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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 stress, neutral is fluid pressure exerted equally in all directions at a point in a saturated deposit by the head of water. neutral pressure is transmitted to the base of the deposit through the pore water, and does not have a measurable influence on the void ratio or on any other mechanical property of the deposits [21].?

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 attenuation (Keyword) returned 23 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 23 of 23
Percolation and Particle Transport in the Unsaturated Zone of a Karst Aquifer, 2009,
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Pronk M. , Goldscheider N. , Zopfi J. , Zwahlen F.

Recharge and contamination of karst aquifers often occur via the unsaturated zone, but the functioning of this zone has not yet been fully understood. Therefore, irrigation and tracer experiments, along with monitoring of rainfall events, were used to examine water percolation and the transport of solutes, particles, and fecal bacteria between the land surface and a water outlet into a shallow cave. Monitored parameters included discharge, electrical conductivity, temperature, organic carbon, turbidity, particle-size distribution (PSD), fecal indicator bacteria, chloride, bromide, and uranine. Percolation following rainfall or irrigation can be subdivided into a lag phase (no response at the outlet), a piston-flow phase (release of epikarst storage water by pressure transfer), and a mixed-flow phase (increasing contribution of freshly infiltrated water), starting between 20 min and a few hours after the start of recharge event. Concerning particle and bacteria transport, results demonstrate that (1) a first turbidity signal occurs during increasing discharge due to remobilization of particles from fractures (pulse-through turbidity); (2) a second turbidity signal is caused by direct particle transfer from the soil (flow-through turbidity), often accompanied by high levels of fecal indicator bacteria, up to 17,000 Escherichia coli/100 mL; and (3) PSD allows differentiation between the two types of turbidity. A relative increase of fine particles (0.9 to 1.5 lm) coincides with microbial contamination. These findings help quantify water storage and percolation in the epikarst and better understand contaminant transport and attenuation. The use of PSD as ‘‘early-warning parameter’’ for microbial contamination in karst water is confirmed.


Catchment scale tracer testing from karstic features in a porous limestone, 2010,
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Maurice L. , Atkinson T. C. , Williams A. T. , Barker J. A. , Farrant A. R.

Tracer testing was undertaken from sinking streams feeding the Chalk, a porous limestone aquifer characterised by frequent small-scale surface karst features. The objective was to investigate the nature and extent of sub-surface karstic development in the aquifer. Previous tracer testing has demonstrated rapid flow combined with low attenuation of tracer. In this study, at two sites rapid groundwater flow was combined with very high attenuation and at two other sites no tracer was detected at springs within the likely catchment area of the stream sinks tested, suggesting that tracer was totally attenuated along the flowpath. It is proposed that the networks beneath stream sinks in the Chalk and other mildly karstic aquifers distribute recharge into multiple enlarged fractures that divide and become smaller at each division whereas the networks around springs have a predominantly tributary topology that concentrates flow into a few relatively large cavities, a morphology with similarities to that of the early stages of karstification. Tracer attenuation is controlled by the degree to which the two networks are directly connected. In the first state, there is no direct linkage and flow between the two networks is via primary fractures in which tracer attenuation is extreme. The second state is at a percolation threshold in which a single direct link joins the two networks. A very small proportion of tracer reaches the spring rapidly but overall attenuation is very high. In the third state, the recharge and discharge networks are integrated therefore a large fraction of tracer reaches the spring and peak concentrations are relatively high. Despite the large number of stream sinks that recharge the Chalk aquifer, these results suggest that sub-surface conduit development may not always be continuous, with flow down smaller fissures and fractures causing high attenuation of solutes and particulates providing a degree of protection to groundwater outlets that is not seen in more highly karstic aquifers. Bacteriophage tracers that can be detected at very large dilutions (1015) are recommended for investigating groundwater pathways where attenuation may be high.


Environmental Hydrogeological Study of Louros watershed, Epirus, Greece, 2012,
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Konstantina Katsanou

The present study aims to describe and characterize the Ionian zone karst formation concerning the karstification grade of carbonate formations and the development of aquifers, through the hydrogeological study of Louros River drainage basin, considering hydrological, hydrogeological and meteorological data, as well as major, trace element, rare earth element and isotope concentrations. It also aims to investigate basic karst properties such as storativity, homogeneity, infiltration coefficients and the parameters of the Louros basin hydrological balance.

To accomplish this aim daily discharge measurements obtained from Public Power Corporation at the Pantanassa station during the years 1956-1957, along with random discharge measurements from 15 springs along the basin performed by IGME between the years 1979-1989, daily meteorological data from 18 stations and 18 sets of potentiometric surface measurements from 38 sites were compiled. Additionally, chemical analyses on major and trace element concentrations of 42 rock samples and of five sets of water samples from 64 sampling sites, along with fourteen sets of successive periods in order to study the seasonal variation in the chemical composition of 11 springs and REE concentrations of 116 water samples. Moreover isotope ratios from 129 rain samples collected at five different altitudes, 331 samples of surface and groundwater samples, radon measurements on 21 groundwater samples and microbiological on 46 samples of surface and groundwater were evaluated. Daily runoff and random spring discharge missing data were completed applying the SAC-SMA and MODKARST simulation algorithms and the values of these parameters for the duration of the research (2008-2010) were predicted. The accuracy of the predicted values was tested applying statistical methods but also against observed values from in situ measurements performed during the same period (2008-2010).

Louros River drainage basin is located at the southern part of Epirus and covers an area of 953 km2. It is elongated and together with the adjacent basin of River Arachthos they constitute the major hydrographic systems discharging in the Amvrakikos Gulf. The main morphological features of the basin are elongated mountain ranges and narrow valleys, which are the result of tectonic and other geological processes mainly controlled by the limestone-“flysch” alternations. The length of the river’s major channel, which is parallel to the major folding direction (NNW-SSE), is 73.5 km. The mountainous part of the hydrogeological basin covers an area of 400 km2 and its endpoint was set at the Pantanassa station, where discharge measurements are performed. The underground limits of the basin coincides with the surface one, defined by the flysch outcrops at the western margin of the Ziros-Zalongo fault zone to the South, the application of isotope determinations and hydraulic load distribution maps at the North and East.

Geologically, Louros River drainage basin is composed of the Ionian zone formations. Triassic evaporites constitute the base of the zone overlain by a thick sequence of carbonate and clastic sedimentary rocks deposited from the Late Triassic to the Upper Eocene. In more detail, from base to top, the lithostratigraphical column of the zone includes dolomite and dolomitic limestone, Pantokrator limestone, Ammonitico Rosso, Posidonia Shales, Vigla limestone, Upper Senonian limestone, Palaeocene-Eocene limestone and Oligocene “flysch”. The major tectonic features of the regions are folds with their axes trending SW-NE at the northern part and NNW-SSE to NNE-SSW southern of the Mousiotitsa-Episkopiko-Petrovouni fault system and the strike-slip fault systems of Ziros and Petousi.

The evaluation of the daily meteorological data revealed that December is the most humid month of the year followed by January, whereas July and August are the driest months. Approximately 40-45% of the annual precipitation is distributed during the winter time and 30% during autumn. The mean annual precipitation ranges from 897.4 to 2051.8 mm and the precipitation altitude relationship suggests an increased precipitation with altitude at a rate of 84 mm/100 m. The maximum temperature is recorded during August and it may reach 40°C and the minimum during January. The temperature variation with the altitude is calculated at 0.61°C/100 m. The maximum solarity time is 377.8 h, recorded during July at the Arta station. December displays the highest relative humidity with a value of 84.2% recorded again at the Arta station. The highest wind velocity values are recorded at the Preveza station and similar velocities are also recorded at the Ioannina station. The real evapotranspiration in Louros drainage basin ranges between 27-39%. The potential evapotranspiration was calculated from the Ioannina station meteorological data, which are considered more representative for Louros basin, at 785.8 mm of precipitation according to Thornthwaite and at 722.0 mm according to Penman-Monteith.

According to the SAC-SMA algorithm the total discharge (surficial and underground) for the years 2008-2010 ranges between 61-73% of the total precipitation. The algorithm simulates the vertical percolation of rainwater in both unsaturated and saturated zones taking into account 15 parameters including the tension water capacity of the unsaturated zone, the maximum water storage capacity of both unsaturated and saturated zones, the water amount escaping into deeper horizons and not recorded at the basin’s outlet, the percentage of impermeable ground which is responsible for instant runoff, etc. These parameters are correlated to the hydrograph and are recalculated according to it. Two interesting aspects were pointed out from the discharge measurements and the algorithm application. The first is related to the maximum amount of free water, which can be stored at the basic flow of the karstic system, which is very high for the whole basin, reaching 1200 mm of precipitation and the second is the amount of water filtered to the deeper horizons, which reaches 0.098.

The discharge of individual karstic units was simulated applying the specialized MODKARST code. The code, which transforms precipitation to discharge resolving mathematical equations of non-linear flow using the mass and energy balance, successfully completed the time series of available data of spring discharge measurements for the period between the years 2008-2010.

Additionally, a number of useful parameters including spring recharge, delay period between precipitation and discharge, the storage capacity of the discharge area were also calculated by the MODKARST code. These data enabled the calculation of the annual infiltration coefficient for each one of the 15 springs and for the whole basin; the latter was found to range between 38-50% of annual precipitation. The total supply area was estimated approximately at 395 km2, which is consistent with the area of Louros hydrogeological basin calculated from hydrogeological data.

The 18 sets of water table measurements, each one corresponding to a different period, revealed that the aquifers of the intermediate part of Louros basin, which are developed in Quaternary alluvial sediments, are laterally connected to the carbonate formations of the individual karstic spring units, forming a common aquifer with a common water table.

Groundwater flow follows a general N-S direction from the topographic highs to the coastal area with local minor shifts to NE-SW and NW-SE directions. The artificial lake at the position of the Public Power Corporation’s Dam at the south of the region is directly connected to the aquifer and plays an important role in water-level variation. The water table contours display a higher gradient to the southern part due to the decreased hydraulic conductivity of the limestones close to Agios Georgios village. The decreased hydraulic conductivity is believed to be the reason for the development of the homonymous spring although the hydraulic load distributions suggest the extension of the aquifer to the south and a relation to the water level in Ziros Lake, boreholes and the Priala springs. The hydraulic gradient in the broader region ranges between 4-16‰. The absolute water level variation between dry and humid season ranges from 2 m at the South to 15-20 m to the North with an average of 9 m.

The hydrological balance of Louros River mountainous basin according to the aforementioned data is calculated as follows: The total precipitation between the years 2008-2010 ranged between 5.67E+08-9.8E+08 m3 and the discharge at Pantanassa site between 3.47E+08-6.83E+08 m3. The real evapotransiration ranged between 29-39% of the precipitation. The total discharge (runoff and groundwater) accounted for 61-73% of the precipitation, whereas the basic flow due to the percolation ranged between 34-38%. Considering a mean water level variation of 9 m, between the dry and humid season, the water amount constituting the local storage is 2025Ε+07 m3.

Statistical evaluation on spring discharge data and the recession curves analysis revealed three distinct levels with diverse karstic weathering along Louros basin coinciding to the upper, intermediate and low flow of Louros River, respectively. The developed karstic units are generally complex but simple individual units develop as well. The response of spring discharge to the stored water amounts is immediate but with relatively large duration suggesting the storage of large quantities of water and a well-developed system of karstic conduits, which however has not yet met its complete evolution. The karst spring’s units are homogeneous and each one is distinguished from different recession coefficients.

The three levels of flow are also distinguished from the duration curves, which point to individual units upstream, complex units receiving and transmitting water to the adjacent ones in the middle part and complex that only receive water from the upper. This distinguishment is also enhanced by the groundwater’s major ion concentrations, which reveal Ca-HCO3 water-type upstream, along with the isotopic composition at the same part. The prevalent Ca-HCO3-Cl-SO4 water-type in the middle part, the Na-Ca-Cl-SO4 water-type downstream and isotope variation confirms this distinguishment. Moreover, REE variation is also consistent with the three levels. The assumption of relatively large stored water reserves, which contribute to analogous “memory” of spring karstic units, as pointed out by autocorreletion functions is enhanced from SAC-SMA algorithm which premises an increased capacity at the lower zone of basic flow, as well as from the hydrochemical and isotopic composition of groundwater. Monitoring of the seasonal variation in groundwater composition revealed minor variations of hydrochemical parameters and remarkably stable isotopic composition. Both aspects can be explained by the existence of a considerable water body acting as a retarder to external changes.

The crosscorrelation functions suggest a well-developed karstic system, which however has not yet reached its complete maturity also confirmed from field observations. The same conclusion is extracted from the homogeneous evolution at the interval of each karstic unit as demonstrated from recession curves on spring hydrographs.

The results from hydrochemical analyses also revealed the effect of evaporitic minerals and phosphate-rich rocks in groundwater composition and confirmed the hydraulic relationships between surface and groundwater.

The study of the isotopic composition also contributed to exclude the potential connection between the Ioannina and Louros basins, confirmed the meteoric origin of groundwater and revealed the effect of seawater in the chemical composition of few sampling sites.

The microbiological research only revealed minor incidents of contamination and significant attenuation of microorganisms during periods of high discharge.


A hypothesis for carbonate island karst aquifer evolution from analysis of field observations in northern Guam, Mariana Islands, 2013,
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Jenson John W. , Taborosi Danko, Rotzoll Kolja, Mylroie John E. , Gingerich Stephen B.

A hypothesis for carbonate island karst aquifer evolution from analysis of field observations in northern Guam, Mariana Islands, 2013,
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Jenson J. W. , Taboroi D. , Rotzoll K. , Mylroie J. E. , Gingerich S. B.

Seismic study of the low-permeability volume in southern France karst systems, 2013,
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Galibert P. Y. , Valois R. , Mendes M. , Gurin R.

Locating groundwater in deep-seated karst aquifers is inherently difficult. With seismic methods, we studied the upper epikarst and the underneath low-permeability volume (LPV) of several karst systems located in the southern Quercy and Larzac regions of France and found that refraction tomography was effective only in the epikarst and not in the LPV. We evaluated a 3D case study using a combination of surface records and downhole receivers to overcome this limitation. This 3D approach unveiled a set of elongated furrows at the base of the epikarst and identified heterogeneities deep inside the LPV that may represent high-permeability preferred pathways for water inside the karst. To achieve the same result when no borehole was available, we studied seismic amplitudes of the wavefield, recognizing that wave-induced fluid flow in low-permeability carbonates is a driving mechanism of seismic attenuation. We developed a workflow describing the heterogeneity of the LPV with spectral attributes derived from surface-consistent decomposition principles, and we validated its effectiveness at benchmark locations. We applied this workflow to the 3D study and found a low-amplitude signal area at depth; we interpreted this anomaly as a water-saturated body perched above the aquifer.


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

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

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

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

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


The influence of light attenuation on the biogeomorphology of a marine karst cave: A case study of Puerto Princesa Underground River, Palawan, the Philippines, 2015,
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Coombes Martin A. , La Marca Emanuela C. , Naylor Larissa A. , Piccini Leonardo, De Waele Jo, Sauro Francesco

Karst caves are unique biogeomorphological systems. Cave walls offer habitat for microorganisms which in-turn have a geomorphological role via their involvement in rock weathering, erosion and mineralisation. The attenuation of light with distance into caves is known to affect ecology, but the implications of this for biogeomorphological processes and forms have seldom been examined. Here we describe a semi-quantitative microscopy study comparing the extent, structure, and thickness of biocover and depth of endolithic penetration for samples of rock from the Puerto Princesa Underground River system in Palawan, the Philippines, which is a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Organic growth at the entrance of the cave was abundant (100% occurrence) and complex, dominated by phototrophic organisms (green microalgae, diatoms, cyanobacteria, mosses and lichens). Thickness of this layer was 0.28 ± 0.18 mm with active endolith penetration into the limestone (mean depth = 0.13 ± 0.03 mm). In contrast, phototrophs were rare 50 m into the cave and biofilm cover was significantly thinner (0.01 ± 0.01 mm, p b 0.000) and spatially patchy (33% occurrence). Endolithic penetration here was also shallower (b0.01mm, p b 0.000) and non-uniform. Biofilm was found 250 m into the cave, but with a complete absence of phototrophs and no evidence of endolithic bioerosion.

We attribute these findings to light-induced stress gradients, showing that the influence of light on phototroph abundance has knock-on consequences for the development of limestone morphological features. In marine caves this includes notches, which were most well-developed at the sheltered cave entrance of our study site, and for which variability in formation rates between locations is currently poorly understood.


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