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Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology


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Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

Klimchouk on 26 Mar, 2012
Dear Colleagues, This is to draw your attention to several recent publications added to KarstBase, relevant to hypogenic karst/speleogenesis: Corrosion of limestone tablets in sulfidic ground-water: measurements and speleogenetic implications Galdenzi,

The deepest terrestrial animal

Klimchouk on 23 Feb, 2012
A recent publication of Spanish researchers describes the biology of Krubera Cave, including the deepest terrestrial animal ever found: Jordana, Rafael; Baquero, Enrique; Reboleira, Sofía and Sendra, Alberto. ...

Caves - landscapes without light

akop on 05 Feb, 2012
Exhibition dedicated to caves is taking place in the Vienna Natural History Museum   The exhibition at the Natural History Museum presents the surprising variety of caves and cave formations such as stalactites and various crystals. ...

Did you know?

That till is predominantly unsorted and unstratified drift, generally unconsolidated, deposited directly by and underneath a glacier without subsequent reworking by meltwater, and consisting of a heterogeneous mixture of clay, silt, sand, gravel, and boulders ranging widely in size and shape [6].?

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.
See all featured articles
Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’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 gallery (Keyword) returned 51 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 51
Interprtation morphomtrique et splo_gense : exemple de rseaux karstiques de Basse-Provence (directions de galeries, modle et maillage structural), 1997,
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Blanc Jeanjoseph, Monteau Raymond
Successive tectonic phases on limestone massifs are at the origin of a fracturation grid with several pattern dimensions, and linear or organized drain directions. Mechanical reactivations are observed from Oligocene until Plio-Quaternary on a former "pyreneo-provenale" structure (Eocene). Statistical analysis of gallery and fracture directions, cave levels and descent stages (overdeepening) show several erosional stages occurring after the formation of the Antevindobonian erosional surface. The active speleogenesis during Oligocene and Miocene was controlled by tectonics in connection with European rifting and mediterranean opening. In Messinian a short and significant lowering of mediterranean base level (and water table) made drastic erosion and created vertical pits. The horizontal cave level dug during the stabilization phase of Pliocene, now perched over underground rivers, shows a new overdeepening because of glacio-eustatic Quaternary oscillations. Compressive or distensive mechanical reactivations (Upper Miocene, Pliocene, Quaternary) modified the drainage and consequently the cave organization: self-piracy, confluence and diffluence. In the endokarst, the drainage inversion can be detected in late Upper continental Miocene and early Messinian (6,5 Ma), in correlation with the tilting and extension of the continental margin. Five caves in Provence are studied: Sabre, Petit Saint-Cassien, Rampins, Planesselve river, and Tete du Cade networks.

Hydrogeological exploration of the Rjecina river spring in the Dinaric Karst., 1997,
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Biondic B. , Dukaric F. , Kuhta M. , Biondic R.
The Rjecina spring is one of the major springs in the Dinaric Karst. It appears at the contact between permeable carbonate and impermeable clastic rocks, with a discharge of up to 120 m3/s but it dries up during the dry seasons. The spring occurs close to the town of Rijeka, 325 m above sea level and offers an outstanding opportunity to cover gravitationally the public water demand of a town of about 200 000 inhabitants, and turistic needs of the whole region. This hydrogeological research project is a part of efforts to solve the problems of water deficiency during the dry summer seasons up to a maximum of three months. It was necessary to enter the parts of karst aquifer that are active in time of any outflow from the Rjecina spring by complex geological, hydrogeological and geophysical exploration accompanied with deep exploratory boreholes. During earlier explorations, it was determined that there are no active inflows in the immediate hinterland of the spring and that it is necessary to discover the inflows from other karst structures, that behave as retentions of karst springs in the zones of permanent discharge. The presence of multiple overthrusted structures in the zone around the spring site suggests the existence of deep zones of water retention, which may be reached by an access gallery from the Rjecina canyon. This work represents a substantial change in the exploration methodology for Dinaric Karst aquifers, because it directs the researchers toward deep, unknown retention spaces, which contain large reserves of high-quality groundwater outside urban areas.

Les travertins du Coly (Causse de Martel, Dordogne) : contribution de lendokarst ldification dun systme travertineux de valle, 1998,
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Hoffmann, Frdric
The "Doux de Coly" is a vauclusian spring with a 4-km-long phreatic gallery which regulates the carbonated minerlization of water. Because the CO2 pressure is too high inside the conduit, this artesian spring cannot deposit carbonates. The spring water connects with another river, the Chironde, and creates the Coly river. This mixing of waters induces chemical variations and allows travertine valley deposit by CO2 degassing and carbonate precipitation. A 2-year-long waterchemistry study reveals the influence of the "Doux de Coly" karstic system (phreatic zone) in the formation of travertines.

Nouveau regard sur la splogense : le pseudo-karst du Tournaisis (Hainaut, Belgique), 1998,
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Vergari, Anne
In the paleokarstic features of the carboniferous limestones (Synclinorium of Namur Hainaut, Belgium) new endokarstic forms have been discovered and named "pseudo-endokarsts". From a morphological point of view, the pseudo-endokarst looks like a gallery. But, in fact, it results from an in-situ alteration: the "ghost rocks". The study of the sedimentary cross-section in the "pic--glace cave" described in this article offers new understanding of endokarst genesis. Dynamic flows are not any more the only way to initiate karstification.

Tectonic network as the initial factor of karstification of the chalk limestones in the Perche hills (Orne, Normandy, France), 1999,
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Rodet J. ,
Tectonics has been known to be the initial factor of karstification for a long time, but this has never been demonstrated because of the progressive nature of karstification, which destroys evidence of the preliminary phases. Because of its dual hydrological quality, chalk limestone has conserved a great variety of specific forms illustrating various steps in evolution, from the initial primokarst to the classic well-developed drain. In the Perche hills, very recent research has shown specific endokarstic galleries, filled up by sands and clays. Physical, chemical and X-ray analyses have shown that such infillings result not from a classical fluviatile deposit process, but on the contrary, from an alteration process, underlining the progress of a weathering front into the limestone mass down to the watertable. The infillings are not sedimentary deposits, but represent a kind of 'shadow rock', a chemical in situ transformation of limestone, without any transport of the solid fraction, The genesis results from the progression of weathering fronts located on the tectonic pattern into the input karst. When the weathering front crosses the watertable, the resulting water mixing produces a chemical reaction capable of opening the original joint. This results in infilled galleries, similar to classical karst drains, which have never known fluviatile drainage. This illustrates the first step in normal karstic evolution, just before a water flux drains the gallery, resulting in a new karstification step: the drained passage. The specificity of the region of the Perche hills is this karat evolution stopped in the first step, illustrating the 'primorkarst' modelling by the researcher, which has never been described before. The conditions for this genesis are a well-developed tectonic pattern, an absence of thick superficial layers, a high soil permeability, and an absence of superficial drainage (lack of sinkholes). (C) Elsevier, Paris

Les archives sdimentaires quaternaires de la grotte sous les Sangles (Bas-Bugey, Jura mridional, France). Indices palo-climatiques et sismo-tectoniques, 2002,
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Lignier Vincent, Desmet Marc
Quaternary sedimentary archives of the Sous les Sangles Cave (Lower Bugey, Southern Jura, France); paleo-climatic and sismo-tectonic evidences - The Sous les Sangles Cave is located in southern part of Jura mountain at the front part of the northwestern alpine tectonically active massifs. This region was covered by alpine and jurassian glaciers during the Last Glacial Maximum. An old gallery contains stratified fluvial and moraine injection, covered by a 3.5 meters thick deposit of finely laminated silty carbonate and clays. Sedimentological investigation reveals several periods of different water flow depending on glacial and inters glacial periods. The upper finely laminated sediments correspond to the end of the last glacial maximum according to the exokarstic equivalent of the Cerin lake and the U/Th ages obtained with speleothems. Spectral analysis (using Fourier methods and pass-band mapping techniques) on grey-level raw data have been used on the Sous les Sangles sediment. The main result shows evidence of a cyclic deposition according to the three main periodicities recognised through the 1.5-m top sequence. The laminated material is affected by plastic and brittle deformations. The entire deposit is characterised by (1) a vertical faulting without apparent dominant relative movement which can be interpreted as tension faults; (2) an associated soft and brittle deformation similar to thin skin tectonic at centimetre scale affecting the base of the deposit and testified to gravity reworking which could correspond to discrete sismotectonic activity; (3) brittle deformations associated with fluid escape patterns occurring at two specific levels along the vertical faults, emphasising the earth tremor existence according to several broken speleothems. These observations are highly supported by the geodynamic and tectonic frame of this part of Jura massif which reveal an actual uplift of several millimetre/year, especially in this part of the Cluse des Hpitaux cross valley. Numerous historical earthquakes have been documented in this area. The microtectonic study of the cave shows dominant inverse and strike-slip structures correlated to the general tectonic frame.

Coastal karst springs in the Mediterranean basin : study of the mechanisms of saline pollution at the Almyros spring (Crete), observations and modelling, 2002,
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Arfib B, De Marsily G, Ganoulis J,
Variations in salinity and flow rate in the aerial, naturally salty spring of Almyros of Heraklion on Crete were monitored during two hydrological cycles. We describe the functioning of the coastal karstic system of the Almyros and show the influence of the duality of the flow in the karst (conduits and fractured matrix) on the quality of the water resource in the coastal area. A mechanism of saltwater intrusion into this highly heterogeneous system is proposed and validated with a hydraulic mathematical model, which describes the observations remarkably well. Introduction. - Fresh groundwater is a precious resource in many coastal regions, for drinking water supply, either to complement surface water resources, or when such resources are polluted or unavailable in the dry season. But coastal groundwater is fragile, and its exploitation must be made with care to prevent saltwater intrusion as a result of withdrawal, for any aquifer type, porous, fractured or karstic. In karstic zones, the problem is very complex because of the heterogeneous nature of the karst, which makes it difficult to use the concept of representative elementary volume developed for porous or densely fractured systems. The karstic conduits focus the major part of the flow in preferential paths, where the water velocity is high. In coastal systems, these conduits have also an effect on the distribution of the saline intrusion. As was shown e.g. by Moore et al. [1992] and Howard and Mullings [1996], both freshwater and salt-water flow along the fractures and conduits to reach the mixing zone, or the zone where these fluids are superposed in a dynamic equilibrium because of their differences in density ; but the dynamics of such a saltwater intrusion are generally unknown and not represented in models. Such coastal karstic systems are intensely studied at this moment in the Mediterranean region [Gilli, 1999], both as above sea-level or underwater springs, for potential use in areas where this resource would be of great value for economic development. This article discusses the freshwater-saltwater exchange mechanisms in the karstic aquifer of the Almyros of Heraklion aquifer (Crete) and explains the salinity variations observed in the spring. First, the general hydrogeology of the study site is described, then the functioning of the spring : a main conduit drains the freshwater over several kilometres and passes at depth through a zone where seawater is naturally present. The matrix-conduit exchanges are the result of pressure differences between the two media. These processes are represented in a mathematical model that confirms their relevance. General hydrogeology of the studied site. - The karstic coastal system of the Almyros of Heraklion (Crete) covers 300 km2 in the Ida massif whose borders are a main detachment fault, and the Sea of Crete in the north, the Psiloritis massif (highest summit at 2,456 m) in the south and west, and the collapsed basin of Heraklion filled in by mainly neo-geneous marl sediments in the east. The watershed basin consists of the two lower units of characteristic overthrust formations of Crete (fig. 1) : the Cretaceous Plattenkalk and the Cretaceous Tripolitza limestones. The two limestone formations are locally separated by interbedded flysch or phyllade units that form an impervious layer [Bonneau et al., 1977 ; Fassoulas, 1999] and may lead to different flow behaviour within the two karstic formations. Neo-tectonic activity has dissected these formations with large faults and fractures. The present-day climate in Crete is of Mediterranean mountain type, with heavy rain storms and snow on the summits in winter. Rainfall is unevenly distributed over the year, with 80 % of the annual total between October and March and a year-to-year average of 1,370 mm. The flow rate of the spring is high during the whole hydrologic cycle, with a minimum in summer on the order of 3 m3.s-1 and peak flow in winter reaching up to 40 m3.s -1. The water is brackish during low flow, up to a chloride content of 6 g.l-1, i.e. 23 % of seawater, but it is fresh during floods, when the flow rate exceeds 15 m3.s-1. During the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 hydrologic cycles, the water was fresh during 14 and 31 days, respectively. The water temperature is high and varies very little during the year (see table I). In the areas of Keri and Tilissos (fig. 1), immediately south of the spring, the city of Heraklion extracts water from the karstic system through a series of 15 wells with depth reaching 50 to 100 m below sea level. Initially, when the wells were drilled, the water was fresh, but nowadays the salinity rises progressively, but unequally from well to well (fig. 2). The relatively constant temperatures and salinities of the wells, during the hydrological cycle, contrast with the large salinity variations at the spring (fig. 2 and table I). They show that the karstic system is complex and comprises different compartments, where each aquifer unit reacts to its individual pressures (pumping, rainfall) according to its own hydrodynamic characteristics [Arfib et al., 2000]. The Almyros spring seems disconnected from the surrounding aquifer and behaves differently from that which feeds the wells (upper Tripolitza limestone). It is recharged by fresh water from the mountains, which descends to depths where it probably acquires its salinity. The spring would thus be the largest resource of the area, if it was possible to prevent its pollution by seawater. A general functioning sketch is proposed (fig. 3), which includes the different geological units of interest. Identification of the functioning of the Almyros spring through monitoring of physical and chemical parameters. - The functioning of the aquifer system of the Almyros spring was analysed by monitoring, over two hydrological cycles, the level of the spring, the discharge, the electric conductivity and the temperature recorded at a 30 min time interval. In the centre of the watershed basin, a meteorological station at an altitude of 800 m measures and records at a 30 min time interval the air temperature, rainfall, relative humidity, wind velocity and direction ; moreover, an automatic rain gauge is installed in the northern part of the basin at an altitude of 500 m. The winter floods follow the rhythm of the rainfall with strong flow-rate variations. In contrast, the summer and autumn are long periods of drought (fig. 7). The flow rate increases a few hours after each rainfall event ; the water salinity decreases in inverse proportion to the flow rate a few hours to a few days later. Observations showed that the water volume discharged at the Almyros spring between the beginning of the flow rate increase and the beginning of the salinity decrease is quite constant, around 770,000 m3 (fig. 4) for any value of the flow rate, of the salinity and also of the initial or final rainfall rates. To determine this constant volume was of the upmost importance when analyzing the functioning of the Almyros spring. The lag illustrates the differences between the pressure wave that moves almost instantaneously through the karst conduit and causes an immediate flow rate increase after rainfall and the movement of the water molecules (transfer of matter) that arrives with a time lag proportionate to the length of the travel distance. The variation of the salinity with the flow rate acts as a tracer and gives a direct indication of the distance between the outlet and the seawater entrance point into the conduit. In the case of the Almyros, the constant volume of expelled water indicates that sea-water intrusion occurs in a portion of the conduit situated several kilometres away from the spring (table II), probably inland, with no subsequent sideways exchange in the part of the gallery leading up to the spring. As the lag between the flow rate and the salinity recorded at the spring is constant, one can correct the salinity value by taking, at each time step, with a given flow rate, the salinity value measured after the expulsion of 770,000 m3 at the spring, which transforms the output of the system so as to put the pressure waves and the matter transfer in phase [Arfib, 2001]. After this correction, the saline flux at the spring, equal to the flow rate multiplied by the corrected salinity, indicates the amount of sea-water in the total flow. This flux varies in inverse proportion to the total flow rate in the high-flow period and the beginning of the low-flow period, thereby demonstrating that the salinity decrease in the spring is not simply a dilution effect (fig. 5). The relationship that exists between flow rate and corrected salinity provides the additional information needed to build the conceptual model of the functioning of the part of the Almyros of Heraklion aquifer that communicates with the spring. Freshwater from the Psiloritis mountains feeds the Almyros spring. It circulates through a main karst conduit that descends deep into the aquifer and crosses a zone naturally invaded by seawater several kilometers from the spring. The seawater enters the conduit and the resulting brackish water is then transported to the spring without any further change in salinity. The conduit-matrix and matrix-conduit exchanges are governed by the head differences in the two media. Mathematical modelling of seawater intrusion into a karst conduit Method. - The functioning pattern exposed above shows that such a system cannot be treated as an equivalent porous medium and highlights the influence of heterogeneous structures such as karst conduits on the quantity and quality of water resources. Our model is called SWIKAC (Salt Water Intrusion in Karst Conduits), written in Matlab(R). It is a 1 D mixing-cell type model with an explicit finite-difference calculation. This numerical method has already been used to simulate flow and transport in porous [e.g. Bajracharya and Barry, 1994 ; Van Ommen, 1985] and karst media [e.g. Bauer et al., 1999 ; Liedl and Sauter, 1998 ; Tezcan, 1998]. It reduces the aquifer to a single circular conduit surrounded by a matrix equivalent to a homogeneous porous medium where pressure and salinity conditions are in relation with sea-water. The conduit is fed by freshwater at its upstream end and seawater penetrates through its walls over the length L (fig. 6) at a rate given by an equation based on the Dupuit-Forchheimer solution and the method of images. The model calculates, in each mesh of the conduit and at each time step, the head in conditions of turbulent flow with the Darcy-Weisbach equation. The head loss coefficient {lambda} is calculated by Louis' formula for turbulent flow of non-parallel liquid streams [Jeannin, 2001 ; Jeannin and Marechal, 1995]. The fitting of the model is intended to simulate the chloride concentration at the spring for a given matrix permeability (K), depth (P) and conduit diameter (D) while varying its length (L) and its relative roughness (kr). The spring flow rates are the measured ones ; at present, the model is not meant to predict the flow rate of the spring but only to explain its salinity variations. Results and discussion. - The simulations of chloride concentrations were made in the period from September 1999 to May 2001. The depth of the horizontal conduit where matrix-conduit exchanges occur was tested down to 800 m below sea level. The diameter of the conduit varied between 10 and 20 m, which is larger than that observed by divers close to the spring but plausible for the seawater intrusion zone. The average hydraulic conductivity of the equivalent continuous matrix was estimated at 10-4 m/s. A higher value (10-3 m/s) was tested and found to be possible since the fractured limestone in the intrusion zone may locally be more permeable but a smaller value (10-5 m/s) produces an unrealistic length (L) of the saline intrusion zone (over 15 km). For each combination of hydraulic conductivity, diameter and depth there is one set of L (length) and kr (relative roughness) calibration parameters. All combinations for a depth of 400 m or more produce practically equivalent results, close to the measured values. When the depth of the conduit is less than 400 m, the simulated salinity is always too high. Figure 7 shows results for a depth of 500 m, a diameter of 15 m and a hydraulic conductivity of 10-4 m/s. The length of the saltwater intrusion zone is then 1,320 m, 4,350 m away from the spring and the relative roughness coefficient is 1.1. All the simulations (table II) need a very high relative roughness coefficient which may be interpreted as an equivalent coefficient that takes into account the heavy head losses by friction and the variations of the conduit dimensions which, locally, cause great head losses. The model simulates very well the general shape of the salinity curve and the succession of high water levels in the Almyros spring but two periods are poorly described due to the simplicity of the model. They are (1) the period following strong freshwater floods, where the model does not account for the expulsion of freshwater outside the conduit and the return of this freshwater which dilutes the tail of the flood and (2) the end of the low-water period when the measured flux of chlorides falls unexpectedly (fig. 5), which might be explained by density stratification phenomena of freshwater-saltwater in the conduit (as observed in the karst gallery of Port-Miou near Cassis, France [Potie and Ricour, 1974]), an aspect that the model does not take into account. Conclusions. - The good results produced by the model confirm the proposed functioning pattern of the spring. The regulation of the saline intrusion occurs over a limited area at depth, through the action of the pressure differences between the fractured limestone continuous matrix with its natural saline intrusion and a karst conduit carrying water that is first fresh then brackish up to the Almyros spring. The depth of the horizontal conduit is more than 400 m. An attempt at raising the water level at the spring, with a concrete dam, made in 1987, which was also modelled, indicates that the real depth is around 500 m but the poor quality of these data requires new tests to be made before any firm conclusions on the exact depth of the conduit can be drawn. The Almyros spring is a particularly favorable for observing the exchanges in the conduit network for which it is the direct outlet but it is not representative of the surrounding area. To sustainably manage the water in this region, it is essential to change the present working of the wells in order to limit the irreversible saline intrusion into the terrain of the upper aquifers. It seems possible to exploit the spring directly if the level of its outlet is raised. This would reduce the salinity in the spring to almost zero in all seasons by increasing the head in the conduit. In its present state of calibration, the model calculates a height on the order of 15 m for obtaining freshwater at the spring throughout the year, but real tests with the existing dam are needed to quantify any flow-rate losses or functional changes when there is continual overpressure in the system. The cause of the development of this karstic conduit at such a great depth could be the lowering of the sea level during the Messinian [Clauzon et al., 1996], or recent tectonic movements

Tauchgang im Endsiphon des Pieling-Ursprungs (1636/3), Roleiten, Obersterreich., 2004,
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Seebacher, R.
The Pieling-Ursprung is one of the most important karst springs in Austria. During major floods, discharge increases up to 40 m3/s. The very first dive in the big entrance pool was in 1962, when two divers reached a depth of 52 m. The most remarkable dive was made by the famous cave diver Jochen Hasenmayer in 1987. He reached a depth of approximatly 80 m. Members of the caving club Sierning drained in 1977 a little side sump and opened the way to more than 1 km of dry passages. These end in a big sump, more than 400 horizontal meters behind the entrance. On March 26, 2002 the author made a first dive in this siphon and found it to be part of the main gallery of the cave, where the water comesfrom. He explored a big underwater tunnel over 64 m distance to a depth of 32 m. [Pieling-Ursprung (1636/3)]

Ages et modalits des incursions humaines et animales prhistoriques dans ltage Cathala de la grotte dAldne (Hrault, France). Apport des analyses sdimentologiques et gochronologiques, 2004,
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Guendon Jeanlouis, Ambert Paul, Quinif Yves, Baumes Bernard, Colomer Albert, Dainat Denis, Galant Philippe, Gruneisen Alain, Gruneisen Nathalie
Chronologies and means of prehistoric human and animal frequentations into Aldne cave, Cathala level (Hrault, France). Sedimentology and geochronology studies - The Aldne cave forms a long network of galleries on four levels. Only the first two of these contain prehistoric vestiges. Superior level (Bousquet storey) presents a Lower Palaeolithic stratigraphy in the porch. It contained also, in the deep areas, a thick filling of clays and speleothems with bear bones, intensively quarried during the 19th and 20th centuries for phosphate ore. These workings allowed to discover the second level (Cathala storey) and, in these news galleries, human footprints trail with sooty marks on the walls, numerous animal paw prints, hyena coprolites, scratches and nests made by bears. After study establishing mesolithic age of human footprints (8 200 130 BP, 7 790 60 BP) and anteriority of animal passages, researches were directed on sedimentological and geochronological study (U/Th dating of speleothem). First, the age of the last animal presence in the second level of Aldne was precised, between 41 500 BP to 25 000 BP. Second, means and chronologies of closing of the prehistoric entrance of Cathala storey were revealed. The actual access in these galleries is only an artificial entrance opened up for phosphate mining. It begins by a cat-flap and shafts about twenty meters high. The access used by prehistoric humans and animals is completely obstructed by a very important boulder choke with speleothems interstratified, situated in North part of Cathala gallery. The studies of this boulder choke showed three principal phases of closing of this primitive access: a first collapse of the roof during Middle Pleistocene; an important bedded rock-fragments produced by frost shattering of primitive entrance porch, which filled principal gallery during periglacial stages of the Upper Pleistocene; and a second roof collapse, during Holocene. The burnt pieces of brand left on the ground allowed to recognise the last narrow passage taken by the Mesolithic humans before this last collapse finally obstructing this entrance.

Palaeomagnetic and U-series dating of cave sediments in Baradla Cave, Hungary, 2004,
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Bosá, K Pavel, Hercman Helena, Kadlec Jaroslav, Mó, Ga Já, Nos, Pruner Petr

Fine-grained siliciclastic sediments from the main gallery and upper cave level show nearly uniform composition and sedimentary textures. Palaeomagnetic analysis indicates normal magnetic polarisation of all samples, i.e. the age younger than Brunhes/Matuyama boundary at 780 ka. Flowstone/stalagmite covering siliciclastics in the upper cave level contains reverse polarised samples dated by U-series method to about 114ý115 ka, which can be identified as the Blake Event. The uniform composition of sediments can indicate the infill of the cave during a single event caused by the blockage of drainage routes due to geological (collapse) or palaeoclimatic (ice) changes, which took part before ca 130 to 150 ka as indicating by the oldest U-series data from the whole DomicaýBaradla Cave System.


Ghar Al Hibashi lava tube: the richest site in Saudi Arabia for cave minerals, 2004,
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Forti Paolo, Galli Ermanno, Rossi Antonio, Pint John, Pint Susana

Several large lava tubes have been explored and mapped in different lava fields around the Saudi Arabia. One of the largest is Ghar Al Hibashi, located in the Harrat Buqum-Nawasif lava field. It mainly consists of a huge rectilinear gallery (over 400 m long and 15 m wide) the access to which is through a small vertical pit reaching a side corridor. The cave was long used as a shelter for bats, hyenas, wolves and foxes. Therefore the entire cave floor, consisting of locally thick uncemented sand, is scattered with a great amount of bones and coprolites, while some rather large guano deposits are also found. Some of these guano deposits caught fire, which partially burnt the bones overlaying them as well. The only true speleothems consist of a few small yellow translucent stalactites. During three expeditions in 2003, a few samples of secondary chemical deposits were collected inside this lava tube to be analysed from the mineralogical point of view. Despite the scarcity of these samples, at least 19 different minerals have already been detected, most of which are related to the biogenic mineralization of bones and guano deposits. Three of them, pyrocoproite, pyrophosphite and arnhemite are extremely rare organic compounds strictly related to the guano combustion, which have been observed until now only in a few caves in Africa. Thanks to these findings Hibashi lava tube is not only the most important volcanic cave of Saudi Arabia but also by far the richest mineralogical shelter of the country. Therefore this research, which is far from coming to an end, confirms the recently advanced opinion that amongst the different cave environments, volcanic cavities are very favourable for the development of different minerogenetic mechanisms.


Tauchgang im Endsiphon des Pieling-Ursprungs (1636/3), Roleiten, Obersterreich, 2004,
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Seebacher, R.
The Pieling-Ursprung is one of the most important karst springs in Austria. During major floods, discharge increases up to 40 m3/s. The very first dive in the big entrance pool was in 1962, when two divers reached a depth of 52 m. The most remarkable dive was made by the famous cave diver Jochen Hasenmayer in 1987. He reached a depth of approximatly 80 m. Members of the caving club Sierning drained in 1977 a little side sump and opened the way to more than 1 km of dry passages. These end in a big sump, more than 400 horizontal meters behind the entrance. On March 26, 2002 the author made a first dive in this siphon and found it to be part of the main gallery of the cave, where the water comesfrom. He explored a big underwater tunnel over 64 m distance to a depth of 32 m.

Attribution des gravures paleolithiques de la grotte d'Aldene (Cesseras, Herault) a l'Aurignacien par la datation des remplissages geologiques, 2005,
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Ambert P, Guendon Jl, Galant P, Quinif Y, Gruneisen A, Colomer A, Dainat D, Beaumes B, Requirand C,
ResumeLes gravures paleolithiques de la grotte d'Aldene ont ete decouvertes [13] dans une galerie revelee par l'exploitation miniere des phosphates de ce karst [10]. Reduites a une dizaine d'unites, ces gravures ont pourtant suscite plusieurs etudes [13,15,21]. La derniere [19] souligne leurs ressemblances (faunique et stylistique) avec le bestiaire de la grotte Chauvet [5-7]. L'etude stratigraphique, paleontologique et chronologique des remplissages permet de situer le passage des paleolithiques entre le depot de deux planchers stalagmitiques dates de 37 000 et 24 400 BP. La datation de 30 260 [plus-or-minus sign] 220 BP obtenue sur les charbons issus d'un niveau intermediaire atteste une incursion humaine a l'Aurignacien, synchrone de la premiere phase de l'art de Chauvet. Pour citer cet article : P. Ambert et al., C. R. Palevol 4 (2005).AbstractAttribution of the Palaeolithic engravings of the cave of Aldene (Cesseras, Herault) to the Aurignacian by the dating of geological deposits. The Palaeolithic engravings of the cave of Aldene were discovered [13] in a gallery revealed during the mining of phosphates in this karst [10]. Although only made up of about ten units, these engravings have given rise to several studies [13,15,21]. The most recent [19] highlights their similarities (faunal and stylistic) with the bestiary from the Chauvet cave [5-7]. The stratigraphic, palaeontological and chronological study of the cave deposits permits the dating of the presence of the Palaeolithic people between the deposition of two dripstone floors dated at 37 000 and 24 400 BP. The date of 30 260 [plus-or-minus sign] 220 BP obtained on charcoal sampled from an intermediate level attests a human incursion in the Aurignacian period, which is contemporary with the first phase of the art of Chauvet. To cite this article: P. Ambert et al., C.R. Palevol 4 (2005)

Hazard connected to railway tunnel construction in karstic area: applied geomorphological and hydrogeological surveys, 2005,
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Casagrande G, Cucchi R, Zini L,
In a mature karstic system, the realisation of galleries using the methodology of railway tunnel boring machine (TBM) involves particular problems due to the high risk of interference with groundwater (often subject to remarkable level variations) and with cavities and/or thick fill deposits. In order to define groundwater features it is necessary to investigate both hydrodynamic and karstification. To define and quantify the karst phenomenon in the epikarst of the Trieste Karst (Italy), an applied geomorphological approach has been experimented with surface and cavity surveys. The surface surveys have contributed to determining the potential karst versus the different outcropping lithologies and to define the structural setting of the rocky mass also through the realisation of geostructural stations and the survey of the main lines thanks to photo-interpretation. Moreover, all the dolines and the cavities present in the area interested by the gallery have been studied by analysing the probable extension of caves and/or of the secondary fill deposits and by evaluating the different genetic models. In an area 900 ra large and 27 km long, which has been studied because of the underground karst, there are 41 dolines having diameters superior to 100 m and 93 dolines whose diameters range between 100 and 50 m; the dolines whose diameters are inferior to 50 m are 282. The entrances of known and registered cavities in the cadastre records are 520. The hypogeal surveys have shown 5 typologies in which it has been possible to group all the cavities present in a hypothetical intersection with the excavation. The comparison between surface and hypogeal structural data and the direction of development of cavities has allowed for the definition of highly karstified discontinuity families, thus having a higher risk. The comparison of the collected data has enabled to identify the lithologies and areas having major risk and thus to quantify the probability of intersection with the different cavity typologies for each area. To make an example, out of 27 000 m of studied gallery 3930 are the metres expected to be at very high 'karst risk'. Out of these, as a whole 3 10 are risky because of the probable presence of gallery cavities, 2170 because of the probable presence of pits and sinkholes diffusely present under the dolines, and along 1450 m karst is particularly intense. Moreover, 2200 should be the metres in which the rocky mass will be particularly divided because of tectonic causes. From a hydrogeological point of view a monitoring of water level has started to quantify water excursion, due to closeness of the railway tunnel to the mean water level. First results related to galleries intersection are here presented

Ein mittelpleistozner Aragonitstalagmit aus der B7-Hhle (NW-Sauerland, Nordrhein-Westfalen), 2006,
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Niggemann S. , Richter D. K.
An aragonitic stalagmite from the B7 cave in middle/upper Devonian massive limestones of the Rhenish Slate Mountains near Iserlohn is characterized using petrographic and geochemical methods. The primary composition with needle-and fan-shaped aragonite and contemporaneous local radiaxial-fibrous Mg-calcite indicates an elevated Mg/Ca ratio of the drip water at the time of stalagmite growth. This is apparently related to the calcitization of the dolomitic gallery, in which the broken sample was found, as also suggested by the rather high ?13C values. The stalagmite grew ca. 440,000 years ago, during a warm climate episode of Marine Isotope Stages 11-12, as determined by U/Th thermal ionization mass spectrometry. The origin of the phreatic cave gallery level 3 within the five-level cave system can thus be placed into at least the middle Pleistocene.

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