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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 emergence is a general term for the outflowing water, for the opening or for the area of outflow of a karst spring; includes exsurgence and resurgence [20]. synonyms: (french.) emergence; (german.) ausflubtelle, karstquelle; (greek.) pighazon ythor (or kephalari); (italian.) risorgenza; (russian.) vyhod karstovyh vod; (spanish.) fuente, manantial, surgencia; (turkish.) yuzeye erisim; (yugoslavian.) krsko vrelo, krski izvor, obrh. see also exsurgence; resurgence; rise.?

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.
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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 terrain (Keyword) returned 289 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 256 to 270 of 289
Karst geomorphology of carbonatic conglomerates in the Folded Molasse zone of the Northern Alps (Austria/Germany), 2011, Goeppert N. , Goldscheider N. , Scholz H.

The Folded Molasse zone of the Northern Alps consists of clastic sedimentary rocks that are usually not considered to be karstifiable. However, large areas within this zone are composed of carbonatic conglomerates. Numerous karst landforms have recently been discovered but are not recorded on official maps and in the literature. Therefore, a research programme was initiated at the Hochgrat site (Austria/ Germany) that included geomorphological mapping and characterisation of the karst phenomena. Both fracture-controlled and hydrodynamically-controlled karren were observed on conglomerate outcrops. The predominant karst landforms, dolines, are typically circular, funnel shaped, most often 2 to 9 m in diameter, 1 to 6 m deep, and frequently act as swallow holes. Poljes that are atypically small (~1 ha) occur in either glacial cirques or syncline depressions, are flat floored and lined with sediment and soil, and drain underground via swallow holes. Short caves, springs with marked discharge variations and estavelles are further evidence for karst development. Karstic landforms are widespread in carbonatic conglomerate terrains, but their dimensions are smaller than in typical limestone karst. The practical implications of these findings are also briefly mentioned in this paper.


Because of the presence of wall and roof cupolas and other microforms indicative of differential weathering, we first of all considered the genesis of the Azé caves, following the usual concept of karstogenesis, as a phreatic formation. A second stage is a vadose evolution associated with the underground river. But the time relationship between the two caves presents a problem because
the deposits in the Aiglons gallery demonstrate a river evolution during the last glaciation. Today, we know that many karstic systems begin their genesis by a process of ghost-rock formation. The discovery of the “Galerie de Chauffailles” proves this origin, because the speleologists have removed not river sediments, but the residual alterite in a “pseudoendokarst”. Some stratigraphic sequences of
the bedrock in the prehistoric gallery can be seen as residual alterite: the “ghost-rock” in the “Galerie de Chauffailles”. The genesis of the Azé caves began by a ghost-rock phase giving a pseudoendokarstic system consisting of weathered interconnected cavities. This residual alterite is made up of less minus soluble minerals like silica cherts, clay minerals and sparitic calcite. It is very fragile and porous. The second stage consists in the mechanical removal of the residual alterite by an underground river. A very interesting characteristic of the Azé cave is that we can study the contact between the river sediments of the second stage and the residual alterit  of the first stage.

A cause de la présence de formes pariétales de type coupoles et microformes de corrosion différentielle, on a longtemps considéré la genèse de grottes telles celles d’Azé comme issue de conditions phréatiques, dans le contexte de la karstogenèse par évacuation totale. Une deuxième étape comprend une évolution vadose de type fluviatile. Mais les relations temporelles entre les deux grottes d’Azé posent un problème. Les dépôts fluviatiles de la Galerie des Aiglons démontrent qu’il a existé une circulation fluviatile durant la dernière glaciation. Cette constatation permet d’envisager une genèse de type fantôme de roche, pour laquelle cette question d’évolution ne constitue plus un problème. La découverte de la Galerie de Chauffailles prouve ce type de spéléogenèse. En effet, la désobstruction de cette galerie ne s’est pas faite dans les sédiments fluviatiles, mais pour une bonne part en retirant l’altérite résiduelle demeurée dans un pseudoendokarst. La genèse de la Grotte d’Azé commence ainsi par une altération in situ générant un système de pseudoendokarsts consistant en volumes altérés interconnectés. L’altérite résiduelle est composée des minéraux insolubles ou moins solubles comme les chailles, la calcite sparitique, les minéraux argileux. Ce milieu est fragile et très poreux. La
seconde étape évolutive est l’érosion mécanique partielle de cette altérite résiduelle par les rivières souterraines. Une caractéristique très intéressante de la grotte d’Azé est qu’il y est possible d’étudier le contact entre l’altérite résiduelle et les sédiments fluviatiles.

Laltration de type "fantme de roche" : processus, volution et implications pour la karstification, 2011, Quinif Yves, Bruxelles Laurent

Depuis plusieurs années, de nombreux exemples de fantômes de roche ont été reconnus dans les karsts en Belgique, en France et en Italie. Ils correspondent à des poches ou à des couloirs de décalcification emplis d’altérite in situ. Leur genèse relève d’un cas spécial de karstification où, à l’inverse des phénomènes de karstification par enlèvement total, le résidu insoluble ou moins soluble reste en place et forme un squelette qui mime la structure initiale de la roche (fossiles, joints, lits de chailles, etc.). Cette altérite, qui peut également se développer sous une voûte calcaire, forme un vaste réseau interconnecté et calé sur la fracturation. De fait, elle constitue une discontinuité importante au sein des massifs karstiques. Lorsque le niveau de base s’abaisse, l’altérite s’effondre sur elle-même puis elle est érodée par des circulations souterraines qui se mettent en place à son toit. Des réseaux de galeries mais aussi des formes de surface se forment alors rapidement, essentiellement par évidement de l’altérite. Ce phénomène est maintenant reconnu dans le monde entier, affectant tous les types de roches, carbonatées ou non.

For several years, numerous examples of ghost rocks have been recognised in karst areas in Belgium, in France and in Italy. They correspond to decalcified pockets but also to decalcified corridors filled with in-situ alterite. It is a special case of karstification where a non-soluble skeleton remains and preserves the structures of the initial rock (fossils, joints, levels of cherts, etc.). This alterite, which can also be formed under a safe roof, draws a large maze following the tectonic patterns. It constitutes an important discontinuity inside the karstic areas. When the base level drops, the structure of the alterite collapses and a void is formed on his top. Then runoff can use this void and erode the soft alterite. Cave network but also surface features can develop quickly, mainly by the cleaning of the alterite. Now, some examples of this phenomenon have been recognised all around the world and occur in different sorts of rocks, carbonated or not.

Underwater Caves of the Yucatn Peninsula, 2012, Coke Iv, James G.

The Yucatán Peninsula is one of the largest limestone platforms in the world. The Mexico isthmus region of the peninsula is a low-relief pitted karst plain containing few surface drainage systems or lakes. Karst windows punctuate the scrubby terrain, exposing a shallow aquifer that engulfs an ancient dry cave environment. These openings, called cenotes, allow modern explorers to document a growing assemblage of deep underwater sinks, and exceptionally long and complex underwater cave systems. Deep classic sinks are common to the interior of the isthmus. Long horizontal caves remain a coastal phenomenon. Their complexity is derived from irregular sea-level fluctuations produced during Pleistocene glaciations. Fractures within the parent strata and tidal fluctuations of the halocline are crucial elements in sustaining extant speleogenesis.

Groundwater recharge and exploitative potential zone mapping using GIS and GOD techniques, 2012, Huang C. C. , Yeh H. F. , Lin H. I. , Lee S. T. , Hsu K. C. , Lee C. H.

Two-thirds of the total area of Taiwan is mountainous terrain, which is the main groundwater recharge source of the plains region. This study assesses groundwater recharge and exploitative potential zone in the central division of the mountain areas of Taiwan (the middle reaches of the Jhuoshuei River Basin). Basic information from remote sensing and a satellite phantom is collected to set up the basic data maps using elevation, Formosa-II images, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, drainage distribution, slope, aspect ratio, lineament distribution, and land cover. A geographical information system is used to integrate five contributing factors, namely lithology, land cover/land use, drainage, slope, and lineaments. The criteria for the recharge potential assessment are established to demarcate the potential groundwater recharge zone. Finally, the GOD rating system is adopted to evaluate the potential exploitation zone. Three main parameters are considered: the groundwater occurrence, the lithology of the overlying layers, and the depth to groundwater. The results show that the middle reaches of the Chenyuland River have large potential exploitation zones due to its high rainfall recharge capacity. Regions west of the Jhuoshuei River and the downstream regions of the Chingshui River are medium potential exploitation zones because of their high infiltration rates and shallow groundwater levels

Analysis of the capabilities of low frequency ground penetrating radar for cavities detection in rough terrain conditions: The case of Divača cave, Slovenia , 2012, Gosar, Andrej

High frequency ground penetrating radar (GPR) is usually applied for cavities detection in a shallow subsurface of karst areas to prevent geotechnical hazards. For specific projects, such as tunnel construction, it is important to detect also larger voids at medium depth range. However, dimensions of classical rigid low frequency antennas seriously limit their applicability in a rough terrain with dense vegetation commonly encountered in a karst. In this study recently developed 50 MHz antennas designed in a tube form were tested to detect cave gallery at the depth between 12 m and 60 m. The Divaca cave was selected because of a wide range of depths under the surface, possibility of unknown galleries in the vicinity and a rough terrain surface typical for Slovenian karst. Seven GPR profiles were measured across the main gallery of the cave and additional four profiles NE of the cave entrance where no galleries are known. Different acquisition and processing parameters were analysed together with the data resolution issues. The main gallery of the cave was clearly imaged in the part where the roof of the gallery is located at the depth from 10 m to 30 m. The width of the open space is mainly around 10 m. Applied system was not able to detect the gallery in the part where it is located deeper than 40 m, but several shallower cavities were discovered which were unknown before. The most important result is that the profiles acquired NE of the cave entrance revealed very clearly the existence of an unknown gallery which is located at the depth between 15 m and 22 m and represents the continuation of the Divaca cave. Access to this gallery is blocked by the sediment fill in the entrance shaft of the cave. The results of the study are important also for future infrastructure projects which will involve construction of tunnels through karstified limestone and for speleological investigations to direct the research efforts.

A holistic approach to groundwater protection and ecosystem services in karst terrains, 2012, Goldscheider, Nico

A holistic conceptual approach to groundwater and natural resources protection, surface and subsurface biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services in karst terrains is presented. Karst landscapes and aquifers consist of carbonate rock in which a part of the fractures has been enlarged by chemical dissolution. They are characterised by unique geomorphological and hydrogeological features, such as rapid infiltration of rainwater, lack of surface waters, and turbulent flow in a network of fractures, conduits and caves. Karst terrains contain valuable but vulnerable resources, such as water, soil and vegetation, and they provide a great variety of habitats to many species, both at the surface and underground, including many rare and endemic species. Karst systems deliver various ecosystem services and act as natural sinks for carbon dioxide (CO2) thus helping to mitigate climate change. It is demonstrated that all these resources and ecosystem services cannot be considered in an isolated way but are intensely interconnected. Because of these complex feedback mechanisms, impacts on isolated elements of the karst ecosystem can have unexpected impacts on other elements or even on the entire ecosystem. Therefore, the protection of natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services in karst requires a holistic approach

A holistic approach to groundwater protection and ecosystem services in karst terrains, 2012, Goldscheider, Nico

A holistic conceptual approach to groundwater and natural resources protection, surface and subsurface biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services in karst terrains is presented. Karst landscapes and aquifers consist of carbonate rock in which a part of the fractures has been enlarged by chemical dissolution. They are characterised by unique geomorphological and hydrogeological features, such as rapid infiltration of rainwater, lack of surface waters, and turbulent flow in a network of fractures, conduits and caves. Karst terrains contain valuable but vulnerable resources, such as water, soil and vegetation, and they provide a great variety of habitats to many species, both at the surface and underground, including many rare and endemic species. Karst systems deliver various ecosystem services and act as natural sinks for carbon dioxide (CO2) thus helping to mitigate climate change. It is demonstrated that all these resources and ecosystem services cannot be considered in an isolated way but are intensely interconnected. Because of these complex feedback mechanisms, impacts on isolated elements of the karst ecosystem can have unexpected impacts on other elements or even on the entire ecosystem. Therefore, the protection of natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services in karst requires a holistic approach.

Reconstructing landscape evolution by dating speleogenetic processes, 2013, Polyak V. J. , Hill C. A.

Speleology and karst geomorphology are making important contributions to evolution of landscapes, thanks to more refined dating techniques, more specialized and advanced instruments, and intensive studies of caves and karst terrains. This chapter provides eight cases where cave and karst studies have made, or are making, new strides in the reconstruction of landscape evolution by dating cave deposits. Some of these study areas include world renowned caves such as Carlsbad Cavern and Lechuguilla Cave in the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico, Jewel and Wind caves in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. The authors offer added detail on the caves of the Guadalupe Mountains and Grand Canyon

New Developments of Karst Geomorphology Concepts, 2013, Frumkin, A.

Karst terrains develop where chemical dissolution dominates over mechanical processes, commonly with well-developed secondary porosity. The karst system is unique, being truly three-dimensional, as it extends deep under the Earth surface. Karst geomorphology concepts have developed considerably during the last decades, mainly due to cave exploration and new research tools. Understanding of karst geomorphology concepts is a challenge particularly because much of the karst system lies below the surface, where direct observation is hardly possible. The unique subsurface morphologies, together with surface karst landforms, are distinct from other landscapes

Salt Karst, 2013, Frumkin, A.

Halite is the most soluble common mineral. Salt karst is concerned with extremely soluble and erodible rock-salt geomorphology, which demonstrates a dynamic end member to karst processes. Salt outcrops are rare, due to the high solubility, and common total dissolution underground, but subsurface salt is common, and commonly associated with environmental problems. These are associated with salt hazards, generally due to anthropogenic modification of hydrological systems, causing aggressive water to attack salt rock. Most salt outcrops appear under desert conditions, where the salt mass escapes total dissolution. In such outcrops, runoff produces well-developed karst terrains, with features including karren, sinkholes, and vadose caves. Existing salt relief is probably not older than Pliocene, but the known well-developed

Surface Roughness of Karst Landscapes, 2013, Day M. , Chenoweth S.

Surface roughness, also termed landscape, terrain, or topographic roughness in geomorphology, is directly connected to theunevenness of surface elevation values. There are many methods to measure surface roughness mathematically: the ratio ofsurface area and its projection onto a horizontal plane, frequency distributions, fractal analysis, and surface curvature.Recent innovations in remote sensing and geographic information systems have resulted in a renaissance of surfaceroughness in geomorphology as a component of digital terrain modeling. Specific morphometric characterizations of karstterrain roughness have been dogged by issues of data availability and accuracy. The Shuttle Radar Topography Missionsolved many of these problems, providing reliable and accurate elevation data for most of the inhabited world. However,tropical karst landscapes in particular are often heavily forested, obscuring the true surface roughness

Poljes, Ponors and Their Catchments, 2013, Bonacci, O.

Poljes can be defined as depressions in limestone karst. They commonly occur as large-scale landforms in tectonically active karst areas. Their origin is generally polygenetic. A distinctive subtype of polje, the ‘turlough’, occurs in many formerly glaciated or glacial-margin terrains. Poljes exhibit complex hydrological and hydrogeological features and characteristics, such as permanent and temporary springs and rivers, losing and sinking rivers, and swallow holes and estavelles. From the hydrologic–hydrogeologic perspective, a polje is to be considered as part of a wider system. It cannot be treated as an independent system, but only as a subsystem in the process of surface and groundwater flow through the karst massif. Poljes are regularly flooded in the cold and wet periods of the year. Ponors or swallow holes represent fissures in the karst massif through which the water sinks underground. The determination of the catchment area for a karst polje is an unreliable procedure due to unknown morphology of underground karst features. Anthropogenic influences on the hydrological–hydrogeological regime of the poljes can be considered under the following four categories: (1) water storage; (2) increase in the capacity of outlet structures; (3) surface hydrotechnical aspects; and (4) other works. 

Deglaciation of the eastern Cumbria glaciokarst, northwest England, as determined by cosmogenic nuclide (10Be) surface exposure dating, and the pattern and significance of subsequent environmental changes, 2013, Wilson P. , Lord T. , Rods .

Four erratic boulders of Shap granite on the limestone terrain of eastern Cumbria have yielded cosmogenic nuclide (10Be) surface exposure ages that indicate the area was deglaciated c.17 ka ago. This timing is in accord with other ages pertaining to the loss of glacial ice cover in the Yorkshire Dales and north Lancashire, to the south, and the Lake District, to the west, and constrains the resumption of landscape (re)colonization and surface and sub-surface karstic processes. Marked shifts in climate are known to have occurred since deglaciation and combined with human impacts on the landscape the glaciokarst has experienced a complex pattern of environmental changes. Understanding these changes and their effects is crucial if the 'post-glacial' evolution of the glaciokarst is to be deciphered.



The Northwest Territories of Canada are ~1.2 million km2 in area and appear to contain a greater extent and diversity of karst landforms than has been described in any other region of the Arctic or sub-Arctic. The Mackenzie River drains most of the area. West of the River, the Mackenzie Mountains contain spectacular highland karsts such as Nahanni (Lat. 62° N) and Canol Road (Lat. 65° N) that the author has described at previous International Speleological Congresses. This paper summarizes samples of the mountain and lowland karst between Lats. 64–67° N that are located east of the River. The Franklin Mountains there are east-facing cuestas created by over-thrusting from the west. Maximum elevations are ~1,000 m a.s.l., diminishing eastwards where the cuestas are replaced by undeformed plateaus of dolomite at 300–400 m asl that overlook Great Bear Lake. In contrast to the Mackenzie Mountains (which are generally higher) all of this terrain was covered repeatedly by Laurentide Continental glacier ice flowing from the east and southeast. The thickness of the last ice sheet was >1,200 m. It receded c.10,000 years ago. Today permafrost is mapped as “widespread but discontinuous” below 350 m a.s.l. throughout the region, and “continuous” above that elevation. The vegetation is mixed taiga and wetlands at lower elevations, becoming tundra higher up. Access is via Norman Wells (population 1,200), a river port at 65° 37’N, 126° 48’W, 67 m a.s.l.: its mean annual temperature is -6.4 °C (January mean -20 °C, July +14 °C) and average precipitation is ~330 mm.y-1, 40 % falling as snow. In the eastern extremities a glacial spillway divides the largest dolomite plateau into “Mahony Dome” and “Tunago Dome”. The former (~800 km2) has a central alvar draining peripherally into lakes with overflow sinkholes, turloughs, dessicated turloughs, and stream sinks, all developed post-glacially in regular karst hydrologic sequences. Tunago Dome is similar in extent but was reduced to scablands by a sub-glacial mega-flood from the Great Bear basin; it is a mixture of remnant mesas with epikarst, and wetlands with turloughs in flood scours. Both domes are largely holokarstic, draining chiefly to springs at 160–180 m a.s.l. in the spillway. The eastern limit of overthrusting is marked by narrow ridges created by late-glacial hydration of anhydrite at shallow depth in interbedded dolostones and sulphate rocks. Individual ridges are up to 60 km long, 500–1,000 m wide, 50–250 m in height. They impound Lac Belot (300 km2), Tunago Lake (120 km2) and many lesser lakes, all of which are drained underground through them. In the main overthrust structures, the Norman Range (Franklin Mountains) is oriented parallel with the direction of Laurentide ice flow. It displays strongly scoured morphology with elongate sinkholes on its carbonate benches. In contrast, the Bear Rock Range is oriented across the ice flow, has multiple cuestas, is deeply furrowed and holokarstic but preserves pinnacle karst on higher ground due to karst-induced polar thermal (frozen-down) conditions at the glacier base there.

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