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Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology


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Community news

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 flood wave is a rise in the stage of a stream that culminates in a crest before receding [1].?

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


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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 causses (Keyword) returned 20 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 20 of 20
Inverse modeling of the hydrological and the hydrochemical behavior of hydrosystems: Characterization of karst system functioning, 2001,
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Pinault J. L. , Plagnes V. , Aquilina L. , Bakalowicz M. ,
Inverse modeling of mass transfer characterizes the dynamic processes affecting the function of karst systems and can be used to identify karst properties. An inverse model is proposed to calculate unit hydrographs as well as impulse response of fluxes from rainfall-runoff or rainfall-flux data, the purpose of which is hydrograph separation. Contrary to what hydrologists have been doing for years, hydrograph separation is carried out by using transfer functions in their entirety, which enables accurate separation of fluxes, as was explained in the companion paper [Pinault et al., this issue]. The unit hydrograph as well as impulse response of fluxes is decomposed into a quick and a slow component, and, consequently, the effective rainfall is decomposed into two parts, one contributing to the quick flow (or flux) and the other contributing to the slow flow generation. This approach is applied to seven French karstic aquifers located on the Larzac plateau in the Grands Causses area (in the south of France). Both hydrodynamical and hydrogeochemical data have been recorded from these springs over several hydrological cycles. For modeling purposes, karst properties can be represented by the impulse responses of flow and flux of dissolved species. The heterogeneity of aquifers is translated to time-modulated flow and transport at the outlet. Monitoring these fluxes enables the evaluation of slow and quick components in the hydrograph. The quick component refers to the 'flush flow' effect and results from fast infiltration in the karst conduit network when connection is established between the infiltration and phreatic zones, inducing an increase in water head. This component reflects flood events where flow behavior is nonlinear and is described by a very short transfer function, which increases and decreases according to water head. The slow component consists of slow and fast infiltration, underground runoff, storage in annex-to-drain systems, and discharge from the saturated zone. These components can be further subdivided by measuring chemical responses at the karst outlet. Using Such natural tracers enables the slow component of the unit hydrograph to be separated into preevent water, i.e., water of the reservoir and event water, i.e., water whose origin can be related to a particular rainfall event. These measurements can be used to determine the rate of water renewal. Since the preevent water hydrograph is produced by stored water when pushed by a rainfall event and the event water hydrograph reflects rainwater transfer, separating the two components can yield insights into the characteristics of karst aquifers, the modes of infiltration, and the mechanisms involved in karstification, as well as the degree of organization of the aquifer

Continental France and Belgium during the early Cretaceous: paleoweatherings and paleolandforms, 2006,
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Thiry Medard, Quesnel Florence, Yans Johan, Wyns Robert, Vergari Anne, Theveniaut Herve, Simoncoincon Regine, Ricordel Caroline, Moreau Marie Gabrielle, Giot Denis, Dupuis Christian, Bruxelles Laurent, Barbarand
During the early Cretaceous, successive tectonic phases and several sea level falls resulted in the emersion of the main part of western Europe and the development of thick 'lateritic' weathering. This long period of continental evolution ended with the Upper Cretaceous transgressions. During this period, the exposed lands displayed a mosaic of diverse morphologies and weathered landscapes. Bauxites are the most spectacular paleoweathering features, known for long in southern France. Recently, new residual outcrops have been identified, trapped in the karstic depressions of the Grands Causses. Other bauxitic formations, containing gibbsite, have also been recognised, occurring with the Clay-with-Jurassic-cherts in the southeastern border of the Paris Basin. These bauxitic formations overlay Jurassic limestone and are buried beneath Upper Cretaceous marine deposits. The recognition of bauxites up north into the southern Paris Basin significantly widens the extension of the Lower Cretaceous bauxitic paleolandscapes. On the Hercynian basements thick kaolinitic weathering mantles occur. They have been classically ascribed to the Tertiary. The first datings of these in situ paleosoils, by means of paleomagnetism and/or radiogenic isotopes, record especially early Cretaceous ages. This is the case for the 'Siderolithic' formations on the edges of the French Massif Central, but also for the kaolinitic profiles in the Belgian Ardennes. In the Flanders, the Brabant basement is deeply kaolinised beneath the Upper Cretaceous cover. These paleosoils show polygenetic evolutions. The relief of these basement paleolandscapes may have been significant. There where probably high scarps (often of tectonic origin) reaching 200 m in elevation or beyond, as well as wide surfaces with inselbergs, as in the present day landscapes of tropical Africa and South America. On the Jurassic limestone platforms occur diverse kaolinitic and ferruginous weathering products. Around the Paris Basin they show various facies, ranging from kaolinitic saprolites to ferricretes. Due to the lack of sedimentary cover, the age of these ferruginous and kaolinitic weathering products has been debated for long, most often allocated to the Siderolithic sensu lato (Eocene-Oligocene). Recent datings by paleomagnetism have enabled to date them (Borne de Fer in eastern Paris Basin) back also to the early Cretaceous (130 {} 10 Ma). These wide limestone plateaus show karstified paleolandforms, such as vast closed and flat depressions broken by conical buttes, but also deep sinkholes in the higher areas of the plateaus and piedmonts. The depth of the karst hollows may be indicative of the range of relative paleoelevations. Dissolution holes display seldom contemporaneous karst fillings, thus implying that the karstland had not a thick weathering cover or that this cover had been stripped off before or by the late Cretaceous transgression. Nevertheless, some areas, especially above chert-bearing Jurassic limestone or marl, show weathering products trapped in the karst features or as a thick weathering mantle. In the Paris Basin, the Wealden gutter looked like a wide floodplain in which fluvio-deltaic sands and clays were deposited and on which paleosoils developed during times of non-deposition. The edges of the gutter were shaped as piedmonts linked up with the upstream basement areas. The rivers flowing down to the plain deposited lobes of coarse fluvial sands and conglomerates. The intensity of the weathering, the thickness of the profiles and their maturation are directly dependent on the duration of the emersion and the topographic location relative to the gutter. Near the axis of the gutter, where emersion was of limited duration, the paleoweathering features are restricted to rubefaction and argillization of the Lower Cretaceous marine formations. On the other hand, on the borders of the basin and on the Hercynian basement, where emersion was of longer duration, the weathering profiles are thicker and more intensively developed. The inventory of the Lower Cretaceous paleoweathering features shows the complexity of the continental history of this period. Moreover, the preserved weathering products are only a part of this long lasting period, all the aspects relative to erosion phases are still more difficult to prove and to quantify. In this domain, apatite fission tracks thermochronology (AFTT) can be helpful to estimate the order of magnitude of denudation. Residual testimonies and subsequent transgressions may enable to estimate relative elevations, but in return, we presently have no reliable tool to estimate absolute paleoelevations. In the work presented here, the inventory enabled to draw a continental paleogeographic map showing the nature of the weathering mantles and the paleolandscape features, just as paleoenvironments and paleobathymetry presently appear on marine paleogeographic maps. For the future, the challenge is to make progress in dating the paleoweathering profiles and especially in the resolution of these datings, in order to correlate precisely the continental records with the different events which trigger them (eustatism, climate, regional and global geodynamics). The final goal will be to build up a stratigraphic scale of the 'continental geodynamic and climatic events' in parallel with 'sequential stratigraphy' in the marine realm

Formes et formations superficielles de la partie ouest du Causse de Sauveterre (Grands Causses, Aveyron et Lozre), 2007,
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Bruxelles Laurent , Simoncoinon Rgine, Guendon Jeanlouis, Ambert Paul
MORPHOLOGY AND SUPERFICIAL FORMATIONS OF THE WESTERN PART OF THE CAUSSE DE SAUVETERRE (GRANDS CAUSSES, AVEYRON AND LOZ?RE, FRANCE). In 2002, the Natural Regional Park of Grands Causses has coordinated a hydrogeological study of the western part of the Causse de Sauveterre, the northernmost of the Grands Causses. A multidisciplinary approach (geology, geomorphology, geochemistry and hydrology) was used to delineate the catchment area of the main springs and to estimate the vulnerability of karstic aquifers. The Grands Causses are situated in the southern part of the French Massif Central. The landscape is characterised by huge limestone plateaus cut by deep canyons. The morphologic study of the western part of the Causse de Sauveterre (Causse de Massegros and Causse de S?v?rac), combined with analysis of superficial formations, allows us to identify the main steps of landscape evolution. The discovery of bauxite and of many outcrops of Upper Cretaceous sandstone confirm that the Coniacian ingression invaded some paleo-landscapes developed within a long period of continental evolution which was initiated at the end of the Jurassic. During the Tertiary, many residual formations form covers of the limestone plateaus. We can distinguish alterites developed from different formations of the stratigraphic series (clay with cherts from Bajocian, dolomitic sand from Bathonian and Callovian, sandy clays from Cretaceous deposits) from some allochtonous deposits which can be found in some parts of the Causse de Massegros. These formations are found in association with morphological features (shelves, polj?s, fluvio-karstic valleys, sinkholes) and are more or less responsible of their development. Furthermore, some volcanic rocks cut through or even reused some of them. With the deepening of canyons and the base level drop, horizontal morphologies are preserved only where superficial formations are abundant and thick enough to maintain crypto-corrosion. Elsewhere, karst unplugging removes most of the superficial formations, and the karstic evolution tends to show a vertical development of morphologies and caves. Some springs, which benefit from a favourable lithologic, structural and hydrologic context, are more competitive and expand their catchment area at the expense of the other springs. Many superficial features express this dynamism on the plateau and allow us to determine the most sensible areas for water pollution and the most fragile ones for human activities.

PaPRIKa: a method for estimating karst resource and source vulnerabilityapplication to the Ouysse karst system (southwest France) , 2011,
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Kavouri Konstantina, Plagnes Valerie, Tremoulet Joel, Dorfliger Nathalie, Rejiba Faycal, Marchet Pierre

The intrinsic vulnerability mapping method, PaPRIKa, is proposed as a common basis for karst groundwater protection in France. PaPRIKa is a specialized method for studying karst aquifers, derived from updating the RISKE and EPIK methods. Both the structure and functioning of karst aquifers are considered in order to develop a resource and source-vulnerability mapping method. PaPRIKa means Protection of aquifers from the assessment of four criteria: P for protection (considering the most protective aspects among parameters related to soil cover, unsaturated zone and epikarst behavior), R for rock type, I for infiltration and Ka for karstification degree. The Ouysse karst system, located in the Causses area in southwest France, is one of the nine pilot sites where this method was tested and standardized. The specificities of the Ouysse system such as the size of the catchment area, the spatial variability of the karst network development, the thick infiltration zone and the system’s dual character (both karst and non-karst areas), have provided a valuable field of application. The vulnerability of the resource was assessed for the entire catchment area, while source-orientated cartography was attempted for the catchment areas of the three different capture works used for drinking water.


Laltration de type "fantme de roche" : processus, volution et implications pour la karstification, 2011,
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Quinif Yves, Bruxelles Laurent

Depuis plusieurs années, de nombreux exemples de fantômes de roche ont été reconnus dans les karsts en Belgique, en France et en Italie. Ils correspondent à des poches ou à des couloirs de décalcification emplis d’altérite in situ. Leur genèse relève d’un cas spécial de karstification où, à l’inverse des phénomènes de karstification par enlèvement total, le résidu insoluble ou moins soluble reste en place et forme un squelette qui mime la structure initiale de la roche (fossiles, joints, lits de chailles, etc.). Cette altérite, qui peut également se développer sous une voûte calcaire, forme un vaste réseau interconnecté et calé sur la fracturation. De fait, elle constitue une discontinuité importante au sein des massifs karstiques. Lorsque le niveau de base s’abaisse, l’altérite s’effondre sur elle-même puis elle est érodée par des circulations souterraines qui se mettent en place à son toit. Des réseaux de galeries mais aussi des formes de surface se forment alors rapidement, essentiellement par évidement de l’altérite. Ce phénomène est maintenant reconnu dans le monde entier, affectant tous les types de roches, carbonatées ou non.

For several years, numerous examples of ghost rocks have been recognised in karst areas in Belgium, in France and in Italy. They correspond to decalcified pockets but also to decalcified corridors filled with in-situ alterite. It is a special case of karstification where a non-soluble skeleton remains and preserves the structures of the initial rock (fossils, joints, levels of cherts, etc.). This alterite, which can also be formed under a safe roof, draws a large maze following the tectonic patterns. It constitutes an important discontinuity inside the karstic areas. When the base level drops, the structure of the alterite collapses and a void is formed on his top. Then runoff can use this void and erode the soft alterite. Cave network but also surface features can develop quickly, mainly by the cleaning of the alterite. Now, some examples of this phenomenon have been recognised all around the world and occur in different sorts of rocks, carbonated or not.


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