarchy of landforms provides insight into the origin of the features associated with Hrad Vallis. The sequence leading to the development of Hrad Vallis consists of the following (1) formation of isolated depressions as either karst depressions or thermokarst valleys along faults and fissures in response to circulating ground water; (2) expansion of depressions along structural trends to coalesce as composite valleys, and (3) incision of a channel on the floor of Hrad valley by continued discharge of water from the subsurface after its initial formation by nonfluvial processes. Mud flows, polygonally fractured terrain, and chaotic terrain near the head of the major valleys suggest thixotropic behavior of saturated, clay-rich materials. An extended period of time is indicated during which freely circulating water existed on id beneath the surface of Mars. Karst and thermokarst processes imply very different climatic regimes and different host materials. The presence of karst topography implies extensive deposition of carbonates or other soluble rocks, whereas the presence of thermokarst basins implies the existence of porous, water/ice-saturated clastic or volcaniclastic materials

Alpine karsts. Genesis of large subterranean networks. Examples : the Tennengebirge (Austria) - the Ile de Crémieu, the Chartreuse and the Vercors (France), PhD Thesis, 1993,
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Audra, Philippe

This work, based on the study of several underground alpine networks, aims to propose some milestone in the history of these karstic regions.

The first part of the work is made up of three regional studies.

The Tennengebirge mountains are a massif of the limestone High Alps in the region of Salzburg in Austria. A cone karst close to the base level developed in the Neogene. Streams from the Alps fed the karst, resulting in the huge horizontal networks of which the Eisriesenwelt provides evidence. During the successive phases of upthrust, the levels of karstification, whether on the surface or deeper down, settled into a tier pattern, thus descending in stages from the base level. From the Pliocene era onwards, thanks to an increase in potential, alpine shafts replace the horizontal networks. The formation of these shafts is more pronounced during glaciation. The study of the Cosa Nostra - Bergerhöhle system developing 30 km of conduits on a gradient reaching almost 1 500 m provides a fairly full view of the karstification of this massif. It includes the horizontal levels developed in the Miocene and the Plio-Pleistocene, joined together by vertical sections. The most noteworthy features of the Tennengebirge, as in the neighboring massifs, lie first and foremost in the extreme thickness of the limestone which has recorded and immunized the differents steps of karstification. Secondly, the size of the networks can be, for the most part, accounted for by the contribution of allogenous waters from the streams of the Neogene and the glaciers of the Pleistocene. Generally sudden and unexpected, these flows of water engendered heavy loads (up to 600 m), simultaneously flooding several levels. To a lesser extent, the situation is similar today.

The Ile de Cremieu is a low limestone plateau on the western edge of the Jura. Due to its location in the foothills, the lobes of the Rhône glacier have covered it up, obliterating the surface karst. However, widespread evidence of anteglacial morphologies remains : paleokarst, cone karst, polygenic surface. Because of glacial plugging, access to the underground karst is limited. The main cavity is the cave of La Balme. Its initial development dates back to an early period. The morphological study has permitted the identification of several phases which go back to the Pleistocene and which are related to the Rhône glacier. The latter brought about modifications in the base level by supplying its merging waters as well as moraine material. These variations in the base level shaped the drainage structure. The underground glacial polishes are one of the noteworthy aspects recorded.

The massives of the Moucherotte and dent de Crolles belong to the northern French Prealps. They conceal large networks, respectively the Vallier cave and the Dent de Crolles. They were formed in the early Pliocene after the final orogenic phase and are in the form of horizontal conduits. The upthrust, which brought about the embanking of the Isère valley, left them in a perched position by taking away the basin which fed them. They were later, however, able to take advantage of waters from the Isère glacier during a part of the Pleistocene. The Vallier cave contains particularly glacio-karstic sediments of the lower Pleistocene, representing unique evidence of glaciation during this period. The vertical networks were put in place at the end of the Pliocene with the increase in karstification potential ; they underwent changes in the Pleistocene due to the effect of autochton and allogenous glaciers.

The second part of the work deals in general with the various forms and processes of karstification, sometimes going beyond the Alps. The study of cave deposits is a privileged tool in the understanding and reconstruction not only of the history of the networks but also the regional environment. The dating of speleothems by the U / Th method has very ofen given an age of over 350 000 years. The age of the networks is confirmed by the use of paleomagnetism which has yielded evidence of speleothems and glacio-karstic sediments anterior to 780 000 years. Anisotropic measurements of magnetic susceptibility have been used to distinguish the putting into place of glacio-karstic deposits by decantation.

Measurements of calcite rates lead to a typology of sediments based on their nature and carbonate content (rehandled weathered rocks, fluvial sands, carbonated varves, decantation clays). Granulometry confirms this differenciation by supplying precise details of transport and sedimentation modes : suspension and abrupt precipitation of clay, suspension and slow decantation of carbonated varves, suspension and rolling together with a variable sorting of sand and gravel. Mineralogical analyses oppose two types of detrital deposits. On the one hand, the rehandling of antequaternary weathered rocks extracted by the karst as a result of scouring during environmental destabilization and on the other hand, sediments characteristic of the ice age of the Pleistocene. The latter are not highly developed and their arrival in the karst is always later. Examination of heavy minerals, the morphoscopy of quartz grains and study of micromorphologies on thin blades provide precise details of conditions of evolution. The use of these methods of investigation allows for an accurate definition of the features of the evolution of the differents types of fillings, particularly speleothems, rehandled weathered rocks as well as carbonated varves. This wealth and complexity are emphasized by a detailed study of the sedimentary sequences of the Vallier cave and of the Bergerhöhle.
Speleogenesis is approached last of all in the light of above study. Emphasis is placed on the major part played by corrosion in the temporarily phreatic zone and on its many consequences (multi-level concept, simultaneous evolution of levels, origin of deep waterlogged karsts…).
Varia tions in the base level have induced karstification in contexts in which the potential was weak. These were followed by periods of increased potential to which were added the effects of glaciation. Perched horizontal levels belong to the first stages which ended in the early Pliocene, whereas alpine shafts developed in the second context. The role of structure and the parameters governing the shape of conduits (pits, meanders, canyons) are also dealt with. The different parts of the karst are borne in mind when dealing with the strength of karstic erosion during the ice age. It notably appears that it is weak on the crests and more or less non-existent in the deep parts of the karst which are liable to flooding. Finally, a preliminary analysis of an observation of neotectonic traces is presented.

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Drysdale R, Head J,
Louie Creek is a karst springfed stream situated in the seasonally humid tropics of northwest Queensland, Australia. It rises as a series of small exsurgences along the eastern edge of the Barkly Tableland. As it enters the lowlands of the Carpentaria plain, the creek deposits tufa which produces a series of cascades. This modern tufa extends discontinuously for about 1.5 km. A series of ancient tufas, in places lying adjacent to sites of modern deposition, extends discontinously for about 8 km downstream. At least two ancient tufa units are preserved at one location, Little Indarri site. The older unit comprises a sequence of well-preserved barrages with an orientation transverse to present-day stream flow. In places, erosion has reduced these barrages to their calcrete substrate. The older tufa is overlain in places by sediment which has become cemented to form a second calcrete unit. This sediment is in turn succeeded by the younger ancient tufa. Subsequent river incision has removed part of the sediment from the older unit and exposed several contact points between the ancient tufa and calcrete units. Radiocarbon dating of the Little Indarri site tufas, as well as other ancient Louie Creek units, yielded apparent ages ranging from approximately 30 to approximately 14 ka BP, suggesting that conditions were sufficiently wet during the period immediately preceding and throughout the Last Glacial Maximum for tufa deposition to occur. However, ancient tufa formation occurred during a phase of net river aggradation. There is geomorphic evidence that such aggradation was a result of an increased sediment supply to the fluvial system, most likely in response to conditions drier than present. Results from studies elsewhere in the region support such a Late Pleistocene trend. Incision of Louie Creek, which postdates the youngest of the dated ancient tufas, is most likely to have resulted from a shift to wetter conditions during the early Holocene

Synsedimentary collapse of portions of the lower Blomidon Formation (Late Triassic), Fundy rift basin, Nova Scotia, 1995,
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Ackermann Rv, Schlische Pw, Olsen Pe,
A chaotic mudstone unit within the lower Blomidon Formation (Late Triassic) has been traced for 35 km in the Mesozoic Fundy rift basin of Nova Scotia. This unit is characterized by highly disrupted bedding that is commonly cut by small (<0.5 m) domino-style synsedimentary normal faults, downward movement of material, geopetal structures, variable thickness, and an irregular, partially faulted contact with the overlying unit. The chaotic unit is locally overlain by a fluvial sandstone, which is overlain conformably by mudstone. Although the thickness of the sandstone is highly variable, the overlying mudstone unit exhibits only gentle regional dip. The sandstone unit exhibits numerous soft-sediment deformation features, including dewatering structures, convoluted bedding, kink bands, and convergent fault fans. The frequency and intensity of these features increase dramatically above low points at the base of the sandstone unit. These stratigraphic relations suggest buried interstratal karst, the subsurface dissolution of evaporites bounded by insoluble sediments. We infer that the chaotic unit was formed by subsidence and collapse resulting from the dissolution of an evaporite bed or evaporite-rich unit by groundwater, producing dewatering and synsedimentary deformation structures in the overlying sandstone unit, which infilled surface depressions resulting from collapse. In coeval Moroccan rift basins, facies similar to the Blomidon Formation are associated with halite and gypsum beds. The regional extent of the chaotic unit indicates a marked period of desiccation of a playa lake of the appropriate water chemistry. The sedimentary features described here may be useful for inferring the former existence of evaporites or evaporite-rich units in predominantly elastic terrestrial environments

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Schaad W. ,
Rauhwackes (cornieules or cargneules) are breccias with a caicareous matrix and mainly dolomitic components that weather to form cavernous rocks. They are very often associated with tectonic contacts, e.g. detachment horizons. The origin of rauhwackes is still controversial, but has been attributed to the weathering and alteration of dolomite-bearing evaporites, the tectonisation of dolomites or other processes. New data based on field investigations show that the karstification of evaporites leads to the formation of rauhwackes. Two end member evaporitic protoliths can be distinguished: dolomite-bearing gypsum and gypsum-bearing dolomite. The karstification of the different protoliths leads to the formation of structurally distinct rauhwackes. Dolomite-bearing gypsum is associated with unstructured, often polymictic rauhwackes which reflect the shape of the karst cavities and which are interpreted as karst sediments. Gypsum-bearing dolomite occurs with stratiformal rauhwackes with fitting dolomite fragments that are arranged in layers. These rauhwackes can be regarded as collapse breccias. All investigated rauhwackes seem to have been formed after the alpine deformations and are probably of Quaternary age. In certain cases, the karstification of the evaporites and the formation of rauhwackes may have been favoured by fluvial or fluvioglacial processes at the surface. Therefore, these rauhwackes have nothing to do with alpine tectonics. Rather, it was the evaporitic protoliths of the rauhwackes that acted as detachment horizons and incompetent layers during folding

Determination of stream-incision rate in the Appalachian plateaus by using cave-sediment magnetostratigraphy, 1995,
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Sasowsky Ira D. , White William B. , Schmidt Victor A. ,
Paleomagnetic dating of clastic fluvial sediments contained in caves within the walls of a steeply incised gorge allowed calculation of a maximum incision rate for the East Fork Obey River. The maximum incision rate for this major stream on the western margin of the Cumberland Plateau, north-central Tennessee, was found to be 0.06 m/ka. This rate was determined on the basis of the paleohydraulic relation between the caves and the surface stream, the presence of a normal-to-reverse polarity transition in clastic fluvial sediments deposited within the caves, and the vertical distribution of polarity found in sediments throughout the gorge. The dating results indicate that this highly developed fluviokarst, containing several of the longest known caves in the United States, developed wholly within the Pleistocene and Holocene

Application of Thermography of Karst Hydrology, 1996,
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Campbell C. W. Abd El Latif M. , Foster Jo. W.
Nearly 3000 km of Belize display well-developed karst that occurs dominantly on Cretaceous limestones distributed on the periphery of the Maya Mountains. Other exposed carbonates in Belize, sharing the same tropical climate and heavy rainfall, are not karsted. The Mayas represent a horst structure raised by movement of the Caribbean-North American plate boundary. In excess of 150 km of large cave passage has been mapped, often exhibiting multi-level development likely related to this regional tectonic motion. Passages are dominantly trunk conduits solutionally bored through the lower-lying limestones by integrated allogenic streams from the Mayas. Other large, independent caves and collapse chambers are also known. Limited U-series dating of speleothem gives minimum ages of 176 KaBP for cave development. The karst surfaces are dominated by disaggregated remnants of previous fluvial networks, but also contain spectacular collapse dolines. The karst aquifers appear to be solutionally open systems of relatively high porosity (>1%). Boosting of carbon dioxide levels above surface soil CO2 occurs within aquifers, perhaps due to decay of washed-in vegetation. Mean solutional erosion is estimated at 0.10-0.13 m/Ka for these karsts.

Dated co-occurrence of Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus from Tham Khuyen Cave, Vietnam, 1996,
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Ciochon R, Long Vt, Larick R, Gonzalez L, Grun R, Devos J, Yonge C, Taylor L, Yoshida H, Reagan M,
Tham Khuyen Cave (Lang Son Province, northern Vietnam) is one of the more significant sites to yield fossil vertebrates In east Asia, During the mid-1960s, excavation in a suite of deposits produced important hominoid dental remains of middle Pleistocene age, We undertake more rigorous analyses of these sediments to understand the fluvial dynamics of Pleistocene cave infilling as they determine how skeletal elements accumulate within Tham Khuyen and other east Asian sites, Uranium/thorium series analysis of speleothems brackets the Pleistocene chronology for breaching, infilling, and exhuming the regional paleokarst, Clast analysis indicates sedimentary constituents, Including hominoid teeth and cranial fragments, accumulated from very short distances and under low fluvial energy, Electron spin resonance analysis of vertebrate tooth enamel and sediments shows that the main fossil-bearing suite (S1-S3) was deposited about 475 thousand years ago, Among the hominoid teeth excavated from S1-S3, some represent Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus blacki, Criteria are defined to differentiate these teeth from more numerous Pongo pygmaeus elements, The dated cooccurrence of Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus blacki at Tham Khuyen helps to establish the long co-existence of these two species throughout east Asia during the Early and Middle Pleistocene

The Lower Triassic Montney Formation, west-central Alberta, 1997,
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Davies Gr, Moslow Tf, Sherwin Md,
The Lower Triassic Montney Formation was deposited in a west-facing, arcuate extensional basin, designated the Peace River Basin, on the northwestern margin of the Supercontinent Pangea, centred at about 30 degrees N paleolatitude. At least seasonally arid climatic conditions, dominance of northeast trade winds, minimum fluvial influx, offshore coastal upwelling, and north to south longshore sediment transport affected Montney sedimentation. Paleostructure, particularly highs over underlying Upper Devonian Leduc reefs and lows associated with graben trends in the Peace River area, strongly influenced Montney depositional and downslope mass-wasting processes. A wide range of depositional environments in the Montney is recorded by facies ranging from mid to upper shoreface sandstones, to middle and lower shoreface HCS sandstones and coarse siltstones, to finely laminated lower shoreface sand and offshore siltstones. and to turbidites. Dolomitized coquinal facies occur at seven stratigraphic horizons in the Montney. Some coquinas are capped by karst breccias and coarse-grained aeolian deflation lag sand residues indicating subaerial exposure. The Montney has been divided into three informal members that have been dated by palynology and compared with global Early Triassic sequences. The subdivisions are: the Lower member, of Griesbachian to Dienerian age, correlated with a third-order cycle; the Coquinal Dolomite Middle member, of mixed Dienerian and Smithian ages; and the Upper member, of Smithian to Spathian age, correlative with two, shorter-duration third-order cycles. A forced regressive wedge systems tract model is adopted for deposition of the Coquinal Dolomite Middle member and for turbidites in the Valhalla-La Glace area of west-central Alberta. With this model, coquinas and turbidites accumulated during falling base level to lowstand, with a basal surface of forced regression at the base of the coquina and a sequence boundary at the top of the coquinal member. This is supported by the evidence for subaerial exposure and maximum lowstand at the top of the coquina. Very limited grain size distribution in the Montney, dominantly siltstone to very fine-grained sandstone, but often very well sorted, is interpreted to reflect an aeolian influence on sediment source and transport, High detrital feldspar and detrital dolomite in the Montney are consistent with (but not proof of) aeolian source from an arid interior, as is high detrital mica content in finer size grades. Extensive and often pervasive dolomitization, and early anhydrite cementation within the Montney, are also consistent with an arid climatic imprint. As new exploratory drilling continues to reveal the wide range of facies in the Montney, it adds to both the complexity and potential of this relatively unique formation in western Canada

The Indarri Falls travertine dam, Lawn Hill Creek, northwest Queensland, Australia, 1997,
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Drysdale Rn, Gale Sj,
Indarri Falls is a spectacular travertine dam which impounds Lawn Hill Creek, a perennial karst stream draining the Barkly Tableland in northwest Queensland, Australia. The dam is at least 13.5m high, making it the largest feature of its kind known in Australia. Carbonate precipitation at the Falls is favoured by downstream changes in the bulk chemistry of the karst spring waters which feed the Creek, although deposition at the microenvironmental level may be encouraged by biological factors. The dam has dramatically altered the hydrology and geomorphology of the area, transforming the middle reaches of Lawn Hill Creek from a fluvial to a lacustrine environment. (C) 1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Terrestrial hot-spring Co-rich Mn mineralization in the Pliocene-Quaternary Calatrava Region (central Spain), 1997,
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Crespo A, Lunar R,
Central Spain hosts a series of high-Co (up to 1.7% Co) Mn mineralizations displaying a variety of morphologies: spring aprons and feeders, pisolitic beds, wad beds and tufa-like replacements of plants and plant debris. The Mn mineralogy consist of cryptomelane, lithiophorite, birnessite and todorokite. The spring apron deposits formed in close proximity to Pliocene volcanic rocks (alkaline basaltic lava flows and pyroclastics) belonging to the so-called Calatrava Volcanic Field. The spring aprons are found along or near to normal faults bounding small basins and topographic highs. Mn tufa-like deposits are found near to the spring sources, while both pisolitic and wad beds are clearly distal facies occuring well within the Pliocene basins. The two latter are interbedded with clastic lacustrine and fluvial sediments. Collectively, these deposits contain a complex suite of Mn-(Co) mineralization ranging from proximal, hot-spring-type Mn facies, grading into more distant sedimentary, stratabound mineralization. Volcanism, basin formation and Mn deposition took place within a failed rift environment which triggered hydrothermal activity and Mn-(Co) deposition as proximal (near to the volcanic axes) and distal (of sedimentary affinities, within the basins) facies

Hydrological response of small watersheds following the Southern California Painted Cave Fire of June 1990, 1997,
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Keller E. A. , Valentine D. W. , Gibbs D. R. ,
Following the Painted Cave Fire of 25 June 1990 in Santa Barbara, California which burned 1214 ha, an emergency watershed protection plan was implemented consisting of stream clearing, grade stabilizers and construction of debris basins. Research was initiated focusing on hydrological response and channel morphology changes on two branches of Maria Ygnacio Creek, the main drainage of the burned area. Research results support the hypothesis that the response of small drainage basins in chaparral ecosystems to wildfire is complex and flushing of sediment by fluvial processes is more likely than by high magnitude debris flows. During the winter of 1990-1991, 35-66 cm of rainfall and intensities up to 10 cm per hour for a five-minute period were recorded with a seasonal total of 100% of average (normal) rainfall (average = 63 cm/year). During the winter of 1991-1992, 48-74 cm of rainfall and intensities up to 8 cm per hour were recorded with a seasonal total of 115% of normal. Even though there was moderate rainfall on barren, saturated soils, no major debris flows occurred in burned areas. The winter of 1992-1993 recorded total precipitation of about 170% of normal, annual average intensities were relatively low and again no debris flows were observed. The response to winter storms in the first three years following the fire was a moderate but spectacular flushing of sediment, most of which was derived from the hillslopes upstream of the debris basins. The first significant storm and stream flow of the 1990-1991 winter was transport-limited resulting in large volumes of sediment being deposited in the channel of Maria Ygnacio Creek; the second storm and stream flow was sediment-limited and the channel scoured. Debris basins trapped about 23 000 m(3), the majority coming from the storm of 17-20 March 1991. Sediment transported downstream during the three winters following the fire and not trapped in the debris basins was eventually flushed to the estuarine reaches of the creeks below the burn area, where approximately 108 000 m(3) accumulated. Changes in stream morphology following the fire were dramatic as pools filled with sediment which greatly smoothed longitudinal and cross-sectional profiles. Major changes in channel morphology occur following a fire as sediment derived from the hillslope is temporarily stored in channels within the burned area. However, this sediment may quickly move downstream of the burned region, where it may accumulate reducing channel capacity and increasing the flood hazard. Ecological consequences of wildfire to the riparian zone of streams in the chaparral environment are virtually unknown, but must be significant as the majority of sediment (particularly gravel necessary for fish and other aquatic organisms) entering the system does so in response to fires. (C) 1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Rapport entre karst et glaciers durant les glaciations dans les valles pralpines du sud des Alpes, 1998,
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Bini Alfredo, Tognini Paola, Zuccoli Luisa
At least 13 glaciations occurred during the last 2.6Ma in the Southern pre_alpine valleys. The glaciers scouring alpine and pre-alpine valleys had all the same feature, being valley temperated glaciers. Their tracks and feeding areas were always the same, just like the petrological contents of their deposits. Contrary to previous assumptions until a few years ago, the origin of these valleys and of the lakes occupying the floor of some of them (Orta, Maggiore, Como, Iseo, Garda Lakes) is due to fluvial erosion related to Messinian marine regression. The valley slopes modelling is Messinian in age, too, while most caves are older. As a general rule, glaciers worked on valley slopes just as a re_modelling agent, while their effects were greater on valley floors. The karstic evolution began as soon as the area was lifted above sea level (upper Oligocene - lower Miocene), in a palaeogeographical environment quite different from the present one, although the main valley floors were already working as a base level. During Messinian age, the excavation of deep canyons along pre-existing valleys caused a dramatic lowering of the base level, followed by a complete re-arrangement of the karstic networks, which got deeper and deeper. The Pliocene marine transgression caused a new re-arrangement, the karst network getting mostly drowned under sea level. During these periods, the climate was hot-wet tropical, characterised by a great amount of water circulating during the wet season. At the same time tectonic upliftings were at work, causing breaking up of the karst networks and a continuous rearrangement of the underground drainage system. In any case, karstic networks were already well developed long before the beginning of Plio-Quaternary glaciations. During glaciations, karst systems in pre-alpine valleys could have been submitted to different drainage conditions, being: a) isolated, without any glacial water flowing; b) flooded, connected to the glacier water-filled zone; c) active, scoured by a stream sinking at glacier sides or in a sub glacial position. The stream could flow to the flooded zone (b), or scour all the unflooded system long down to the resurgence zone, the latter being generally located in a sub glacier position. The glacier/karst system is a very dynamic one: it could get active, flooded or isolated depending on endo- and sub-glacial drainage variations. Furthermore, glaciers show different influences on karstic networks, thus working with a different effect during their advance, fluctuations, covering and recession phases. Many authors believe, or believed, the development of most surface and underground karst in the Alps is due to glaciations, with the last one held to be mostly responsible for this. Whatever the role of glaciers on karstic systems, in pre-alpine valleys caves, we do not have evidence either of development of new caves or of remarkable changes in their features during glaciations. It is of course possible some pits or galleries could have developed during Plio-Quaternary glaciations, but as a general rule glaciers do not seem to have affected karstic systems in the Southern pre-alpine valleys with any remarkable speleogenetic effects: the glaciers effects on them is generally restricted to the transport of great amounts of debris and sediments into caves. The spotting of boulders and pebbles trapped between roof stalactites shows that several phases of in- and out-filling of galleries occurred with no remarkable changing in pre-dating features, including cave decorations. The presence of suspended karst systems does not prove a glacial origin of the valleys, since most of them pre-date any Plio-Quaternary glaciation, as shown by calcite cave deposits older than 1,5Ma. The sediments driven into caves might have caused a partial or total occlusion of most galleries, with a remarkable re-arrangement of the underground drainage system. In caves submitted to periglacial conditions all glaciations long, we can find deposits coming from weathered surface sediments, sharp-edged gelifraction debris and, more rarely, alluvial deposits whose origin is not related to the circulation of the glacial meltwater. In caves lower than or close to the glaciers limit we generally find large amounts of glacier-related deposits, often partly or totally occluding cave galleries. These sediments may be directly related to glaciers, i.e. carried into caves by glacial meltwaters, resulting from surface glacial deposit erosion. They generally show 3 dominant facies: A) lacustrine deposits; B) alluvial deposits and C) debris flow deposits facies. The only way of testing the soundness of the forementioned hypothesis is to study the main characters and spreading of cave sediments, since they are the only real data on connection of glaciers to endokarst networks.

Thalweg variability at bridges along a large karst river: the Suwannee River, Florida, 1998,
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Mossa J. , Konwinski J. ,
Geomorphologists and engineers have different perspectives and approaches for examining river channels and the changes that occur during floods. The field-oriented approach typically adopted by geomorphologists has little predictive ability and design usefulness. In contrast, the empirical approach adopted by engineers is based on predictive equations or models that often differ greatly from reality. Such equations are not based on comprehensive field data and often fail to consider a number of site conditions, especially geology and geomorphology. Yet, in order for geomorphic techniques to be useful to the design and planning of engineering structures such as bridges, it is important that sufficient observations exist in order to characterize long-term and short-term changes in bottom topography and scour potential. Six gaging stations on the Suwannee River, a large river draining karst terrain in the southeastern US, were used to examine the temporal variability in thalweg elevation, the deepest point in a given cross-section. The cross-sections have maximum thalweg variability of just a few meters, despite the occurrence of several large floods. suggesting that the bottoms are fairly stable. Historical approaches can be applied to design the length and depth placement of pilings by providing information on site conditions not considered in engineering equations, such as response of bottom materials to various flow conditions, and thus have potential benefits to public safety and cost effectiveness. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V

Geomorphology of the Tertiary gypsum formations in the Ebro Depression (Spain), 1998,
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Elorza Mg, Santolalla Fg,
This paper reviews the current knowledge of the mainly karstic geomorphological features developed in the evaporitic formations of the Ebro Depression (northern Spain). Special emphasis is given to the recently published and unpublished scientific advances. The gypsum formations, of Tertiary age, have an extensive outcrop area within the Ebro Depression. Here, their morphogenesis is controlled mainly by processes of surface and subsurface dissolution acting on the gypsum. Outstanding landforms in the gypsum terrain include saline lakes developed in flat bottom dolines (saladas). Other characteristic morphologies include karren and gypsum domes, which occur on a decimetre scale. Where the gypsum is covered by Quaternary alluvial deposits the karstification processes are especially intense and cause subsidence phenomena. Karstic subsidence affects stream terraces, mantled pediments and infilled valleys, which in the region are called vales. Dissolution-induced synsedimentary subsidence has produced interesting geological features, which include significant thickening and deformation of the alluvial deposits. In contrast to the rapid removal of gypsum by dissolution, the amount of gypsum removed by erosion is low. Water erosion studies carried out on gypsiferous slopes of the Ebro Depression, indicate that the sediment yield ranges from 0.59 to 7.82 t/ha/year. This low yield results from the high infiltration capacity of the soils. Subsidence caused by gypsum dissolution has important socioeconomic consequences in the Ebro Depression. The active alluvial karstification of the gypsum causes numerous sinkholes that are harmful to linear structures (roads, railway Lines, irrigation channels), buildings and agricultural land. Unforeseen catastrophic subsidence also puts human Lives at risk. The benefits of such terrains include thickened alluvial deposits which act as valuable water reservoirs and which form excellent sources of aggregates. Fluvial valleys in this gypsiferous terrain commonly show an asymmetrical geometry with prominent gypsum scarps at one side. These gypsum scarps are affected by numerous landslides. These slope movements are hazardous, may dam rivers and cause flooding of the alluvial plains. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

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