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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 holokarst is 1. karst area with little or no surface runoff or streams; it is underlain by thick carbonate rocks and is characterized by well developed karst surface topography from karren to poljes, extensive subsurface karst features like caves, caverns, galleries, chimneys, etc [20]. 2. cvijic's term for a karst area like that of the dinaric karst of slovenia. such areas have bare surfaces on thick deposits of limestone that extend below sea level, well developed karren, dolines, uvalas, poljes, deep ponors, and extensive cave systems; they have little or no surface drainage [10]. synonyms: (french.) holokarst; (german.) holokarst; (greek.) holokarst; (italian.) olocarsismo, carsismo, maturo; (spanish.) holokarst; (turkish.) tam karst; (yugoslavian.) potpuni krs (kras), holokarst. contrast causse, merokarst.?

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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Karst environment, Culver D.C.
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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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Speleogenesis in gypsum, 2000,
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Klimchouk A.
The main differences between the solutional properties of gypsum and those of calcite lie in the much higher solubility of gypsum, and in dissolution kinetics of gypsum which is solely diffusion controlled. Unlike calcite, no change of kinetic order occurs with an increase in concentration. Initiation of long lateral flow paths through gypsum is virtually impossible due to the rapid rate of dissolution; no kinetic mechanisms allow slow but uniform dissolutional enlargement throughout the flow paths. Near the surface, fissures are already wide enough for cave development to occur, which is extremely competitive due to rapid dissolution kinetics and the strong dependence of enlargement rates on flow velocity and discharge. Thus caves in gypsum in exposed settings are mainly linear or crudely branching, rapidly adjusting to the contemporary geomorphic setting and available recharge. Vertical pipes or pits form in the vadose zone. No deep phreatic development and no artesian development by lateral flow from distant recharge areas can occur. However, cave origin and development does occur in deep-seated confined settings where gypsum beds in stratified sequences are underlain by, or sandwiched between poorly soluble aquifers. Two situations support cave origin in gypsum in deep-seated settings: (1) transverse flow through gypsum between overlying and underlying aquifers, and (2) lateral flow in an insoluble but permeable aquifer underlying a gypsum bed. The former situation generates either maze caves where uniformly distributed fissure networks exist in the gypsum, or discrete voids where the otherwise low-fissured gypsum is disrupted by prominent tectonic fractures. If considerable conduit porosity has been created in a deep-seated setting, it provides ready paths for more intense groundwater circulation and further cave development when the gypsum is uplifted into the shallow subsurface. Thick and low-fissured sulfate strata can survive burial with no speleogenesis at all where surrounded by poorly permeable beds. When exposed to the surface, such gypsum deposits undergo speleogenetic development with no inherited features, presenting the pure line of open karst.

Speleogenesis: Evolution of Karst Aquifers., 2000,
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The aim of this book is to present advances made in recent decades in our understanding of the formation of dissolutional caves, and to illustrate the role of cave genetic ( speleogenetic ) processes in the development of karst aquifers. From the perspective of hydrogeology, karst ground water flow is a distinct kind of fluid circulation system, one that is capable of self-organization and self-development due to its capacity to dissolve significant amounts of the host rock and transport them out of the system. Fluid circulation in soluble rocks becomes more efficiently organized by creating, enlarging and modifying patterns of cave conduits, the process of speleogenesis. We can assert that karst ground water flow is a function of speleogenesis and vice versa . The advances in cave science are poorly appreciated in what may be termed ?mainstream hydrogeology?, which retains a child-like faith in flow models developed in the sand box. Many karst students also will not be aware of all emerging concepts of cave origin because discussions of them are scattered through journals and books in different disciplines and languages, including publications with small circulation. An understanding of principles of speleogenesis and its most important controls is indispensable for proper comprehension of the evolution of the karst system in general and of karst aquifers in particular. We hope this book will be useful for both karst and cave scientists, and for general hydrogeologists dealing with karst terranes. This book is a pioneer attempt by an international group of cave scientists to summarize modern knowledge about cave origin in various settings, and to examine the variety of approaches that have been adopted. Selected contributions from 44 authors in 15 nations are combined in an integrated volume, prepared between 1994 and 1998 as an initiative of the Commission of Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis, International Speleological Union. Despite a desire to produce an integrated book, rather than a mere collection of papers, the editors' policy has not been directed toward unifying all views. Along with some well-established theories and approaches, the book contains new concepts and ideas emerging in recent years. We hope that this approach will stimulate further development and exchange of ideas in cave studies and karst hydrogeology. Following this Introduction, (Part 1), the book is organized in seven different parts, each with sub-chapters. Part 2 gives a history of speleogenetic studies, tracing the development of the most important ideas from previous centuries (Shaw, Chapter 2.1) through the early modern period in the first half of this century (Lowe, Chapter 2.2) to the threshold of modern times (W.White, Chapter 2.3). The present state of the art is best illustrated by the entire content of this book. Part 3 overviews the principal geologic and hydrogeologic variables that either control or significantly influence the differing styles of cave development that are found. In Chapter 3.1 Klimchouk and Ford introduce an evolutionary approach to the typology of karst settings, which is a taken as a base line for the book. Extrinsic factors and intrinsic mechanisms of cave development change regularly and substantially during the general cycle of geological evolution of a soluble rock and , more specifically, within the hydrogeologic cycle. The evolutionary typology of karst presented in this chapter considers the entire life cycle of a soluble formation, from deposition (syngenetic karst) through deep burial, to exposure and denudation. It helps to differentiate between karst types which may concurrently represent different stages of karst development, and is also a means of adequately classifying speleogenetic settings. The different types of karst are marked by characteristic associations of the structural prerequisites for groundwater flow and speleogenesis, flow regime, recharge mode and recharge/discharge configurations, groundwater chemistry and degree of inheritance from earlier conditions. Consequently, these associations make a convenient basis to view both the factors that control cave genesis and the particular types of caves. Lithological and structural controls of speleogenesis are reviewed in general terms in Chapters 3.2 (Klimchouk and Ford). Lowe in Chapter 3.3 discusses the role of stratigraphic elements and the speleo-inception concept. Palmer in Chapter 3.4 overviews the hydrogeologic controls of cave patterns and demonstrates that hydrogeologic factors, the recharge mode and type of flow in particular, impose the most powerful controls on the formation of the gross geometry of cave systems. Hence, analysis of cave patterns is especially useful in the reconstruction of environments from paleokarst and in the prediction and interpretation of groundwater flow patterns and contaminant migration. Any opportunity to relate cave patterns to the nature of their host aquifers will assist in these applied studies as well. Osborne (Chapter 3.7) examines the significance of paleokarst in speleogenesis. More specific issues are treated by Klimchouk (The nature of epikarst and its role in vadose speleogenesis, Chapter 3.5) and by V.Dublyansky and Y.Dublyansky (The role of condensation processes, Chapter 3.6). Part 4 outlines the fundamental physics and chemistry of the speleogenetic processes (Chapter 4.1) and presents a variety of different approaches to modeling cave conduit development (Chapter 4.2). In Chapter 4.1, the chemical reactions during the dissolution of the common soluble minerals, calcite, gypsum, salt and quartz, are discussed with the basic physical and chemical mechanisms that determine their dissolution rates. As limestone is the most common karst rock and its dissolution is the most complex in many respects, it receives the greatest attention. Dreybrodt (Section 4.1.1) and Dreybrodt and Eisenlohr (Section 4.1.2) provide advanced discussion and report the most recent experimental data, which are used to obtain realistic dissolution rates for a variety of hydrogeologic conditions and as input for modeling the evolution of conduits. Although direct comparisons between theoretical or analytical dissolution rates and those derived from field measurements is difficult, a very useful comparison is provided by W.White (Section 4.1.3). The bulk removal of carbonate rock from karst drainage basins can be evaluated either by direct measurement of rock surface retreat or by mass balance within known drainage basins. All of these approaches make sense and give roughly accurate results that are consistent with theoretical expectations. It is well recognized today that the earliest, incipient, phases of speleogenesis are crucial in building up the pattern of conduits that evolve into explorable cave systems. It is difficult to establish the major controls on these initial stages by purely analytical or intuitive methods, so that modeling becomes particularly important. Various approaches are presented in Chapter 4.2. Ford, Ewers and Lauritzen present the results of systematic study of the propagation of conduits between input and output points in an anisotropic fissure, using a variety of hardware and software models, in series representing the "single input", "multiple inputs in one rank", and "multiple inputs in multiple ranks" cases (Section 4.2.1). The results indicate important details of the competitive development of proto-conduits and help to explain branching cave patterns. In the competition between inputs, some principal tubes in near ranks first link ("breakthrough") to an output boundary. This re-orients the flowfields of failed nearby competitors, which then extend to join the principal via their closest secondaries. The process extends outwards and to the rear, linking up all inputs in a "cascading system". The exploding growth of computer capability during the last two decades has greatly enhanced possibilities for digital modeling of early conduit development. Investigating the growth of a single conduit is a logical first step in understanding the evolution of caves, realized here by Dreybrodt and Gabrov?ek in the form of a simple mathematical model (Section 4.2.2) and by Palmer by numerical finite-difference modeling (Section 4.2.3). The models show that positive feedback loops operate; widening a fracture causes increasing flow through it, therefore dissolution rates increase along it and so on, until finally a dramatic increase of flow rates permits a dramatic enhancement of the widening. This breakthrough event terminates the initial stage of conduit evolution. From then on the water is able to pass through the entire conduit while maintaining sufficient undersaturation to preserve low-order kinetics, so the growth rate is very rapid, at least from a geological standpoint -- usually about 0.001-0.1 cm/yr. The initiation ("breakthrough") time depends critically on the length and the initial width of the fracture and, for the majority of realistic cases, it covers a time range from a few thousand years to ten million years in limestones. The modeling results give a clear explanation of the operation of selectivity in cave genesis. In a typical unconfined karst aquifer there is a great range of enlargement rates along the competing flow routes, and only a few conduits will grow to enterable size. The modeling also provides one starting point (others are discussed in Chapter 5.2) to explain uniform maze patterns, which will be favored by enlargement of all openings at comparable rates where the discharge/length ratio is great enough. Single-conduit modeling has the virtue of revealing how the cave-forming variables relate to each other in the simplest possible way. Although it is more difficult to extend this approach to two dimensions, many have done so (e.g. Groves & Howard, 1994; Howard & Groves, 1995; in this volume ? Ford, Ewers and Lauritzen, Section 4.2.1; Dreybrodt and Siemers, Section 4.2.4, and Sauter and Liedl, Section 4.2.5). The modeling performed by Dreybrodt and Siemers shows that the main principles of breakthrough derived from one-dimensional models remain valid. The evolution of karst aquifers has been modeled for a variety of different geological settings, including also variation in lithology with respect to the dissolution kinetics. Sauter and Liedl simulate the development of conduits at a catchment scale for fissured carbonate rocks with rather large initial openings (about 1 mm). The approach is based upon hydraulic coupling of a pipe network to matrix continuum in order to represent the well-known duality of karst aquifer flow systems. It is also shown how understanding of the genesis of karst aquifers and modeling of their development can assist in characterization of the conduit system, which dominates flow and transport in karst aquifers. An important point that has emerged from cave studies of the last three decades is that no single speleogenetic model applies to all geologic and hydrologic settings. Given that settings may also change systematically during the evolutionary geological cycles outlined above (Chapter 3.1), an evolutionary approach is called for. This is attempted in Part 5, which is organized to give extended accounts of speleogenesis in the three most important settings that we recognize: coastal and oceanic (Chapter 5.1), deep-seated and confined (Chapter 5.2) and unconfined (Chapter 5.3). Each Chapter begins with a review of modern ideas on cave development in the setting, followed by representative case studies. The latter include new accounts of some "classic" caves as well as descriptions of other, little-known cave systems and areas. Readers may determine for themselves how well the real field examples fit the general models presented in the introductory sections. Mylroie and Carew in Chapter 5.1 summarize specific features of cave and karst development in young rocks in coastal and island settings that result from the chemical interactions between fresh and salt waters, and the effects of fluctuating sea level during the Quaternary. The case studies include a review of syngenetic karst in coastal dune limestones, Australia (S.White, 5.1.1) and an example of speleogenesis on tectonically active carbonate islands (Gunn and Lowe, 5.1.2). Klimchouk in Chapter 5.2 reviews conditions and mechanisms of speleogenesis in deep-seated and confined settings, one of the most controversial but exciting topics in modern cave research. Conventional karst/speleogenetic theories are concerned chiefly with shallow, unconfined geologic settings, supposing that the karstification found there is intimately related to surface conditions of input and output, with the dissolution being driven by downward meteoric water recharge. The possibility of hypogenic karstification in deeper environments has been neglected for a long time, and the quite numerous instances of karst features found at significant depths have usually been interpreted as buried paleokarst. However, the last decade has seen a growing recognition of the variety and importance of hypogene dissolution processes and of speleogenesis under confined settings which often precedes unconfined development (Hill, 1987, 1995; Klimchouk, 1994, 1996, 1997; Lowe, 1992; Lowe & Gunn, 1995; Mazzullo & Harris, 1991, 1992; Palmer, 1991, 1995; Smart & Whitaker, 1991; Worthington, 1991, 1994; Worthington & Ford, 1995). Confined (artesian) settings were commonly ignored as sites for cave origin because the classic concept of artesian flow implies long lateral travel distances for groundwater within a soluble unit, resulting in a low capacity to generate caves in the confined area. However, the recognition of non-classical features in artesian flow, namely the occurrence of cross-formation hydraulic communication within artesian basins, the concepts of transverse speleogenesis and of the inversion of hydrogeologic function of beds in a sequence, allows for a revision of the theory of artesian speleogenesis and of views on the origin of many caves. It is proposed that artesian speleogenesis is immensely important to speleo-inception and also accounts for the development of some of the largest known caves in the world. Typical conditions of recharge, the flow pattern through the soluble rocks, and groundwater aggressiveness favor uniform, rather than competing, development of conduits, resulting in maze caves where the structural prerequisites exist. Cross-formational flow favors a variety of dissolution mechanisms that commonly involve mixing. Hydrogeochemical mechanisms of speleogenesis are particularly diverse and potent where carbonate and sulfate beds alternate and within or adjacent to hydrocarbon-bearing sedimentary basins. Hypogene speleogenesis occurs in rocks of varied lithology and can involve a variety of dissolution mechanisms that operate under different physical constraints but create similar cave features. Case studies include the great gypsum mazes of the Western Ukraine (Klimchouk, Section 5.2.1), great maze caves in limestones in Black Hills, South Dakota (Palmer, Section 5.2.2) and Siberia (Filippov, Section 5.2.3), karstification in the Redwall aquifer, Arizona (Huntoon, Section 5.2.4), hydrothermal caves in Hungary (Y.Dublyansky, Section 5.2.6), and sulfuric acid speleogenesis (Lowe, Bottrell and Gunn, Section 5.2.7, and Hill, Section 5.2.8). Y.Dublyansky summarizes the peculiar features of hydrothermal speleogenesis (Section 5.2.5), and V.Dublyansky describes an outstanding example of a hydrothermal cavity, in fact the largest ever recorded by volume, in the Rhodope Mountains (Section 5.2.9). Recognition of the scale and importance of deep-seated speleogenesis and of the hydraulic continuity and cross-formational communications between aquifers in artesian basins is indispensable for the correct interpretation of evolution of karst aquifers, speleogenetic processes and associated phenomena, regional karst water-resource evaluations, and the genesis of certain karst-related mineral deposits. These and other theoretical and practical implications still have to be developed and evaluated, which offers a wide field for further research efforts. Ford in Chapter 5.3 reviews theory of speleogenesis that occurs where normal meteoric waters sink underground through the epikarst or dolines and stream sinks, etc. and circulate in the limestone or other soluble rocks without any major artesian confinement. These are termed common caves (Ford & Williams, 1989) because they probably account for 90% or more of the explored and mapped dissolutional caves that are longer than a few hundred meters. This estimate reflects the bias in exploration; caves formed in unconfined settings and genetically related to surface recharge are the most readily accessible and hence form the bulk of documented caves. Common caves display chiefly the branchwork forms where the dissolutional conduits occupy only a tiny proportion of the total length or area of penetrable fissures that is available to the groundwaters. The rules that govern the selection of the successful linkages that will be enlarged into the branchwork pattern are supported in the models presented in Chapter 4.2. In the long section caves may be divided into deep phreatic, multi-loop, mixed loop and water table, and ideal water table types, with drawdown vadose caves or invasion vadose caves above them. Many large systems display a mixture of the types. The concepts of plan pattern construction, phreatic, water table or vadose state, and multi-phase development of common caves are illustrated in the case studies that follow the introduction. They are organized broadly to begin with examples of comparatively simple deep phreatic and multi-loop systems (El Abra, Mexico, Ford, Section 5.3.1 and Castleguard Cave, Canada, Ford, Lauritzen and Worthington, Section 5.3.2), proceeding to large and complex multi-phase systems such as the North of Thun System, Switzerland (Jeannin, Bitterly and Hauselmann, Section 5.3.3) and Mammoth Cave, Kentucky (Palmer, Section 5.3.8), to representatives of mixed vadose and phreatic development in mountainous regions (the Alps, Audra, Section 5.3.4; the Pyrenees, Fernandez, Calaforra and Rossi, Section 5.3.5; Mexico, Hose, Section 5.3.6) and where there is strong lithologic or structural control (Folded Appalachians, W.White, Section 5.3.7; gypsum caves in the South of Spain, Calaforra and Pulido-Bosch, Section 5.3.10). Two special topics are considered by W.White in Section 5.3.9 (Speleogenesis of vertical shafts in the eastern US) and Palmer (Maze origin by diffuse recharge through overlying formation). The set concludes with two instances of nearly ideal water table cave development (in Belize and Hungary, Ford, Section 5.3.12), and a review of the latest models of speleogenesis from the region where modern karst studies in the West began, the Classical Karst of Slovenia and Trieste (?u?ter?ic, Section 5.3.13). In Parts 2-5 attention is directed primarily on how the gross geometry of a cave system is established. Part 6 switches focus to the forms at meso- and micro- scales, which can be created during enlargement of the cave. Lauritzen and Lundberg in Chapter 6.1 summarize the great variety of erosional forms ( speleogenetic facies ) that can be created by a wide range of speleogenetic agents operating in the phreatic or vadose zones. Some forms of cave passages have been subject to intensive research and may be interpreted by means of simple physical and chemical principles, but many others are polygenetic and hence difficult to decipher with certainty. However, in addition to the analysis of cave patterns (see Chapter 3.4), each morphological element is a potential tool that can aid our inferences on the origin of caves and on major characteristics of respective past hydrogeological settings. In Chapter 6.2 E.White and W.White review breakdown morphology in caves, generalizing that the processes are most active during the enlargement and decay phases of cave development. Early in the process breakdown occurs when the flow regime shifts from pipe-full conditions to open channel conditions (i.e. when the roof first loses buoyant support) and later in the process breakdown becomes part of the overall degradation of the karst system. The chapter addresses the mechanism of breakdown formation, the geological triggers that initiate breakdown, and the role that breakdown plays in the development of caves. As the great majority of both theoretical considerations and case studies in this book deal with speleogenesis in carbonate rocks, it is useful to provide a special forum to examine dissolution cave genesis in other rocks. This is the goal of Part 7. Klimchouk (7.1) provides a review of speleogenesis in gypsum. This appears to be a useful playground for testing the validity and limitations of certain general speleogenetic concepts. Differences in solution kinetics between gypsum and calcite impose some limitations and peculiar features on the early evolution of conduits in gypsum. These peculiarities appear to be an extreme and more obvious illustration of some rules of speleogenetic development devised from conceptual and digital modeling of early conduit growth in limestones. For instance, it is shown (e.g. Palmer, 1984, 1991; Dreybrodt, 1996; see also Chapter 3.4 and Section 4.2.2) that initiation of early, narrow and long pathways does not seem feasible under linear dissolution rate laws (n=1) due to exponential decrease of the dissolution rates. Although the dissolution kinetics of gypsum are not well known close to equilibrium it is generally assumed that they are controlled entirely by diffusion and therefore linear. If dissolution of gypsum is solely diffusion-controlled, with no change in the kinetic order, conduit initiation could not occur in phreatic settings or by lateral flow through gypsum from distant recharge areas in artesian settings. Hence, the fact that maze caves are common in gypsum in artesian conditions (see Section 5.2.1) gives strong support to a general model of "transverse" artesian speleogenesis where gypsum beds are underlain by, or sandwiched between, insoluble or low-solubility aquifers (Chapter 5.2), and suggests that it may be applicable to cave development in carbonates. In unconfined settings, speleogenesis in gypsum occurs along fissures wide enough to support undersaturated flow throughout their length. Linear or crudely branching caves overwhelmingly predominate, which rapidly adjust to the contemporary geomorphic setting and to the maximum available recharge. Also, if considerable conduit porosity has been created in deep-seated settings, it provides ready paths for more intense groundwater circulation and further cave development when uplift brings the gypsum into the shallow subsurface. Speleogenesis in salt, reviewed in general and exemplified by the Monte Sedom case in Israel (Frumkin, Chapter 7.2), has been documented only in open, unconfined settings, where it provides a model for simple vadose cave development. Chapter 7.3 deals with speleogenesis in quartzites, illustrated by case studies from southeastern Minas Gerais, Brasil (Correa Neto, 7.3.1) and South Africa (Martini, 7.3.2). The process involves initial chemical weathering of the quartzite to create zones of friable rocks (sanding, or arenisation) which then are removed by piping, with further conduit enlargement due to mechanical erosion by flowing water. Part 8 combines the theoretical with some applied aspects of speleogenetic studies. Worthington, Ford and Beddows (8.1) show the important implications of what might be termed "speleogenetic wisdom" when studying ground water behaviour in karst. They examine some standard hydrogeological concepts in the light of knowledge of caves and their patterns, considering a range of case studies to identify the characteristic enhancement of porosity and permeability due to speleogenesis that occurs in carbonate rocks. The chapter focuses on unconfined carbonate aquifers as these are the most studied from the speleological perspective and most important for water supplies. Four aquifers, differing in rock type, recharge type (allogenic and autogenic), and age (Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic), are described in detail to demonstrate the extent of dissolutional enhancement of porosity and permeability. It is shown that all four cases are similar in hydraulic function, despite the fact that some of them were previously characterized as different end members of a "karst ? non-karst" spectrum. Enhancement of porosity by dissolution is relatively minor: enhancement of permeability is considerable because dissolution has created dendritic networks of channels able to convey 94% or more of all flow in the aquifer, with fractures providing a small proportion and the matrix a negligible amount. These conclusions may be viewed as a warning to hydrogeologists working in carbonate terranes: probably the majority of unconfined aquifers function in a similar manner. Sampling is a major problem in their analysis because boreholes (the conventional exploration tool in hydrogeology) are unlikely to intersect the major channels that are conveying most of the flow and any contaminants in it. It is estimated, using examples of comprehensively mapped caves, that the probability of a borehole intersecting a conduit ranges from 1 in 50 to 1 in 1000 or more. Boreholes simply cannot be relied upon to detect the presence of caves or to ?characterise? the hydrologic functioning of cavernous aquifers. Wherever comprehensive evidence has been collected in unconfined carbonate aquifers (cave mapping plus boreholes plus lab analysis of core samples) it suggests that dissolution inexorably results in a similar structure, with channel networks providing most of the permeability of the aquifer, yet occupying a very minor fraction of its volume (Worthington, Ford and Beddows). Lowe (Chapter 8.2) focuses on developments in understanding the vital role played by karstic porosity, (broadly viewed as being the product of speleogenesis), in the migration of mineralizing fluids (or hydrocarbons) and in their deposition (or storage), and comments on the potential role of new speleogenetic concepts in developing greater understanding in the future. Although some early workers were clearly aware of actual evidence for some kind of relationship, and others noted its theoretical likelihood, it has been ignored by many until relatively recent times. This shortfall has gradually been redressed; new understanding of the extent and variety of karst processes is ensuring that new relationships are being recognized and new interpretations and models are being derived. The chapter does not pretend to give a comprehensive account of the topic but clearly demonstrates the wide applicability of speleogenetic knowledge to issues in economic geology. In Chapter 8.3 Aley provides an overview of the water and land-use problems that occur in areas with conduit aquifers. He stresses that sound land management must be premised on an understanding that karst is a three-dimensional landscape where the surface and subsurface are intimately and integrally connected. Failure to recognize that activity at the surface affects the subsurface, and the converse, has long been the root cause of many of the problems of water and land use in karst regions. Karst areas have unique natural resource problems, whose management can have major economic consequences. Although there is an extensive literature on the nature of particular problems, resource protection and hazard minimization strategies in karst, it rarely displays an advanced understanding of the processes of the conduit formation and their characteristics yet these will always be involved. This book does not pretend to be a definitive text on speleogenesis. However, it is hoped that readers will find it to be a valuable reference source, that it will stimulate new ideas and approaches to develop and resolve some of the remaining problems, and that it will promote an appreciation of the importance of speleogenetic studies in karst hydrogeology and applied environmental sciences. Acknowledgements: We sincerely thank all contributors for their willing cooperation in the long and difficult process of preparing this book, for their participation in developing its logic and methodology and their cheerful response to numerous requests. We thank all colleagues who discussed the work with us and encouraged it in many ways, even though not contributing to its content as authors. We are particularly grateful to Margaret Palmer for invaluable help in editing the English in many contributions, to Nataly Yablokova for her help in performing many technical tasks and to Elizabeth White who prepared comprehensive index. Our thanks are due to Dr. David Drew, Dr. Philip LaMoreaux, Dr. George Moore and Prof. Marian Pulina for reviewing the manuscript and producing constructive notes and comments on improvement of the final product. The organizational costs and correspondence related to the preparation of the book were partially sponsored by the National Speleological Society, the publisher. We thank David McClurg, the Chair of the NSS Special Publication Committee, for his extensive technical and organizational support in the preparation and publishing processes.

Growth of hematite and boehmite in concretions from ancient karst bauxite: clue for past climate, 2002,
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Mongelli G. ,
In the Peri-Adriatic Apulia Carbonate Platform (southern Italy), late Cretaceous karst bauxites mark an emergence period during a wet tropical climate. Bauxite formed through clay accumulation in the karst, 'in situ' bauxitization and late formation of iron-rich concretions in a water-unsaturated pedogenic environment. The concretions, which are geochemical recorders of the environment of formation, have a large core of Al-hematite surrounded by a cortex of alternating M-hematite and boehmite. Boehmite forms instead of Al-hematite at lower water activity values. Using a model of molecular diffusion and assuming the fluid flow negligible, the time necessary for growth of the concretions has been calculated. The average-sized core grew in similar to180 ka. The Al-hematite accretionary band grew in similar to180 ka whereas the boehmite accretionary band grew in similar to4.5 ka. The average bulk concretions possibly formed in 300-400 ka. The growth of the concretions is assumed to be a two-stage process. In the first stage, the core grew in a relatively long period of wet tropical climate. In the second stage, drier conditions favouring boehmite stability alternated to a wetter climate favouring Al-hematite stability. The growth of the bulk concretions is consistent with the Earth's long eccentricity cycle. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Toward a better understanding of fissure growth in karst formations: Investigations from genesis to maturation and the influence of fracture-matrix interactions., 2002,
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Cheung, Wendy Wai Wan

There has been interest in quantitative modeling of early karstification with the objectives of estimating time-scales of conduit growth and understanding the nature of cave patterns. In particular, the initiation phase has been studied in great detail because it is the slowest phase in the development of caverns. In this study aperture variability in a two-dimensional framework and fracture matrix interaction are studied to better understand their role in time estimations of aperture growth. The initial phase of karst development is studied from its nascent stage as a fissure into the early stages of turbulence. In uniform fissures in rapidly dissolving minerals, the concentration reaches the solubility limit within a short distance along the flow path. However, the variability in the aperture field inherently provides instabilities to the system and growth is propagated along these perturbations. Flow is focused into preferential channels which are enlarged at a faster rate than surrounding regions of slow flow. As a result, a positive feedback mechanism takes place and creates growth in a highly selective manner. Only in large domains (>25 correlation lengths), can the instabilities create competition for flow at the solution front as well and lead to significant branching. It is this branching which creates the non-monotonic behavior in breakthrough times (defined as the point in which turbulent flow is first encountered). It has been observed that the non-monotonic behavior is scale dependent. Smaller domains do not exhibit this behavior because there are only a few correlation lengths between
the fingertip and the lateral domain boundaries. Aperture variability significantly impacts dissolution patterns in a two-dimensional framework. While aperture variability speeds up growth, the inclusion of the porous bedrock can inhibit growth. The porous matrix serving as a large low - conductive reservoir can significantly influence the development of the fracture by slowing down dissolution growth through matrix diffusion. In a one dimensional model, this issue is further explored. Although the focus of the study is on modeling of early karstification, there are many common themes between this problem and other reactive transport problems that this model can be made suitable for exploring.


Evaluation of aquifer thickness by analysing recession hydrographs. Application to the Oman ophiolite hard-rock aquifer, 2003,
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Dewandel B, Lachassagne P, Bakalowicz M, Weng P, Almalki A,
For more than a century, hydrologists and hydrogeologists have been investigating the processes of stream and spring baseflow recession, for obtaining data on aquifer characteristics. The Maillet Formula [Librairie Sci., A. Hermann, Paris (1905) 218], an exponential equation widely used for recession curve analysis, is an approximate analytical solution for the diffusion equation in porous media whereas the equation proposed by Boussinesq [C. R. Acad. Sci. 137 (1903) 5; J. Math. Pure Appl. 10 (1904) 5], that depicts baseflow recession as a quadratic form, is an exact analytical solution. Other formulas currently used involve mathematical functions with no basis on groundwater theory. Only the exact analytical solutions can provide quantitative data on aquifer characteristics. The efficiency of the two methods was compared on the basis of recession curves obtained with a 2D cross-sectional finite differences model that simulates natural aquifers. Simulations of shallow aquifers with an impermeable floor at the level of the outlet show that their recession curves have a quadratic form. Thus, the approximate Maillet solution largely overestimates the duration of the 'influenced' stage and underestimates the dynamic volume of the aquifer. Moreover, only the Boussinesq equations enable correct estimates of the aquifer parameters. Numerical simulations of more realistic aquifers, with an impermeable floor much deeper than the outlet, proves the robustness of the Boussinesq formula even under conditions far from the simplifying assumptions that were used to integrate the diffusion equation. The quadratic form of recession is valid regardless of the thickness of the aquifer under the outlet, and provides good estimates of the aquifer's hydrodynamic parameters. Nevertheless, the same numerical simulations show that aquifers with a very deep floor provide an exponential recession. Thus, in that configuration, the Maillet formula also provides a good fit of recession curves, even if parameter estimation remains poor. In fact, the recession curve appears to be closer to exponential when flow has a very important vertical component, and closer to quadratic when horizontal flow is dominant. As a consequence, aquifer permeability anisotropy also changes the recession form. The combined use of the two fitting methods allows one to quantify the thickness of the aquifer under the outlet. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved

Sulfate Cavity Filling in the Lower Werra Anhydrite (Zechstein, Permian), Zdrada Area, Northern Poland: Evidence for Early Diagenetic Evaporite Paleokarst Formed Under Sedimentary Cover, 2003,
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Hryniv Sofiya P. , Peryt Tadeusz Marek,
Paleokarst developed in sulfate deposits is common, and it is usually formed along the contact with the overlying permeable rocks or it is due to near-surface dissolution of bedded evaporites. In the Lower Werra Anhydrite (Zechstein) of northern Poland the paleokarst cavities are usually filled by bluish semitransparent anhydrite and more rarely by celestite, polyhalite, halite, and carbonate. In small cavities (a few centimeters across), a rim of rod-like anhydrite crystals arranged in narrow bundles occurs, and the inner part of the cavity is filled with a mosaic aggregate of short prismatic crystals of anhydrite and celestite as well as coarse irregular anhydrite. Celestite crystals and fan-shaped aggregates as well as spherulites of anhydrite are rare. In bigger cavities (some ten centimeters across), multiple zones of fibrous anhydrite are arranged in different directions in the middle part of the cavity fill. The innermost parts of large karst cavities remain hollow in some cases, with the cavity walls encrusted by coarse, well-developed crystals of anhydrite and celestite. The karst cavities in the Lower Werra Anhydrite developed in the subsurface by dissolution of CaSO4 strata in halite-rich intervals due to gypsum dehydration water. During gypsum dehydration, dissolution of that halite would have increased the sodium chloride content of the solution and thus the solubility of calcium sulfate. Dissolved calcium sulfate was removed from a leaching zone by diffusion and/or downward flow in interstitial space, and the minerals in karst cavities precipitated from the same solutions as those solutions became oversaturated because of decreases in NaCl concentration over time. This study suggests that karst in sulfate deposits can develop in the subsurface and without uplift and/or near-surface conditions

Numerical analysis of conduit evolution in karstic aquifers. PhD Thesis, 2003,
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Annable, W. K.

Fractured and solutionally enhanced carbonate aquifers supply approximately 20 percent of the Worlds potable water supply. Although in rare cases these geologic settings can geochemically evolve into conduits which are of sufficient size to be explored and interpreted by researchers, the majority of the solutionally enlarged networks providing fresh water supplies remain too small to be directly measured. As such, we rely upon indirect hydraulic testing and tracer studies to infer the complexity and size of such aquifers. Because solutionally enhanced (karstic) aquifers have multiple scales of porosity ranging from matrix flow, fracture flow and open channel conduit flow, they are particularly vulnerable to contamination due to the high rates of chemical transport. In this study, a numerical model which solves for the variably-saturated flow, chemically-reactive transport and sediment transport within fractured carbonate aquifers has been developed to investigate the evolution of proto conduits from discrete fractures towards the minimum limits of caves which can be explored. The model results suggest that, although potentiometric surfaces can be of assistance in forecasting the possible locations of proto conduits at depth, many conduits are never detected using conventional observation wells relying upon hydraulic head data. The model also demonstrates the strong dependence in the pattern of vertical jointing on how conduits may evolve: fractures oriented similar to the mean groundwater flow direction show conduits evolving along the vertical fracture orientation; however, vertical fractures that differ significantly from the mean groundwater flow direction have vastly more complex dissolution networks. The transport of fine-grained sediments within the fractures has been shown to reduce the rates of conduit development in all but the highest velocity regions, resulting in simplified conduit networks, but at accelerated dissolution rates. The fully-coupled advective-dispersive and reactive chemistry equations were employed strictly with equilibrium reactions to simulate calcite dissolution. This study further shows that higher order kinetics in the form of the kinetic trigger effect of White (1997) are not required if diffusion between the rock matrix and the fracture surfaces account for multi-component matrix diffusion effects between the evolving conduits and the carbonate rock matrix according to the diffusional characteristics of the fractured rock system at hand.


Concepts and models of dolomitization: a critical reappraisal, 2004,
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Machel Hans G. ,
Despite intensive research over more than 200 years, the origin of dolomite, the mineral and the rock, remains subject to considerable controversy. This is partly because some of the chemical and/or hydrological conditions of dolomite formation are poorly understood, and because petrographic and geochemical data commonly permit more than one genetic interpretation. This paper is a summary and critical appraisal of the state of the art in dolomite research, highlighting its major advances and controversies, especially over the last 20-25 years. The thermodynamic conditions of dolomite formation have been known quite well since the 1970s, and the latest experimental studies essentially confirm earlier results. The kinetics of dolomite formation are still relatively poorly understood, however. The role of sulphate as an inhibitor to dolomite formation has been overrated. Sulphate appears to be an inhibitor only in relatively low-sulphate aqueous solutions, and probably only indirectly. In sulphate-rich solutions it may actually promote dolomite formation. Mass-balance calculations show that large water/rock ratios are required for extensive dolomitization and the formation of massive dolostones. This constraint necessitates advection, which is why all models for the genesis of massive dolostones are essentially hydrological models. The exceptions are environments where carbonate muds or limestones can be dolomitized via diffusion of magnesium from seawater rather than by advection. Replacement of shallow-water limestones, the most common form of dolomitization, results in a series of distinctive textures that form in a sequential manner with progressive degrees of dolomitization, i.e. matrix-selective replacement, overdolomitization, formation of vugs and moulds, emplacement of up to 20 vol% calcium sulphate in the case of seawater dolomitization, formation of two dolomite populations, and -- in the case of advanced burial -- formation of saddle dolomite. In addition, dolomite dissolution, including karstification, is to be expected in cases of influx of formation waters that are dilute, acidic, or both. Many dolostones, especially at greater depths, have higher porosities than limestones, and this may be the result of several processes, i.e. mole-per-mole replacement, dissolution of unreplaced calcite as part of the dolomitization process, dissolution of dolomite due to acidification of the pore waters, fluid mixing (mischungskorrosion), and thermochemical sulphate reduction. There also are several processes that destroy porosity, most commonly dolomite and calcium sulphate cementation. These processes vary in importance from place to place. For this reason, generalizations about the porosity and permeability development of dolostones are difficult, and these parameters have to be investigated on a case-by-case basis. A wide range of geochemical methods may be used to characterize dolomites and dolostones, and to decipher their origin. The most widely used methods are the analysis and interpretation of stable isotopes (O, C), Sr isotopes, trace elements, and fluid inclusions. Under favourable circumstances some of these parameters can be used to determine the direction of fluid flow during dolomitization. The extent of recrystallization in dolomites and dolostones is much disputed, yet extremely important for geochemical interpretations. Dolomites that originally form very close to the surface and from evaporitic brines tend to recrystallize with time and during burial. Those dolomites that originally form at several hundred to a few thousand metres depth commonly show little or no evidence of recrystallization. Traditionally, dolomitization models in near-surface and shallow diagenetic settings are defined and/or based on water chemistry, but on hydrology in burial diagenetic settings. In this paper, however, the various dolomite models are placed into appropriate diagenetic settings. Penecontemporaneous dolomites form almost syndepositionally as a normal consequence of the geochemical conditions prevailing in the environment of deposition. There are many such settings, and most commonly they form only a few per cent of microcrystalline dolomite(s). Many, if not most, penecontemporaneous dolomites appear to have formed through the mediation of microbes. Virtually all volumetrically large, replacive dolostone bodies are post-depositional and formed during some degree of burial. The viability of the many models for dolomitization in such settings is variable. Massive dolomitization by freshwater-seawater mixing is a myth. Mixing zones tend to form caves without or, at best, with very small amounts of dolomite. The role of coastal mixing zones with respect to dolomitization may be that of a hydrological pump for seawater dolomitization. Reflux dolomitization, most commonly by mesohaline brines that originated from seawater evaporation, is capable of pervasively dolomitizing entire carbonate platforms. However, the extent of dolomitization varies strongly with the extent and duration of evaporation and flooding, and with the subsurface permeability distribution. Complete dolomitization of carbonate platforms appears possible only under favourable circumstances. Similarly, thermal convection in open half-cells (Kohout convection), most commonly by seawater or slightly modified seawater, can form massive dolostones under favourable circumstances, whereas thermal convection in closed cells cannot. Compaction flow cannot form massive dolostones, unless it is funnelled, which may be more common than generally recognized. Neither topography driven flow nor tectonically induced ( squeegee-type') flow is likely to form massive dolostones, except under unusual circumstances. Hydrothermal dolomitization may occur in a variety of subsurface diagenetic settings, but has been significantly overrated. It commonly forms massive dolostones that are localized around faults, but regional or basin-wide dolomitization is not hydrothermal. The regionally extensive dolostones of the Bahamas (Cenozoic), western Canada and Ireland (Palaeozoic), and Israel (Mesozoic) probably formed from seawater that was pumped' through these sequences by thermal convection, reflux, funnelled compaction, or a combination thereof. For such platform settings flushed with seawater, geochemical data and numerical modelling suggest that most dolomites form(ed) at temperatures around 50-80 {degrees}C commensurate with depths of 500 to a maximum of 2000 m. The resulting dolostones can be classified both as seawater dolomites and as burial dolomites. This ambiguity is a consequence of the historical evolution of dolomite research

Seasonal variations of CO2 and 222Rn in a Mediterranean sinkhole-spring (Causse dAumelas, SE France)., 2007,
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Batiotguilhe Christelle, Seidel Jeanluc, Jourde Herv, Hbrard Olivier, Baillycomte Vincent
Carbon dioxide and 222Rn monitoring of the atmosphere of a Mediterranean sink hole - spring (SE France) during two hydrological cycles (from September 2004 to September 2006) showed seasonal variations with very high concentrations during summer (greater than 6% and 20000 Bq/m3, respectively). Gas dynamics in caves often show seasonal variations. Meteorological parameters (barometric pressure and temperature mainly), cave geometry and fracture networks control exchanges between the cavity and outside atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and 222Rn may have different sources (atmosphere, soil, bedrock, deep gas diffusion, in situ oxidation of organic matter and, in some caves, the key role of swift underground streams). For a CO2 origin, 13C measurements on water and gas samples taken into the cavity suggest a superficial origin. Radon-222 appears to be locally produced and transported by biogenic CO2. Further investigations will be carried out in order to study the relationship of gas-level variations with barometric pressure variations and piezometric level fluctuations within the aquifer.

Rapid karstic bypass flow in the unsaturated zone of the Yorkshire chalk aquifer and implications for contaminant transport, 2007,
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Allshorn Sjl, Bottrell Sh, West Lj, Odling Ne,
Tracer tests have been performed on the unsaturated zone of the East Yorkshire chalk aquifer, UK. Rapid tracer travel times through significant thicknesses of unsaturated chalk (15-38 m) indicate that bypass flow must occur through fractures. Transport processes in the unsaturated zone of the chalk aquifer thus have similarities to those in the vadose zone of more typically karstic limestone aquifers. Modelling of tracer breakthrough curves indicates that bypass flow is sufficiently rapid to significantly inhibit diffusional loss of tracer into the porous matrix of the chalk. The presence of rapid karstic bypass flow in the unsaturated zone of the chalk will limit the potential for attenuation of groundwater contaminants in this zone

Seasonal variations of CO2 and 222Rn in a Mediterranean sinkhole-spring (Causse dAumelas, SE France), 2007,
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Batiotguilhe Christelle, Seidel Jeanluc, Jourde Herv, Hbrard Olivier, Baillycomte Vincent
Carbon dioxide and 222Rn monitoring of the atmosphere of a Mediterranean sink hole - spring (SE France) during two hydrological cycles (from September 2004 to September 2006) showed seasonal variations with very high concentrations during summer (greater than 6% and 20 000 Bq/m3, respectively). Gas dynamics in caves often show seasonal variations. Meteorological parameters (barometric pressure and temperature mainly), cave geometry and fracture networks control exchanges between the cavity and outside atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and 222Rn may have different sources (atmosphere, soil, bedrock, deep gas diffusion, in situ oxidation of organic matter and, in some caves, the key role of swift underground streams). For a CO2 origin, 13C measurements on water and gas samples taken into the cavity suggest a superficial origin. Radon-222 appears to be locally produced and transported by biogenic CO2. Further investigations will be carried out in order to study the relationship of gas-level variations with barometric pressure variations and piezometric level fluctuations within the aquifer.

Physics and chemistry of dissolution on subaerialy exposed soluble rocks by flowing water films, 2007,
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Dreybrodt W. , Kaufmann G.

The basic process active in the formation of subaerial features on karst rocks is chemical dissolution of limestone or gypsum by water films flowing on the rock surface. The dissolution rates of limestone and gypsum into thin films of water in laminar flow are given by F = .(ceq-c), where (ceq-c) is the difference of the actual concentration c in the water film and the equilibrium concentration ceq with respect to the corresponding mineral. Whereas for gypsum . is determined by molecular diffusion the situation is more complex for limestone. Experiments are presented, which show that for high undersaturation, c<0.3ceq, the rate law is F = .( 0.3ceq-c) ,and . becomes higher by about a factor of ten than for the rates at c>0.3ceq. These rate laws are used to calculate denudation rates on bare rock surfaces exposed to rainfall with differing intensity. The estimations are in reasonable agreement to field data. Starting from the experiments on the formation of Rillenkarren on gypsum performed by Glew and Ford (1980), we suggest a new relation between their length from the crest to the “Ausgleichsfläche” and the inclination of the rock surface. This is also applied to field data of Rillenkarren on limestone provided by J. Lundberg and A. Gines. In view of the many parameters influencing the formation of Rillenkarren these correlations can be considered as satisfactory.


Niche differentiation among sulfur-oxidizing bacterial populations in cave waters, 2008,
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Jennifer L Macalady, Sharmishtha Dattagupta, Irene Schaperdoth, Daniel S Jones, Greg K Druschel And Danielle Eastman
The sulfidic Frasassi cave system affords a unique opportunity to investigate niche relationships among sulfur-oxidizing bacteria, including epsilonproteobacterial clades with no cultivated representatives. Oxygen and sulfide concentrations in the cave waters range over more than two orders of magnitude as a result of seasonally and spatially variable dilution of the sulfidic groundwater. A full-cycle rRNA approach was used to quantify dominant populations in biofilms collected in both diluted and undiluted zones. Sulfide concentration profiles within biofilms were obtained in situ using microelectrode voltammetry. Populations in rock-attached streamers depended on the sulfide/oxygen supply ratio of bulk water (r¼0.97; Po0.0001). Filamentous epsilonproteobacteria dominated at high sulfide to oxygen ratios (4150), whereas Thiothrix dominated at low ratios (o75). In contrast, Beggiatoa was the dominant group in biofilms at the sediment?water interface regardless of sulfide and oxygen concentrations or supply ratio. Our results highlight the versatility and ecological success of Beggiatoa in diffusion-controlled niches, and demonstrate that high sulfide/oxygen ratios in turbulent water are important for the growth of filamentous epsilonproteobacteria.

The legend of carbon dioxide heaviness, 2009,
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Badino G.
The false legend of carbon dioxide traps resulting from the weight of carbon dioxide gas is disproved. In spite of water-vapor lightness in comparison with air, no water-vapor trap exists on cave ceilings. In fact, underground atmospheres with specific compositions are not related to gravity, but to the absence of any air movement around the gas sources. The process of double diffusion of oxygen and carbon dioxide during organic compound decomposition in still air is shown to be significant. This phenomenon can form atmospheres that are deadly due to oxygen deficiencies and poisonous because of excess carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide storage behaves like a liquid and can flow or can be poured, as cold air can, but these are typical transient processes with no relation to a caves foul air formation.

Annual and transient signatures of gas exchange and transport in the Castaar de Ibor cave (Spain)., 2009,
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Fernandezcortes A. , Sanchezmoral S. , Cuezva S. , Caaveras J. C. And Abella R.
The large microclimatic stability is a basic characteristic of the subterranean karst systems and causes a high sensitivity to changes in environmental conditions. High-accuracy monitoring of Castaar de Ibor cave (Spain) determined the temporal evolution of the aerodynamic processes and ventilation rate by tracking CO2 and 222Rn levels over a twelve-month period. This cave is characterized by a very stable microclimate, with high and relatively constant radon content (the mean value is 32200 Bq/m3, roughly, and the standard deviation is 7600 Bq/m3) and a moderate and quite stable CO2 concentration (the mean value is 3730 ppm and the standard deviation is 250 ppm). Beside the general patterns of cave microclimate throughout an annual cycle, some particular microclimatic processes are described with regard to the gas exchange between the cave and the outside atmosphere. There is a complex microclimatic functional relationship between the meteorological and cave microclimate conditions and the diffusion and flow of tracer gases from the fractures and the pore system of soil and host rock to cave atmosphere. Transient variations of tracer gas on cave air are controlled by natural barometric fluxes and anthropogenic forced ventilation due to uncontrolled opening of cave entrance. The short-term fluctuations of gas levels on cave air reveal distinct patterns during the exhalation process of theses gases from the net of fissures and pores to the cave atmosphere, depending on the isolation effect of soil and host rock.

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