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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 cation exchange is ion exchange process in which cations in solution are exchanged for other cations from an ion exchanger [6].?

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


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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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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 italy (Keyword) returned 267 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 256 to 267 of 267
Bacterial migration through low-permeability fault zones in compartmentalised aquifer systems: a case study in Southern Italy., 2014,
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The aim of this study was to experimentally verify the significance of microbial transport through low-permeability fault zones in a compartmentalised carbonate aquifer system in Southern Italy.

The temporal variability of microbial communities in two springs fed by the same aquifer system, but discharging up- and down-gradient of two low-permeability fault zones, was analysed using a 16S rDNA polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE)-based approach. At both springs, a remarkable temporal variation in PCR-DGGE profiles was detected throughout the observation period. When comparing the PCR-DGGE profiles of the two springs, a synchronous evolution over time was observed. Moreover, the per cent of PCR-DGGE bands common to both springs progressively increased from early (23%) to late recharge (70%), only to decrease once more in late recession (33%). Considering the results of the hydrogeological and isotopic investigations and EC measurements, the results of biomolecular analyses demonstrate that, at the study site, compartments straddling the analysed fault zones have microbial interconnections, despite the existence of low-permeability fault cores.


Niche differentiation in Meta bourneti and M. menardi (Araneae, Tetragnathidae) with notes on the life history, 2014,
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Meta menardi and M. bourneti are two species of spiders inhabiting caves and other subterranean habitats. The occurrence of both species within the same cave has never been proved convincingly and several authors hypothesized a complete niche differentiation mainly based on microclimatic conditions.In order to study the apparent niche differentiation of the two species, we studied several populations of M. menardi and M. bourneti occurring in six caves in the Western Italian Alps (NW Italy). A series of squared plots were monitored monthly from March 2012 to February 2013. At each survey, we counted individuals and we collected the main environmental variables at each plot, namely distance from cave entrance, structural typology (wall, floor or ceiling), light intensity, wind speed and counts of potential prey. Moreover, temperature and relative humidity were continuously logged in each cave. We run several statistical models (GLMMs) in order to relate the counts of individuals to the environmental parameters. The distance from the cave entrance, structural typology and prey availability resulted most important factors driving the abundance of both species within the cave. On the other hand, despite life cycles appeared very similar, the two species seems to exhibit different tolerance to the microclimatic variations within the cave, which emerged as the main factors determining the differentiation of their niche. At least in our study area, M. bourneti tolerates broad microclimatic fluctuations and is potentially able to colonize a wide variety of caves. On the other hand, when the climatic conditions in a cave are suitable for M. menardi (narrow ranges of relatively low temperature and high humidity), M. bourneti is excluded.


Sulphuric acid speleogenesis and landscape evolution: Montecchio cave, Albegna river valley (Southern Tuscany, Italy), 2014,
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Piccini L. : Dewaele J. , Galli E. , Polyak V. J. , Bernasconi S. M. , Asmerom Y.

Montecchio cave (Grosseto province, Tuscany, Italy) opens at 320 m asl, in a small outcrop of Jurassic limestone (Calcare Massiccio Fm.), close to the Albegna river. This area is characterised by the presence of several thermal springs and the outcropping of travertine deposits at different altitudes. The Montecchio cave, with passage length development of over 1700 m, is characterised by the presence of several sub-horizontal passages and many medium- and small-scale morphologies indicative of sulphuric acid speleogenesis (SAS). The thermal aquifer is intercepted at a depth of about 100 m below the entrance: the water temperature exceeds 30 °C and sulphate content is over 1300mg l−1. The cave hosts large gypsumdeposits from40 to 100mbelowthe entrance that are by-products of the reaction between sulphuric acid and the carbonate host rock. The lower part of the cave hosts over 1 m thick calcite cave raft deposits, which are evidence of long-standing, probably thermal, water in an evaporative environment related to significant air currents. Sulphur isotopes of gypsumhave negative δ34S values (from−28.3 to−24.2‰), typical of SAS. Calcite cave rafts and speleogenetic gypsumboth yield young U/Th ages varying from68.5 ka to 2 ka BP, indicating a rapid phase of dewatering followed by gypsumprecipitation in aerate environment. This fastwater table lowering is related to a rapid incision of the nearby Albegna river, andwas followed by a 20–30mfluctuation of the thermalwater table, as recorded in the calcite raft deposits and gypsum crusts.


The hydrogeology of high-mountain carbonate areas: an example of some Alpine systems in southern Piedmont (Italy), 2015,
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The hydrogeological characteristics of some springs supplied by high-mountain carbonate rock aquifers, located in the south of Piedmont, in Italy, are presented in this work. The aquifers have different geological-structural conditions, including both deep and superficial karstification. Their catchment areas are located in a typical Alpine context at a high altitude of about 2000 m. These aquifers are ideal representations of the different hydrogeological situations that can be encountered in the high-altitude carbonate aquifers of the Mediterranean basin. It is first shown how the high-altitude zones present typical situations, in particular related to the climate, which control the infiltration processes to a great extent. Snowfall accumulates on the ground from November to April, often reaching remarkable thicknesses. The snow usually begins to melt in spring and continues to feed the aquifer for several months. This type of recharge is characterized by continuous daily variations caused by the typical thermal excursions. The hourly values are somewhat modest, but snowmelt lasts for a long time, beginning in the lower sectors and ending, after various months, in the higher areas. Abundant rainfall also occurs in the same period, and this contributes further to the aquifer supply. In the summer period, there is very little rainfall, but frequent storms. In autumn, abundant rainfall occurs and there are there fore short but relevant recharge events. It has been shown how the trend of the yearly flow of the high mountain springs is influenced to a great extent by the snowmelt processes and autumn rainfall. It has also been shown, by means of the annual hydrographs of the flow and the electric conductivity of the spring water, how the different examined aquifers are characterized by very different measured value trends, according to the characteristics of the aquifer.

 


Gypsum caves as indicators of climate-driven river incision and aggradation in a rapidly uplifting region, 2015,
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Columbu A. De Waele J. , Forti P, Montagna P. , Picotti V. , Ponsbranchu E. , Hellstrom J. , Bajo P. , Drysdale R.

Detailed geomorphological analysis has revealed that subhorizontal gypsum caves in the Northern Apennines (Italy) cut across bedding planes. These cave levels formed during cold periods with stable river beds, and are coeval with fluvial terraces of rivers that flow perpendicular to the strike of bedding in gypsum monoclines. When rivers entrench, renewed cave formation occurs very rapidly, resulting in the formation of a lower level. River aggradation causes cave alluviation and upward dissolution (paragenesis) in passages nearest to the river beds. The U-Th dating of calcite speleothems provides a minimum age for the formation of the cave passage in which they grew, which in turn provides age control on cave levels. The ages of all speleothems coincide with warmer and wetter periods when CO2 availability in the soils covering these gypsum areas was greater. This climate-driven speleogenetic model of epigenic gypsum caves in moderately to rapidly uplifting areas in temperate regions might be generally applicable to karst systems in different geological and climatic conditions.


Gypsum caves as indicators of climate-driven river incision and aggradation in a rapidly uplifting region, 2015,
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Detailed geomorphological analysis has revealed that subhorizontal gypsum caves in the Northern Apennines (Italy) cut across bedding planes. These cave levels formed during cold periods with stable river beds, and are coeval with fluvial terraces of rivers that flow perpendicular to the strike of bedding in gypsum monoclines. When rivers entrench, renewed cave formation occurs very rapidly, resulting in the formation of a lower level. River aggradation causes cave alluviation and upward dissolution (paragenesis) in passages nearest to the river beds. The U-Th dating of calcite speleothems provides a minimum age for the formation of the cave passage in which they grew, which in turn provides age control on cave levels. The ages of all speleothems coincide with warmer and wetter periods when CO2 availability in the soils covering these gypsum areas was greater. This climate-driven speleogenetic model of epigenic gypsum caves in moderately to rapidly uplifting areas in temperate regions might be generally applicable to karst systems in different geological and climatic conditions.


Uplifted flank margin caves in telogenetic limestones in the Gulf of Orosei (Central-East Sardinia—Italy) and their palaeogeographic significance, 2015,
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D'angeli Ilenia Maria, Sanna Laura, Clazoni Claudio, De Waele Jo

Thiswork reports the results of geomorphological observations carried out in the coastal Fico Cave and surrounding areas (Baunei, Central East Sardinia) in the Gulf of Orosei. A tidal notch, generally believed to be of Eemian (MIS 5e) age, is barely visible at 8.5 above present sea level (asl), some metres below the main entrance of the cave. Old cave passages, now partially opened by cliff retreat and parallel to the coastline, are clearly visible at around 14 m asl and correspond to the main level of Fico Cave. Two more notches are located higher, at 22 and 50 m asl. Fico Cave itself is composed of at least 6 clearly distinguished more or less horizontal levels (−10 m below present sea level (bsl), and +14, +22, +40, +50, and +63 m asl), independent of the stratal dip, arguing for a sea-level, and hence, fresh-water lens control. Cave passages develop along main fractures more or less parallel to the coastline and never extend landward for more than 150 m, mostly ending blindly, or diminishing in their dimensions progressively landward. Most passages only contain clay deposits, lacking fluvial or marine sediments or typical fluvial erosion morphologies (i.e. scallops).

It is suggested from this body of evidence that Fico Cave was formed in the coastal mixing zone along major discontinuities during several Quaternary interglacial periods, when sea level was high and relatively stable for enough time to develop large dissolutional voids. The geomorphological observations indicate the main +14 m asl level of the cave to have formed during MIS 9, and was heavily reworked during MIS 5, while the higher levels are relative to older interglacial highstands that occurred between 1 Ma and 325 ka. The small active branch developed below present sea level has formed during MIS 7 (225 ka). These observations shed new light on the position of the MIS 5e highstand markers in this area of the coast, much higher than previously thought.


Sulphuric acid speleogenesis and landscape evolution: Montecchio cave, Albegna river valley (Southern Tuscany, Italy), 2015,
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Piccini Leonardo, De Waele Jo, Galli Ermanno, Polyak Victor J. , Bernasconi Stefano M. Asmerom Yemane

Montecchio cave (Grosseto province, Tuscany, Italy) opens at 320 m asl, in a small outcrop of Jurassic limestone (Calcare Massiccio Fm.), close to the Albegna river. This area is characterised by the presence of several thermal springs and the outcropping of travertine deposits at different altitudes. The Montecchio cave, with passage length development of over 1700 m, is characterised by the presence of several sub-horizontal passages and many medium- and small-scale morphologies indicative of sulphuric acid speleogenesis (SAS). The thermal aquifer is intercepted at a depth of about 100 m below the entrance: the water temperature exceeds 30 °C and sulphate content is over 1300 mg l−1. The cave hosts large gypsumdeposits from40 to 100mbelowthe entrance that are by-products of the reaction between sulphuric acid and the carbonate host rock. The lower part of the cave hosts over 1 m thick calcite cave raft deposits, which are evidence of long-standing, probably thermal, water in an evaporative environment related to significant air currents.

Sulphur isotopes of gypsum have negative δ34S values (from−28.3 to−24.2‰), typical of SAS. Calcite cave rafts and speleogenetic gypsumboth yield young U/Th ages varying from68.5 ka to 2 ka BP, indicating a rapid phase of dewatering followed by gypsum precipitation in aerate environment. This fastwater table lowering is related to a rapid incision of the nearby Albegna river, and was followed by a 20–30 m fluctuation of the thermal water table, as recorded in the calcite raft deposits and gypsum crusts.


Deep speleological salt contamination in Mediterranean karst aquifers: perspectives for water supply, 2015,
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On the Mediterranean coast, submarine karst springs are common. Most of them are brackish and various unsuccessful attempts in France, Greece, and Italy indicate that it is impossible to diminish the salinity at the spring. Based on studies on the shores of south-eastern France and in Kefalonia (Greece), we propose a working model that explains the mechanism of salt contamination. During the Messinian Deep Stage (-5.9 to 5.3 Ma), a substantial sea-level lowering in the Mediterranean allowed the existence of cave networks extending several hundreds of meters below the present sea level. Seawater is now sucked into the system through these caves. This mechanism is supported by a study of the Port Miou underground river (Cassis, France). In the Port Miou cave system, which extends to 250 m below sea level, titanium and heavy metals are present in the sediment. They are similar to those found in the Cassidaigne submarine canyon, which reinforces the hypothesis of a connection between the cave and the canyon. Recent geological studies prove a Messinian origin for the canyon and support the deep contamination model. The model is also supported by examples on Kefalonia Island (Greece) and in the Toix–Moraig system (Spain) where salt-water intrusions are observed in coastal sinkholes and sea caves. This model explains why various attempts to diminish the salinity of these brackish springs, through the construction of dams to increase head, have failed.On the Mediterranean coast, submarine karst
springs are common. Most of them are brackish and various
unsuccessful attempts in France, Greece, and Italy
indicate that it is impossible to diminish the salinity at the
spring. Based on studies on the shores of south-eastern
France and in Kefalonia (Greece), we propose a working
model that explains the mechanism of salt contamination.
During the Messinian Deep Stage (-5.9 to 5.3 Ma), a
substantial sea-level lowering in the Mediterranean
allowed the existence of cave networks extending several
hundreds of meters below the present sea level. Seawater is
now sucked into the system through these caves. This
mechanism is supported by a study of the Port Miou
underground river (Cassis, France). In the Port Miou cave
system, which extends to 250 m below sea level, titanium
and heavy metals are present in the sediment. They are
similar to those found in the Cassidaigne submarine canyon,
which reinforces the hypothesis of a connection
between the cave and the canyon. Recent geological
studies prove a Messinian origin for the canyon and support
the deep contamination model. The model is also
supported by examples on Kefalonia Island (Greece) and in
the Toix–Moraig system (Spain) where salt-water intrusions
are observed in coastal sinkholes and sea caves. This
model explains why various attempts to diminish the
salinity of these brackish springs, through the construction
of dams to increase head, have failed.


Sulfuric acid speleogenesis (SAS) close to the water table: Examples from southern France, Austria, and Sicily, 2015,
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Caves formed by rising sulfuric waters have been described from all over the world in a wide variety of climate  settings, from arid regions to mid-latitude and alpine areas. H2S is generally formed at depth by reduction of  sulfates in the presence of hydrocarbons and is transported in solution through the deep aquifers. In tectonically  disturbed areas major fractures eventually allow these H2S-bearing fluids to rise to the surface where oxidation  processes can become active producing sulfuric acid. This extremely strong acid reacts with the carbonate  bedrock creating caves, some of which are among the largest and most spectacular in the world. Production of  sulfuric acid mostly occurs at or close to the water table but also in subaerial conditions in moisture films and  droplets in the cave environment. These caves are generated at or immediately above the water table, where  condensation–corrosion processes are dominant, creating a set of characteristic meso- and micromorphologies.  Due to their close connection to the base level, these caves can also precisely record past hydrological and  geomorphological settings. Certain authigenic cave minerals, produced during the sulfuric acid speleogenesis  (SAS) phase, allow determination of the exact timing of speleogenesis. This paper deals with the morphological,  geochemical and mineralogical description of four very typical sulfuric acid water table caves in Europe: the  Grotte du Chat in the southern French Alps, the Acqua Fitusa Cave in Sicily (Italy), and the Bad Deutsch Altenburg  and Kraushöhle caves in Austria


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.


Characterization of minothems at Libiola (NW Italy): morphological, mineralogical, and geochemical study, 2016,
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Carbone Cristina, Dinelli Enrico, De Waele Jo

The aim of this study is to characterize in detail, the mineralogy of different-shaped concretions as well as to investigate the physico-chemical parameters of the associated mine drainage and drip waters in the Santa Barbara level of the Libiola Mine (NW Italy) by several geochemical and mineralogical techniques. Under the term “minothems” we are grouping all those secondary minerals that occur under certain form or shape related to the conditions under which they formed but occur in a mine, or in any artificial underground environment (i.e., "mine speleothems"). Different types of minothems (soda straw stalactites, stalactites, and draperies) were sampled and analyzed. Mineralogical results showed that all the samples of stalactites, stalagmite and draperies are characterized by poorly crystalline goethite. There are significant differences either in their texture and chemistry. Stalactites are enriched in Zn, Cd, and Co in respect to other minothems and show botryoidal textures; some of these exhibit a concentric layering marked by the alternation of botryoidal and fibrous-radiating textures; the draperies are enriched in V and show aggregates of sub-spheroidal goethite forming compact mosaic textures. Geochemical investigations show that the composition and physico-chemical parameters of mine drainage and drip waters are different from the other acidic mine water occurrences in different areas of the Libiola Mine, where minothems are less abundant. All mine water samples contain Cu, Ni, and Zn in appreciable levels, and the physico-chemical conditions are consistent with the stability of ferrihydrite, which however tends to transform into goethite upon ageing.


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