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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 air pocket, air bell is 1. an enclosed air space between the water surface and the roof of a cave [10]. 2. part of a flooded passage where the ceiling rises above the water level to create an air pocket isolated from the rest of the cave [9].?

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.
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鈥橝ngeli 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鈥橝ngeli, 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

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Your search for western mediterranean (Keyword) returned 26 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 26 of 26
Submarine and coastal karstic groundwater discharges along the southwestern Mediterranean coast of Turkey, 2011, Bayari C. Serdar, Ozyurt N. Nur, Oztan Mehmet, Bastanlar Yalin, Varinlioglu Guzden

A 120 km-long part of the southwestern coast of Turkey, with well-developed karst terrain in contact with the sea, has been investigated by systematic diving surveys to determine the submarine groundwater discharges (SGDs). The physical, chemical and isotopic data have been used to determine the rate of the fresh groundwater end member (FEM) and its temporal dynamics. About 150 SGDs have been detected by diving surveys employed mostly up to a depth of 30 m below sea level (bsl). Among those, 15 SGDs are in the form of coastal or submarine caves with entrances ranging between sea surface and 40 m bsl. The FEM contribution in SGDs ranges from a few percent to more than 80%. Stable isotope data suggest a range of mean recharge area elevations extending from the coast to more than 1,000 m inland. In many of the SGDs, the FEMs are characterized by tritium-based residence times ranging from recent to several decades. Hypothetical geochemical calculations of mixing between freshwater and seawater end members reveal that more than 45% of freshwater contribution is required for karst development in the SGDs. Models suggest a threshold pH of 7.6 or lower for the carbonate rock dissolution. 


First Steps in Limestone Weathering and Erosion: An Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) approach, 2011, Forn髎 Joan J. , G髆ezpujol Llu韘, Cifre Joan, Hierro Ferran

A combined atomic force microscope (AFM) and scanning electron microscope (SEM) experiment examining the first steps in limestone weathering and erosion is presented. The experiment
deals with the exposure of polished limestone rock tablets to a Western Mediterranean coastal environment and with the rate and patterns of weathering addressed by roughness
quantification and qualitative assessment of nanoforms. Observations show how rock surface roughness increases at high rates after four and six months of exposure, passing from initial roughness RMS values between 14 and 32 mm to values between 396 to 492 mm. From the qualitative SEM approach, it can be concluded that the roughness increase relates with the widening of the space between rock grains and results in the isolation and detaching of rock grains.


Dades sobre paleocarst i espeleocronologia de les illes Balears , 2011, Gines J. , Gines A. , Fornos J. J.

The litho-stratigraphic record of the Balearic Islands, basically composed by carbonate rocks, include noticeable paleokarstic phenomena particularly owing to the complex tectonic structuration experienced by the Western Mediterranean basin all along its geological history. The most outstanding paleokarst features and associated breccia deposits are observed in the Jurassic limestones and, especially, in the postorogenic Upper Miocene carbonate rocks, where abundant funnel-shaped collapse structures (Messinian in age) have tightly conditioned the geomorphological evolution of the eastern coast of Mallorca. Regarding the karstification occurred in Pliocene and Quaternary times, the islands arise as exceptional scenarios in order to obtain valuable speleochronological data from quite different sources. The base level variations –controlled in turn by oscillations of the sea level–, as well as the evolutionary trends of endemic vertebrates that lived in the Balearic Islands, provide a solid chronological frame to undertake the geomorphologic study of Balearic caves and its sediments. Particularly, the glacio-eustatic oscillations experienced by the Mediterranean Sea remain accurately recorded by means of horizontal paleolevels of phreatic speleothems, mostly corresponding to Upper Pleistocene and Holocene sea-stands. The isotopic investigations (U-Th, 14C) carried out on these carbonate precipitates, as well as on speleothems in general, have supplied abundant absolute dating which strongly contribute to the chronological assessment of the endokarst evolution undergone in our islands. All the evidences gathered till now seem to place in the Pliocene, and in some cases even before, the main speleogenetic phases occurred in the archipelago. During the Middle and Upper Pleistocene, the caves in the Balearic Islands had only experienced minor morpho-sedimentary modifications embracing –in a significant number of cave sites– the deposition of abundant speleothems together with the emplacement of paleontological deposits that include endemic vertebrate fauna.


Upper Pleistocene deposits and karst features in the littoral landscape of Mallorca Island (Western Mediterranean): a field trip, 2012, Fornos J. J. , Gin閟 A. , Gin閟 J. , G髆ezpujol L. , Gr郼ia F. , Merino A. , Onac B. P. , Tuccimei P. , Vicens D.

Origin of the interstitial isopod Microcharon (Crustacea, Microparasellidae) from the western Languedoc and the northern Pyrenees (France) with the description of two new species, 2013, Nicole Coineau, Claude Boutin, Malvina Artheau

The interstitial groundwater genus Microcharon (Crustacea, Isopoda, Microparasellidae) is highly diversified in southern France. A new species,Microcharon boulanouari n. sp. is described from the Aude River, whereas specimens from the Lachein River in the central Pyrenees are reassigned to another species, M. ariegensis new to Science. Microcharon boulanouarin. sp. is closely related to the species of the group rouchi and may belong to the phylogenetic western Mediterranean lineage. The two-step model of colonization and evolution provides an understanding of the origin and age of this stygobite. Microcharon boulanouari n. sp. is derived from marine ancestors that lived in the interstitial littoral shallow bottoms of the Atlantic embayment which covered southwestern France at the very beginning of the early Eocene period. Both the regression of this gulf at the start of the Eocene and the Pyrenees uplift may have played a major role in the evolutionary history through vicariance of Microcharon boulanouari n. sp. and of the northern Pyrenean species of the grouprouchi.


Geologic constraints and speleogenesis of Cova des Pas de Vallgornera, a complex coastal cave from Mallorca Island (Western Mediterranean), 2014, Gin茅s J. , Forn贸s J. J. , Gin茅s A. , Merino A. , Gr脿cia F.

The flat areas of eastern and southern Mallorca host a remarkable coastal karst, where Cova des Pas de Vallgornera stands out due to its length (more than 74 km) and its special morphological suite. The pattern of the cave is quite heterogeneous showing sharp differences produced by the architecture of the Upper Miocene reef: spongework mazes and collapse chambers dominate in the reef front facies, whereas joint-guided conduits are the rule in the back reef carbonates. Regarding the speleogenesis of the system, a complex situation is envisaged involving three main agents: coastal mixing dissolution, drainage of meteoric diffuse recharge, and hypogene basal recharge related to local geothermal phenomena. The cave system is disposed in two main tiers of passages, of which geomorphologic interpretations are derived from their elevation data. The evolutionary trends as well as the chronology of the different cave sections are difficult to establish owing to the frequent shifting of the coastal base level during the Plio-Quaternary. In this respect, the genesis and evolution of the cave were fully controlled by sea-level fluctuations in the Western Mediterranean basin, with the main phases of cave formation, based on vertebrate paleontological data, going back to mid-Pliocene times.


Speleothems in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera: their distribution and characteristics within an extensive coastal cave from the eogenetic karst of southern Mallorca (Western Mediterranean)., 2014, Merino A. , Gin茅s J. , Tuccimei P. , Soligo M. , Forn贸s J. J.

The abundance and variety of speleothems are undoubtedly among the remarkable features of Cova des Pas de Vallgornera, the longest cave system in Mallorca Island developed in the eogenetic karst of its southern coast. Due to the monotonous carbonate lithology of the area, most of the speleothems are composed of calcite and in a few cases aragonite, although other minerals are also represented (e.g., gypsum, celestine, barite.). However, in spite of the rather common mineralogy of the speleothems, its distribution results strongly mediated by the lithologic and textural variability linked to the architecture of the Upper Miocene reefal rocks. Apart from a vast majority of speleothem typologies that are ubiquitous all along the cave system, some particular types are restricted to specific sections of the cave. In its landward inner passages, formed in the low permeability back reef facies, a great variety of speleothems associated to perched freshwater accumulations stands out, as well as some non frequent crystallizations like for example cave rims. On the other hand, the seaward part of the cave (developed in the very porous reef front facies) hosts conspicuous phreatic overgrowths on speleothems (POS), which are discussed to show their applications to constrain sea level changes. The factors controlling the distribution of speleothems found in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera are discussed along the paper, focusing the attention on the lithologic, hydrogeologic and speleogenetic conditionings; at the same time some uncommon speleothems, not found in any other cave in Mallorca, are also documented from this locality. Finally, a cognizant endeavour has been undertaken to illustrate with photographs the most remarkable speleothem types represented in the cave.


Cave deposits and sedimentary processes in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (Mallorca, Western Mediterranean), 2014, Forn贸s J. J. , Gin茅s J. , Gr脿cia F. , Merino A. , G贸mezpujol L. , Bover P.

The Cova des Pas de Vallgornera is an important and protected coastal cave, located in the southern part of the island of Mallorca, that outstands due to its length and the complex processes involved in its speleogenesis. Although sediments are not the main topic of interest, their presence as well as their paleontological contents are valuable evidence for paleoclimatic and chronological reconstructions of the cave morphogenesis. The sedimentary infilling is characterized by a scarce presence of clastic sedimentation, mainly composed of silts and clays, which can only be found at some minor passages in the innermost parts of the cave. It corresponds to a clayey sedimentation mainly derived from the soil infiltration that can be found mixed with carbonate particles detached from the cave walls. A particularly different situation occurs in the northernmost end of the cave where an important sequence of silty sands are present, hosting a very rich paleontological deposit. The objective of this paper is to describe the detrital deposits present in the cave by means of the integration of sedimentological, chemical, and mineralogical data, which will aim to provide a better understanding of the processes that have occurred during the system’s speleogenetic evolution.


The Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (Llucmajor, Mallorca): a singular deposit bearing an exceptional well preserved Early Pleistocene vertebrate fauna, 2014, Bover P. , Valenzuela A. , Guerra C. , Rofes J. , Alcover J. A. Gin茅s J. , Forn贸s J. J. , Cuencabesc贸s G. , Merino A.

The Cova des Pas de Vallgornera is the longest cave of Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Western Mediterranean) and one of the 30 longest caves in the world. The exploration of one of the galleries allowed the discovery of a fossiliferous deposit of vertebrate remains in a remarkable preservation state. The fossil faunal complex found in this gallery is composed of up to 5 mammalian species (Myotragus aff. kopperi, Hypnomys onicensis, Nesiotites aff. ponsi, Rhinolophus aff. mehelyi and Pipistrellus sp.), at least 14 bird species (among them two Mallorcan endemic taxa: Pica mourerae and Athene vallgornerensis), one reptile (Podarcis aff. lilfordi) and one amphibian (Discoglossus sp.). This faunal composition is similar to the one recorded in the Pedrera de s’Ònix, a well known deposit from the Early Pleistocene of Mallorca, and shared morphological characteristics between taxa of both deposits suggest that the chronology of the Cova des Pas de Vallgornera should be considered Early Pleistocene as well. Both taxonomical analysis and chronology of this fauna furnished information on some speleological aspects of the cave.


Groundwater geochemistry observations in littoral caves of Mallorca (western Mediterranean): implications for deposition of phreatic overgrowths on speleothems., 2014, Boop L. M. , Onac B. P. , Wynn J. G. , Forn贸s J. J. , Rodr铆guezhomar M. , Merino A.

Phreatic overgrowths on speleothems (POS) precipitate at the air-water interface in the littoral caves of Mallorca, Spain. Mainly composed of calcite, aragonite POS are also observed in specific locations. To characterize the geochemical environment of the brackish upper water column, water samples and salinity values were collected from water profiles (0-2.9 m) in April 2012 and March 2013 near aragonite POS in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera and calcite POS in Coves del Drac (hereafter, Vallgornera and Drac). Degassing of CO2 from the water was evidenced by the existence of lower dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentration and enriched δ13CDIC values in a thin surface layer (the uppermost 0.4 m), which was observed in both profiles from Drac. This process is facilitated by the efficient exchange of cave air with the atmosphere, creating a CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) disparity between the cave water and air, resulting in the precipitation of calcite POS as CO2 degasses from the water. The degassed upper layer was not observed in either profile from Vallgornera, suggesting that less efficient cave ventilation restricts outgassing of CO2, which also results in accumulation of CO2 in the cave atmosphere. The presence of an existing uncorroded POS horizon, as well as higher concentrations and large amplitude fluctuations of cave air pCO2, may indicate that aragonite POS deposition is currently episodic in Vallgornera. Ion concentration data from monthly water samples collected in each cave between October 2012 and March 2013 indicate higher Mg:Ca, Sr:Ca, Ba:Ca and Sr:Mg ratios in Vallgornera. Salinity alone does not appear to be a viable proxy for ions that may promote aragonite precipitation or inhibit calcite precipitation. Instead, these ions may be contributed by more intense bedrock weathering or deep groundwater flow.


Microbial communities in a coastal cave: Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (Mallorca, Western Mediterranean), 2014, Busquets A. , Forn贸s J. J. , Zafra F. , Lalucat J. , Merino A.

As a part of an ongoing project on the role of microbes in the biogeochemistry of Majorcan caves, the species diversity of microbial communities present in cave pools of anchialine waters in the Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (Mallorca, western Mediterranean) is investigated by a culture-dependent method. Two-hundred and forty-eight strains isolated from this characteristic cave environment of the littoral karst are identified by whole-cell-MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and phylogeneticaly by 16S rRNA gene sequences. Total cell counts and species diversity of the bacterial communities decreas with the distance to the entrance of the cave and to the sea. Strains are mainly identified as members of the Gammaproteobacteria and Actinobacteria. Around 20% of the isolates are able to precipitate carbonates. Calcite is the predominant phase, growing in all the precipitates, although struvite is also found in one Pseudomonas and in one Aspergillus cultures. Differences in crystal characteristics of external shape (habit) and growth are observed according to the bacterial species promoting the precipitates. Bacteria associated with multicolored ferromanganese deposits, present in several parts of the cave, are also studied and are identified as Pseudomonas benzenivorans and Nocardioides luteus. The preponderance of Pseudomonas species and the possible contribution of bacteria in calcite deposition are discussed.


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