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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 kafkalla is a term used in cyprus for the hardened upper portion of crust of havara [20]. see also caliche; havara.?

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

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KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

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 sulfate reduction (Keyword) returned 19 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 19 of 19
Sulfur isotopic composition and the source of dissolved sulfur species in thermo-mineral springs of the Cerna Valley, Romania, 2010, Wynn Jonathan G. , Sumrall Jonathan B. , Onac Bogdan P.

Documenting the source and processes controlling dissolved sulfur (S) mineralization in thermo-mineral waters of the Cerna Valley, Romania is important to understanding speleogenesis in this karst region, in addition to understanding hydrogeological controls, therapeutic qualities and sustainability of the region's historic spas. Stable S and carbon (C) isotopic results reported here elucidate controls on redox processes, the source of dissolved S mineralization, and sulfur-bearing mineral precipitation in this unique karst hydrothermal system. At reservoir temperatures that occur in the Cerna Valley aquifers, it is likely that thermochemical sulfate reduction (TSR) is the dominant S reduction pathway. However the apparent isotope enrichment that we observed between coexisting dissolved sulfate and sulfide is higher than normally associated with TSR—a fact that likely reflects rapid redox cycling at low grade hydrothermal temperatures. δ13C values of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) are consistent with TSR using methane as an electron donor. δ34S values of total dissolved S (sum of sulfide and sulfate) in all springs sampled and particularly in those for which closed-system conditions can be demonstrated, is greater than + 16‰, consistently pointing to dissolved S that derives from marine-derived sulfate mineral sources. To this combined S–C isotope data set, we apply a model of Rayleigh distillation which describes exponentially increasing δ34S values of a diminishing sulfate reservoir during TSR, and linearly decreasing δ13C values of DIC indicating mixing of C from the electron donor involved in TSR. Comparison of our results to this model shows two distinct stages of TSR during transport of fresh water from karst aquifers towards the local geothermal anomaly. In an up-gradient group of springs and wells, incomplete TSR progress that is limited by energy from electron donors is evident from: low concentrations of dissolved sulfide with low δ34S values (as low as − 21.9‰), a large balance of remaining as SO42− similar in isotopic composition to its source ( + 17.4‰), and δ13C values showing little methane-derived DIC. Conversely, in a downstream group of springs and wells, excess concentration of methane provides abundant energy for near-complete TSR, and this near complete reaction progress is evident from: high δ34S values of remaining SO42− (up to + 71.8‰), high dissolved sulfide concentrations (> 32 mg/L as S2−) with δ34S values that take on the approximate isotopic signature of the total dissolved S (mean + 17.4‰), and low δ13C values of additional DIC derived from methane (as low as − 30‰). Thus the unique hydrogeology of the Cerna Valley allows the observation of two end-members of TSR (energy- and sulfate-limited) demonstrating wide boundary conditions of stable isotopic composition of dissolved S and C produced by TSR in a single natural system.

Tracing the sources of cave sulfates: a unique case from Cerna Valley, Romania, 2011, Onac Bogdan P. , Wynn Jonathan G. , Sumrall Jonathan B.

In order to reliably distinguish between different genetic processes of cave sulfate formation and to quantify the role of thermo-mineral waters on mineral deposition and cave morphology, it is critical to understand sulfur (S) sources and S transformations during hydrological and speleogenetic processes. Previous work has shown that sulfuric acid speleogenesis (SAS) often produces sulfate deposits with 34S-depleted isotopic signatures compared to those of the original source of S in sulfate rocks. However, 34S-depleted isotopic composition of S-bearing minerals alone does not provide enough information to clearly distinguish SAS from other speleogenetic processes driven by carbonic acid, geothermal heat, or other processes. The isotopic composition (δ18O and δ34S) of sulfate minerals (mainly gypsum) from seven caves of the Cerna Valley (Romania) defines three distinct populations, and demonstrates that the δ34S values of SAS-precipitated cave sulfates depend not only on the source of the S, but also on the H2S:SO4 2− ratio during aqueous S species reactions and mineral precipitation. Population 1 includes sulfates that are characterized by relatively low δ34S values (−19.4 to −27.9‰) with δ18O values between 0.2 and 4.3‰ that are consistent with oxidation of dissolved sulfide produced during methane-limited thermochemical sulfate reduction (TSR) that presently characterizes the chemistry of springs in the upper Cerna Valley. Population 2 of cave sulfates has 34S enriched δ34S values (14.3 to 19.4‰) and more 18O-depleted δ18O values (from −1.8 to −10.0‰). These values argue for oxidation of dissolved sulfide produced during sulfate-limited TSR that presently characterizes the chemistry of springs further downstream in the Cerna Valley. The δ18O values of cave sulfates from Population 1 are consistent with oxidation under more oxic aqueous conditions than those of Population 2. δ34S values of cave sulfates within Population 3 (δ34S: 5.8 to 6.5‰) may be consistent with several scenarios (i.e., pyrite oxidation, oxidation of dissolved sulfide produced during methane-limited TSR coupled with O2-limited oxidation during SAS). However, comparatively 18O-enriched δ18OSO4 values (11.9 to 13.9‰) suggest the majority of this sulfate O was derived from atmospheric O2 in gas-phase oxidation prior to hydration. Thus, the combined use of oxygen- and sulfur-isotope systematics of sulfate minerals precipitated in a variety of cave settings along Cerna Valley may serve as an example of how more complex cave systems can be deconvoluted to allow for more complete recognition of the range of processes and parameters that may be involved in SAS.


The classical epigene speleogenetic model in which CO2 is considered the main source of acidity has been challenged over the last three decades by observations that revealed cave passages unrelated to groundwater drainage routes and surface topography. Most of these passages show unusual morphologies, such are cupolas, floor feeders (i.e., inlets for deep-seated fluids), and huge irregular-shaped rooms that terminate abruptly, and often a rich and diverse mineral association. A hypogenetic speleogenetic pathway was proposed for this group of caves.
The presence of abundant gypsum deposits in caves with one or more of the passage morphologies listed above, have prompted scientists to suggest a new theory (i.e., sulfuric acid speleogenesis, SAS) of cave development. In the hypogenic SAS model, the source of acidity is the sulfuric acid produced by oxidation of H2S (originating from sulfate reduction or petroleum reservoirs) near or at the water table, where it dissolves the limestone bedrock and precipitates extensive gypsum deposits. SAS is now thoroughly documented from numerous caves around the world, with the best examples coming from the Guadalupe Mountains (NM), Frasassi caves (Italy), selected caves in France, Cueva de Villa Luz (Mexico), and Cerna Valley (SW Romania).
To date, discrimination between epigene and hypogene speleogenetic pathways is made using cave morphology criteria, exotic mineral assemblages, and the predominantly negative δ34S values for the cave sulfates. This presentation highlights the role sulfur and oxygen stable isotope analyses have in discriminating between epigene and hypogene caves.
Based on a number of case studies in caves of the Cerna Valley (Romania), we found that relatively S-depleted isotopic composition of cave minerals alone does not provide enough information to clearly distinguish SAS from other complex speleogenetic pathways. In fact, δ34S values of SAS by-products depend not only on the source of the S, but also on the completeness of S redox reactions. Therefore, similar studies to this are needed to precisely diagnose SAS and to provide information on the S cycle in a given karst system.
Integrating cave mineralogy, passage morphology, and geochemical studies may shed light on the interpretation of polygenetic caves, offering clues to processes, mechanisms, and parameters involved in their genesis (sulfate-dominated).

The fate of CO2 derived from thermochemical sulfate reduction (TSR) and effect of TSR on carbonate porosity and permeability, Sichuan Basin, China, 2015, Hao Fang, Zhang Xuefeng, Wang Cunwu, Li Pingping, Guo Tonglou, Zou Huayao, Zhu Yangming, Liu Jianzhang, Cai Zhongxian

This article discusses the role ofmethane in thermochemical sulfate reduction (TSR), the fate of TSR-derived CO2 and the effect of TSR on reservoir porosity and permeability, and the causes of the anomalously high porosity and permeability in the Lower Triassic soured carbonate gas reservoirs in the northeast Sichuan Basin, southwest China. The Lower Triassic carbonate reservoirs were buried to a depth of about 7000 m and experienced maximum temperatures up to 220 °C before having been uplifted to the present-day depths of 4800 to 5500 m, but they still possess porosities up to 28.9% and permeabilities up to 3360 md. The present-day dry gas reservoirs evolved from a paleo-oil accumulation and experienced varying degrees of TSR alteration as evidenced from the abundant sulfur-rich solid bitumens and varying H2S and CO2 concentrations. TSR occurred mainly within the oil and condensate/wet gas windows, with liquid hydrocarbons and wet hydrocarbon gases acting as the dominant reducing agents responsible for sulfate reduction, sulfur-rich solid bitumen and H2S generation, and calcite precipitation. Methane-dominated TSR was a rather late event and had played a less significant role in altering the reservoirs. Intensive H2S and CO2 generation during TSR resulted in calcite cementation rather than carbonate dissolution, which implies that the amount of water generated during TSR was volumetrically insignificant. 13C-depleted CO2 derived from hydrocarbon oxidation preferentially reacted with Ca2+ to form isotopically light calcite cements, and the remaining CO2 re-equilibrated with the 13C-enriched water–rock systems with its δ13C rapidly approaching the values for the host rocks, which accounted for the observed heavy and relatively constant CO2 δ13C values. The carbonate reservoirs suffered from differential porosity loss by TSR-involved solid bitumen generation and TSR-induced calcite and pyrite precipitation. Intensive TSR significantly reduced the porosity and permeability of the intervals expected to have relatively high sulfate contents (the evaporative-platform dolostones and the platform-margin shoal dolostones immediately underlying the evaporative facies). Early oil charge and limited intensity of TSR alteration, together with very low phyllosilicate content and early dolomitization, accounted for the preservation of anomalously high porosities in the reservoirs above the paleo-oil/water contact. A closed system seems to have played a special role in preserving the high porosity in the gas zone reservoirs below the paleo-oil/water contact. The closed system, which is unfavorable for deep burial carbonate dissolution and secondary porosity generation, was favorable for the preservation of early-formed porosity in deeply buried carbonates. Especially sucrosic and vuggy dolostones have a high potential to preserve such porosity.

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