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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 transverse wave is a wave generated by shearing displacement where wave motion is perpendicular to direction of propagation [16].?

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

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What is Karstbase?



Browse Speleogenesis Issues:

KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
See all featured articles
Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’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 density (Keyword) returned 160 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 151 to 160 of 160
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Gary M. O. , Rucker D. F. , Smith B. D. , Smith D. V. , Befus K.

Electrical and electromagnetic geophysical characterization is a proven tool for delineating obscured subterranean karstic features, such as caves, sinkholes, and solution enlarged fissures. Geophysical characterizations allow a wide range of deployment scales; airborne methods can accommodate a regional view on the order of kilometers, and ground-based methods can follow up with focused data on the order of meters. A helicopter frequency domain electro-magnetic (HFDEM) survey and ground-based direct-current electrical resistivity imaging (DC-ERI) geophysical studies at the Camp Bullis Military Training Site (Camp Bullis) in central Texas have been used to characterize permeability properties of the Edwards and Trinity Aquifers in the area. Results of three separate investigations identified zones of high density karst features and characterized specific karstic voids, including caves. In 2003, the USGS completed an HFDEM survey of Camp Bullis and nearby areas to map and image subsurface features related to the groundwater resources. The survey refined locations of mapped and previously unmapped faults and characterized the heterogeneity of the subsurface electrical signature. Karst mapping at Camp Bullis identified over 1500 features, and high density zones of features correspond with areas of high resistivity from the HEM data. DC-ERI surveys at several locations were used to infer and characterize known and hypothesized karst features. Site 8 suggests an inferred fault and 195dissolution feature. Two other sites were surveyed near major caves that directly recharge the Trinity Aquifer (indirectly to Edwards Aquifer) along Cibolo Creek. Integration of multi-scale geophysical datasets could be used to augment aquifer-wide recharge characterization and quantification.

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Shaw Faulkner M. G. , Stafford K. W. , Bryant A. W.

The Fort Hood Military Installation is a karst landscape characterized by Cretaceous-age limestone plateaus and canyons in Bell and Coryell Counties, Texas. The area is located in the Lampasas Cut Plain region of the Edwards Plateau and is stratigraphically defined by exposures of the Fredericksburg Group. Spatial interpolation of 105 km2 of the Fort Hood Military Installation provided depression data that were delineated and classified using geoanalytical methods. Most of the karst features within the study area are predominantly surficial expressions of collapse features, creating windows into karst conduits with surficial exposures of epikarst spatially limited.The increasing capabilities of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and accuracy of geographically referenced data has provided the basis for more detailed terrain analysis and modeling. Research on terrain-related surface features is highly dependent on terrain data collection and the generation of digital models. Traditional methods such as field surveying can yield accurate results; however, they are limited by time and physical constraints. Within the study area, dense vegetation and military land use preclude extensive traditional karst survey inventories. Airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) provides an alternative for high-density and high-accuracy three-dimensional terrain point data collection. The availability of high density data makes it possible to represent terrain in great detail; however, high density data significantly increases data volume, which can impose challenges with respect to data storage, processing, and manipulation. Although LiDAR analysis can be a powerful tool, filter mechanisms must be employed to remove major natural and anthropogenic terrain modifications resulting from military use, road building and maintenance, and the natural influence of water bodies throughout the study area.

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PardoigÚzquiza E. , DurÁn J. J. , Dowd P. A.

Digital elevation models (DEM) are digital representations of topography that are especially suitable for numerical terrain analysis in earth sciences and engineering. One of the main quantitative uses of DEM is the automatic delineation of flow networks and watersheds in hydrology and geomorphology. In these applications (using both low­resolution and precision DEM) depressions hinder the inference of pathways and a lot of work has been done in designing algorithms that remove them so as to generate depression­free digital elevation models with no interruptions to flow. There are, however, geomorphological environments, such as karst terrains, in which depressions are singular elements, on scales ranging from centimetres to kilo­metres, which are of intrinsic interest. The detection of these depressions is of significant interest in geomorphologic map­ping because the development of large depressions is normal in karst terrains: potholes, blind valleys, dolines, uvalas and poljes. The smallest depressions that can be detected depend on the spatial resolution (pixel size) of the DEM. For example, depressions from centimetres to a few metres, such as some types of karren, cannot be detected if the raster digital eleva­tion model has a spatial resolution greater than, say, 5 m (i.e., square 5m pixel). In this work we describe a method for the au­tomatic detection and delineation of terrain depressions. First, we apply a very efficient algorithm to remove pits from the DEM. The terrain depressions are then obtained by subtract­ing the depression­free DEM from the original DEM. The final product is a digital map of depressions that facilitates the cal culation of morphometric features such as the geometry of the depressions, the mean depth of the depressions, the density of depressions across the study area and the relationship between depressions and other variables such as altitude. The method is illustrated by applying it to data from the Sierra de las Nieves karst massif in the province of Málaga in Southern Spain. This is a carbonate aquifer that is drained by three main springs and in which the depressions play an important role in the recharge of the aquifer. A doline density map, produced from a map of 324 detected dolines/uvalas, identifies three main recharge areas of the three springs. Other morphometric results related to the size and direction of the dolines are also presented. Finally the dolines can be incorporated into a geomorphology map.

‘Looping caves’ versus ‘water table caves’: The role of base-level changes and recharge variations in cave development, 2014,
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Gabrovšek Franci, Häuselmann Philipp, Audra Philippe

The vertical organisation of karst conduit networks has been the focus of speleogenetic studies for more than a century. The four state model of Ford and Ewers (1978), which still is considered as the most general, relates the geometry of caves to the frequency of permeable fissures. The model suggests that the ‘water table caves’ are common in areas with high fissure frequency, which is often the case in natural settings. However, in Alpine karst systems, water table caves aremore the exception than the rule. Alpine speleogenesis is influenced by high uplift, valley incision rates and irregular recharge. To study the potential role of these processes for speleogenesis in the dimensions of length and depth, we apply a simple mathematical model based on coupling of flow, dissolution and transport.We assume a master conduit draining thewater to the spring at a base level. Incision of the valley triggers evolution of deeper flow pathways,which are initially in a proto-conduit state. Themaster conduit evolves into a canyon following the valley incision,while the deep pathways evolve towards maturity and tend to capture the water fromthe master conduits. Two outcomes are possible: a) deep pathways evolve fast enough to capture all the recharge, leaving the master conduit dry; or b) the canyon reaches the level of deep pathways before these evolve to maturity. We introduce the Loop-to-Canyon Ratio (LCR), which predicts which of the two outcomes is more likely to occur in certain settings. Our model is extended to account for transient flow conditions. In the case of an undulating master conduit, floodwater is stored in troughs after the flood retreat. This water seeps through sub-vertical fractures (‘soutirages’) connecting the master conduitwith the deep pathways. Therefore, the loops evolve also during the dry season, and the LCR is considerably increased. Although themodel is based on several approximations, it leads to some important conclusions for vertical organisation of karst conduit networks and stresses the importance of base-level changes and transient recharge conditions. It therefore gives an explanation of speleogenesis that relies much more on the dynamic nature of water flow than on the static fracture density

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Kempe, S.

Germany currently features 20 caves in sulfate rocks (gypsum and anhydrite) longer than 200 m. Most of them occur either in the Werra-Anhydrite or in the Hauptanhydrite of the evaporitic Zechstein series (Upper Permian). One occurs in the Jurassic Münder Mergel and two in the Triassic Grundgips. The longest, the Wimmelburger Schlotten, is 2.8 km long with a floor area of 24,000 m2. All caves, except four, occur in the South Harz, where the Zechstein outcrop fringes the uplifted and tilted Variscian Harz. These caves can be divided into three general classes: (i) epigenic caves with lateral, turbulent water flow, and (ii) shallow or (iii) deep phreatic caves with slow convective density-driven dissolution. The latter were discovered during historic copper-shale mining and called “Schlotten” by the miners; most of them are not accessible any more. Shallow phreatic caves occur in several areas, most notably in the Nature Preserve of the Hainholz/Beierstein at Düna/Osterode/Lower Saxony. Here, we sampled all water bodies in May 1973 and monitored 31 stations between Nov. 23rd, 1974, and April 24th, 1976, with a total 933 samples, allowing us to characterize the provenance of these waters. These monitoring results were published only partially (PCO2 data, see Kempe, 1992). Here, I use the data set to show that the Jettenhöhle (the largest cave in the Hainholz) has been created by upward moving, carbonate-bearing, groundwater of high PCO2. Even though the cave has now only small cave ponds and essentially is a dry cave above the ground water level, it is a hypogene cave because of the upward movement “of the cave-forming agent” (sensu Klimchouk, 2012). Likewise, the Schlotten are created by water rising from the underlying carbonate aquifer, but under a deep phreatic setting

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Rosaleslagarde L. , Boston P. J.

Conspicuous brackish sulfidic springs have been described at the northern Sierra the Chiapas, Mexico. These springs are produced by a mixture between regional and local groundwater flow paths. The regional groundwater has an average Total Dissolved Ions of 3081 mg/L so it has a brackish composition. This brackish water is saturated with respect to calcite and dolomite but undersaturated with respect to gypsum, anhydrite and halite. The mass balance and the discharge rate are used to quantify the mass and volume of minerals that are dissolved by the brackish spring water following Appelo and Postma (1993). This quantification will allow comparing the various speleogenetic mechanisms in the area. This is considering the composition of the spring water is relatively constant over time, as it is suggested by periodic measurements at the Cueva de Villa Luz springs during the last 10 years.
Sulfur isotopes in the water are consistent with anhydrite dissolution as the main source of the sulfate to the brackish spring water. Thus, the average 6 mol/L of sulfate in the brackish springs are produced by dissolution of 6 mol of anhydrite after subtracting the sulfate that could result from evapotranspiration of rainwater. Each liter of brackish water dissolved an average of 882 mg of anhydrite, which are equivalent to dissolving 0.36 cm3 of this mineral considering a density of 2.981 g/cm3. Additionally, using the average brackish water discharge rate of 144 L/s, an average of 57 g of anhydrite are being dissolved each second per every liter of brackish water. This is a minimal value because some of the sulfate in the water is used by sulfate-reducing bacteria in the subsurface to produce the hydrogen sulfide in the spring water. The anhydrite subject to dissolution is found interbedded in the Cretaceous carbonates, either from the subsurface at 4,000 m below sea level to the carbonate outcrops.
Similarly, we can calculate the volume of halite that is being dissolved by the brackish springs, considering chloride is a conservative element and subtracting the chloride concentration from the rainwater from that of the spring water following Appelo & Postma (1993). The 22 mol/L of chloride in the brackish water can result from dissolution in the subsurface of 22 moles or 1.3 g of halite per liter of brackish water. This mass of halite dissolved is equal to 0.59 cm3 considering a density of 2.168 g/cm3. Alternatively, 118 g of halite are dissolved per second per each liter of brackish water if we use the average discharge rate of 144 L/s.
Even when the brackish springs are oversaturated with respect to calcite and dolomite, their dissolution is still possible due to the common ion-effect of calcium after anhydrite dissolution and by mixing of waters with different compositions. A range of 10 to 80 % of brackish water from the regional aquifers mixes with fresh water from the local aquifer based on their water chemistry. Additionally, sulfuric acid speleogenesis occurs due to the oxidation of hydrogen sulfide to sulfuric acid.
Finally, the increase in the chloride concentration of the fresh water springs with respect to the concentration in rainwater was used to estimate that from the 4000 mm/y of annual precipitation, only 4%, 158 to 182 mm/y, recharge the aquifers. This low percentage is slightly higher than the 3.3% recharge in marls, marly limestone, silts and clays (Sanz et al., 2011), probably because of the relatively small area of carbonate outcrops over the entire region and the lack of recharge in altitudes higher than 1500 m above sea level.
Sulfuric acid is the most obvious speleogenetic mechanism occurring in the caves of the northern Sierra de Chiapas, Mexico due to the high hydrogen sulfide concentration in the spring water. In addition, the location of the springs at a zone of regional and local discharge where waters from different composition converge and mix, and the amount of mixing calculated suggests mixing is also an important speleogenetic mechanism. However, the depth and the time constrains at which these two hypogenic mechanisms occur is still unknown. The relatively low rainwater recharge rate suggests epigenesis is limited. Most likely, the porosity created by dissolution of anhydrite and halite in the subsurface is occluded by the precipitation of calcite. Chemical modeling and petrography will help to elucidate the order of the reactions occurring in the subsurface.

Deep conduit flow in karst aquifers revisited, 2014,
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Kaufmann Georg, Gabrovšek Franci, Romanov Douchko

Caves formed in soluble rocks such as limestone, anhydrite, or gypsum are efficient drainage paths for water moving through the aquifer from the surface of the host rock towards a resurgence. The formation of caves is controlled by the physical solution through dissociation of the host rock by water or by the chemical solution through reactions of the host rock with water enriched with carbon dioxide. Caves as large underground voids are simply the end member of secondary porosity and conductivity characterizing the aquifer.

Caves and their relation to a present or past base level are found both close to a past or present water table (water-table caves) and extending far below a past or present water table (bathy-phreatic caves). One explanation for this different speleogenetic evolution is the structural control: Fractures and bedding partings are preferentially enlarged around more prominent faults, thus the fracture density in the host rock controls the speleogenetic evolution. This widely accepted explanation [e.g. Ford and Ewers, 1978] can be extended by adding other controls, e.g. a hydraulic control: As temperature generally increases with depth, density and viscosity of water change, and particularly the reduction of viscosity due to the increase in temperature enhances flow. This hypothesis was proposed by Worthington [2001, 2004] as a major controlling factor for the evolution of deep-bathyphreatic caves.

We compare the efficiency of structural and hydraulic control on the evolution of a cave passage by numerical means, adding a third control, the chemical control to address the change in solubility of the circulating water with depth. Our results show that the increase in flow through deep bathy-phreatic passages due to the decrease in viscosity is by far outweighted by effects such as the decrease in fracture width with depth due to lithostatic stress and the decrease in solubility with depth. Hence, the existence of deep bathy-phreatic cave passages is more likely to be controlled by the structural effect of prominent faults.

A new method to quantify carbonate rock weathering, 2015,
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Dubois Caroline, Deceuster John, Kaufmann Olivier, Rowberry Matt D.

The structure and composition of carbonate rocks is modified greatly when they are subjected to phenomena that lead to their weathering. These processes result in the production of residual alterite whose petrophysical, mechanical, and hydrological properties differ completely to those of the unweathered rock. From a geotechnical perspective, it is important that such changes are fully understood as they affect reservoir behavior and rock mass stability. This paper presents a quantitative method of calculating a weathering index for carbonate rock samples based on a range of petrophysical models. In total, four models are proposed, each of which incorporates one or more of the processes involved in carbonate rock weathering (calcite dissolution, gravitational compaction, and the incorporation of inputs). The selected weathering processes are defined for each model along with theoretical laws that describe the development of the rock properties. Based on these laws, common properties such as rock density, porosity, and calcite carbonate content are estimated from the specific carbonate rock weathering index of the model. The propagation of measurement uncertainties through the calculations has been computed for each model in order to estimate their effects on the calculated weathering index. A new methodology is then proposed to determine the weathering index for carbonate rock samples taken from across a weathered feature and to constrain the most probable weathering scenario. This protocol is applied to a field dataset to illustrate how these petrophysical models can be used to quantify the weathering and to better understand the underlying weathering processes.

Hypogene speleogenesis in dolomite host rock by CO2-rich fluids, Kozak Cave (southern Austria), 2015,
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A growing number of studies suggest that cave formation by deep-seated groundwater  (hypogene) is a more common process of subsurface water-rock interaction than previously  thought. Fossil hypogene caves are identified by a characteristic suite of morphological  features on different spatial scales. In addition, mineral deposits (speleothems) may provide  clues about the chemical composition of the paleowater, which range from CO2-rich to  sulfuric acid-bearing waters. This is one of the first studies to examine hypogene cave  formation in dolomite. Kozak Cave is a fossil cave near the Periadriatic Lineament, an area  known for its abundance of CO2-rich springs. The cave displays a number of macro-, mesoand  micromorphological elements found also in other hypogene caves hosted in limestone,  marble or gypsum, including cupolas, cusps, Laughöhle-type chambers and notches. The  existance of cupolas and cusps suggests a thermal gradient capable of sustaining free  convection during a first phase of speleogenesis, while triangular cross sections (Laughöhle  morphology) indicate subsequent density-driven convection close to the paleowater table Notches mark the final emergence of the cave due to continued rock uplift and valley  incision. Very narrow shafts near the end of the cave may be part of the initial feeder system,  but an epigene (vadose) overprint cannot be ruled out. Vadose speleothems indicate that the  phreatic phase ended at least about half a million years ago. Drill cores show no evidence of  carbon or oxygen isotope alteration of the wall rock. This is in contrast to similar studies in  limestone caves, and highlights the need for further wall-rock studies of caves hosted in  limestone and dolomite

Hidden sinkholes and karst cavities in the travertine plateau of a highly-populated geothermal seismic territory (Tivoli, central Italy), 2015,
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Sinkholes and other karst structures in settled carbonate lands can be a significant source of hazard for humans and human works. Acque Albule, the study area of this work, is a Plio-Pleistocene basin near Rome, central Italy, superficially filled by a large and thick deposit of late Pleistocene thermogene travertine. Human activities blanket large portions of the flat territory covering most evidence from geological surface processes and potentially inducing scientists and public officials to underestimate some natural hazards including those connected with sinkholes. To contribute to the proper assessment of these hazards, a geomorphologic study of the basin was performed using digital elevation models (DEMs), recent aerial photographs, and field surveys. Historical material such as old aerial photographs and past geomorphologic studies both pre-dating the most part of quarrying and village building was also used together with memories of the elderly population. This preliminary study pointed out the presence of numerous potentially active sinkholes that are at present largely masked by either quarrying or overbuilding. Where this first study pointed out the apparent absence of sinkholes in areas characterized by high density of buildings, a detailed subsurface study was performed using properly-calibrated electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) and dynamic penetration measurements (DPSH), together with some borehole logs made available from the local municipality. This second study highlighted the presence of sinkholes and caves that are, this time, substantially hidden to the resolution of standard methods and materials such as aerial photographs, DEMs, and field surveys. Active sinkhole subsidence in the Acque Albule Basin may explain, at least in part, the frequent damages that affect numerous buildings in the area. The main conclusion from this study is that the mitigation of sinkhole hazard in highly populated areas has to pass through a thorough search of (hidden) sinkholes that can be masked by the Anthropocenic molding and blanketing of the territory. For these purposes, data from historical (pre-Anthropocene) documents as well as, where possible, subsurface investigations are fundamental.

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