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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 connate water is water entrapped in the interstices of a sedimentary or extrusive igneous rock at the time of its deposition [22].?

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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 industry (Keyword) returned 32 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 32
Nonsulfide Zinc Mineralization in Europe: An Overview, 2003, Boni M, Large D,
A number of occurrences and deposits of nonsulfide zinc ores in Europe were the historical basis for the development of the zinc mining and smelting industry. The principal occurrences in Silesia (Poland), Sardinia (Italy), and northern Spain are described. These deposits are products of the supergene oxidation of primary carbonate-hosted sulfide minerals during the complex interplay of tectonic uplift, karst development, changes in the level of the water table, and weathering. The nonsulfide zinc mineral deposits in the Irish Midlands may represent an example of surface oxidation of primary sulfide mineral deposits, redeposition, and preservation under glacial till. The willemite-dominated mineralization at La Calamine, Belgium, may be related to paleoweathering or be of possible hydrothermal origin, similar to other willemite deposits in the world

The Padaeng Supergene Nonsulfide Zinc Deposit, Mae Sod, Thailand, 2003, Reynolds Neal A. , Chisnall Tony W. , Kaewsang Kriangsak, Keesaneyabutr Chanan, Taksavasu Taksorn,
The Padaeng deposit near Mae Sod in western Thailand was the first supergene nonsulfide zinc deposit in the world to be developed as a large modern mining operation. The mine and associated zinc smelter, operated by Padaeng Industry Public Company Ltd. since 1984, went into production with reserves of 4.59 Mt at a grade of 28.9 percent zinc with a 10 percent zinc cutoff. Current resources are 5.14 Mt at a grade of 12.0 percent zinc with a 3 percent zinc cutoff. The Padaeng deposit is hosted by a mixed carbonate-clastic sequence of Middle Jurassic age. The deposit occurs in the hanging wall of the Padaeng fault, a major northwest-trending structure that was active through Cretaceous and Tertiary tectonism and uplift. Nonsulfide zinc ore comprises dominant hemimorphite with minor smithsonite and hydrozincite. Strata-bound ore zones occur within a northwest-dipping, deeply weathered, dolomitic sandstone; steeply dipping and irregular karstic zones in underlying massive, silty dolomite are controlled by north-trending fracture zones. Sulfide zinc-lead mineralization of Mississippi Valley type occured extensively in the vicinity of the Padaeng mine, most notably the small resources at Pha De and Hua Lon. Mineral deposits are typically sphalerite rich with minor galena and pyrite, forming small-scale open-space fillings, veins, and replacements within hydrothermal dolomite. Mineralization is dominantly strata bound within a horizon of intense hydrothermal dolomitization that forms the stratigraphic hanging wall to the nonsulfide ore zones at Padaeng. The only significant sulfide at the Padaeng mine is within this unit. Only trace sulfide occurs peripheral to, or down dip of, strata-bound or steeply dipping, nonsulfide orebodies. Sulfide mineralization is believed to have accompanied Cretaceous uplift and deformation, related to the onset of oblique subduction beneath the western margin of the Shan-Thai terrane. The nonsulfide deposit is believed to have formed when a substantial body of sulfide ore was uplifted on the margin of the Mae Sod Tertiary intermontane basin, commencing in the middle to late Miocene. Zinc-bearing acidic supergene fluids, generated by oxidation of the precursor sulfide body, reacted with carbonate in the underlying stratigraphic section to precipitate hemimorphite and smithsonite. Fluids were channeled by permeable dolomitic sandstones and by steep fracture and fault zones. Acidic fluids promoted deep weathering and karst formation, allowing mineralization to extend down dip in sandstone units for at least 150 m and vertically for a similar distance in steep structural zones. Transport of zinc out of the precursor sulfide body was facilitated by a falling water table, owing to uplift of the Padaeng fault block and a change from wet tropical to monsoonal or semiarid climatic conditions. There is no evidence for significant in situ replacement of sulfide deposits, and the leached remnants of the precursor sulfide body have been removed by erosion. The supergene process of dissolution and reprecipitation of zinc in the host rocks increased zinc grades and separation of zinc from lead, producing an economically attractive deposit. Successful exploration for this type of deposit requires a good understanding of the controls on primary sulfide mineralization and a good knowledge of local neotectonism, uplift history, hydrogeology, climatic evolution, and weathering history

Sequence Biostratigraphy of Prograding Clinoforms, Northern Carnarvon Basin, Western Australia: A Proxy for Variations in Oligocene to Pliocene Global Sea Level?, 2004, Moss Graham D. , Cathro Donna L. , Austin James A. Jr. ,
Sequence biostratigraphic analyses from five industry wells in the Northern Carnarvon Basin (NCB), Western Australia, are tied to seismic stratigraphic interpretations from a set of 3D and 2D seismic data. Distribution patterns of [~]286 benthic and 73 planktonic foraminiferal taxa in sidewall cores and ditch cuttings from Eocene to Pliocene intervals are documented and supplemented with observations of other fossil groups (e.g., fragments of ostracodes, bryozoans, corals, and mollusks) and lithological components such as calcite cement and quartz sand. Preservation of foraminiferal assemblages is extremely variable in latest Eocene to Pliocene stratigraphy, depending upon the location of wells and the interval investigated. Nonetheless, consistent, detectable faunal signals correlate between wells and with prominent seismic horizons and sequences. The late Oligocene to middle Miocene is characterized by deeper-water benthic assemblages dominated by infaunal taxa and a high planktonic abundance. Stratigraphic events in the middle Miocene, including turnover in benthic foraminifera, are interpreted to record a regional flooding event (equivalent to cycle Tejas B (TB) 2.3) at the beginning of the mid-Miocene climatic optimum ([~]16-14.5 Ma). Following this event, seismically defined geomorphic features include karstification on the shelf and incision on the clinoform front. All wells show a major transition to shallow-water, warm conditions on the shelf in the middle and late Miocene, with benthic assemblages dominated by larger foraminifera. This transition appears higher in more-basinward wells and appears to be a result of progradation. Geomorphic features in the late middle Miocene ([~]12 Ma) identified from 3D seismic analyses show an intensification of earlier gully formation, resulting in the development of submarine canyons. Detailed analyses of faunal patterns also provide evidence of higher-frequency sea-level fluctuations (0.5-3 Ma), not detected in the seismic stratigraphic patterns

Drinking water supply from karst water resources (The example of the Kras plateau, SW Slovenia), 2004, Ravbar Nataš, A

In the past the biggest economic problem on the Kras plateau used to be drinking water supply, which has also been one of the reasons for sparsely populated Kras plateau. Today the Water Supply Company provides drinking water to households and industry on the Kras plateau and the quantity is sufficient to supply the coastal region in the summer months as well. Water supply is founded on effective karst groundwater pumping near Klariči. Some water is captured from karst springs under Nanos Mountain as well. In water supply planning in future, numerous other local water resources linked to traditional ways of water supply need to be considered. Eventual rainwater usage for garden irrigation or car washing, for communal activity (street washing) or for the needs of farming and purified wastewater usage for industry (as technological water) is not excluded.


Phnomnes karstiques et tourisme dans les parcs nationaux de lOuest canadien : la mise en valeur progressive dun patrimoine naturel, 2006, Hritier Stphane
The karst phenomenon and tourism in western canadian national parks: the progressive promotion of a natural heritage - Canadian national parks located in the Rockies and in the Selkirk range (Alberta and British Columbia) can be considered as places of major interest to focus research on the Canadian parks. Since the beginning of the National Park System in 1885, transcontinental railway companies have promoted tourism activities within national parks based on scenery and natural sites. With more than 10 millions visitors per year, these parks have become a favorite tourist destination for many Canadian and Americans. Nature and different natural processes, such as falls, lakes, canyons and caves, karst springs, glacial processes and postglacial landforms, are thus considered as tourist resources [Sanguin & Gill, 1990]. The present paper analyzes how karst landscapes have become a significant part of the tourist dynamics within the Canadian national parks. These landforms and processes seem to be involved in a tourism process based on the promotion of the entire environment, its dynamics and its mechanisms. The final point will be to interrogate the way in which karst processes and landforms have become subjects that offer opportunities for tourism development through the terms and conditions of their promotion as a support for parks attractivity. A century of tourism development has enlarged the scientific opportunities for visitors, introducing the latter to the geomorphologic as well as the human heritage. Since the end of the 1960s, coordinated regional programs have been developed (tourism management, interpretation, etc.) between the mountain parks and the tourism sector (railway companies, private interpreters, businesses, etc.). The use and the promotion of karst has been gradually developed, especially for endokarstic and hydrokarstic forms and processes, like mountain scenery, karst lansdcapes have become a foundation for nature tourism. As parts of national parks, the hydrokarst and the canyons are geomorphosites [Reynard & Panizza, 2005] which are protected for their ecological value. Nowadays, they are also preserved for their scientific and esthetic values but also because they are considered as significant parts of the tourism industry. Since the 1960s, scientific studies have incited actors to develop a global approach in environment management that converges on ecological integrity , a major concept for Parks Canada. In the end, the differing values (aesthetic, cultural, economic, ecological, scientific) identified by Reynard [2005] converge in the concept of heritage value, understood as the synthesis of the identified values for geomorphosites, based either on a mathematic evaluation or on a synthetic analysis. Regarding the history of karst sites promotion within the Canadian mountain parks, and the recent proposal concerning a restrictive karst policy [Horne, 2004-b], it seems the karst phenomenon has obtained a genuine economic, touristic and heritage status.

Natural and anthropogenic hazards in the karst of Jamaica, 2007, Day Mj,
About two thirds of Jamaica is karst landscape, and karstic hazards affect much of the country and about half of the population, mostly in rural areas. The karst includes extensive areas of dolines and dry valleys, together with poljes and classical tropical tower and cockpit karst. With population and urbanization increases, and as infrastructure is developed, karstic hazards are becoming more prevalent and risks are increasing. One major natural hazard is seasonal drought, which disrupts water supplies, particularly in rural areas where groundwater resources are poorly developed and residents depend on rainwater and springs. Conversely, seasonal flooding, particularly that associated with tropical storms, causes property damage and human death, injury and displacement. Ground surface subsidence and collapse threatens developing infrastructure, dwellings and livestock, but the potential for catastrophic karstic failure of industrial facilities such as dams and retention ponds, including the storage facilities associated with bauxite mining and processing, appears to be relatively limited. Slope failure also occurs, but is not often recognized as a hazard and has not been studied in detail. Human impacts include quarrying, bauxite mining, groundwater abstraction, urbanization, agricultural development and tourism. Groundwater contamination is a serious anthropogenic hazard, particularly associated with the bauxite industry. Less than 10% of the karst area is within protected areas

New Findings at Andrahomana Cave, Southeastern Madagascar, 2008, Burney D. A. , Vasey N. , Ramilisonina L. R. Godfrey, Jungers W. L. , Ramarolahy M. , And Raharivony L.
A remote eolianite cave and sinkhole complex on the southeast coast of Madagascar has played a major role in the history of paleontology in Madagascar. Andrahomana Cave has yielded a rich fossil record of the extinct megafauna. Expeditions in 2000 and 2003 produced a wealth of new material and provided the first systematic information concerning the genesis, stratigraphy, and taphonomy of the site. Recovered bones of one of the most poorly understood extinct large lemurs, Hadropithecus stenognathus, include many skeletal elements previously unknown. Radiocarbon dates show that the site has sampled this disappeared fauna in the midto- late Holocene, but that bone-bearing layers are stratigraphically mixed, probably owing to the effects of reworking of the sediments by extreme marine events. The diverse biota recovered contains elements of both eastern rain forest and southwestern arid bushland, reflecting the caves position in the zone of transition between wet and dry biomes. Bones of two unusual small mammals add to the previously long faunal list for the site: 1) the first fossil evidence for Macrotarsomys petteri, a large-bodied endemic nesomyid rodent previously known only from a single modern specimen; and 2) the type specimen and additional material of a newly described extinct shrew-tenrec (Microgale macpheei). Evidence for prehistoric and colonial-era humans includes artifacts, hearth deposits, and remains of human domesticates and other introduced species. Although previously protected by its extreme isolation, the unique site is vulnerable to exploitation. An incipient tourist industry is likely to bring more people to the cave, and there is currently no form of protection afforded to the site.

A Review of the biospeleology of Meghalaya, India, 2008, Harries D. B. , Ware F. J. , Fischer C. W. , Biswas J. , And Kharprandaly B. D.
This paper reviews the current state of knowledge of the biospeleology of the northeast Indian hill state Meghalaya. Since the early 1990s the Meghalayan Adven- turers Association (based in Shillong), in partnership with European speleologists, has conducted a series of projects with the objective of mapping and documenting caves. To date over 320 km of cave passage have been mapped and much more remains to be discovered. The quantity and length of caves in Meghalaya exceeds that of any other known karst region of India. An exhaustive search of historical records yielded one highly detailed biological survey of a single cave in the west of the state and a few records of opportunistic specimen collection from caves at other locations. This data is supplemented by a review of numerous biological observations made during the Meghalayan Adventurers Association cave mapping program. Taxa with pronounced troglomorphic characteristics appear to be relatively common in the Jaintia Hills region of eastern Meghalaya and rare elsewhere in the state. In contrast, taxa with partial troglomorphy are widespread throughout Meghalaya. There is a range of taxa which occur regularly within caves and should be considered as significant components of the cave ecosystem regardless of troglomorphy. In some cases there is evidenceof reproductive activity and opportunity for feeding which indicates that a proportion of the population complete their lifecycle within the caves and can be regarded as troglophiles. Sources of nutrition are primarily composed of flood borne debris, although dense colonies of bats (or cave-nesting swiftlets at some sites) can also contribute. The composition of cavernicole communities is not constant throughout the region and varies due to environmental and geographic factors. A major expansion of the limestone extraction industry is underway in the Jaintia Hills and elsewhere in Meghalaya. This will inevitably cause significant destruction and perturbation of cavernicole habitat. It would be prudent to implement formal studies to document the biospeleology of the region before significant loss or damage occurs.

A REVIEW OF THE BIOSPELEOLOGY OF MEGHALAYA, INDIA, 2008, D. B. Harries, F. J. Ware, C. W. Fischer, J. Biswas, And B. D. Kharprandaly

This paper reviews the current state of knowledge of the biospeleology of the northeast Indian hill state Meghalaya. Since the early 1990s the Meghalayan Adventurers Association (based in Shillong), in partnership with European speleologists, has conducted a series of projects with the objective of mapping and documenting caves. To date over 320 km of cave passage have been mapped and much more remains to be discovered. The quantity and length of caves in Meghalaya exceeds that of any other known karst region of India. An exhaustive search of historical records yielded one highly detailed biological survey of a single cave in the west of the state and a few records of opportunistic specimen collection from caves at other locations. This data is supplemented by a review of numerous biological observations made during the Meghalayan Adventurers Association cave mapping program. Taxa with pronounced troglomorphic characteristics appear to be relatively common in the Jaintia Hills region of eastern Meghalaya and rare elsewhere in the state. In contrast, taxa with partial troglomorphy are widespread throughout Meghalaya. There is a range of taxa which occur regularly within caves and should be considered as significant components of the cave ecosystem regardless of troglomorphy. In some cases there is evidence of reproductive activity and opportunity for feeding which indicates that a proportion of the population complete their lifecycle within the caves and can be regarded as troglophiles. Sources of nutrition are primarily composed of flood borne debris, although dense colonies of bats (or cave-nesting swiftlets at some sites) can also contribute. The composition of cavernicole communities is not constant throughout the region and varies due to environmental and geographic factors. A major expansion of the limestone extraction industry is underway in the Jaintia Hills and elsewhere in Meghalaya. This will inevitably cause significant destruction and perturbation of cavernicole habitat. It would be prudent to implement formal studies to document the biospeleology of the region before significant loss or damage occurs.


Evidence of inception horizons in karst conduit networks, 2009, Filipponi M, Jeannin Py. , Tacher L.

This paper outlines the conclusion from an analysis of 18 large cave systems around the world, comprising more than 1500 km of conduits. The 3D geometry of complex cave systems have been analysed in relation to their geological context as well as their hydrogeological boundary conditions. The methodology allowed for the first time statistical evidence of the inception horizon concept. Thereby it confirms that the development of karst conduits under phreatic conditions is strongly related to a restricted number of so called inception horizons. An inception horizon is a part of a rock succession that is particularly susceptible to the development of karst conduits because of physical, lithological or chemical deviation from the predominant carbonate facies within the limestone sequence. It passively or actively favours the localisation of dissolutional voids. The methodology based on detailed geological 3D models and cave survey allowed us to demonstrate the existence of inception horizons in karst conduit genesis. This fact improves significantly the prediction of karst conduits, knowledge that is of relevance for geological engineering problems (e.g. tunnelling, oil industry, hydrogeology) as well as for the scientific understanding of the evolution of karst systems.


GROUNDWATER CONTAMINATION IN KARST AREAS OF SOUTHWESTERN CHINA AND RECOMMENDED COUNTER MEASURES, 2010, Guo F. , Yuan D. , Qin Z.
Approximately 33% of China is karstic. The most extensive karst areas are in southwestern China and cover approximately 540,000 km2. Southwestern China hosts some of the most typical karst landforms in the world and has important high-quality karst water resources. Due to the rapid development of China, karst waters are threatened by various types of contamination. Detail field and laboratory investigations in five provinces including several cities in southwestern China were conducted in 2008 and 2009. Eightythree springs and underground rivers were surveyed and water samples collected from each for laboratory analyses for major ions. Four main types of karst aquifer contamination were identified based on contaminant sources: rural and agricultural pollution, pollution from urban development and industry, pollution from mining, and accidental groundwater pollution. Several representative instances for each type of contamination and their impacts on the environment are discussed in more detail. Contamination countermeasures of karst waters and a framework for overall management of karst water resources in southwestern China are provided.

From sink to resurgence: the buffering capacity of a cave system in the Tongass national forest, USA , 2011, Hendrickson Melissa R. , Groves Chris

The Tongass National Forest of Southeast Alaska, USA, pro­vides a unique environment for monitoring the impact of the cave system on water quality and biological productivity. The accretionary terrane setting of the area has developed into a complex and heterogeneous geologic landscape which includes numerous blocks of limestone with intense karstification. Dur­ing the Wisconsian glaciation, there were areas of compacted glacial sediments and silts deposited over the bedrock. Muskeg peatlands developed over these poorly drained areas. The dom­inant plants of the muskeg ecosystem are Sphagnum mosses, whose decomposition leads to highly acidic waters with pH as low as 2.4. These waters drain off the muskegs into the cave sys­tems, eventually running to the ocean. In accordance with the Tongass Land Management Plan, one of the research priorities of the National Forest is to determine the contributions of karst groundwater systems to productivity of aquatic communities. On Northern Prince of Wales Island, the Conk Canyon Cave insurgence and the Mop Spring resurgence were continuously monitored to understand the buffering capacity of the cave sys­tem. Over the length of the system, the pH increases from an average 3.89 to 7.22. The insurgence water temperature, during the summer months, ranged from between 10oC to 17oC. Af­ter residence in the cave system, the resurgence water had been buffered to 6oC to 9oC. Over the continuum from insurgence to resurgence, the specific conductance had increased by an order of magnitude with the resurgence waters having a higher ionic strength. The cave environment acts as a buffer on the incom­ing acidic muskeg water to yield resurgence water chemistry of a buffered karst system. These buffered waters contribute to the productivity in aquatic environments downstream. The waters from this system drain into Whale Pass, an important location for the salmon industry. The cool, even temperatures, as well as buffered flow rates delivered by the karst systems are associated with higher productivity of juvenile coho salmon.


Controls on paleokarst heterogeneity. Integrated study of the Upper Permian syngenetic karst in Rattlesnake Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains, USA, 2011, Labraa De Miguel, Gemma

The present study contributes to a better understanding of early dissolution mechanisms for syngenetic karst development and provides constraints on the timing of formation of the Rattlesnake Canyon paleokarst system in the Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico, U.S.A. Paleozoic paleokarsts commonly undergo burial and collapse, which reduces significantly the preservation of early fracture networks and geometries of dissolution. Rattlesnake Canyon constitutes a magnificent scenario for the study of global controls on Upper Permian karsting since early fracture networks and dissolution geometries are extremely well preserved and lack major tectonic deformation. This thesis sheds light on the scientific knowledge of paleokarsts and can be of interest to the oil industry since paleokarsts are common targets of exploration. As the evolution of the reservoir properties is often diagenetically controlled, the diagenetic study was particularly useful in determining the degree of sealing following hydrocarbon charge. 1) Aims This thesis seeks to improve our understanding of the relationship between early syndepositional fracture networks that are typically found in platform margins and syngenetic karst development. The thesis includes multidisciplinary carbonate studies aimed at understanding the multiscale paleokarst heterogeneity by means of (i) the development of a conceptual model for the karst evolution, (ii) the construction of a 3D paleokarst model, (iii) the determination of the diagenetic history of the paleokarst system and (iv) the paleokarst reservoir characterization. 2) Thesis Structure The thesis consists of 9 chapters and 2 appendices. Chapter 1 sets out the rationale for this thesis. Chapter 2 provides an introduction to the most basic aspects of karst science and to the hydrogeological model of Carbonate Island as well as an overview of the state-of-the-art paleokarst studies. The geological setting and the study area is detailed in Chapter 3. The results of the thesis are contained in Chapters 4 to 7. Because of the multidisciplinary nature of this thesis, each of these chapters is dedicated to one discipline. Chapter 4 focuses on the analysis of field data to obtain a conceptual model for the evolution of the paleokarst system. Chapter 5 discusses the methodology to implement the 3D paleokarst model and provides data to assess the dimensions of the system in subsurface. Chapter 6 focuses on the diagenetic stages that affected and controlled the karst development. Finally, Chapter 6 offers a paleokarst reservoir characterization. A comprehensive approach and discussion of the results obtained in each of these chapters are included in Chapter 8. General and specific conclusions are presented in Chapter 9. Appendix One contains a representative image compendium of the petrographic features observed in the paleokarst filling sequence of Fault N. Appendix Two sets out the raw data from the geochemical analysis. The paleokarst analysis using different disciplines provides a complete characterization of paleokarst heterogeneity and enables us to elucidate the controls of the system.


Paleokarst Breccia-Pipe Reservoir Analogue, Carboniferous, Svalbard, 2011, Wheeler Walter, Tveranger Jan, Lauritzen Steinerik, Heincke Björn, Rossi Guiliana, Allroggen Niklas, Buckley Simon

Upwards-propagating collapse pipes typically form sinkholes where they meet the land surface. Renewed dissolution of breccia in ancient pipes can have a similar effect. For these cases, probability-based models of sinkhole hazard are closely related to the expected mature architecture of the collapse-pipe field. We present a case study of the architecture of a square-kilometre field of collapse-pipes from the Carboniferous-Permian in which the pipes are documented in outcrop and using shallow geophysical methods.

The study site is located on the Wordiekammen plateau in the Carboniferous Billefjorden half-graben basin on Spitsbergen. Cliffs bounding the plateau expose breccia pipes cutting a gently-dipping 200-m-thick series of platform carbonates, in turn underlain by stratiform breccias and residual pods of gypsum. Many of the breccia pipes are tall (>250 m) and postdate several shallow karstification episodes. Most pipes are inferred not to have reached the surface based on a lack of terrigenous material and fluvial structure, although several pipes show indications of such surface communication. Although the pipes are generally attributed to gypsum dissolution, a deep carbonate karstification event is inferred based on high temperature calcite cement, and burial dehydration of gypsum, may also have contributed to void formation.

On the plateau top the collapse pipes are obscured by thick scree, thus km-scale size and spacing data for the pipes and faults was collected by mapping the bedrock with 2D ground-penetrating radar (GPR). GPR profiles were acquired on a grid with 25-meter line spacing, using 50 MHz antennas and achieving 30-40 m penetration. Breccia bodies were identified by steep-sided zones of complex diffraction patterns interrupting bedding-related continuous reflections. Two pipes were further studied in 3D using high-resolution GPR, tomographic seismic and geo-electric. These geophysical data were merged into a comprehensive 3D framework including helicopter-borne lidar and photo scans of the plateau rim geology, thus allowing an integrated visualization and interpretation of the different datasets. The GPR data show the breccia pipes to be slightly oblate with diameters ranging from 20 to over 100 m; 60 meters is a typical value. Approximately 10 pipes are identified in cliff-side outcrops bordering the GPR area, whereas 30 more are identified within the plateau by the GPR data. The GPR volume lies about 200 m above the pipe base, hence the pipe-length frequency-distribution data are incomplete. The strata are cut by small-offset (<5m) faults related to collapse processes and larger-offset faults related to regional basin extension. The breccia pipe field appears to be delimited by these more regional faults, in turn inferred to control the thickness of syn-rift gypsum and/or the hydrology of its dissolution. Collapse breccia pipes form strong vertical heterogeneities in rock properties such as porosity and permeability, matrix density, cement, mechanical strength and lithology, affecting fluid-flow characteristics on a meter to hundred-meter scale. It is rare that pipe fields are well exposed at the kilometre scale. Although some scaling data can be obtained from 3D oil-industry seismic reflection data but the resolution insufficient to visualize critical details. The outcrop combination of seismic, electric and geologic techniques facilitates the interpretation of 3D facies architectures and by proxy porosity-permeability relationships. Studies at the km scale are fundamental for understanding basic karst and collapse processes, and yield petrophysical models that can be applied predictively to natural hazards and groundwater or hydrocarbon exploitation in paleokarst settings.


Spent carbide waste retains toxicity long term after disposal in caves and mines , 2012, Semikolennykh Andrew A. , Rahleeva Anna A. , Poputnikova Tatjana B.
We studied the environmental impact of wastes derived from calcium carbide, which is widely used for generating acetylene in industry and speleology. It was shown that spent carbide is toxic for biota and harmful to cave ecosystems and the surrounding environment. The toxic components of spent carbide waste were found to include calcium hydroxide, strontium and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The 50% lethal doses (LD 50%) of fresh spent carbide waste were calculated as 0.28-0.32 g/l in biotests with daphnia, infusoria, and fishes. The toxicity of spent carbide declined only slowly over time, with toxicity still present in 13-year-old samples. Spent carbide should be disposed of with great care to ensure that it cannot be disseminated into natural water systems. Spent carbide deactivation could be provided within isolated bowls filled with water (micro sediment bowls) or within water-proof storage containers, and complete recycling could be achieved through the addition of deactivated waste to solid building materials.

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