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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. ...

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That water-table divide is see divide.?

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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 pco2 (Keyword) returned 44 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 31 to 44 of 44
Monitoring climatological, hydrological and geochemical parameters in the Pre Nol cave (Belgium): implication for the interpretation of speleothem isotopic and geochemical time-series, 2008, Verheyden S. , Genty D. , Deflandre G. , Quinif Y. , Keppens E.

Père Noël cave climatology (air and water temperature, PCO2), hydrology (drip rate, conductivity) and geochemistry of water and calcite deposits (δ18O, δ13C, Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca) where studied to better interpret stable isotopic and trace element variations of speleothems. Results of an automated monitoring station and of manual sampling between 1991 and 1998 have demonstrated the highly seasonal signal of drip rate, its control by water excess and rainfall, and, at a shorter scale to air pressure changes. The modern calcite deposit study suggests a relationship between cave calcite isotopic composition (δ18O and δ13C) and drip rate likely due to variations in degree of isotopic equilibrium during calcite precipitation. δ18O and δ13C of the calcite are therefore, through drip rate, linked to water recharge. Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios of Père Noël cave calcite, depend closely on the residence time of the water, and therefore are also linked to drip rate and therefore to water recharge. This crossed link of δ18O and δ13C as of Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca to water recharge may explain the very similar variations of these four parameters along the longitudinal axis of a Holocene stalagmite, but it may also be the consequence of kinetic effects during calcite precipitation as suggested by similar variations of the four parameters along a single layer of the Holocene stalagmite.

δ13C profiles along growth layers of stalagmites: Comparing theoretical and experimental results, 2008, Romanov D. , Kaufmann G. , Dreybrodt W.

The isotopic carbon ratio of a calcite-precipitating solution flowing as a water film on the surface of a stalagmite is determined by Rayleigh distillation. It can be calculated, when the -concentration of the solution at each surface point of the stalagmite and the fractionation factors are known. A stalagmite growth model based entirely on the physics of laminar flow and the well-known precipitation rates of a supersaturated solution of calcite, without any further assumptions, is employed to obtain the spatial distribution of the -concentration, which contributes more than 95% to the dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). The δ13C profiles are calculated along the growth surface of a stalagmite for three cases: (A) isotopic equilibrium of both CO2 outgassing and calcite precipitation; (B) outgassing of CO2 is irreversible but calcite precipitation is in isotopic equilibrium. (C) Both CO2 outgassing and calcite precipitation are irreversible. In all cases the isotopic shift δ13C increases from the apex along the distance on a growth surface. In cases A and B, calcite deposited at the apex is in isotopic equilibrium with the solution of the drip water. The difference between δ13C at the apex and the end of the growth layer is independent of the stalagmite’s radius, but depends on temperature. For case A, it is about half the value obtained for cases B and C. In case C, the isotopic composition of calcite at the apex equals that of the drip water, but further out it becomes practically identical with that of case B. The growth model has been applied to field data of stalagmite growth, where the thickness and the δ13C of calcite precipitated to a glass plate located on the top of a stalagmite have been measured as function of the distance from the drip point. The calculated data are in good agreement to the observed ones and indicate that deposition occurred most likely under conditions B, eventually also C. A sensitivity analysis has been performed, which shows that within the limits of observed external parameters, such as drip rates and partial pressure of carbon dioxide PCO2 in the cave, the results remain valid.

Impacts of Alterations of Organic Inputs on the Bacterial Community within the sediments of Wind Cave, South Dakota, USA, 2009, Chelius M. K. , Beresford G. , Horton H. , Quirk M. , Selby G. , Simpson R. T. , Horrocks R. , Moore J. C.

Père Noël cave climatology (air and water temperature, PCO2), hydrology (drip rate, conductivity) and geochemistry of water and calcite deposits (δ18O, δ13C, Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca) where studied to better interpret stable isotopic and trace element variations of speleothems. Results of an automated monitoring station and of manual sampling between 1991 and 1998 have demonstrated the highly seasonal signal of drip rate, its control by water excess and rainfall, and, at a shorter scale to air pressure changes. The modern calcite deposit study suggests a relationship between cave calcite isotopic composition (δ18O and δ13C) and drip rate likely due to variations in degree of isotopic equilibrium during calcite precipitation. δ18O and δ13C of the calcite are therefore, through drip rate, linked to water recharge. Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios of Père Noël cave calcite, depend closely on the residence time of the water, and therefore are also linked to drip rate and therefore to water recharge. This crossed link of δ18O and δ13C as of Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca to water recharge may explain the very similar variations of these four parameters along the longitudinal axis of a Holocene stalagmite, but it may also be the consequence of kinetic effects during calcite precipitation as suggested by similar variations of the four parameters along a single layer of the Holocene stalagmite.

Automatic hydrochemical logging and in situ titration combined with laboratory analysis were used to understand the spatial and temporal hydrochemical variations of the spring-fed, travertine-depositing stream in celebrated Huanglong Ravine, Sichuan, SW China. This is essential for protection of the Huanglong World Natural Heritage travertine landscape. It was found that the deposition of travertine was due to very strong CO2 degassing from the water, leading to decrease in pCO2 and specific conductivity (SpC), and increase in pH and SIc downstream from the Spring. However, regular downstream hydrochemical evolution was interrupted by dilution with snowmelt water and by renewed CO2 from some downstream springs. The chemistry of Huanglong Spring itself was stable at a diurnal scale though it was altered by the great Wenchuan earthquake of May 12 2008. However, in spring-fed pools downstream, pCO2 and SpC were lower, and pH and SIc were higher in daytime than at night, which indicates that the deposition of travertine was faster during the daylight hours. This was due to the combined e?ects of higher water tempera-tures and higher aquatic algae photosynthesis. In addition, it was found that the phosphate concentration in the stream in-creased remarkably downstream in the tourist midseason, in-dicating water pollution by tourism activities. ?e increase of phosphate (an inhibitor of calcite precipitation) may be one of the reasons for the decrease in travertine deposition rates and accelerated propagation of discoloration by diatoms during the past decades, which needs to be given more comprehensive study and tackled in future for the protection of these world famous travertine deposits.Keywords: hydrochemical var

A high-resolution spatial survey of cave air carbon dioxide concentrations in Scoska Cave (North Yorkshire, UK): implications for calcite deposition and re-dissolution, 2010, Whitaker, Tom, Daniel Jones, James U L Baldini And Alex J Baker
Carbon dioxide concentration variability in caves has implications for palaeoclimatic research involving stalagmites, the conservation of cave art, condensation corrosion, and safety during cave exploration. Here we present a high-resolution spatial survey of cave air carbon dioxide partial pressure (PCO2) in the 1.5km Scoska Cave system in North Yorkshire, UK, constructed using measurements taken during the interval of July 1 to July 5, 2008. According to the spatial P-CO2 survey, 76% of the cave air P-CO2 increase occurred within the first ~50 metres; consequently the P-CO2 gradient throughout the rest of the cave was slight. As is the case in other caves, this suggests that a 'front' exists at this site between high P-CO2 cave air and low P-CO2 outside air, where the P-CO2 increases dramatically over a short distance. Temperature data support this interpretation. This CO2 'front' is thought to represent the farthest point reached by large-scale advection of air out of the cave, and its position is hypothesized to fluctuate depending on atmospheric conditions. Thus, distinct P-CO2 trends characterize sections of the Scoska Cave system, which result in spatial variability in calcite deposition and redissolution. Modelled stalagmite growth rates vary between negligible and 0.21 mm yr-1, depending on unconstrained drip water [Ca2+] values and cave atmosphere P-CO2. Assuming constant drip water [Ca2+], optimum calcite deposition occurs near to the cave entrance, where ventilation and advection reduce P-CO2 levels most effectively. However, calcite precipitation on the roof of the cave may partially control the [Ca2+] of drip water that reaches the floor, so although the link between overall calcite deposition (i.e., on the roof and the floor) and P-CO2 appears robust, the effect of variable cave air P-CO2 on stalagmite growth rates requires more research. These calculations suggest that calcite precipitation rates in different areas of Scoska Cave may differ due to local P-CO2 and temperature variability, highlighting the benefits of thoroughly understanding site-specific cave environmental factors prior to the interpretation of stalagmite-based palaeoclimate records.

Hypogenic caves in western Umbria (central Italy), 2011, Menichetti, Marco

Three karst areas located in the western sector of the Umbria Region (Central Italy) are here described: one north of Perugia, and the others to the south, close to Todi. All the end members of karst processes, from solution caves to quaternary travertine deposits, are present in this region, associated with CO2 and H2S emissions. The geological and hydrogeological aspects of the main karst systems are analyzed and their underground morphologies and patterns taken into account. Caves have different sizes and vary from a single conduit to complex systems, where the passages show features related to a possible hypogenic speleogenesis. In the area north of Perugia there are small horizontal and vertical solution caves developed in poorly karstified marly limestone, along fracture systems, where phreatic morphologies are prevalent. The endogenic CO2 emissions seem to drive the underground karst evolution. Pozzi della Piana, located west of the town of Todi, is a fossil branchform network cave system developed in a quaternary travertine and extending for more than 2500 m. The cave passages are arranged on at least two levels, with phreatic morphologies, cupola ceilings, and blind pits. Microcrystalline spalled gypsum blocks are associated with cusp features and wall pockets. The cave-forming process is believed to be linked to travertine deposition by supersaturated carbonate hydrothermal water rich in H2S. In the Parrano area, the underground karst system consists of solution caves extending for many hundreds of meters at different elevations in both sides of a small gorge. The cave patterns vary from single conduits to ramiform passages with anastomotic galleries and pits that intercept the water table with a temperature of 26°C, pCO2 of 0.1 atm, and H2S concentrations of 10 mg/l. Spongework, corrosion pockets, and cupola ceilings are common morphologies, with gypsum replacing limestone wall deposits. Cave formation by hypogenic speleogenesis is also well known in the Apennine karst system of M. Cucco and Frasassi, where both fossil and active processes are observable. The same processes are responsible for the genesis of these karst systems in different geological and hydrogeological contexts.

Oxygen isotopes in calcite grown under cave-analogue conditions, 2011, Day C. C. , Henderson G. M.

Speleothem oxygen isotopes and growth rates are valuable proxies for reconstructing climate history. There is debate, however, about the conditions that allow speleothems to grow in oxygen isotope equilibrium, and about the correct equilibrium fractionation factors. We report results from a series of carbonate growth experiments in karst-analogue conditions in the laboratory. The setup closely mimics natural processes (e.g. precipitation driven by CO2-degassing, low ionic strength solution, thin solution film) but with a tight control on growth conditions (temperature, pCO2, drip rate, calcite saturation index and the composition of the initial solution). Calcite is dissolved in water in a 20,000 ppmV pCO2 environment. This solution is dripped onto glass plates (coated with seed-carbonate) in a lower pCO2 environment (and rapid depletion of the dissolved inorganic carbon reservoir (rapid DIC-depletion). The impact of evaporation can be large so caves with high relative humidity are also preferable for palaeoclimate reconstruction. Even allowing for the maximum offsets that may have been induced by evaporation and rapid DIC-depletion, d18O measured in some of our experiments remain higher than those predicted by Kim and O’Neil (1997). Our new results are well explained by equilibrium at a significantly higher acalcite–water, with a kinetic-isotope effect that favours 16O incorporation as growth rate increases. This scenario agrees with recent studies by Coplen (2007) and Dietzel et al. (2009). Overall, our results suggest that three separate processes cause d18O to deviate from true isotope equilibrium in the cave environment. Two of these drive d18O to higher values (evaporation and rapid DIC-depletion) while one drives d18O to lower values (preferential incorporation of 16O in the solid carbonate at faster growth rates). While evaporation and DIC-depletion can be avoided in some settings, the third may be inescapable in the cave environment and means that any temperature to d18O relationship is an approximation. The controlled conditions of the present experiments also display limitations in the use of the Hendy test to identifying equilibrium growth.

Geochemical evolution of groundwater in the unsaturated zone of a karstic massif, using the PCO2SIc relationship, 2012, Peyraube N. , Lastennet R. , Denis A.

In karstic environments, groundwater is strongly influenced by CO2 partial pressure variations of air present in the infiltration zone of these aquifers. In order to characterize the geochemical changes in groundwater as it moves through the infiltration zone, we monitored various rising springs in the perched karstic aquifer of Cussac (Dordogne, France), and measured the CO2 partial pressure in air of a nearby cavity (the Cussac Cave) for 24 months. Our method is based on the relationship between the saturation index with respect to calcite (SIc) and the CO2 partial pressure at atmospheric equilibrium with water. We distinguished a value for this last parameter when water is at equilibrium with respect to calcite (SIc = 0) called saturation CO2 partial pressure. The use of this parameter can provide information on flow conditions and relationships between water, air, and rock. Cussac aquifer is a suitable area to apply these methods because of its small size, numerous springs, and a cave that provides data for CO2 partial pressure condition inside the massif. Results show that most of the calcium-carbonate mineralization is acquired in the epikarst followed by a precipitation phase in the upper part of the infiltration zone. Groundwater reaches the saturated zone with some degree of saturation depending on CO2 partial pressure variations in air inside the massif.

Partial pressures of CO2 in epikarstic zone deduced from hydrogeochemistry of permanent drips, the Moravian Karst, Czech Republic, 2012, Faimon Jiř, , Lič, Binsk Monika, Zajč, Ek Petr, Sracek Ondra

Permanent drips from straw stalactites of selected caves of the Moravian Karst were studied during one-year period. A hypothetical partial pressure of CO2 that has participated in limestone dissolution, PCO2(H)=10-1.53±0.04, was calculated from the dripwater chemistry. The value significantly exceeds the partial pressures generally measured in relevant shallow karst soils, PCO2(soil)=10-2.72±0.02. This finding may have important implications for karst/cave conservation and paleoenvironmental reconstructions.

Sulfuric acid caves: Morphology and evolution, 2013, Palmer, A. N.

Many hypogene caves are formed by sulfuric acid produced by the oxidation of sulfides, particularly hydrogen sulfide. This cave development can take place below, at, or above the water table. Most cave enlargement is subaerial, in water films and droplets that absorb gaseous hydrogen sulfide and oxygen. Sulfuric acid caves have irregular patterns with large variations in cross section and elevation, with relatively few subhorizontal passages formed along the water table. Cave origin is scattered, localized, and sporadic. Sulfuric acid caves provide evidence for regional geomorphic and tectonic history, groundwater flow patterns, and redox geochemistry.

Quaternary glacial cycles: Karst processes and the global CO2 budget, 2013, Larson Erik B. , Mylroie John E.

Extensive research has been conducted investigating the relationship between karst processes, carbonate deposition and the global carbon cycle. However, little work has been done looking into the relationship between glaciations, subsequent sea level changes, and aerially exposed land masses in relation to karstic processes and the global carbon budget. During glaciations sea-level exposed the world’s carbonate platforms. with the sub-aerial exposure of the platforms, karst processes can occur, and the dissolution of carbonate material can commence, resulting in the drawdown of CO2 from the atmosphere as HCO3−. Furthermore, the material on the platform surfaces is primarily aragonite which is more readily soluble than calcite allowing karst processes to occur more quickly. During glaciations arctic carbonates and some of the temperate carbonates are blanketed in ice, effectively removing those areas from karst processes. Given the higher solubility of aragonite, and the extent of carbonate platforms exposed during glaciations, this dissolution balances the CO2 no longer taken up by karst processes at higher latitudes that were covered during the last glacial maximum The balance is within 0.001 GtC / yr, using soil pCO2 (0.005 GtC / yr assuming atmospheric pCO2) which is a difference of <1% of the total amount of atmospheric CO2 removed in a year by karst processes. Denudation was calculated using the maximum potential dissolution formulas of Gombert (2002). On a year to year basis the net amount of atmospheric carbon removed through karstic processes is equivalent between the last glacial maximum and the present day, however, the earth has spent more time in a glacial configuration during the quaternary, which suggests that there is a net drawdown of atmospheric carbon during glaciations from karst processes, which may serve as a feedback to prolong glacial episodes. This research has significance for understanding the global carbon budget during the quaternary.


Germany currently features 20 caves in sulfate rocks (gypsum and anhydrite) longer than 200 m. Most of them occur either in the Werra-Anhydrite or in the Hauptanhydrite of the evaporitic Zechstein series (Upper Permian). One occurs in the Jurassic Münder Mergel and two in the Triassic Grundgips. The longest, the Wimmelburger Schlotten, is 2.8 km long with a floor area of 24,000 m2. All caves, except four, occur in the South Harz, where the Zechstein outcrop fringes the uplifted and tilted Variscian Harz. These caves can be divided into three general classes: (i) epigenic caves with lateral, turbulent water flow, and (ii) shallow or (iii) deep phreatic caves with slow convective density-driven dissolution. The latter were discovered during historic copper-shale mining and called “Schlotten” by the miners; most of them are not accessible any more. Shallow phreatic caves occur in several areas, most notably in the Nature Preserve of the Hainholz/Beierstein at Düna/Osterode/Lower Saxony. Here, we sampled all water bodies in May 1973 and monitored 31 stations between Nov. 23rd, 1974, and April 24th, 1976, with a total 933 samples, allowing us to characterize the provenance of these waters. These monitoring results were published only partially (PCO2 data, see Kempe, 1992). Here, I use the data set to show that the Jettenhöhle (the largest cave in the Hainholz) has been created by upward moving, carbonate-bearing, groundwater of high PCO2. Even though the cave has now only small cave ponds and essentially is a dry cave above the ground water level, it is a hypogene cave because of the upward movement “of the cave-forming agent” (sensu Klimchouk, 2012). Likewise, the Schlotten are created by water rising from the underlying carbonate aquifer, but under a deep phreatic setting

Vadose CO2 gas drives dissolution at water tables in eogenetic karst aquifers more than mixing dissolution, 2014, Gulley J. , Martin J. , Moore P.

Most models of cave formation in limestone that remains near its depositional environment and has not been deeply buried (i.e. eogenetic limestone) invoke dissolution from mixing of waters that have different ionic strengths or have equilibrated with calcite at different pCO2 values. In eogenetic karst aquifers lacking saline water, mixing of vadose and phreatic waters is thought to form caves. We show here calcite dissolution in a cave in eogenetic limestone occurred due to increases in vadose CO2 gas concentrations and subsequent dissolution of CO2 into groundwater, not by mixing dissolution. We collected high-resolution time series measurements (1 year) of specific conductivity (SpC), temperature, meteorological data, and synoptic water chemical composition from a water table cave in central Florida (Briar Cave).We found SpC, pCO2 and calcite undersaturation increased through late summer, when Briar Cave experienced little ventilation by outside air, and decreased through winter, when increased ventilation lowered cave CO2(g) concentrations.We hypothesize dissolution occurred when water flowed from aquifer regions with low pCO2 into the cave, which had elevated pCO2. Elevated pCO2 would be promoted by fractures connecting the soil to the water table. Simple geochemical models demonstrate that changes in pCO2 of less than 1% along flow paths are an order of magnitude more efficient at dissolving limestone thanmixing of vadose and phreatic water.We conclude that spatially or temporally variable vadose CO2(g) concentrations are responsible for cave formation becausemixing is too slow to generate observed cave sizes in the time available for formation. While this study emphasized dissolution, gas exchange between the atmosphere and karst aquifer vadose zones that is facilitated by conduits likely exerts important controls on other geochemical processes in limestone critical zones by transporting oxygen deep into vadose zones, creating redox boundaries that would not exist in the absence of caves.

Groundwater geochemistry observations in littoral caves of Mallorca (western Mediterranean): implications for deposition of phreatic overgrowths on speleothems., 2014, Boop L. M. , Onac B. P. , Wynn J. G. , Fornós J. J. , Rodríguezhomar M. , Merino A.

Phreatic overgrowths on speleothems (POS) precipitate at the air-water interface in the littoral caves of Mallorca, Spain. Mainly composed of calcite, aragonite POS are also observed in specific locations. To characterize the geochemical environment of the brackish upper water column, water samples and salinity values were collected from water profiles (0-2.9 m) in April 2012 and March 2013 near aragonite POS in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera and calcite POS in Coves del Drac (hereafter, Vallgornera and Drac). Degassing of CO2 from the water was evidenced by the existence of lower dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentration and enriched δ13CDIC values in a thin surface layer (the uppermost 0.4 m), which was observed in both profiles from Drac. This process is facilitated by the efficient exchange of cave air with the atmosphere, creating a CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) disparity between the cave water and air, resulting in the precipitation of calcite POS as CO2 degasses from the water. The degassed upper layer was not observed in either profile from Vallgornera, suggesting that less efficient cave ventilation restricts outgassing of CO2, which also results in accumulation of CO2 in the cave atmosphere. The presence of an existing uncorroded POS horizon, as well as higher concentrations and large amplitude fluctuations of cave air pCO2, may indicate that aragonite POS deposition is currently episodic in Vallgornera. Ion concentration data from monthly water samples collected in each cave between October 2012 and March 2013 indicate higher Mg:Ca, Sr:Ca, Ba:Ca and Sr:Mg ratios in Vallgornera. Salinity alone does not appear to be a viable proxy for ions that may promote aragonite precipitation or inhibit calcite precipitation. Instead, these ions may be contributed by more intense bedrock weathering or deep groundwater flow.

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