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Community news

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 hydrograph separation is the separation of a hydrograph into its different components to analyze flow contributions [16].?

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


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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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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 stratigraphy (Keyword) returned 164 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 151 to 164 of 164
OBSERVATIONS OF PLIOCENE KARSTS FOSSILIZED BY QUATERNARY EOLIAN SILTS IN THE MATMATA MOUNTAINS (SOUTH-EAST TUNISIA), 2012,
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Sghari, Abdeljalil

The submeridional Dahar chain in southeastern Tunisia is over 200 km long. It is separated from the Mediterranean Sea by the Jeffara plain with some tens of kilometers in width. This landscape continues to the South into Libya, but to the North, the chain ends with the Matmata mountains which form a plateau slightly inclined to the west and some 10 km wide. The eastern scarp shows a mainly calcareous geological stratigraphy from Upper Permian to the Senonian. The Dahar-Matmata structure belongs to the Sahara platform and shows a hiatus during the whole Tertiary, since it was emerged since Upper Cretaceous. The Tunisian Atlas nearby shows a completely different paleogeographic evolution, with a complete Tertiary series and a later Plio-Quaternary structuration. These two paleogeographic domains of Southern Tunisia, the Sahara Atlas and the NE border of the Sahara platform, were influenced by the Messinian crisis (5.9 Ma to 5.3 Ma). This was expressed by the collapse of the Mediterranean Sea level, profoundly modifying the fluvial dynamics with an inversion of the erosional system, from normal erosion to regressive erosion. It results a deepening of canyons in the downstream part and a deepening of the watercourses in the upstream part. The geological structures in the Messinian have been deeply affected by these large eustatic changes, with an incision of cluses in the Atlas and the deposition of a thick clayeysandy series that we could recently link to deltaic systems and Gilbert deltas. The re-establishment of seaways between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and the subsequent infill in the Lower Pliocene (Zanclean transgression), with an important inpact in Southern Tunisia, had multiple consequences in that region. The newly adjusted sealevel, together with a more humid climate that was confirmed by faunal and floral extension oof tropical plants in Northern Africa, stimulated an important karstification of the limestone areas. In the Dahar chain, caves, dolines, karstic depressions or karstic dry valleys emerged, the most spectacular ones being found in the Matmata Mountains. The karstic depressions are the forms that represent best this Pliocene karstification that surely was interrupted in an early stage, because localized endokarstic forms had not enough time to develop. So the karstification seems to have been active in Matmata from 5.4 to 4.0 million years, i.e. two times as long than the duration of the Messinian crisis. The interruption of karstification is due to an increase in temperature and dryness, which even gets more intense during the Pliocene, pulverizing the soils. Already at the beginning of the desertification, a calcareous crust forms by rapid cristallization of dirt. It is immediately transported from the karstic zones to the Jeffara plain. This transfer fo dissolved calcite was the origin of the resistant calcitic crust well known in the Jeffara plain. We now identified the same crust in a karstic depression in the Matmata Mountains, opening the way to new geomorphologic and tectonic interpretations, and a review of the eolian silts formerly attributed to the Upper Pleistocene. Later, during Upper Pliocene-Gelasian, we observe a general tectonic uplift of the Dahar chain and the Matmata Mountains as well as the subsidence of the Jeffara plain at the Medenine fault (NW-SE), prolonging the large Gafsa fault towards the East. The karstic paleoforms were thus uplifted more than 500 m, but nevertheless remain open on the Jeffara plain, as seen by large depressions. As a consequence, the karstic depressions of Matmata played the role of traps for eolian silts blown from the Jeffara plain during the extreme desertification in the Upper Pliocene-Gelasian. The morphological reconstruction since the Messinian shows a succession of important events during the Pliocene that profoundly influenced the Quaternary. All indications permit to reject the hypothesis that the Matmata silts came from the West (Eastern Erg).

 


OBSERVATIONS OF PLIOCENE KARSTS FOSSILIZED BY QUATERNARY EOLIAN SILTS IN THE MATMATA MOUNTAINS (SOUTH-EAST TUNISIA), 2012,
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Sghari, Abdeljalil

The submeridional Dahar chain in southeastern Tunisia is over 200 km long. It is separated from the Mediterranean Sea by the Jeffara plain with some tens of kilometers in width. This landscape continues to the South into Libya, but to the North, the chain ends with the Matmata mountains which form a plateau slightly inclined to the west and some 10 km wide. The eastern scarp shows a mainly calcareous geological stratigraphy from Upper Permian to the Senonian. The Dahar-Matmata structure belongs to the Sahara platform and shows a hiatus during the whole Tertiary, since it was emerged since Upper Cretaceous. The Tunisian Atlas nearby shows a completely different paleogeographic evolution, with a complete Tertiary series and a later Plio-Quaternary structuration. These two paleogeographic domains of Southern Tunisia, the Sahara Atlas and the NE border of the Sahara platform, were influenced by the Messinian crisis (5.9 Ma to 5.3 Ma). This was expressed by the collapse of the Mediterranean Sea level, profoundly modifying the fluvial dynamics with an inversion of the erosional system, from normal erosion to regressive erosion. It results a deepening of canyons in the downstream part and a deepening of the watercourses in the upstream part. The geological structures in the Messinian have been deeply affected by these large eustatic changes, with an incision of cluses in the Atlas and the deposition of a thick clayeysandy series that we could recently link to deltaic systems and Gilbert deltas. The re-establishment of seaways between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and the subsequent infill in the Lower Pliocene (Zanclean transgression), with an important inpact in Southern Tunisia, had multiple consequences in that region. The newly adjusted sealevel, together with a more humid climate that was confirmed by faunal and floral extension oof tropical plants in Northern Africa, stimulated an important karstification of the limestone areas. In the Dahar chain, caves, dolines, karstic depressions or karstic dry valleys emerged, the most spectacular ones being found in the Matmata Mountains. The karstic depressions are the forms that represent best this Pliocene karstification that surely was interrupted in an early stage, because localized endokarstic forms had not enough time to develop. So the karstification seems to have been active in Matmata from 5.4 to 4.0 million years, i.e. two times as long than the duration of the Messinian crisis. The interruption of karstification is due to an increase in temperature and dryness, which even gets more intense during the Pliocene, pulverizing the soils. Already at the beginning of the desertification, a calcareous crust forms by rapid cristallization of dirt. It is immediately transported from the karstic zones to the Jeffara plain. This transfer fo dissolved calcite was the origin of the resistant calcitic crust well known in the Jeffara plain. We now identified the same crust in a karstic depression in the Matmata Mountains, opening the way to new geomorphologic and tectonic interpretations, and a review of the eolian silts formerly attributed to the Upper Pleistocene. Later, during Upper Pliocene-Gelasian, we observe a general tectonic uplift of the Dahar chain and the Matmata Mountains as well as the subsidence of the Jeffara plain at the Medenine fault (NW-SE), prolonging the large Gafsa fault towards the East. The karstic paleoforms were thus uplifted more than 500 m, but nevertheless remain open on the Jeffara plain, as seen by large depressions. As a consequence, the karstic depressions of Matmata played the role of traps for eolian silts blown from the Jeffara plain during the extreme desertification in the Upper Pliocene-Gelasian. The morphological reconstruction since the Messinian shows a succession of important events during the Pliocene that profoundly influenced the Quaternary. All indications permit to reject the hypothesis that the Matmata silts came from the West (Eastern Erg).


Modelling hydrostratigraphy and groundwater flow of a fractured and karst aquifer in a Mediterranean basin (Salento peninsula, southeastern Italy), 2012,
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Giudici M. , Margiotta S. , Mazzone F. , Negri S. , Vassena C.

The control exerted by the hydrostratigraphic structure on aquifer recharge, groundwater flow and discharge along the coastal areas of a Mediterranean basin (Salento peninsula, about 5,000 km2 wide, southern Italy) is assessed through the development and application of a groundwater flow model based on the reconstruction of the hydrostratigraphic architecture at the regional scale. The hydrostratigraphic model, obtained by processing surface and subsurface data, is applied to map the top of the main aquifer, which is hosted in the deep hydrostratigraphic unit corresponding to Cretaceous and Oligocene limestones with complex geometrical relationships with the sea. It is also used to estimate the aquifer recharge, which occurs by percolation through overlying younger sediments with low permeability. These data are completed with information about the soil use to estimate water abstraction for irrigation and with literature data to estimate the water abstraction for drinking and industrial purposes. The above-sketched conceptual model is the basis for a finite difference groundwater 2D pseudo-stationary flow model, which assumes the following fundamental approximations: the fractured and karst limestone hydrostratigraphic unit can be approximated, at the model scale, as a continuous medium for which the discrete Darcy’s law is valid; the transition zone between salt and fresh water is so small with respect to the grid spacing that the Ghyben–Herzberg’s approximation for a sharp interface can be applied. Along the coastline different boundary conditions are assigned if the top of the limestone hydrostratigraphic unit lies either above the sea level (the aquifer has a free surface and fresh water is drained), or below the sea level (the aquifer is under pressure and the contact with sea occurs off-shore). The groundwater flow model correctly predicts the areas where the aquifer is fully saturated with salt water.


Hypogene Point Karstification along Wadi Sirhan Graben (Jordan): A Sign of Oilfield Degassing? , 2012,
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Almalabeh Ahmad, Kempe Stephan

Jordan is a country with a large area of limestone. Nevertheless, only a few limestone caves are known. Here we report about two caves along Wwadi Sirhan Graben of Jordan that appear to have formed by stoping upward of collapsed deep-seated hypogene cavities along breccia pipes. The first one, Uwaiyed Cave, is a small breakdown-dominated chamber in basalt of the Naslet Al-Dhirwa volcano; the second, Beer Al-Malabeh, is a large, bell-shaped sinkhole that has geologically recently opened up to the surface. Wwe discuss the possible processes that led to their formation. The review of the existing stratigraphy as obtained by oil well drilling suggests that no salt layers occur below the caves. Gypsum layers seem to be limited to 4  m in thickness, probably not enough to form the observed features. The remaining process is dissolution caused by ascending gas (H2S or CH4) -rich waters from the underlying oil and oil-shale fields. Wwhen such solutions reach the water table, bacterial oxidation may create enough dissolutional power to form localized and large cavities. Their collapse could lead to the observed collapse structures and would explain the paucity of other cave structures throughout southeastern Jordan.


Fledermausfunde aus dem Gamslcher-Kolowrat-Salzburgerschacht-System (1339/1) des Untersbergs bei Salzburg, 2012,
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Sptl C. , Zagler G. , Bauer K. , Mangini A. , Bieniok A.
Bat bones preserved in sediment layers of the remote parts of the Gamslcher- Kolowrat-Salzburgerschacht system (Untersberg, south of the city of Salzburg) yielded an age in excess of 400,000 years based on four uranium-thorium dates obtained on intercalated flowstone. The bones belong to Myotis bechsteinii (Bechsteins bat). A second profile which lacks flowstone layers but shows a similar sediment stratigraphy contained remains of M. bechsteinii, M. nattereri (Natterers bat) und M. cf. brandti (Brandts bat). The latter bones show evidence of biting and chewing by marten. A well preserved mummy of M. mystacinus (Whiskered bat) found on top of sediments in a third locality of this extensive cave system was dated to 3632-3559 years BC using radiocarbon (calibrated age range). This date demonstrates that the aridity that characterises these remote cave passages and the ventilation regime have prevailed since a least the Middle Holocene.

Stratigraphy, petrography and chronology of speleothem deposition at Tana che Urla (Lucca, Italy): paleoclimatic implications, 2012,
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Regattieri E. , Isola I. , Zanchetta G. , Drysdale R. N. , Hellstrom J. , Baneschi I.

In this work we present the results of a stratigraphic and lithologic study of a flowstone from Tana che Urla Cave, Apuan Alps (central Italy) which grew intermittently between ca. 160 and 8 ka. The studied succession consists of an alternation of two different lithofacies (Lf-A, Lf-B): a brown, detrital-rich (Lf-A) and a white, inclusion-poor calcite (Lf-B). Using available growth rate data, the difference between the two lithofacies is thought to be the result of different amounts of meteoric precipitation, with Lf-A related to low growth rates at times of low precipitation during phases of climatic deterioration (stadial or glacial) and a higher flux of clastic material, and Lf-B related to high growth rates due to high infiltration under conditions of higher precipitation during wetter (interstadial/interglacial) periods, with lower clastic flux. Following this interpretation and the available chronology, the flowstone investigated shows a basal portion of Lf-A that was deposited during MIS6. The flowstone then passed from Lf-A to Lf B at the MIS6-5 transition, with Lf-B lasting for the full interglacial of MIS5e.
A long growth interruption (hiatus H1) can be correlated with the MIS5d stadial, with resumption of lithofacies Lf-B occurring during the climatic amelioration of interstadial MIS5c. The age profile of the upper part of the flowstone is poorly constrained, and is characterised by several growth interruptions, suggesting that the last glacial was more severe compared to MIS6


Preservation and burial of ancient karst., 2013,
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Osborne, R. A. L.

Ancient karst features can be preserved by burial, filling, or by occurring in areas with extremely slow denudation. Although the terms ‘paleokarst’, ‘relict karst’,‘buried karst’, and ‘fossil karst’ have caused much confusion, paleokarst, buried karst, and relict karst can be defined in terms useful to karst geomorphologists and cave scientists. The term ‘fossil karst’ is best abandoned. Burial and paleokarstification are not necessarily the end of karst. Ancient features may be exhumed and reactivated. Karst ends with denudation at the Earth’s surface. Unroofed caves are a particular feature of karst denudation. Most ancient karst features may be preserved by filling, burial, and exhumation. In unusual conditions, karst features have survived at the surface since the Mesozoic. Burial, exhumation, and slow denudation may not be sufficient for extreme survival; relative vertical movement may be required. As caves and many other karst landforms are negative features, they are prone to filling by a range of materials, making cave sediments and paleokarst deposits quite diverse. Whole karst landscapes can be buried and evidence of burial can be recorded in the diagenesis of sediments. Although filled and unfilled caves can survive shallow burial, deep burial can crush caves, forming crackle breccia. Exhumation can occur from the surface following uplift or from below following hypogene speleogenesis. Preservation, burial, and exhumation of ancient karst have two unexpected consequences. Caves can be older than the landscapes in which they occur and stalagmites can be the longest surviving karst features


The Grosmont: the worlds largest unconventional oil reservoir hosted in polyphase-polygenetic karst, 2013,
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Machel Hans G. , Borrero Mary Luz, Dembicki Eugene, Huebscher Harald4

The Upper Devonian Grosmont platform in Alberta, Canada, is the world’s largest heavy oil reservoir hosted in carbonates, with 400-500 billion barrels of IOIP at an average depth of about 250 – 400 m. Advanced thermal recovery technologies, such as SAGD and electrical in-situ retorting, much higher world market prices for oil and certain political pressures have led to a flurry of activity in the Grosmont since 2006.
The sedimentary stratigraphy of the Grosmont reservoir consists of six stacked car-bonate units interbedded with marls and some evaporites. The latter two originally acted as aquitards during diagenesis but are breached or missing in parts of the area today. Dolomitization by density-driven reflux was the first pervasive diagenetic pro-cess. A dense fracture network was created in three or four phases. Most fractures probably originated from collapse following subsurface salt dissolution and/or from Laramide tectonics far to the west, whereby pulsed crustal loading in the fold-and-thrust belt created a dynamic forebulge in the Grosmont region via multiple pulses of basin-wide crustal flexing, each followed by relaxation. The fracture network probably was reactivated and/or expanded by glacial loading and post-glacial isostatic rebound in the Pleistocene and Holocene, respectively.
The region experienced three or four prolonged periods of epigene karstification, alt-hough there is tangible evidence for only two of them in the Grosmont platform. The first of these episodes was a ‘warm epigene karstification’ during the Jurassic - Creta-ceous, and the second was/is a ‘cold epigene karstification’ that started sometime in the Cenozoic and is continuing to this day. In addition, there is circumstantial evidence for hypogene ‘karstification’ (= dissolution) throughout much of the geologic history of the Grosmont since the Late Devonian. Karstification was accompanied and/or by fol-lowed by extensive hydrocarbon biodegradation.


INCIDENCES OF THE TECTONICS IN THE KARSTIFICATION OF CHALK LIMESTONES IN THE WESTERN PARIS BASIN: EXAMPLE FROM THE PETITES DALES CAVE (SAINT MARTIN AUX BUNEAUX, FRANCE), 2013,
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Rodet J. , Ma K. , Viard J. P.

 

The classical approach to study the karstification attributes a major role to the structure in the establishment of concentrated drainage of groundwater. This structure, essentially tectonics and stratigraphy, serves to guide the water, which gradually opens up these discontinuities to build a network, from the introduction to the resurgence. This too idealistic view does not reflect the complexity of the establishment of a karst system. Indeed, experience shows that some bedrocks contain karst drains in the absence of any cracking. What’s more, some conduits can go through the structural elements without undergoing any morphological changes. In the chalk of Western Paris Basin, the Petites Dales Cave proves an excellent observatory. We have conducted a study on the relationship between the main conduit, restitution collector of the underground system, and observable fissures in the roof and walls of the conduit. Along a drain of 421 m, we counted 374 fissures, the total length of which being a little more than 867 m. Examination of the orientation of the drain and fissures reveals four types of relationship: (1) parallel (2) oblique, (3) perpendicular and (4) no joints. No correlation could be established between the development of the collector and the presence of fissures, other than very occasionally or during episodes of overflow. In fact, the relationship between fissure and karstic conduit cannot be established, therefore it is necessary to introduce other factors in the speleogenesis, such as porosity of the chalky bedrocks, and the direct effect of the hydraulic gradient.


Characterization and conceptualization of a relict karst aquifer (Bilecik, Turkey), 2013,
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Aydin H. , Ekmekci M. , Soylu M. E.

The carbonate rocks in Turkey have different hydrogeological properties as a result of controlling karstification factors, such as lithostratigraphy, source of energy gradient, tectonic activity, type of erosion base, fluctuation in sea level, and climate change in their extended areas. This study was undertaken for the characterization and conceptualization of the hydrogeological behavior of a unique example of the dissected relict karst aquifer, which is known as the Harmanköy-Beyyayla Karst System (HBKS) in Central Turkey. In order to obtain the conceptualization of the HBKS, properties of recharge, flow, storage, and discharge was analyzed. The contribution of allogenic-point recharge to the Beyyayla and Döşkaya aquifers occurs from the Beyyayla and Tozman sinkhole with approximately 85% of total recharge. The rest of the recharge takes place as autogenic-diffuse/point type from the limestone rock-mass. The recharge on the Nardın aquifer originates from direct precipitation onto the limestone area mainly as autogenic-diffuse and, to lesser extent, as autogenic-point. Groundwater flow occurs as conduit flow at the Beyyayla and Döşkaya aquifers and as dispersed flow at the Nardın aquifer. The evaluation of all parameters shows that the HBKS can be divided into three distinct sub-catchments, namely, the Beyyayla, Döşkaya, and Nardın, while it has two different hydrogeological system so Beyyayla and Döşkaya have similar characteristics.


DEEP TIME ORIGINS OF SINKHOLE COLLAPSE FAILURES IN SEWAGE LAGOONS IN SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA, 2013,
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Alexander Jr. E. C. , Runkel A. C. , Tipping R. G.

Three of the approximately twenty-three municipal wastewater treatment lagoons constructed in the 1970s and 1980s in southeastern Minnesota’s karst region have failed through sinkhole collapse. Those collapses occurred between 1974 and 1992. All three failures occurred at almost exactly the same stratigraphic position. That stratigraphic interval, just above the unconformable contact between the Shakopee and Oneota Formations of the Ordovician Prairie du Chien Group is now recognized as one of the most ubiquitous, regional-scale, karst hydraulic high-transmissivity zones in the Paleozoic hydrostratigraphy of southeastern Minnesota. These karst aquifers have been developing multi-porosity conduit flow systems since the initial deposition of the carbonates about 480 million years ago. The existence of syndepositional interstratal karst unconformities between the Oneota and Shakopee Formations and between the Shakopee and St. Peter Formations, were recognized in the 1800s. About 270 million years ago galena, sphalerite and iron sulfides were deposited in pre-existing solution enlarged joints, bedding planes and caves. The region has been above sea level since the Cretaceous and huge volumes of fresh water have flowed through these rocks. The regional flow systems have changed from east-to-west in the Cenozoic, to north-to-south in or before the Pleistocene. The incision of the Mississippi River and its tributaries has and is profoundly rearranging the ground water flow systems as it varies the regional base levels during glacial cycles. The Pleistocene glacial cycles have removed many of the surficial karst features and buried even more of them under glacial sediments. High erosion rates from row crop agriculture between the us1850s and 1930s filled many of the conduit systems with soil. Over eighty years of soil conservation efforts have significantly reduced the flux of mobilized soil into the conduits. Those conduits are currently flushing much of those stored soils out of their spring outlets. Finally, the increased frequency and intensity of major storm events is reactivating conduit segments that have been clogged and inactive for millions of years.The karst solution voids into which the lagoons collapsed have formed over 480 million years. The recognition and mapping of this major karst zone will allow much more accurate karst hazard maps to be constructed and used in sustainable resource management decisions.


ISOTOPIC STUDIES OF BYPRODUCTS OF HYPOGENE SPELEOGENESIS AND THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO THE GEOLOGIC EVOLUTION OF THE WESTERN UNITED STATES, 2014,
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Polyak V. J. , Asmerom Y. , Hill C. A. , Palmer A. N. , Provencio P. P. , Palmer M. V. , Mcintosh W. C. , Decker D. D. , Onac B. P.

Hypogene speleogenesis in the western United States is associated with a deep source of water and gases that rise and mix with shallow aquifer water. Caves are formed below the surface without surface expressions (ie, sinkholes, sinking streams), and byproducts of speleogenesis are precipitated during the late phase of hypogene speleogenesis. These byproducts provide geochemical and geochronological evidence of a region’s geologic history and include gypsum rinds and blocks, elemental sulfur, halloysite-10Å, alunite, natroalunite, and other sulfur-related minerals. The following speleogenetic and speleothemic features are common: alteration rinds, crusts, mammillaries, folia, rafts, and cave spar. The types of hypogene speleogenesis vary and many can be expressed in space and time in relation to paleo-water tables. We identify two general types: (1) H2S-H2SO4-dominated speleogenesis that takes place predominantly near a paleo-water table (a few meters above and below), and (2) CO2-dominated speleogenesis that mostly takes place 10s to 100s of meters below a paleo-water table, with latest-stage imprints within meters of the water table.
The Kane caves in Wyoming, and the Guadalupe Mountains caves in New Mexico and West Texas, are examples of H2S-H2SO4-dominated speleogenesis (also known as sulfuric acid speleogenesis, SAS), where deposits of H2S- and H2SO4-origin are the obvious fingerprints. The Grand Canyon caves in Arizona and Glenwood Caverns in Colorado are examples of CO2-dominated systems, where H2SO4 likely played a smaller role (Onac et al., 2007). Deeper-seated geode-like caves, like the spar caves in the Delaware Basin area, are probably CO2-dominated, and have formed at greater depths (~0.5 ± 0.3 km) below paleo-water tables. Caves in the Black Hills, South Dakota are composite and complex and show evidence for multiple phases of hypogene speleogenesis. In areas such as the Grand Canyon region, these paleo-water tables, when they existed in thick carbonate rock stratigraphy and especially at the top of the thick carbonate rock strata, were likely regionally relatively flat in the larger intact tectonic blocks.
Geochemical studies of these deposits are providing information about the timing of speleogenesis through U-Th, U-Pb, and Ar-dating. In addition, tracer data from isotopes of C, O, S, Sr, and U are indicators of the sources of water and gases involved in speleogenesis. From these studies, novel canyon incision and landscape evolution interpretations are appearing in the literature. Beyond this, the study of these byproduct materials seems to show evidence that the deeply sourced water and gases involved in hypogene speleogenesis in the western United States are generated during tectonic and volcanic activity, and may be related to mantle processes associated with formation of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Plateau, Basin and Range province, and Rio Grande Rift.


The formation of the pinnacle karst in Pleistocene aeolian calcarenites (Tamala Limestone) in southwestern Australia, 2015,
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A spectacular pinnacle karst in the southwestern coastal part of Western Australia consists of dense fields of thousands of pinnacles up to 5 m high, 2 m wide and 0.5–5 m apart, particularly well exposed in Nambung National Park. The pinnacles have formed in the Pleistocene Tamala Limestone, which comprises cyclic sequences of aeolian calcarenite, calcrete/microbialite and palaeosol. The morphology of the pinnacles varies according to the lithology in which they have formed: typically conical in aeolianite and cylindrical in microbialite. Detailed mapping and mineralogical, chemical and isotopic analyses were used to constrain the origin of the pinnacles, which are residual features resulting mainly from solutional widening and coalescence of solution pipeswithin the Tamala Limestone. The pinnacles are generally joined at the base, and the stratigraphy exposed in their sides is often continuous between adjacent pinnacles. Some pinnacles are cemented infills of solution pipes, but solution still contributed to their origin by removing the surrounding material. Although a number of pinnacles contain calcified plant roots, trees were not a major factor in their formation. Pinnacle karst in older, better-cemented limestones elsewhere in theworld is similar inmorphology and origin to the Nambung pinnacles, but is mainly influenced by joints and fractures (not evident at Nambung). The extensive dissolution associatedwith pinnacle formation at Nambung resulted in a large amount of insoluble quartz residue, which was redeposited to often bury the pinnacles. This period of karstification occurred at aroundMIS 5e, and therewas an earlier, less intense period of pinnacle development duringMIS 10–11. Both periods of pinnacle formation probably occurred during the higher rainfall periods that characterise the transition from interglacial to glacial episodes in southern Australia; the extensive karstification around MIS 5e indicates that the climate was particularly humid in southwestern Australia at this time.


Hypogenic origin, geologic controls and functional organization of a giant cave system in Precambrian carbonates, Brazil, 2015,
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This study is focused on speleogenesis of the Toca da Boa Vista (TBV) and Toca da Barriguda (TBR), the longest caves in South America occurring in the Neoproterozoic Salitre Formation in the São Francisco Craton, NE Brazil. We employ a multidisciplinary approach integrating detailed speleomorphogenetic, lithostratigraphic and geological structure studies in order to reveal the origin of the caves, their functional organization and geologic controls on their development. The caves developed in deep-seated confined conditions by rising flow. The overall fields of passages of TBV and TBR caves represent a speleogenetically exploited large NE–SW-trending fracture corridor associated with a major thrust. This corridor vertically extends across the Salitre Formation allowing the rise of deep fluids. In the overall ascending flow system, the formation of the cave pattern was controlled by a system of sub-parallel anticlines and troughs with NNE–SSWdominant orientation, and by vertical and lateral heterogeneities in fracture distribution. Three cave-stratigraphic stories reflect the actual hydrostratigraphy during the main phase of speleogenesis. Cavities at different stories are distinct inmorphology and functioning. The gross tree-dimensional pattern of the system is effectively organized to conduct rising flow in deep-seated confined conditions. Cavities in the lower story developed as recharge components to the system. A laterally extensive conduit network in the middle story formed because the vertical flow from numerous recharge points has been redirected laterally along the highly conductive unit, occurring below the major seal - a scarcely fractured unit. Rift-like and shaft-like conduits in the upper story developed along fracturecontrolled outflow paths, breaching the integrity of the major seal, and served as outlets for the cave system. The cave system represents a series of vertically organized, functionally largely independent clusters of cavities developed within individual ascending flow cells. Lateral integration of clusters occurred due to hydrodynamic interaction between the flow cells in course of speleogenetic evolution and change of boundary conditions. The main speleogenetic phase, during which the gross cave pattern has been established and the caves acquired most of their volume, was likely related to rise of deep fluids at about 520 Ma or associated with rifting and the Pangea break-up in Triassic–Cretaceous. This study highlights the importance of speleogenetic studies for interpreting porosity and permeability features in carbonate reservoirs.


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