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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 competition is the struggle between individuals or groups of living things for common necessities, such as food or living space [23].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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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 permeability (Keyword) returned 236 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 31 to 45 of 236
Relations between the structure of storage and the transport of chemical compounds in karstic aquifers, 1997, Vaute L. , Drogue C. , Garrelly L. , Ghelfenstein M. ,
Study of the movement of chemical compounds naturally present in the water, or which result from pollution, are examined according to the reservoir structure in karstic aquifers. Structure is represented by a simple geometrical model; slow Row takes place in blocks with a network of low-permeability cracks. The blocks are separated by highly permeable karstic conduits that allow rapid flow, and these form the aquifer drainage system. The karat studied covers 110 km(2). It is fed by an interrupted stream draining a 35 km(2) non-karstic basin, contaminated at the entry to the karst by effluents from a sewage treatment station. The underground water reappears as a resurgence with an annual average flow of approximately 1 m(3) s(-1), after an apparent underground course of 8 km in the karst. Several local sources of pollution (effluent from septic tanks) contaminate the underground water during its course. Sixteen measurement operations were performed at 12 water points, between the interrupted stream and the spring. Some sampling points were at drains, and others were in the low-permeability fissured blocks. Comparison at each point of the concentrations of 14 chemical compounds gave the following results: when pollutant discharge occurs in a permeable zone, movement is rapid in the drainage network formed by the karstic conduits, and does not reach the less permeable fissured blocks which are thus protected; however, if discharge is in a low-permeability zone, the flow does not allow rapid movement of the polluted water, and this increases the pollutant concentration at the discharge, This simple pattern can be upset by a reversal of the apparent piezometric gradient between a block and a conduit during Floods or pumping; this may reverse flow directions and hence modify the movement of contaminants. The study made it possible to site five boreholes whose positions in the karstic structure were unknown, showing the interest of such an approach for the forecasting of the impact of potential pollution.

Structure et comportement hydraulique des aquifers karstiques, DSc. Thesis, faculte des Sciences de l'Universite de Neuchatel., 1998, Jeannin Py.
This thesis aims to provide a better knowledge of karst flow systems, from a functional point of view (behaviour with time), as well as from a structural one (behaviour in space). The first part of the thesis deals with the hydrodynamic behaviour of karst systems, and the second part with the geometry of karstic networks, which is a strong conditioning factor for the hydrodynamic behaviour. Many models have been developed in the past for describing the hydrodynamic behaviour of karst hydrogeological systems. They usually aim to provide a tool to extrapolate, in time and/or space, some characteristics of the flow fields, which can only be measured at a few points. Such models often provide a new understanding of the systems, beyond what can be observed directly in the field. Only special field measurements can verify such hypotheses based on numerical models. This is an significant part of this work. For this purpose, two experimental sites have been equipped and measured: Bure site or Milandrine, Ajoie, Switzerland, and Holloch site, Muotathal, Schwyz, Switzerland. These sites gave us this opportunity of simultaneously observe hydrodynamic parameters within the conduit network and, in drillholes, the "low permeability volumes" (LPV) surrounding the conduits. These observations clearly show the existence of a flow circulation across the low permeability volumes. This flow may represent about 50% of the infiltrated water in the Bure test-field. The epikarst appears to play an important role into the allotment of the infiltrated waters: Part of the infiltrated water is stored at the bottom of the epikarst and slowly flows through the low permeability volumes (LPV) contributing to base flow. When infiltration is significant enough the other part of the water exceeds the storage capacity and flows quickly into the conduit network (quick flow). For the phreatic zone, observations and models show that the following scheme is adequate to describe the flow behaviour: a network of high permeability conduits, of tow volume, leading to the spring, is surrounded by a large volume of low permeability fissured rock (LPV), which is hydraulically connected to the conduits. Due to the strong difference in hydraulic conductivity between conduits and LPV, hydraulic heads and their variations in time and space are strongly heterogeneous. This makes the use of piezometric maps in karst very questionable. Flow in LPV can be considered as similar to flow in fractured rocks (laminar flow within joints and joints intersections). At a catchment scale, they can be effectively considered as an equivalent porous media with a hydraulic conductivity of about 10-6 to 10-7 m/s. Flow in conduits is turbulent and loss of head has to be calculated with appropriate formulas, if wanting any quantitative results. Our observations permitted us to determine the turbulent hydraulic conductivity of some simple karst conduits (k',turbulent flow), which ranges from 0.2 to 11 m/s. Examples also show that the structure of the conduit network plays a significant role on the spatial distribution of hydraulic heads. Particularity hydraulic transmissivity of the aquifer varies with respect to hydrological conditions, because of the presence of overflow conduits located within the epiphreatic zone. This makes the relation between head and discharge not quadratic as would be expected from a (too) simple model (with only one single conduit). The model applied to the downstream part of Holloch is a good illustration of this phenomena. The flow velocity strongly varies along the length of karst conduits, as shown by tracer experiments. Also, changes in the conduit cross-section produce changes in the (tow velocity profile. Such heterogeneous flow-field plays a significant role in the shape of the breakthrough curves of tracer experiments. It is empirically demonstrated that conduit enlargements induce retardation of the breakthrough curve. If there are several enlargements one after the other, an increase of the apparent dispersivity will result, although no diffusion with the rock matrix or immobile water is present. This produces a scale effect (increase of the apparent dispersivity with observation scale). Such observations can easily be simulated by deterministic and/or black box models. The structure of karst conduit networks, especially within the phreatic zone, plays an important role not only on the spatial distribution of the hydraulic heads in the conduits themselves, but in the LPV as well. Study of the network geometry is therefore useful for assessing the shape of the flow systems. We further suggest that any hydrogeological study aiming to assess the major characteristics of a flow system should start with a preliminary estimation of the conduit network geometry. Theories and examples presented show that the geometry of karst conduits mainly depends on boundary conditions and the permeability field at the initial stage of the karst genesis. The most significant boundary conditions are: the geometry of the impervious boundaries, infiltration and exfiltration conditions (spring). The initial permeability field is mainly determined by discontinuities (fractures and bedding planes). Today's knowledge allows us to approximate the geometry of a karst network by studying these parameters (impervious boundaries, infiltration, exfiltration, discontinuity field). Analogs and recently developed numerical models help to qualitatively evaluate the sensitivity of the geometry to these parameters. Within the near future, new numerical tools will be developed and will help more closely to address this difficult problem. This development will only be possible if speleological networks can be sufficiently explored and used to calibrate models. Images provided by speleologists to date are and will for a long time be the only data which can adequately portray the conduit networks in karst systems. This is helpful to hydrogeologists. The reason that we present the example of the Lake Thun karst system is that it illustrates the geometry of such conduits networks. Unfortunately, these networks are three-dimensional and their visualisation on paper (2 dimensions) is very restrictive, when compared to more effective 3-D views we can create with computers. As an alternative to deterministic models of speleogenesis, fractal and/or random walk models could be employed.

Contribution to knowledge of gypsum karstology, PhD thesis, 1998, Calaforra Chordi, J. M.

The objective of this study was not to establish a definitive judgement regarding a topic for which very little previous information was available, but rather to open new routes for research into karst by means of a particularized analysis of some of the factors involved in the speleogenesis of gypsiferous materials. The main obstacle to the attainment of this goal has been the scientific community's lack of interest in karst in gypsum, particularly in our country, until the nineteen eighties. To overcome this neglect it was decided, in my opinion quite correctly, to extend the bounds of the study as far as possible, so that the information obtained from the contrast found between the most important worldwide zones of karst in gypsum could be applied to the gypsiferous karst in our country, and in particular, to the most significant, the karst in gypsum of Sorbas.
This is the justification for the numerous references in the text to the gypsiferous karst and cavities in gypsum that are most relevant in Spain (Sorbas, Gobantes, Vallada, Archidona, Estremera, Baena, the Ebro Basin, Estella, Beuda, Borreda, etc.) and also to the best-known gypsiferous karsts worldwide (Podolia, Secchia, Venna del Gesso Romagnolo, Sicily and New Mexico). By means of these comparisons, the initial lack of information has been overcome.
The study is based on three central tenets, which are interrelated and make up the first three chapters of this report. The first consideration was to attempt to characterize the particular typology of gypsiferous karst from the geological (both stratigraphic and structural) point of view. This chapter also provides an introduction to each of the gypsiferous karsts examined. The second chapter is dedicated to the geomorphology of gypsiferous karst, under both superficial and subterranean aspects. It is important to note that the study of a gypsiferous karst from the speleological point of view is something that may seem somewhat unusual; however, this is one of the points of principle of this paper, the attempt to recover the true meaning of a word that has historically been unfairly condemned by a large part of the Spanish scientific community. Thirdly, a detailed study has been made of the hydrochemistry of the most important gypsiferous karsts in our region, together with the presentation of a specific analytical methodology for the treatment of the hydrochemical data applicable to the gypsiferous karst.
Geological characterization of gypsum karst
In the characterization of karst in gypsum, the intention was to cover virtually all the possibilities from the stratigraphic and structural standpoints. Thus, there is a description of widely varying gypsiferous karsts, made up of Triassic to Miocene materials, some with a complex tectonic configuration and others hardly affected by folding. The gypsiferous karsts described, and their most significant geological characteristics, are as follows:
Karst in gypsum at Sorbas (Almeria): composed of Miocene gypsiferous levels with the essential characteristic of very continuous marly interstrata between the layers of gypsum, which decisively affect the speleogenesis of the area. The gypsum layers have an average thickness of about 10 m and, together with the fracturing in the zone, determine the development of the gypsiferous cavities. These are mainly selenitic gypsum - occasionally with a crystal size of over 2 m - and their texture also has a geomorphologic and hydrogeologic influence. This area is little affected by folding and so the tectonic influence of speleogenesis is reduced to the configuration of the fracturing.
The Triassic of Antequera (Malaga): this is, fundamentally, the gypsiferous outcrop at Gobantes-Meliones, originating in the Triassic and located within the well-known "Trias" of Antequera. It is made up of very chaotic gypsiferous materials containing a large quantity of heterometric blocks of varied composition; the formation may be defined as a Miocene olitostromic gypsiferous breccia that is affected by important diapiric phenomena. The presence of hypersoluble salts at depth is significant in the modification of the hydrochemical characteristics of the water and in the speleogenetic development of the karst.
The Triassic of Vallada (Valencia): Triassic materials outcrop in the Vallada area; these mainly correspond to the K5 and K4 formations of the Valencia Group, massive gypsum and gypsiferous clays. The influence of dolomitic intercalations in the sequence is crucial to the speleogenesis of the area and this, together with intense tectonic activity, has led to the development in this sector of the deepest gypsiferous cavity in the world: the "Tunel dels Sumidors". As in the above case, the presence of hypersoluble salts at depth and the varied lithology influence the variations in the hydrodynamics and hydrochemistry of the gypsiferous aquifer.
Other Spanish gypsum karsts: this heading covers a group of gypsiferous areas and cavities of significant interest from the speleogenetic standpoint. They include the area of Estremera (Madrid), with Miocene gypsiferous clays and massive gypsum arranged along a large horizontal layer; this has produced the development of the only gypsiferous cavity in Spain with maze configuration, the Pedro Fernandez cave. The study of this cave has important hydrogeological implications with respect to speleogenesis in gypsum in phreatic conditions. The Baena (Cordoba) sector, in terms of its lithology, is comparable to the "Trias de Antequera". Here, the cavities developed in gypsiferous conglomerates, following structural discontinuities have enabled contact between carbonate and gypsiferous levels, and so we may speak of a mixed karstification: a karst in calcareous rocks and gypsum. The karst of Archidona (Malaga) is similar to that of the Gobantes-Meliones group and is significant because of the geomorphologic evolution of the karst, which is related to the diapiric ascent of the area and the formation of karstic ravines. The karst in the Miocene and Oligocene gypsum of the Ebro Basin (Zaragoza), has been taken as a characteristic example of a gypsiferous karst developed under an alluvial cover, with the corresponding geomorphological implications in the evolution of the surface landforms. In the gypsiferous area of Borreda (Barcelona), the presence of anhydritic levels in the sequence might have influenced the speleogenesis of its cavities. The cavity of La Mosquera, in Beuda (Girona), developed in massive Paleogene gypsum. This is the only Spanish example of a phreatic gypsiferous cavity developed in saccaroid gypsum, which is related to the particular subterranean morphology discovered. Finally, this group includes other Spanish gypsiferous outcrops visited during the preparation of this report, the references to which may be found in the relevant chapters.
Karst in gypsum in Europe and America: In order to complete the study of karst in gypsum, and with the idea of using all the available data on the karstology of gypsiferous materials for comparative studies of data for our country, a complementary activity was to define the most significant geological characteristics of the most important gypsiferous karsts in the world. An outstanding example is the gypsiferous karst at Podolia (Ukraine), developed in microcrystalline Miocene gypsum which has undergone block tectonics related to the collapse of the Precarpatic foredeep. This gypsum provides interesting data on speleogenesis in gypsiferous materials, as its evolution is related to the confining of the only gypsiferous stratum (of 10 to 20 m depth) producing interconnected labyrinthine galleries of over 100 km in length. Another well-known karst in gypsum is the one located at "Venna del Gesso Romagnolo" (Italy), in the Bologna region, with a lithology that is very similar to that which developed at Sorbas, but with the difference that it underwent more intense tectonics with folding and fracturing of the Tertiary sediments of the Po basin. In the same Italian province, in "L'alta Val di Sec-chia", there are outcrops of karstified Triassic materials which correspond to the formation of Burano, composed of gypsum and anhydrite with hypersoluble salts at depth and very notable diapiric phenomena. The study of this area has been used for a comparative analysis - geomorphology and hydrogeochemistry - with the Spanish gypsiferous karsts developed in Triassic levels. The third Italian gypsiferous karst to be considered is the one developed in Sicily, which has extensive Messinian outcrops of microcrystalline and selenitic gypsum as well as a great variety of lithologic types within the gypsiferous sequence, which we term the "gessoso solfifera" sequence. This gypsiferous karst is especially interesting from the geomorphologic standpoint due to the great quantity and variety of present superficial karstic forms. This has also served as a guide for the study of Spanish gypsiferous karsts. Finally, considering the relation between climatology and the development of karstic forms, we have also studied the karst in gypsum in New Mexico, where there is an extensive outcrop of Permian gypsum, both micro and macrocrystalline, situated on a large platform almost unaffected by deformation, and where the conditions of aridity are very similar to those found in the gypsiferous karst of Sorbas.
Geomorphological characterization of gypsum karst
From the geomorphological standpoint, the intention is to give an overview of the great variety of karstic forms developed in gypsum, traditionally considered less important than those developed in carbonate areas. This report shows this is not the case.
The theory of Convergence of Forms has been shown to be an efficient tool for the study of the morphology of karst in gypsum. Here, its principles have been used to provide genetic explanations for various gypsiferous forms derived from carbonate studies, and for the reverse case. In fact, studying a karst in gypsum is like having available a geomorphological laboratory where not only are the processes faster but they are also applicable to the karstology of carbonate rocks.
A large number of minor karstic forms (Karren) have been identified. The most important factors conditioning their formation are the texture of the rock, climatology and the presence of overlying deposits. The first, particularly, is largely responsible for determining the abundance of certain forms with respect to others. Thus, Rillenkarren, Trittkarren and small "kamenitzas" are more frequently found in microcrystalline and sandstone gypsum (for example, karst in gypsum in Sicily (Italy) and Va-llada (Valencia, Spain). Others seem to be more exclusive to selenitic gypsum, such as exfoliation microkarren, or are closely related to the climatology of the area (Spitzkarren develops from the alteration of gypsum in semiarid conditions). Others are related either to the presence of developed soil cover (Rundkarren, using Convergence of Forms), or to their specific situation (candelas and Wallkarren around dolines and sinkholes) or to the microtexture of the gypsum and the orientation of the 010 and 111 crystalline planes and twinning planes for the development of nanokarren.
The tumuli are the most peculiar forms of the Sorbas karst in gypsum, though they have also been identified in other gypsiferous karsts (Bolonia, New Mexico, Vallada, etc.). These are subcircular domes of the most superficial layer of the gypsum. Their formation has been related to processes of precipitation-solution and of capillary movement through the gypsiferous matrix. Their extensive development is largely determined by the climatology of the area and by the structural organization. It is therefore clear that the best examples are found in the karst of Sorbas due to the abrupt changes in temperature and humidity that occur in a semiarid climate, and because of the horizontality of the gypsiferous sequence.
Karst in gypsum and its larger exokarstic forms, apart from being climatically determined, also depend on the structural state and lithological determinants of the area. Thus, it is possible to differentiate between gypsiferous karsts where the lithology, together with erosive breakup, is more important (Sorbas and New Mexico) and others where confining hydraulic conditions persist (Estremera and Podolia). In other cases, tectonics has played a significant modelling role, and there is a clear possibility of an inversion of the relief (Bolonia or Sicily) or of the effect of diapiric processes (Secchia, Vallada, Antequera). The typological diversity of the dolines is obviously also related to these premisses. Another example is the relation existing between carbonate precipitation and gypsum solution, as evidenced in contrasting examples (Bolonia versus Sorbas).
Subterranean karstic forms have been examined from a double perspective: the morphology of the passages and the mineralization within the cavities. With respect to the former, a noteworthy example is the interstratification karst of Sorbas, where subterranean channels have developed during two well-differentiated phases, the phreatic and the vadose. The first was responsible for the formation of the small proto-galleries, currently relicts that are observable as false dome channels in the bottom of the gypsiferous strata. The second, with an erosive character, enabled the breakup of the marly interstrata and the formation of the large galleries found today. Other aspects considered include the speleogenetic influence of the presence of calcareous intercalations in the gypsiferous sequence (Vallada karst), gypsiferous agglomerates (Baena karst), anhydrite (Rotgers karst), suffusion processes (Sorbas karst) and the importance of condensation.
Spelothemes in gypsiferous cavities have been approached with special concern for gypsiferous speleothemes, in particular those which, due to their genetic peculiarity or to the lack of previous knowledge about them, are most significant. Among these are gypsum balls, with phenomena of solution, detritic filling, capillarity and evaporation; gypsum hole stalagmites, where the precipitation-solution of the gypsum controlling the formation of the central orifice is related to the previous deposit of carbonate speleothemes; gypsum trays that mark the levels of maximum evaporation; gypsum dust, determined by abrupt changes in temperature and humidity in areas near the exterior of gypsiferous cavities. All of these are characteristic of, and practically exclusive to, gypsiferous karsts in semiarid ztenes such as Sorbas and New Mexico.
Karst in gypsum has been morphologically classified with reference to the previously-mentioned criteria: the presence and typology of epigean karstic forms, both macro and microform; the typology of hypogean karstic forms (passages) and the type of speleothemes within the cavities (gypsiferous or carbonate). All these variables are clearly influenced by climatology, and so a study of the geomorphology of gypsiferous karst is seen to be an efficient tool for the analysis of the paleoclimatology of an area.
Hydrogeochemical characterization of gypsum karst
The hydrogeochemical characterization of karst in gypsum was approached in two stages. The first one was intended to establish themodels to be applied to the hydrochemistry approach, while the second provided various examples of hydrochemical studies carried out in gypsiferous karsts.
The theoretical framework which has been shown to be most accurate with respect to the formulation of chemical equilibria in water related to gypsiferous karst is the Virial Theory and the Pitzer equations.
For this study, we used a simplification of these equations as far as the second virial coefficient by means of a simple, polynomial variation to obtain the equilibrium state of the water with respect to the gypsum, for an ionic strength value greater than 0.1 m and temperatures of between 0.5 and 40 "C. This was the case of the gypsiferous karsts found to be related to hypersaline water at depth (Vallada, Gobantes-Meliones, Poiano). In the remaining situations, where the ionic strength was below 0.1 m, only the theory of ionic matching was used.
The hydrochemical study of the gypsiferous karst of Gobantes-Meliones (Malaga) led to the hypothesis of the possible influence of hypersaline water on karstification in gypsum. Using theoretical examples of the mixing of water derived both from hypersaline water and from water related only to the gypsiferous karst, it was shown that above a percentage content of 0.1:0.9 of saline and sulphated water, the mixture is subsaturated with respect to gypsum and other minerals. On reaching percentages greater than 0.5:0.5, values of oversaturation are again found. This could mean that the contact between sulphated and hypersaline water is a karstification zone in gypsum at depth.
In the gypsiferous karst at Salinas-Fuente Camacho (Granada), a study has been made of the hydrochemical influence of dolomitic levels in the sequence by means of the analysis of the hydrochemical routes between hydraulically-connected points. The generic case of mass transfer in this gypsiferous aquifer implies a precipitation of calcite which is in-congruent with dolomitic solution, proving that the process of dedolomitization in gypsiferous aquifers with an abundance of dolomitic rocks can be an effective process. In situations of high salinity, with contributions of hypersaline water, the process may be inverted, such as occurs in coastal carbonate aquifers influenced by the fresh-saltwater interface.
The gypsiferous aquifer of Sorbas-Tabernas (Almeria) provides the best case of karstification in gypsum in Spain; the hydrochemical study carried out has been used as an example of karstification in gypsum completely uninfluenced by sodium-chloride facies. It is shown, from the hydrochemical similarities between the different sectors, that the uniformity of the flow from the system main spring (Los Molinos) responds to the delayed hydraulic input through the overlying post-evaporitic materials and to the pelitic intercalations of the gypsiferous sequence. The aquifer is partially semiconfined, a situation which is comparable to the onset of the karstification stage, while the area of the Sorbas karst, strictly speaking, bears no hydriaulic relation to the rest of the system, behaving like a free aquifer intrinsically related to the epikarstic zone. This fact is demonstrated by the hydrochemical differences between the main spring and those related to gypsiferous cavities.
Apart from the general study of the Sorbas-Tabemas aquifer, a study was also made of the hydrochemical-time variations within cavities, and in particular within the Cueva del Agua, where it is possible to observe particular processes affecting karstification in gypsum, such as the precipitation of carbonates on the floor of the cavity which produce, in that area, a greater solution of gypsum (the phenomenon of hyperkarstification). Furthermore, the temporal evolution of the chemistry of the cavity, along 800 m of subterranean flow through its interior, shows the existence of inertial sectors where the variations were less abrupt. Only in the case of particular sectors, related to sporadic hydriaulic contributions or to the proximity to points of access., was a notable seasonal influence detected.
A similar hydrochemical study was carried out in the karst of Vallada (Valencia), along the cavity of the Tunel dels Sumidors. The chemistry here was compared with that of the springs of Brolladors (whose water rapidly infiltrates into the cavity) and Saraella (a saline resurgence of the whole system). Unexpected increases in the ionic content of certain salts (sulphates and chlorides) were detected during periods of increased flow; these were interpreted as the effect of the recharging of the Saraella spring arising from the immediate contribution of rapidly circulating sulfated water coming from the cavity and the subsequent mobilization of interstitial water with an ionic content higher than the characteristic level of the spring.
We present as a hypothesis the idea that, in addition to the hydrogeochemical processes described that can affect the evolution of a gypsiferous karst, the processes of sulphate reduction also influence karstification in gypsum, at least during the earliest stages. Some examples such as the presence of gypsum with abundant organic matter reprecipitated into phreatic channels (Sorbas) or veins of sulphur related to gypsiferous karsts (Podolia, Sicily) lend support to this idea.
Studies of the solution-erosion of gypsum have been performed by physical methods (tablets and M.E.M.) showing that the solution-erosion of gypsum within cavities is minimal (0.03 mm/ year) compared to that existing in the exterior (0.3 mm/year). The speleogenetic effect of condensation within the cavities has also been shown, with solution-erosion rates of 0.005 mm/year to be like the equivalent surface lowering. These data correspond to the karst in gypsum at Sorbas, where, additionally, a study about the time variation of the solution-erosion was carried out. It was found that the process is not continuous but clearly sporadic. During periods of torrential rain, the solution-erosion ranges from a weight loss of 400 mg/cm2/year on the surface of the karst to 75 mg/cm2/year inside the caves, while during the rest of the year the weight loss was barely 1 mg/cm2/year. The physical methods were compared with the results obtained from chemical methods, and it was found that, in general, higher values were obtained with the former (10-20% higher when weighted for the rainfall during the measuring periods). Thus it is reasonable to consider that the erosive process is more marked than was at first assumed.
In total, three cavity tracing experiments were carried out, all with fluoresceine, two of them in Cueva del Agua in Sorbas (during periods of high and low water levels) and the other in Tunel dels Sumidors in Vallada. At the first site, the comparison of the two tracing tests reveals a differential hydrodynamic behaviour of the cavity for the two contrasting situations; periods of high water input and periods of low rainfall. This behaviour is characteristic of well developed karstic aquifers, where the hydrodynamic effect of the circulation of water through small channels or, in this case, through the gypsiferous matrix and interbedded marly layers, seems to be more important under conditions of low hydraulic input than when rainfall is abundant. The two situations tested seem to confirm that the Cueva del Agua system, an epikarstic aquifer, which is representative of karstification in gypsum, has scarce retentive power and so large volumes of precipitation are totally discharged via the spring within a few days. However, the explanation of the small but continuous flow from the base of the cavity requires the inclusion of other factors in the interpretation. In this case, the flow seems to be fairly independent of rainfall and attributable to other processes, in addition to the previously described ones, such as the retentive power of the gypsiferous matrix and the marly interstrata. These might include the high degree of condensation measured over long periods, both on the surface of the karst in gypsum and within the cavities. In the case of the Tunel dels Sumidors, a highly irregular response was found, despite the fact that the coefficient of dispersivity was found to be 0.4. This value is similar to that obtained for the karst in gypsum at Sorbas in response to low water conditions, and so, here too, one might assume the influence of greater than expected flow-retaining processes, between the entry and exit points. Doubtless the karstic system of the Tunel dels Sumidors is more complex than was initially expected and in fact, the irregularity reflected by the fluoresceine concentration curve over time implies the existence of other factors to explain the diversity of the relative maxima obtained. Firstly, the presence of numerous Triassic clay intercalations might delay the flow, in addition to retaining a certain quantity of fluoresceine by ionic exchange. There is also a possibility that the flow is dispersed through a network of small conduits and pores, due to the permeability of the gypsiferous matrix. Finally, we cannot discount the possible existence of a deep-level input which, in this case, would be responsible for the variation in the flow and the chemical composition. This set of suppositions, as a whole, would explain the fact that the response of the spring to tracing is so irregular, even though we cannot achieve a definition of the qualitative influence of each one on the hydrodynamics of the system.
In order to verify some of the above hypotheses, particularly those referring to the process of condensation within cavities, an experiment was designed, consisting of a microtracing test at some points where condensation had been detected within the Cueva del Agua at Sorbas. The test produced a range of condensation flow speed values of 0.2 to 30 cm/hour and shows that, in those sections where the presence of condensation flow is visually apparent, there is a rapid dispersion of the colourant. However, it also shows that at points where there is no apparent condensation the process also occurs, but at a lower rate of efficiency. The importance of condensation within cavities has two aspects; firstly, speleogenetic, with the development of solution forms (cupolas) and deposit forms (capillarity boxwork); and secondly, hydrogeological, as this is the reason why certain processes (strong changes in temperature and humidity, multiple routes of airflow exchange with the exterior) may in themselves constitute a hydraulic contribution, of slight importance, but sufficient to explain a large part of the base flow (0.2 - 0.8 L/s) of a whole cavity system such as the Cueva del Agua in semiarid conditions.
With the intention of completing the analyses carried out in various karsts in gypsum, instruments were installed in the Cueva del Agua at Sorbas to measure, by continuous registration, some important physico-chemical parameters that might provide additional data on the hydro-geologic behaviour of this gypsiferous karst, especially at the level of the epikarstic zone. The parameters of temperature and water conductivity were considered most important, due to their singular behaviour patterns. During the experiment there were two periods of rainfall that modified the chemistry of the cavity, one of 30 mm in two days and another of 200 mm (almost the annual total) in four days. In the second case, which was much more extreme, a very significant increase in water temperature (up to 7 °C during the initial period of high water flow) was detected, while conductivity fell. But suddenly, when the minimum conductivity was reached, the temperature dropped sharply by 6-7 °C to return to the base temperature of the cavity. Subsequently, the temperature again stabilized at about 7 °C above the data recorded during the dry period. This behaviour pattern was not detected when the rainfall was slight. The explanation for this dual behaviour observed is fundamentally based on the quantity of rainfall and on the differences between the exterior air temperature, the temperature of interstitial water and the temperature recorded in the spring during high water flow. When water temperature in the cavity during high water flow is higher than the base temperature recorded in the period immediately before, it means that the interstitial water does not mobilize. However, when at any time the two temperatures coincide, one might suppose that there might have existed a process of mobilization of the water previously resident in the rock, by a piston effect, but in the unsaturated zone. On the other hand, the temporal variations of these parameters during the months following periods of high rainfall have enabled us to detect the existence of distinct periods during the return to normal cavity conditions. By carefully examining the decrease curve of water temperature inside the cavity while conductivity regained its maximum stable value, two periods may be differentiated. The first may be termed the "inertial influence period", when the rainfall occurring removes all signs of natural variation in the cavity. Thus, the daily external influences are not clearly detectable and the curve is downward-sloping and asymptotic with no significant oscillations. In the second period, which ends with the total stabilization of the parameter at the level of the initial conditions, the asymptotic descent is seen to be affected by daily temperature variations. This is termed the "inertial recovery period", during which external variations start to have an effect on the interior of the cavity such that there is a progressive increase in the amplitude of the daily variation in water temperature, air temperature and relative humidity. This behaviour pattern of variation of these parameters during periods of high rainfall, might be extended to all karstic systems, varying only in magnitude and temporal extent.


Quelques aspects des conditions de circulation des eaux souterraines dans les karsts du gypse des Alpes internes, 1999, Couturier Bernard, Fourneaux Jeanclaude, Sommeria Laure
The Triassic gypsum outcrops are widespread, in the French Inner Alps. They are often found in large heaps between two structural units. Karstic landforms with sinkholes and collapse zones are visible even when they are covered with glacial deposits or fallen rocks. There is also much evidence of underground flows, but the springs do not have any karstic characteristics. The water tracings (two examples) show that the local tectonics have a great influence in the subterranean circulation conditions. At "La Norma" in the Arc valley (Maurienne) the water infiltrated in a large sinkhole supplies several small springs after transit in a fissured aquifer. The spring flow is well regulated. At "Le Clou" in the upper Isre valley (Tarentaise) several sinkholes with loss of ephemeral streams during melting snow supply a large fissured aquifer. There is no spring with karstic features either. The water infiltrated in a sinkhole has been found in several springs during a very long period of time. Whereas the upper part of these aquifers are really like a karstic aquifer, with large stream channels, on the contrary the deeper part is like a fissured aquifer with large water dispersion and low velocity. The fissured and porous aquifer has a throttling action and explains the absence of true resurgence. The underground water flow is unbroken between the different aquifers but permeability decreases according to the depth. These phenomenon are in connection with tectonic activity and the interpenetration of the different geological formations at the bottom of the gypsum layer.

Hydrogeologic and geochemical factors required for the development of Carolina Bays along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Coastal Plain, USA, 1999, May J. H. , Warne A. G. ,
More than 60 years of intense study and debate have yet to resolve the origin of the Carolina Bays. Carolina Bays are circular to elliptical depressions located along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coastal Plains; Proposed processes of initiation and development of these karst-like features include meteorite impacts, substrate dissolution, wind, ice, marine waves and currents. Based on field studies throughout the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains and on review of coastal plain literature, we propose that Carolina Bays initially developed as silica-karst features. During Pleistocene sea-level lowstands, water tables in the Atlantic Coastal Plain were up to 30 m lower than today. Large volumes of surface water collected in local topographic lows and/or areas of enhanced permeability and infiltrated through sandy substrates of the low-relief coastal plain, Localized infiltration of phreatic water induced extensive desilicification of the sandy and clayey substrates, resulting in volume loss and development of karst-like depressions. Particularly relevant to initial bay development was alteration of kaolinite to gibbsite, which can produce a 34-percent loss in clay material volume, and concurrent dissolution of iron oxide. The initial silica-karst depressions along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts were later modified by eolian and, perhaps, ice-push processes, which enhanced their elliptical form. The subsequent Holocene rise in sea level caused ground-water levels in the coastal plain to equilibrate near the present-day land surface. This curtailed geochemical weathering, as well as eolian and ice-related processes. Ground-water saturation partially reversed chemical reactions associated with intensive weathering of clays beneath the bays, masking evidence of the severe leaching that occurred during their initial formation. Silica-karst features, similar to Carolina Bays in their initial stages of development, are common geologic features, Moreover, silica-karst processes are active today in warm temperate, subtropical, and tropical areas in sandy substrates where groundwater levels are well below the ground surface and can cause subsidence or disrupt developing wetlands

Hydrogeologic and geochemical factors required for the development of Carolina Bays along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, coastal plain, USA, 1999, May James H. , Warne Andrew G. ,
More than 60 years of intense study and debate have yet to resolve the origin of the Carolina Bays. Carolina Bays are circular to elliptical depressions located along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coastal Plains. Proposed processes of initiation and development of these karst-like features include meteorite impacts, substrate dissolution, wind, ice, marine waves and currents. Based on field studies throughout the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains and on review of coastal plain literature, we propose that Carolina Bays initially developed as silica-karst features. During Pleistocene sea-level lowstands, water tables in the Atlantic Coastal Plain were up to 30 m lower than today. Large volumes of surface water collected in local topographic lows and/or areas of enhanced permeability and infiltrated through sandy substrates of the low-relief coastal plain. Localized infiltration of phreatic water induced extensive desilicification of the sandy and clayey substrates, resulting in volume loss and development of karst-like depressions. Particularly relevant to initial bay development was alteration of kaolinite to gibbsite, which can produce a 34-percent loss in clay material volume, and concurrent dissolution of iron oxide. The initial silica-karst depressions along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts were later modified by eolian and, perhaps, ice-push processes, which enhanced their elliptical form. The subsequent Holocene rise in sea level caused ground-water levels in the coastal plain to equilibrate near the present-day land surface. This curtailed geochemical weathering, as well as eolian and ice-related processes. Ground-water saturation partially reversed chemical reactions associated with intensive weathering of clays beneath the bays, masking evidence of the severe leaching that occurred during their initial formation. Silica-karst features, similar to Carolina Bays in their initial stages of development, are common geologic features. Moreover, silica-karst processes are active today in warm temperate, subtropical, and tropical areas in sandy substrates where ground-water levels are well below the ground surface and can cause subsidence or disrupt developing wetlands

Tectonic network as the initial factor of karstification of the chalk limestones in the Perche hills (Orne, Normandy, France), 1999, Rodet J. ,
Tectonics has been known to be the initial factor of karstification for a long time, but this has never been demonstrated because of the progressive nature of karstification, which destroys evidence of the preliminary phases. Because of its dual hydrological quality, chalk limestone has conserved a great variety of specific forms illustrating various steps in evolution, from the initial primokarst to the classic well-developed drain. In the Perche hills, very recent research has shown specific endokarstic galleries, filled up by sands and clays. Physical, chemical and X-ray analyses have shown that such infillings result not from a classical fluviatile deposit process, but on the contrary, from an alteration process, underlining the progress of a weathering front into the limestone mass down to the watertable. The infillings are not sedimentary deposits, but represent a kind of 'shadow rock', a chemical in situ transformation of limestone, without any transport of the solid fraction, The genesis results from the progression of weathering fronts located on the tectonic pattern into the input karst. When the weathering front crosses the watertable, the resulting water mixing produces a chemical reaction capable of opening the original joint. This results in infilled galleries, similar to classical karst drains, which have never known fluviatile drainage. This illustrates the first step in normal karstic evolution, just before a water flux drains the gallery, resulting in a new karstification step: the drained passage. The specificity of the region of the Perche hills is this karat evolution stopped in the first step, illustrating the 'primorkarst' modelling by the researcher, which has never been described before. The conditions for this genesis are a well-developed tectonic pattern, an absence of thick superficial layers, a high soil permeability, and an absence of superficial drainage (lack of sinkholes). (C) Elsevier, Paris

Alteration of magnetic properties of Palaeozoic platform carbonate rocks during burial diagenesis (Lower Ordovician sequence, Texas, USA), 1999, Haubold Herbert,
Palaeomagnetic and sedimentological investigations of samples from two sections of correlative Iapetan platform carbonate rocks from Texas, USA, were made to test whether their magnetic properties reflect diagenetic alteration associated with regional and local tectonism. The Honeycut Formation (Llano Uplift area, central Texas), in close proximity to the late Palaeozoic Ouachita orogenic belt, exhibits a distinct correlation between magnetization intensity, magnetization age (direction) and lithofacies. Mudstones preserve their weak primary Early Ordovician magnetization, whereas dolo-grainstones carry a strong Pennsylvanian magnetization residing in authigenic magnetite. Fluid migration associated with the Ouachita Orogeny has been focused in lithofacies with high permeability and caused dolomite recrystallization and pervasive remagnetization. Magnetization intensity trends covary with fluid/rock ratios. However, aquitards were either not affected or less affected by these fluids. Unlike the Honeycut Formation, permeable rocks of the El Paso Group (Franklin Mountains, west Texas) carry only a non-pervasive Pennsylvanian magnetization. Therefore, a larger percentage of El Paso Group samples retain a primary Early Ordovician signature. This area is further removed from the Ouachita front, and, thus, the influence by Pennsylvanian orogenic fluids was less pronounced

Interpreting flow using permeability at multiple scales, 1999, Halihan T. , Sharp Jr. J. M. , Mace R. E.
Two difficulties that karst aquifers can present are permeability that varies with the scale of measurement (up to nine orders of magnitude), and permeability that is so high that standard pump tests obtain no measurable drawdownThough it is difficult to quantify, permeability is the most sensitive parameter for either laminar or turbulent groundwater equations and must be accurately estimatedPermeability data at the small-scale (laboratory and outcrop) were used to reproduce permeabilities measured at the well- and regional-scales in the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquiferThese calculations provided an understanding of how features observed at the small-scale affect permeability measurements at larger scalesConversely, these calculations can be performed on the well- and regional-scale to estimate what small-scale features are influencing the aquiferIn this paper, equations and techniques are presented to help answer questions such as: (1) How can small-scale data be combined to determine an effective well- or regional-scale permeability? (2) What size high-permeability features are influencing an aquifer on the well- or regional-scale? (3) Is the flow in an aquifer Darcian? (4) What velocities should be expected in an aquifer?

Karstic permeability: organized flow pathways created by circulation, 1999, Huntoon P. W.
Most karstic permeability in soluble rocks is created by the circulation of a solvent through the rockGiven a bit of geologic time, karstic permeability develops a hierarchal structure of highly organized conduits that facilitates the movement of the fluid in the downgradient directionConsequently, karst permeability is not an independent, inherited static attribute of the rock; rather it adjusts dynamically to changing boundary conditions in the flow systemKarstic permeability tends to be the most anisotropic of all the permeability types found in natureThe permeabilities of the dissolution channels generally overwhelm the transmissive characteristics of all the other types of permeability presentConsequently, when dealing with assessments of the impacts of withdrawals or the migration of contaminants in carbonate aquifers, the professional is obligated to find and unravel the character of the organized conduit network; otherwise the essence of the transmissive and storage properties of the flow regime is inadequately formulated, so predictive failures are inevitable

Variation of karstic permeability between unconfined and confined aquifers, Grand Canyon region, Arizona, 1999, Huntoon Pw. .
Most of the ground water in the Grand Canyon region circulates to springs in the canyon through the thick, deeply buried, karstified Cambrian through Mississippian carbonate sectionThese rocks are collectively called the lower Paleozoic carbonates and comprise the Redwall-Muav aquifer where saturatedThe morphologies of the caves are primarily a function of whether the carbonates are unconfined or confined, a distinction that has broad significance for groundwater exploration and which appears to be generally transferable to other carbonate regionsCaves in unconfined high-gradient environments tend to be highly localized, partially saturated, simple tubes, whereas those in confined low-gradient settings are saturated 2- or even 3-dimensional mazesThe highly heterogeneous distribution of the unconfined conduits makes for difficult drilling targets, whereas the more ubiquitously distributed confined mazes are far easier to targetThe distinctions between the storage characteristics within the two classes is probably even more importantThere is minimal groundwater storage in the unconfined systems because they are well drainedIn contrast, the saturated mazes exhibit maximal storageConsequently, system responses to major storm recharge events in the unconfined systems is often dominated by flow-through rather than the pulse-through hydraulics as found in the confined systemsSpring discharges from the unconfined systems tends to be both flashy and highly variable from season to season, but total dissolved solids are smallIn contrast, the pulse-through hydraulics in the artesian systems causes spring discharge responses to be highly moderated and, in the larger basins, remarkably steadyBoth total dissolved solids and temperatures in the waters from the confined aquifers tend to be elevated because most of the water is derived from storageKarst permeability is created by the flow system, consequently predicting where the permeability is best developed in a carbonate section involves determining how circulation should be ideally organized through an examination of the geometry of the flow systemThe areas where flow concentrates are the areas where karstification will maximize, provided enough time has elapsed to allow dissolution to adjust to the imposed boundary conditionsThe rate of adjustment in the Grand Canyon region appears to be related to the degree of saturationThe artesian systems are far better adjusted to hydraulic gradients than the unconfined systems, a finding that probably implies that there is greater contact between the solvent and rock in the saturated confined systems

A conceptual view of carbonate island karst, 1999, Mylroie J. E. , Vacher H. L.
Conceptually, the karst of carbonate islands can be modeled as the result of eogenetic diagenesis, freshwater/ saltwater mixing, and glacioeustasyThe resulting eogenetic karst occurs in small, youthful limestone islands where the evolution of the karst is concurrent with meteoric diagenesis of the host rock, which has never been out of the active circulation of meteoric waterThe rearrangement of the material of high porosity / low permeability sediments into moderate porosity / high permeability rock feeds back to the nature of the diagenetic environment as the flow volume of the lens is reduced by increasing flow efficiencyLimestone islands are a constrained and simple environment, defined as carbonate islands (no noncarbonate rock) and composite islands (mixture of carbonate and non carbonate rock)Simple carbonate islands lack noncarbonate rocks within the active hydrological zone; carbonate-cover islands contain a noncarbonate contact that limits the freshwater lens and deflects vadose flowThe type of island greatly influences the subsequent karst hydrologyIncreasing island size appears to cross a threshold favoring conduit flowThe karst features resulting from these island types, combined with mixing geochemistry and glacioeustasy, differ from those in continental settings and require a unique conceptual approach to modeling

A comprehensive strategy for understanding flow in carbonate aquifers, 1999, Worthington S. R. H.

Studies of carbonate aquifers usually either concentrate on sampling the channel flow (egsink-to-spring tracer testing, spring monitoring) or on sampling the non-channel flow (egborehole measurements)A comprehensive approach is advocated here, involving the integration of both sources of information, as well as measurements of the porosity and permeability of the unfractured rockRepresentative sampling can be achieved by treating carbonates as triple-porosity aquifers, with one-, two-, and three-dimensional porosity elementsThe division of carbonate aquifers into "karstic" or "non-karstic" types is unwarranted


Conduit hydrogeology of a tropical coastal carbonate aquifer. MSc thesis, 1999, Beddows, P. A

The aim of this study is to investigate the hydrogeology of the submerged conduit systems of a coastal carbonate aquifer (Caribbean coast, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico), and thereby better understand their significance as large permeability heterogeneities. A complex spatial trend in conduit flow rates (determined by quantitative fluorescent dye tracing initiated 6 km inland) was found, including significant velocity variation between consecutive conduit segments. Elevated coastal velocities under low tide conditions are shown by salinity profiling, to be induced by the volumetric increase of discharging water from mixing with marine water. Semi-diurnal micro-tidal loading is sufficient to induce flooding from the sea into the conduits at one coastal discharge point, and significantly reduce flow rates at another. Furthermore, a network of four observation sites extending 5 km inland indicates efficient propagation of the ~0.30 m tidal signal through the Nohoch Nah Chich conduit system, a distance several time greater than previously appreciated in this environment. The field results clearly indicate that the hydrogeological flux is dominated by cavernous porosity, and that the aquifer is dynamically responsive to the high-frequency low-magnitude tidal loading to a significant distance inland. Conventional coastal groundwater models such as the Ghyben-Herzberg lens model, assume isotropic homogeneous equivalent-porous-medium conditions. Because the corollaries of the conventional models are inconsistent with the field evidence, they are inapplicable in this environment. It is hoped that these results will aid future modelling efforts, and improve our capacity to manage the valuable groundwater resources which represents the unique source of potable water to the local population.


Structure, flow, and generalized conductivity scaling in fracture networks, 1999, Margolin G. , Berkowitz B. , Scher H.

We present a three-dimensional (3-D) model of fractures that within the same framework, allows a systematic study of the interplay and relative importance of the two key factors determining the character of flow in the system. The two factors of complexity are () the geometry of fracture plane structure and interconnections and (2) the aperture variability within these planes. Previous models have concentrated on each separately. We introduce anisotropic percolation to model a wide range of fracture structures and networks. The conclusion is that either of these elements, fracture geometry and aperture variability, can give rise to channeled flow and that the interplay between them is especially important for this type of flow. Significant outcomes of our study are (1) a functional relationship that quantifies the dependence of the effective hydraulic conductivity on aperture variability and on the network structure and fracture element density, (2) a relation between aperture variability and the Peclet number, and (3) a basis for a new explanation for the field-length dependence of permeability observed in fractured and heterogeneous porous formations.


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