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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 exokarst is all features that may be found on a surface karst landscape, ranging in size between tiny karren forms and extensive projes, belong to the exokarst [9]. see also endokarst.?

Checkout all 2699 terms in the KarstBase Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms

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KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for karst environment (Keyword) returned 78 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 78
Modelling of karst structures by geophysical methods. An example: the doline of S Pietro dei Monti (Western Liguria), 1998, Armadillo E, Massa F, Caneva G, Gambetta M, Bozzo E,
Integrated geophysical investigations of karat structures were carried out in Liguria and Piedmont (NW Italy); this paper refers to the S. Pietro dei Monti doline, in the karat area of Mt. Carmo (Savona). The techniques used in the integrated study were magnetics, electromagnetics and seismic refraction. The target was to identify, without drilling, the nature of the doline, for example if it is of dissolution or collapse type. A preliminary susceptibility sampling of the outcrop and topsoil and the diffuse fractures with a probable water seepage suggested magnetics and VLF electromagnetics. Such methods applied in an area with an extremely low cultural noise allowed modelling of the buried structure of the doline

Agriculture, landscape and human impact in some karst areas of Italy, 1999, Burri Ezio, Castiglioni Benedetta, Sauro Ugo
Italy is made up for about 1/5 of its surface by soluble rocks, which represent the arena of karst environments. The karst morpho-units, some hundreds, are mainly distributed inside the alpine structure of the Mediterranean mountains. A very large number of rock formations are present, different in facies, lithology, age, etc. Among these, carbonate rocks prevail, followed by gypsum and salt. Most of the carbonate rocks are limestones sedimented in a platform environment and they show a wide range of porosity, frequency of fractures and bedding planes. The climatic processes, the expression of some different sub-types of Mediterranean climate (from the typical Mediterranean to sub-atlantic and sub-continental varieties), are the main control of the recent morphodynamics inside the karst morpho-units. In some areas the variability of precipitation is very high. The soil-water deficit during summer, together with the steep slopes, makes these environments highly vulnerable to human impact, especially in relation to soil use for grazing and agriculture. The soils, with enriched mineral contents from the fall of loess-like sediments or of volcanic ashes, were surely very appealing to the first farmers.

Impacts of agricultural transformation on the principal karstic regions of France, 1999, Nicod Jean, Salomon Jeannoel
The recent extension of intensive agriculture on the karst plateaus has caused different types of impact: soil management, generalised and/or localised pollution. Yet paradoxically rural depopulation can also have negative impacts, which largely depend on the characteristics and the hydrological function of the different karst environments. They are often negative, particularly as far as the water quality is concerned, which is why protection measures are undertaken, either in a defined area for a catchment, or in the framework of regional parks. But this is not always the case, so it is appropriate to analyse the problem of karst pollution as a whole, and to propose to experiment new solutions to mitigate the impacts.

Water vulnerability assessment in karst environments: a new method of defining protection areas using a multi-attribute approach and GIS tools (EPIK method), 1999, Doerfliger N, Jeannin Py, Zwahlen F,
Groundwater resources from karst aquifers play a major role in the water supply in karst areas in the world, such as in Switzerland. Defining groundwater protection zones in karst environment is frequently not founded on a solid hydrogeological basis. Protection zones are often inadequate and as a result they may be ineffective. In order to improve this situation, the Federal Office for Environment, Forests and Landscape with the Swiss National Hydrological and Geological Survey contracted the Centre of Hydrogeology of the Neuchatel University to develop a new groundwater protection-zones strategy in karst environment. This approach is based on the vulnerability mapping of the catchment areas of water supplies provided by springs or boreholes. Vulnerability is here defined as the intrinsic geological and hydrogeological characteristics which determine the sensitivity of groundwater to contamination by human activities. The EPIK method is a multi-attribute method for vulnerability mapping which takes into consideration the specific hydrogeological behaviour of karst aquifers. EPIK is based on a conceptual model of karst hydrological systems, which suggests considering four karst aquifer attributes: (1) Epikarst, (2) Protective cover, (3) Infiltration conditions and (4) Karst network development. Each of these four attributes is subdivided into classes which are mapped over the whole water catchment. The attributes and their classes are then weighted. Attribute maps are overlain in order to obtain a final vulnerability map. From the vulnerability map, the groundwater protection zones are defined precisely. This method was applied at several sites in Switzerland where agriculture contamination problems have frequently occurred. These applications resulted in recommend new boundaries for the karst water supplies protection-zones

Geology and evolution of lakes in north-central Florida, 1999, Kindinger J. L. , Davis J. B. , Flocks J. G. ,
Fluid exchange between surficial waters and groundwater in karst environments, and the processes that control exchange, are of critical concern to water management districts and planners, High-resolution seismic data were collected from 30 lakes of north-central Florida. In each case study, lake structure and geomorphology were controlled by solution and/or mechanical processes. Processes that control lake development are twofold: (1) karstification or dissolution of the underlying limestone, and (2) the collapse, subsidence, or slumping of overburden to form sinkholes. Initial lake formation is directly related to the karst topography of the underlying host limestone. Case studies have shown that lakes can be divided by geomorphic types into progressive developmental phases: (1) active subsidence or collapse phase (young); (2) transitional phase (middle age); (3) baselevel phase (mature); and (4) polje (drowned prairie) - broad flat-bottom that have one or all phases of sinkhole. Using these criteria, Florida lakes can be classified by size, fill, subsurface features, and geomorphology

Review of groundwater pollution and protection in karst areas, 1999, Kacaroglu F. ,
Karst groundwater (the water in a karst aquifer) is a major water resource in many regions of some countries. Water requirements for most of the settlements in the karstic regions are supplied from karst aquifers. Karst environments are also used for the disposal of liquid and solid domestic agricultural, and industrial wastes, which result in karst groundwater pollution. Karst aquifers have specific hydraulic and hydrogeologic characteristics that render them highly vulnerable to pollution from human activities. Karst groundwater becomes polluted more easily and in shorter time periods than water in non-karstic aquifers. Thus, protection measures are required to preserve the quality and quantity of karst groundwater that specifically consider the vulnerability of the karst environment. In order to preserve karst groundwater, the geological, hydrological and hydrogeological characteristics of the karst area must be investigated and information on polluting activities and sources must be collected. Then, a comprehensive protection and control system must be developed consisting of the following six components: (1) develop and implement a groundwater monitoring system, (2) establish critical protection zones, (3) develop proper land use strategies, (4) determine the reasonable development capacity of the karst aquifer, (5) control and eliminate when necessary sources of pollution, (6) increase public awareness of the value and vulnerability of karst aquifers

Revision of a few hypotheses on speleogenesis, 2000, Choppy Jacques
Quite often, as we know better karst phenomena and the evolution of the karst environment, several hypotheses on speleogenesis appeared to be flimsy. Some of these hypotheses, concerning processes playing a part in the creation of karst forms, exceed the limits of their field. Others suggest hydraulic mechanisms, and interventions of geological or geographical factors likely to be questioned. Hypotheses relating to the evolution of karst, as well as the classification of karst types, suffer from the lack of an analytical approach. However, some of these hypotheses still have an important place in the current vision of speleologists and karstologists.

Microbiology and geochemistry in a hydrogen-sulphide-rich karst environment., 2000, Hose L. D. , Palmer A. N. , Palmer M. V. Et Al.

Microbiology and geochemistry in a hydrogen-sulphide-rich karst environment, 2000, Hose Louise D. , Palmer Arthur N. , Palmer Margaret V. , Northup Diana E. , Boston Penelope J. , Duchene Harvey R. ,
Cueva de Villa Luz, a hypogenic cave in Tabasco, Mexico, offers a remarkable opportunity to observe chemotrophic microbial interactions within a karst environment. The cave water and atmosphere are both rich in hydrogen sulphide. Measured H2S levels in the cave atmosphere reach 210 ppm, and SO2 commonly exceeds 35 ppm. These gases, plus oxygen from the cave air, are absorbed by freshwater that accumulates on cave walls from infiltration and condensation. Oxidation of sulphur and hydrogen sulphide forms concentrated sulphuric acid. Drip waters contain mean pH values of 1.4, with minimum values as low as 0.1.The cave is fed by at least 26 groundwater inlets with a combined flow of 200-300 l/s. Inlet waters fall into two categories: those with high H2S content (300-500 mg/l), mean PCO2=0.03-0.1 atm, and no measurable O2; and those with less than 0.1 mg/l H2S, mean PCO2=0.02 atm, and modest O2 content (up to 4.3 mg/l). Both water types have a similar source, as shown by their dissolved solid content. However, the oxygenated water has been exposed to aerated conditions upstream from the inlets so that original H2S has been largely lost due to outgassing and oxidation to sulphate, increasing the sulphate concentration by about 4%. Chemical modelling of the water shows that it can be produced by the dissolution of common sulphate, carbonate, and chloride minerals.Redox reactions in the cave appear to be microbially mediated. Sequence analysis of small subunit (16S) ribosomal RNA genes of 19 bacterial clones from microbial colonies associated with water drips revealed that 18 were most similar to three Thiobacilli spp., a genus that often obtains its energy from the oxidation of sulphur compounds. The other clone was most similar to Acidimicrobium ferrooxidans, a moderately thermophilic, mineral-sulphide-oxidizing bacterium. Oxidation of hydrogen sulphide to sulphuric acid, and hence the cave enlargement, is probably enhanced by these bacteria.Two cave-enlarging processes were identified. (1) Sulphuric acid derived from oxidation of the hydrogen sulphide converts subaerial limestone surfaces to gypsum. The gypsum falls into the cave stream and is dissolved. (2) Strongly acidic droplets form on the gypsum and on microbial filaments, dissolving limestone where they drip onto the cave floors.The source of the H2S in the spring waters has not been positively identified. The Villahermosa petroleum basin within 50 km to the northwest, or the El Chichon volcano [small tilde]50 km to the west, may serve as source areas for the rising water. Depletion of 34S values (-11.7[per mille sign] for sulphur stabilized from H2S in the cave atmosphere), along with the hydrochemistry of the spring waters, favour a basinal source

Ecological incidents in Northern Adriatic Karst (Croatia), 2000, Geres D, Rubinic J, Ozanic N,
In spite of growing efforts to preserve the quality of groundwater resources, accidental pollution is becoming increasingly frequent, resulting in long-lasting impact on the groundwater status. The consequences of ecological accidents are particularly expressed in karst regions, which are caused by the geological properties of the area where the groundwater aquifers are situated, as well as by hydrological circumstances which also influence the dynamic mechanisms of water flow and transportation of pollution in the karst environment. The paper stresses the hydrological component of karst aquifer function and the related role of hydrology in assessment of the hazards caused by accidental pollution and, once the accident has happened, in monitoring the situation and forecasting the possible impact on water resources. The analysis of ecological accidents in the karst has been made, based on the actual examples of accidents involving fuel substances recorded in the Northern Adriatic karst area in Croatia in the period from 1990 to 1998. The basic characteristics of the mechanism of water movement in the karst are presented from the hydrological standpoint, as well as the related risk of rapid transportation of pollutants into the parts of the aquifers used for water supply. The paper also contains proposals for possible approaches to protection of particularly valuable water resources in the karat from accidental pollution occurring in road transport

Limestone dissolution rates in karst environments, 2000, Dreybrodt W. , Eisenlohr L.
The removal of limestone from the bedrock at the surface and below ground by CO2-containing aqueous solutions sculptures karst landscapes and complex karst aquifers. To understand the evolution of such karstic features requires the knowledge of dissolution rates under various hydrogeological conditions. These rates are controlled by several complex mechanisms: 1) The rate equations of Plummer et al. (1978), from which surface reaction rates can be obtained when the concentrations of reacting species at the surface are known. 2) The slow reaction of CO2 to H+ and HCO3, which provides the H+ ion for converting carbonate to bicarbonate ions. 3) Mass transport by diffusion, either in laminar or turbulent flow. 4) Inhibition of surface reaction rates by the presence of impurities in natural carbonate minerals. 5) Open- or closed-system conditions with respect to CO2, under which dissolutional removal of limestone is active. Depending on the actual conditions each of these processes can greatly effect dissolution rates. This paper addresses these problems and provides data, which can be used to obtain realistic dissolution rates, when solutions flow laminarly in narrow fractures, but also for turbulent flow in large conduits, and a variety of other different hydrogeological conditions. These data are also necessary as input for modeling the evolution of karst.

Characteristics of karst ecosystems of Vietnam and their vulnerability to human impact, 2001, Tuyet D. ,
Karst in Vietnam covers an area of about 60,000 km(2), i.e. 18 % of the surface of the country. The country has an annual average temperature of 24 degreesC, an annual average rainfall of 2300 nun and a relative humidity of about 90%. Karst in Vietnam is typified by peak cluster-depression landscapes ranging in elevation from 200 to over 2000 m. Tower and coastal karst landscapes also exit. Because of naturally favourable conditions, karst ecosystems are diverse and very rich. Higher plants(cormophytes) are abundant. They are represented by approximately 2000 species, 908 genera, 224 families, 86 orders and 7 phyla. They form a thick vegetation cover of evergreen tropical rainforest. Knowledge about lower plants is limited. The fauna is rich and diverse. Phyla such as Protozoa, Vermes, Mollusca and Arthropoda are yet ill known. Preliminary results show that the phylum Chordata is represented by 541 species from 80 families, 40 orders and 5 classes. There exist many precious and rare mammals, in particular some endemic species such as Trachypithecus poliocephalus, T. delacouri, Rhinopithecus avanculus, Rhinolophus rouxi, Seotoma dineties and Silurus cuephuongensis. The class Insecta has about 2000 species. The fast population growth, particularly in the mountainous areas of the country, triggers an increasing demand for land and therefore threatens the ecosystem. To obtain land for farming, people have cut, burned and destroyed natural forest cover; resulting in occurrence of hazards such as soil-loss, water-loss, flash floods, mud-rock flows, rock-falls, severe drought, water logging and changes of karstic aquifers etc. Poaching precious animals and illegal logging are increasing. In contrast to other natural systems, karst ecosystems cannot be reestablished once damaged. Living karst landscapes will become rocky desert ones without life. Conservation of karstic environmental systems in general and karstic ecosystems in particular should not be the sole vocation of scientists but also a duty and responsibility of authorities and people from all levels. A good example of a multidisciplinary approach to karst-related problems is the implementation of the Vietnamese-Belgian Karst Project (VBEKAP): 'Rural development in the mountain karst area of NW Vietnam by sustainable water and land management and social learning: its conditions and facilitation'. The aim of this project is to improve living conditions of local people and sustained protection and management of the karst environment and ecosystem

On the karst ecosystem, 2001, Yuan D. X. ,
In this paper the author gives a definition of the karst ecosystem and discusses the characteristics of the karst environment and karst ecosystem and the relationship between life and the karst environment. Finally he clarifies the structure, driving force and functions of the karst system

The History of Christmas Island and the Management of its Karst Features, 2001, Meek, Paul D.

Christmas Island is an external Territory of Australia with a history pre-dating that of mainland Australia. It hosts a diverse range of endemic and native terrestrial, subterranean and aquatic flora and fauna with Australian, Indo-Malesian and Pacific affinities. The Island has survived the impacts experienced on other tropical islands as a result of human settlement and is a highly valued ecological asset to Australia. The karst environment has been under-valued as an ecological entity until recently when extensive speleological surveys were conducted. These surveys were a part of broader attempts to prepare a management plan to conserve the values of the karst environment.


The environmental impacts of human activities and engineering constructions in karst regions, 2002, Milanovic P. ,
With increasing demands on water resources in karst regions, an important issue is how to keep the balance between the necessity for development and preservation of complex and unpredictable hydrogeological systems. Karst terrains have been modified and adapted through a range of human activities as needs for drinking water, hydroelectric power and other resources increase. In many regions, reclamation projects, construction of large dams and reservoirs, deep underground excavations and complex foundation structures have had a detrimental impact on the environment. However, because each karst region is unique, the nature of environmental change is unpredictable, often occurs very rapidly, and similar situations are seldom, if ever, repeated. Changes in karst function can have a profound impact on regional ecological, infrastructure, social and political systems. The majority of impacts can be foreseen and mitigated by appropriate designs. Ecological and environmental protection is more difficult when the changes are unexpected and source of problem is some distance from the impacted area. Optimal environmental protection requires a multidisciplinary approach, a lot of patience and perseverance, and adequate funds. Legal aspects and insurability are also very important basic elements in karst environmental protection. Criteria for determining the environmental protection, as well as regulatory procedures that are applicable for nonkarst regions are generally not suitable for karst terrain. Successful solutions require serious and complex geological/hydrogeological investigation programs and close co-operation of a wide spectrum of scientists and engineers: geologists, civil engineers, biologists, chemists, hydrogeologists, geophysicists, sociologists and many others. In karst areas where interrelations and interactions are inadequately known, the ultimate aim is identification of crucial parameters that define causes and consequences between human activities and the resulting impact (cause-and-effect relations). As a consequence of human activities and engineering construction in karst regions, the common negative environmental impacts are: severe spring discharge change, groundwater quality deterioration, endemic fauna endangering, waste disposal failures, induced seismicity, induced sinkholes, and a number of different secondary uncertainties. In some cases, socio-economic problems related to migration from submerged regions are very pronounced. Similar problems are related with flooding of cultural and historical monuments and natural rarities. The major aims of proper planning of water resource systems in karst terrain are to minimize negative and to maximize positive environmental impacts. The optimal strategy of water resources development in karst areas is a key requirement for regional socio-economic development

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