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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 equipotential line or surface is 1. a contour line on the potentiometric surface along which the pressure head of ground water in the aquifer is the same. fluid flow is normal to these lines in the direction of decreasing fluid potential [6]. 2. line (or surface) along which the potential is constant [22].?

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

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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;
See all featured articles from other geoscience journals

Search in KarstBase

Your search for subsurface (Keyword) returned 264 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 256 to 264 of 264
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The theory of gravity-driven regional groundwater flow was first proposed in 1962/3 based on the Laplace equation. Hydraulic-head patterns were calculated for a two dimensional trapezoidal and homogeneous flow domain with flow lines drawn by hand. The flow region was intended to represent one flank of a stream basin with a periodically undulating water table. At the dawn of numerical modeling the results generated international interest. Numerical models began to be produced with progressively increasing complexity of basin geometry, types and distributions of permeability and time dependent flow. One of the most important results of the first analyses was the birth of the flow-system concept. In a flow system groundwater moves from relatively highly elevated recharge areas, through medium high mid-line regions to relatively low lying discharge areas where it may resurface. Because flow systems are associated with topographic elements of different scale, they are self-organized in hierarchically nested geometric patterns.
The understanding of the systematized structure of basinal groundwater flow soon resulted in the recognition that flow systems act like subsurface conveyor belts. They mobilize and remove matter and heat from the recharge area, pick up more or/and emplace some of it en route, and deposit them in the discharge region. In short: flowing groundwater is a general geologic agent. The original „Theory of regional groundwater flow” became thus expanded into a bimodal umbrella theory with two component theories: i) „The hydraulics of basin-scale groundwater flow” and ii) „The geologic agency of regional groundwater flow”. More than half a century after its conception the theory is extensively analyzed and continues to be applied to a growing number of groundwater related disciplines

A review on natural and human-induced hazards and impacts in karst, 2014,
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Gutiérrez Francisco, Parise Mario, De Waele Jo, Jourde Hervé

Karst environments are characterized by distinctive landforms related to dissolution and a dominant subsurface drainage. The direct connection between the surface and the underlying high permeability aquifers makes karst aquifers extremely vulnerable to pollution. A high percentage of the world population depends on these water resources. Moreover, karst terrains, frequently underlain by cavernous carbonate and/or evaporite rocks, may be affected by severe ground instability problems. Impacts and hazards associatedwith karst are rapidly increasing as development expands upon these areas without proper planning taking into account the peculiarities of these environments. This has led to an escalation of karst-related environmental and engineering problems such as sinkholes, floods involving highly transmissive aquifers, and landslides developed on rocks weakened by karstification. The environmental fragility of karst settings, togetherwith their endemic hazardous processes, have received an increasing attention from the scientific community in the last decades. Concurrently, the interest of planners and decision-makers on a safe and sustainable management of karst lands is also growing. This work reviews the main natural and human-induced hazards characteristic of karst environments, with specific focus on sinkholes, floods and slope movements, and summarizes the main outcomes reached by karst scientists regarding the assessment of environmental impacts and their mitigation.

Transferring the concept of minimum energy dissipation from river networks to subsurface flow patterns, 2014,
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Hergarte Stefan, Winkler Gerfried, Birk Steffen

Principles of optimality provide an interesting alternative to modeling hydrological processes in detail on small scales and have received growing interest in the last years. Inspired by the more than 20 years old concept of minimum energy dissipation in river networks, we present a corresponding theory for subsurface flow in order to obtain a better understanding of preferential flow patterns in the subsurface. The concept describes flow patterns which are optimal in the sense of minimizing the total energy dissipation at a given recharge under the constraint of a given total porosity. Results are illustrated using two examples: two-dimensional flow towards a spring with a radial symmetric distribution of the porosity and dendritic flow patterns. The latter are found to be similar to river networks in their structure and, as a main result, the model predicts a power-law distribution of the spring discharges. In combination with two data sets from the Austrian Alps, this result is used for validating the model. Both data sets reveal power-law-distributed spring discharges with similar scaling exponents. These are, however, slightly larger than the exponent predicted by the model. As a further result, the distributions of the residence times strongly differ between homogeneous porous media and optimized flow patterns, while the mean residence times are similar in both cases.

Hydrogeological Characteristics of Carbonate Formations of the Cuddapah Basin, India, 2014,
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Farooq Ahmad Dar

Karst hydrogeology is an important field of earth sciences as the aquifers in carbonate formations represent vital resource of groundwater that feeds a large part of the world population particularly in semi-arid climates. These unique aquifers posses peculiar characteristics developed by dissolutional activities of water. Karst aquifers possess a typical hydrogeological setup from surface to subsurface. The aquifers are governed by slow groundwater flow in matrix porosity, a medium to fast flow in fractures and rapid flow in conduits and channels. This large variability in their properties makes the prediction and modeling of flow and transport very cumbersome and data demanding. The aquifers are vulnerable to contamination as the pollutants reach the aquifer very fast with little or no attenuation. The geomorphological and hydrogeological properties in these aquifers demand specific techniques for their study. The carbonate aquifers of the semi-arid Cuddapah basin were characterized based on geomorphological, hydrogeological and hydrochemical investigations. All the formations are highly karstified possessing one of the longest and deepest caves of India and few springs along with unique surface features. Karstification is still in progress but at deeper levels indicated by growing speleothems of different architectural size. Model of karstification indicates that lowering of base level of erosion resulted in the dissolution of deeper parts of the limestone as represented by paleo-phreatic conduits in the region. Moist conditions of the past were responsible for the karst development which has been minimized due to the onset of monsoon conditions. Karst has developed at various elevations representing the past base levels in the region.

The recharge processes in these aquifers are complex due to climatic and karst specificities. Point recharge is the major contributor which enters the aquifer as allogenic water. It replenishes the groundwater very rapidly. Diffuse recharge travels through soil and epikarst zone. Average annual recharge of semi-arid Narji limestone aquifer is 29% of the rainfall which occurs during 5-7 rain events in the year.

The hydrogeochemical characteristic of karst aquifers is quite varaible. A significant difference is observed in hydrochemistry. High concentrations of SO42-, Cl-, NO3- suggests the anthropogenic source particularly from agriculture. Local Meteoric Water Line of δ2H and δ18O isotopes of rain and groundwater shows a slope of 7.02. Groundwater isotope data shows more depletion in heavy isotopes -a result of high evaporation of the area. Groundwater samples show a trend with a slope of 4 and 3.1 for δ2H and δ18O respectively. Groundwater during dry months gets more fractionated due to higher temperature and little rainfall. The irrigated water becomes more enriched and then recharges the aquifer as depleted irrigation return flow. The isotopes show large variation in spring water. Few springs are diffuse or mixed type and not purely of conduit type in the area. Tracer results indicate that the tracer output at the sampling location depends on the hydrogeological setup and the nature of karstification.

The study has significantly dealt with in disclosing the typical characteristics of such aquifer systems and bringing out a reliable as well as detailed assessment of various recharges to the system. The groundwater chemistry has been elaborated to establish the nature of possible hydrochemical processes responsible for water chemistry variation in semi-arid karst aquifer. Such study has thrown light on the aquifers that are on one hand very important from social and strategic point of view and on the hand were left unattended from the detailed scientific studies.

Hydrogeology of northern Sierra de Chiapas, Mexico: A conceptual model based on a geochemical characterization of sulfide-rich karst brackish springs, 2014,
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Conspicuous sulfide-rich karst springs flow from Cretaceous carbonates in northern Sierra de Chiapas, Mexico. This is a geologically complex, tropical karst area. The physical, geologic, hydrologic and chemical attributes of these springs were determined and integrated into a conceptual hydrogeologic model. A meteoric source and a recharge elevation below 1500 m are estimated from the spring water isotopic signature regardless of their chemical composition. Brackish spring water flows at a maximum depth of 2000 m, as inferred from similar chemical attributes to the produced water from a nearby oil well. Oil reservoirs may be found at depths below 2000 m. Three subsurface environments or aquifers are identified based on the B, Li+, K+ and SiO2 concentrations, spring water temperatures, and CO2 pressures. There is mixing between these aquifers. The aquifer designated Local is shallow and contains potable water vulnerable to pollution. The aquifer named Northern receives some brackish produced water. The composition of the Southern aquifer is influenced by halite dissolution enhanced at fault detachment surfaces. Epigenic speleogenesis is associated with the Local springs. In contrast, hypogenic speleogenesis is associated with the brackish sulfidic springs from the Northern and the Southern environments.

Occurrence of diagenetic alunites within karst cavity infill of the Dammam Formation, Ahmadi, Kuwait: an indicator of hydrocarbon gas seeps, 2014,
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Alunite minerals occur as white powdery lumps  and laminated coloured deposits within cavity and solution  channel infill of the palaeokarst zone of the Upper Eocene  Dammam Formation. This formation is exposed in a quarry  located on the Al Ahmadi ridge within the Greater Burgan oil  field in southern Kuwait. Field occurrences and sedimentary  structures of the alunite deposits were described. Collected  samples were petrographically described, and their mineralogy  and geochemistry were determined using X-ray diffraction  and X-ray fluorescence, respectively. Microfabrics were investigated  using SEM, revealing that they are primarily composed  of fibrous alunogen (hydrous aluminium sulphate) and  pseudo-cubical K-alunite (hydrous potassium aluminium sulphate).  Their mode of occurrence suggests a hypogenetic  origin, where sulphide gases associated with hydrocarbon  gases reacted with an Al-rich solution leached from clay  minerals and feldspars of the cavity-fill muddy sand sediments.  The hydrocarbon gases may have seeped from subsurface  petroliferous formations within the Greater Burgan oil  field along vertical fractures. This study suggests that these  acidic seeps may have played a role in the development of the  palaeokarst zone of the Dammam Formation.

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.

Sinkholes, collapse structures and large landslides in an active salt dome submerged by a reservoir: The unique case of the Ambal ridge in the Karun River, Zagros Mountains, Iran, 2015,
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Ambal ridge, covering 4 km2, is a salt pillowof Gachsaran Formationwith significant salt exposures in direct contact  with the Karun River, Zagros Mountains. The highly cavernous salt dome is currently being flooded by the  Gotvand Reservoir, second largest in Iran. Geomorphic evidence, including the sharp deflection of the Karun  River and defeated streams indicate that Ambal is an active halokinetic structure, probably driven by erosional  unloading. Around 30% of the salt dome is affected by large landslides up to ca. 50 × 106 m3 in volume. Slope  oversteepening related to fluvial erosion and halokinetic rise seems to be the main controlling factor. A total of  693 sinkholes have been inventoried (170 sinkholes/km2), for which a scaling relationship has been produced.  The depressions occur preferentially along a belt with a high degree of clustering. This spatial distribution is  controlled by the proximity to the river, slope gradient and halite content in the bedrock. A large compound  depression whose bottom lies below the normal maximum level of the reservoir will likely be flooded by  water table rise forming a lake. The impoundment of the reservoir has induced peculiar collapse structures  220–280 m across, expressed by systems of arcuate fissures and scarps. Rapid subsurface salt dissolution is  expected to generate and reactivate a large number of sinkholes and may reactivate landslideswith a significant  vertical component due to lack of basal support.

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