MWH Global

Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology

Community news

Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

Klimchouk on 26 Mar, 2012
Dear Colleagues, This is to draw your attention to several recent publications added to KarstBase, relevant to hypogenic karst/speleogenesis: Corrosion of limestone tablets in sulfidic ground-water: measurements and speleogenetic implications Galdenzi,

The deepest terrestrial animal

Klimchouk on 23 Feb, 2012
A recent publication of Spanish researchers describes the biology of Krubera Cave, including the deepest terrestrial animal ever found: Jordana, Rafael; Baquero, Enrique; Reboleira, Sofía and Sendra, Alberto. ...

Caves - landscapes without light

akop on 05 Feb, 2012
Exhibition dedicated to caves is taking place in the Vienna Natural History Museum   The exhibition at the Natural History Museum presents the surprising variety of caves and cave formations such as stalactites and various crystals. ...

Did you know?

That steady flow is flow where the velocity at a point remains constant with respect to time [16].?

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

What is Karstbase?



Browse Speleogenesis Issues:

KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
See all featured articles
Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
See all featured articles from other geoscience journals

Search in KarstBase

Your search for initiation (Keyword) returned 45 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 31 to 45 of 45
Toward a better understanding of fissure growth in karst formations: Investigations from genesis to maturation and the influence of fracture-matrix interactions., 2002, Cheung, Wendy Wai Wan

There has been interest in quantitative modeling of early karstification with the objectives of estimating time-scales of conduit growth and understanding the nature of cave patterns. In particular, the initiation phase has been studied in great detail because it is the slowest phase in the development of caverns. In this study aperture variability in a two-dimensional framework and fracture matrix interaction are studied to better understand their role in time estimations of aperture growth. The initial phase of karst development is studied from its nascent stage as a fissure into the early stages of turbulence. In uniform fissures in rapidly dissolving minerals, the concentration reaches the solubility limit within a short distance along the flow path. However, the variability in the aperture field inherently provides instabilities to the system and growth is propagated along these perturbations. Flow is focused into preferential channels which are enlarged at a faster rate than surrounding regions of slow flow. As a result, a positive feedback mechanism takes place and creates growth in a highly selective manner. Only in large domains (>25 correlation lengths), can the instabilities create competition for flow at the solution front as well and lead to significant branching. It is this branching which creates the non-monotonic behavior in breakthrough times (defined as the point in which turbulent flow is first encountered). It has been observed that the non-monotonic behavior is scale dependent. Smaller domains do not exhibit this behavior because there are only a few correlation lengths between
the fingertip and the lateral domain boundaries. Aperture variability significantly impacts dissolution patterns in a two-dimensional framework. While aperture variability speeds up growth, the inclusion of the porous bedrock can inhibit growth. The porous matrix serving as a large low - conductive reservoir can significantly influence the development of the fracture by slowing down dissolution growth through matrix diffusion. In a one dimensional model, this issue is further explored. Although the focus of the study is on modeling of early karstification, there are many common themes between this problem and other reactive transport problems that this model can be made suitable for exploring.

Sedimentary evidence for a rapid, kilometer-scale crustal doming prior to the eruption of the Emeishan flood basalts, 2003, He B. , Xu Y. G. , Chung S. L. , Xiao L. , Wang Y. ,
Biostratigraphic and sedimentologic investigations in 67 sections have been carried out for the Middle Permian Maokou Formation that immediately underlies the Emeishan flood basalts in southwest China. The results suggest a domal crustal thinning before the emplacement of the Emeishan large igneous province. Variably thinned carbonates in the Maokou Formation are capped by a subaerial unconformity, which is generally manifested by karst paleotopography, paleoweathering zone, or locally by relict gravels and basal conglomerates. Provenance analysis indicates that these gravels and conglomerates were mainly derived from the uppermost Maokou Formation. Therefore, the stratigraphic thinning likely resulted from differential erosion due to regional uplift. Iso-thickness contours of the Maokou Formation delineate a subcircular uplifted area, in accordance with the crustal doming caused by a starting mantle plume as predicted by experimental and numerical modeling. The duration of this uplift is estimated to be less than 3 Myr and the magnitude of uplift is greater than 1000 m. The sedimentary records therefore provide independent supporting evidence for the mantle plume initiation model for the generation of the Emeishan flood basalts. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

The influence of bedrock-derived acidity in the development of surface and underground karst: Evidence from the Precambrian carbonates of semi-arid northeastern Brazil, 2003, Auler As, Smart Pl,
Very extensive cave systems are developed in Precambrian Una Group carbonates in the Campo Formoso area, eastern Brazil. In contrast, the area is largely devoid of significant surface karst landforms, as would be expected given its semi-arid climate. The caves in the area display many morphological features characteristic of deep-seated hypogenic caves, such as lack of relationship with the surface, ramiform/network pattern, abrupt variations of passage cross-sections and absence of fluvial sediments, but do not show evidence of vertical passages marking the ascending path of acidic water nor present extensive gypsum or acid clay mineral deposits. Hydrochemical analyses of present-day ground water indicate that oxidation of bedrock sulphide is an active process, and sulphuric acid may be the main agent driving carbonate dissolution in the area. A shallow mode of speleogenesis is thus proposed, in which sulphuric acid produced through the oxidation of sulphide beds within the carbonates controls cave initiation and development. Moreover, the geological situation of the area in an ancient stable passive margin precludes the possibility of deep-seated sources of acidity. Under dry climate, due to the absence of recharge, solutional landforms will be largely subdued in the surface. Hypogenic processes, if present, are likely to predominate, producing a landscape characterized by a marked disparity in the comparative degree of development between surface and underground landforms. Rates of karst landform development have traditionally been analysed through a climatic perspective, runoff being the main controlling factor in promoting karst development. This view needs to be reassessed in the light of the growing awareness of the importance of climate-independent processes related to hypogenic sources of acidity.

Cambial growth of Swietenia macrophylla King studied under controlled conditions by high resolution laser measurements, 2003, Dunisch O, Schulte M, Kruse K,
The kinetics of phloem and xylem formation of two-year-old plants of Swietenia macrophylla King (true mahogany) was studied in a model system along the shoot circumference (experiment 1) and along the shoot axis (experiment 2). The radius increment of the shoot was registered by high resolution laser measurements (accuracy: 2 mum) in a spatial resolution of 7.8 to 41.3 mum along the stem circumference and 1.5 mm along the stem axis. The temporal resolution of the measurements was 2 s in experiment 1 and 20 s in experiment 2. The radius increment of the shoot detected by the laser measurements was predominately due to the radial enlargement of the phloem and xylem derivatives. On the phloem side the reinitiation of radial cell enlargement after a cambial dormancy occurred first in sieve tubes with contact to ray parenchyma cells, while on the xylem side the radial cell enlargement of vessels and paratracheal parenchyma was induced almost simultaneously along the shoot circumference. In the phloem and xylem derivatives, which were formed first after the cambial reactivation, radial cell enlargement was induced almost simultaneously along the shoot axis. In more advanced phases of phloem and xylem formation, radial cell enlargement of phloem and xylem derivatives was induced shoot downwards with a rate of approximately 13 mm per min. The mean rate of radial cell enlargement of the phloem and xylem derivatives was 2.26 and 4.37 mum per min, respectively. These findings suggest that the kinetics of cambial growth of tropical tree species differ significantly from kinetics observed in trees from temperate regions. The laser measurements might provide a useful experimental approach for studies of cambial activity in situ

Water quality improvement program effectiveness for carbonate aquifers in grazed land watersheds, 2005, Boyer Dg,
Water quality indicators of two agriculturally impacted karst areas in southeastern West Virginia were studied to determine the water quality effects of grazing agriculture and water quality trends following initiation of water quality improvement programs. Both areas are tributaries of the Greenbrier River and received funding for best management practices under the President's Initiative for Water Quality and then under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). After 11 years of study there was little evidence to suggest that water quality improved in one area. Three and a half years of study in the other area showed little evidence of consistent water quality improvement under EQIP. Lack of consistent water quality improvement at the catchment scale does not imply that the voluntary programs were failures. Increased livestock numbers as a result of successful changes in forage management practices may have overridden water quality improvements achieved through best management practices. Practices that target well defined contributing areas significantly impacting aquifer water quality might be one way to improve water quality at catchment scales in karst basins. For example, a significant decrease in fecal coliform concentrations was observed in subterranean drainage from one targeted sinkhole after dairy cattle were permanently excluded from the sinkhole

The hydrogeology of crystalline rocks as supporting evidence for tectonic inception in some epigean endokarsts, 2006, Faulkner, Trevor
This paper reviews the considerable advances made in recent years to understand the processes leading to the creation of the triple porosity hydrogeology described for karstic limestones. These have concentrated on the physics and chemistry of slow karst dissolution during the inception phase of conduit evolution in sedimentary limestones prior to 'breakthrough', and then considered the subsequent and more rapid phreatic enlargement into networks with high hydraulic conductivity. However, it is not only soluble rocks that can exhibit significant conductivities. A review of the literature of the hydrogeology of 'crystalline' (i.e. igneous and metamorphic) non-carbonate 'hard rocks' that dates from the late-1980s reveals that such rocks can also act as aquifers, especially near the surface. Their discharges supply natural springs and household wells and boreholes, flood mines, and put at risk the underground containment of hazardous wastes. Fractures are utilised within the crystalline rocks (which have negligible primary porosity, and which are assumed not to develop solutional conduits), so that flow rates can exceed the breakthrough point that, in limestones, would mark the transition from laminar to turbulent flow conditions, and fast dissolution. Similar processes should also apply to metamorphic limestones, and, indeed, to sedimentary limestones, some of which are now known to exhibit open fractures created by seismic or aseismic tectonism. In these cases, the slow chemical inception phase may be bypassed, because some karst passages may develop under phreatic conditions, at high wall-retreat rates, immediately after the inundation of epigean fractures formed tectonically. New models of speleogenetic initiation should therefore recognise both the appropriateness of the (chemical) Inception Horizon Hypothesis for the development of deep, long-range, conduits over long periods of time, as well as the importance of fast speleogenesis initiated by tect***[record truncated]***.

Mechanical stratigraphic controls on fracture patterns within carbonates and implications for groundwater flow, 2006, Cooke Ml, Simo Ja, Underwood Ca, Rijken P,
Groundwater flow in low matrix-permeability carbonate rocks is largely controlled by fracture networks. The stratigraphic features that control fracture initiation and termination within a sequence of sedimentary rock strata define the mechanical stratigraphy of the sequence. We investigate the effectiveness of various types of stratigraphic horizons in terminating opening-mode fractures in two different carbonate rock sequences: a relatively homogeneous dolomite sequence, in Door County, WI and an interbedded chalk and marl sequence within the Austin Chalk, TX. Additionally, we present analog and numerical modeling results that delineate the specific mechanisms that facilitate fracture termination. The combination of model results and empirical relationships between observed sedimentary features and mechanical stratigraphy shows: (1) fractures terminate at weak contacts (e.g. thin organic layers), shallowly buried contacts or thick fine-grained units adjacent to thin fractured beds, (2) fractures propagate across strong contacts (e.g. intracycle contacts between different lithology) and thin fine-grained units adjacent to thick fractured beds and (3) fractures step-over at moderate strength contacts. We use these guidelines to predict fracture network from sedimentary stratigraphy by qualitatively assessing the mechanical stratigraphy of a portion of the relatively complex Cretaceous shelf-margin sequence at Sant Corneli, Spain. This predictive demonstration illustrates the utility of assessing the mechanical stratigraphy of subsurface strata within which fractures are not directly observable. We conclude that for a variety of carbonate mechanical stratigraphic sequences, dominant fluid flow characteristics, such as horizontal high flow zones and flow compartmentalization, can be evaluated using fracture spacing and connectivity within fracture networks that is predicted from sedimentary stratigraphy. Although the resulting heterogeneous flow networks do not rely on every fracture present, they are highly dependent on the mechanical stratigraphy

Identifying Late Miocene episodes of connection and isolation in the Mediterranean-Paratethyan realm using Sr isotopes, 2006, Flecker R, Ellam Rm,
After decades of research, the timing and nature of Late Miocene connections between the Mediterranean, Paratethys and the global ocean are still speculative. The hydrologic flux implications of exchange or isolation are central to all hypotheses for generating the major lithological changes that represent the Messinian Salinity Crisis. Moreover, differences in the hydrologic fluxes envisaged are the primary distinction between models. Despite this, these fluxes remain largely unconstrained. This paper describes the basis for using Sr isotope data innovatively combined with salinity data through hydrologic budget modelling to determine the timing and nature of Mediterranean hydrologic connectivity. We examine the hypotheses for three Late Miocene events to illustrate how this approach allows us to test implied hydrologic scenarios and exclude incompatible models. 1) Pre-evaporite restriction of the Mediterranean; 2) the initiation of salt precipitation; 3) connection between the Sea of Marmara and both Paratethys and the Mediterranean during the Messinian. This process suggests that the Atlantic-Mediterranean exchange was significantly reduced up to three million years before evaporite precipitation. It also indicates that end-member hypotheses for initiating salt precipitation in the Mediterranean (desiccation and connected basin models) are inconsistent with Sr isotope data. A contrasting model where evaporite formation was triggered by Atlantic transgression into a strongly evaporation-dominated Mediterranean is shown to be more compatible with available datasets. The application to Sea of Marmara samples indicates that salinity changes in the basin were not caused by changes to the amount of inflow from either Paratethys or the Mediterranean. Other possible as yet untested applications important for constraining different aspects of the Messinian Salinity Crisis are highlighted

On the essence of karst, 2010, Klimchouk, O. B. , Andreychouk, V. N.

The long-lasting uncertainty with the central for karstology notion of karst hinders synthesis of knowledge and the development of a theoretical basis of this scientific discipline. This paper analyses the essence of karst, based on generalization of the modern ideas about regularities of the origin and evolution of conduit permeability in soluble rocks, viewed in the light of ideas of synergetics and non-equilibrium thermodynamics of I.P.Prigogine regarding self-organization in open systems and formation of ordered dissipative structures.

The presence of soluble rocks in the sedimentary environment determines a phenomena of self-organization of the flow structure, which brings the water-rock system into a new capacity-state, namely karstic. The property of self-organization of this geosystem realizes via specific (speleogenetic) mechanism of permeability development, which action radically changes (organizes in a special manner) the structure and functioning of the flow system.

The mechanism of self-organization of flow and of the formation of the karst geosystem (speleogenesis) includes: 1) early speleogenesis, positive feedback between flow and the rate of enlargement of initial flow paths (revealing of proto-conduits), 2) speleogenetic initiation: a cascade breakthroughs of proto-conduits to the condition of rapid dissolution kinetics, with accelerated growth of initiated conduits, hydrodynamic competition, respective destabilization and reorganization of the flow pattern and change in boundary conditions, and, 3) speleogenetic development: stabilization of the system at dynamic equilibrium at the expense of increased energy exchange with the environment, and further growth of conduits. As a result of this specific evolution the geosystem acquires new, karstic, capacity and more complex of organization, with the establishment of one more level of permeability, the most contrast one.

The notion of karst is derived from the essence of progressive evolution of the geosystem containing permeable soluble rocks, driven by water exchange and speleogenetic mechanism of self-organization of the permeability structure. Regressive evolution of the karst geosystem includes processes of gravitational destruction and various accumulations, which lead to fragmentation and demolition of relict structures of karst permeability. Based on this new approach to definition of the notion of karst, criteria of distinction between proper karst and similar but not identical phenomena (merokarst, pseudokarst) are discussed.

Reconnaissance study of active sulfide springs and cave systems in the southern part of the Sulaimani Governorate (NE Iraq), 2010, Iurkiewicz Adrian A. , Stevanovic Zoran P.

A fairly important number of springs with H2S degassing were identified in all three structural compartments of northeastern Iraq, namely the thrust, high and Low Folded Zones. The speleogenesis process is active for some of these systems and the sulfuric acid dissolution is partly documented for the initiation and actual progress of the process. Apart from carbonic acid dissolution of carbonate rocks, the speleogenesis process can also be activated and sustained by sulfuric acid dissolution. Caves genetically based on the oxidation of H2S have been described in a continuously increasing number of sites distributed worldwide. Presence of sulfide springs in the northeastern part of Iraq is normal rather than exceptional. It is assumed that H2S from deeper oil/gas structures, or only resulting from hydrocarbons existent in caprocks or in
carbonate layers, is entrapped within the anticline plunge. Groundwater monitoring and intensive mapping activities exploiting UN-FAO program research data (2001–2003) support the preliminary hypothesis concerning the understanding and analysis of the most relevant sulfide spring. Specific to these karst systems is the combination of chemical/dissolution processes leading to mixed karst morphology features heaving as starting point occurrences of gypsum layers and possible hydrocarbon solutions inflows.

Flank margin caves in carbonate islands and the effects of sea level., 2013, Mylroie J. E. , Mylroie J. R.

Flank margin caves form in the diffuse flow field of the distal margin of the freshwater lens on carbonate islands and coasts. Dissolution is governed by superposition of mixing zones at the top and bottom of the lens. Flow velocities in the lens margins and organic decay at the lens boundaries enhance dissolution. These caves grow from isolated initiation points in the lens into chambers that amalgamate to form complex, vertically restricted, globular-chamber complexes. The caves and their deposits accurately represent sea-level position and paleoclimate but must be successfully differentiated from sea caves and other pseudokarst features..

CAVES AND KARST-LIKE FEATURES IN PROTEROZOIC GNEISS AND CAMBRIAN GRANITE, SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL SRI LANKA: AN INTRODUCTION, 2013, Osborne R. A. L. , Weliange W. S. , Jayasingha Pathmakumara, Dandeniya A. S. , Algiriya A. K. Prageeth P. & Pogson Ross E.

There has been little study of the geology and geomorphology of the caves and karst­like features developed in the Proterozoic gneiss and Cambrian granite of Sri Lanka. This lack of study is surprising given that caves and rockshelters in these rocks contain significant archaeological and cultural sites. Caves and karren, both mimicking those developed in carbonate rocks, have formed both in gneiss, which is the dominant rock type of the Proterozoic crust of the island and in granite. In addition to overhangs, boulder caves, soil pipes and tectonic caves, tunnel caves, arch caves and block breakdown caves of significant size are developed in siliceous rocks in Sri Lanka. while metamorphosed dolomites are interfoliated within the gneissic suite, simple removal of carbonate by solution from within the surrounding rock cannot account for all or most of the speleogenesis observed. while spalling and breakdown are responsible for cave enlargement, cave initiation is probably due to either phreatic solution of silicates and/or phantom rock processes. Speleothems and cave minerals including silicates, phosphates, gypsum, carbonates and niter are found in the caves. Active silicate speleothems are not restricted to joints and fissures and suggest that solution of silicates is currently occurring within the body of the rock in the vadose zone. while guano is the likely source of the phosphate, sulfate and nitrate, the source of the calcium in the carbonates remains unclear. Caves in the intrusive and metamorphic rocks of Sri Lanka are enigmatic. They are unexpectedly similar in appearance to their carbonate karst counterparts. Continuing research will allow them to hold a mirror to our understanding of speleogenesis, mineralization and sedimentation in carbonate karst caves.

The primokarst, former stages of karstification, or how solution caves can born, 2014, Rodet, J.

The historical approach of the karst always gave preferential treatment to the study of the superficial phenomena or underground cavities explored by human. However as demonstrated by hydrogeologists, the main karst development keep out of reach because of the too small sizing of drains or due to its filling. Consequently appears the question about the inception drain, the way used by the water from the sink hole to reach its resurgence. Some authors consider this primary link as obvious when the practice demonstrates clearly that the hydrodynamic continuity results of a very long, complex and selective evolution, essentially geochemical. This is the field of the drain inception stages, that we can spell “prekarst” or “primokarst”. Those stages include the successive fields of isalterite and alloterite. This last one opens by compaction a free space and allows a concentrated hydrodynamic flow. These processes, at the origin of the endokarst initiation, can develop on the side of synchronous mechanical dynamics if in the same drain or under a regolith coverage, something divides the bedrock and the quick flow. Without any doubt, this is the purview of the cryptokarst and of the cave walls under filling. We can observe it in the progradation front of the introduction karst or in the retrogradation front of the restitution karst.


Initiation and development of karstification requires a con­tinuous flushing of pore water in equilibrium with carbon­ate minerals. Under confined flow conditions, the energy required for pore water transport is supplied by external pressure sources in addition to the by earth’s gravity. Earth tides and water loads over the confined flow system are the main sources of ex­ternal pressure that drives the pore water. Earth tides, created by the sum of the horizontal components of tide generation forces of moon and sun, causes expansion and contraction of the crust in horizontal direction. Water load on top of the confined flow system causes vertical loading/unloading and may be in the form of recharge load or ocean loading in the inland and sub-oceanic settings, respectively. Increasing and decreasing tide generating force results in pore water transport in the confined system by means of contraction and expansion, respectively. Since these forces operate in perpendicular directions, pore water flushing by earth tides becomes less effective when water load on top of the confined flow system increases. Temporal variation of fresh­water content in a submarine cave is presented as an example of groundwater discharge driven by earth tides and recharge load.

Chemistry and Karst, 2015, White, William B.

The processes of initiation and development of characteris­tic surface karst landforms and underground caves are nearly all chemical processes. This paper reviews the advances in understanding of karst chemistry over the past 60 years. The equilibrium chemistry of carbonate and sulfate dissolution and deposition is well established with accurate values for the necessary constants. The equations for bulk kinetics are known well enough for accurate modeling of speleogenetic processes but much is being learned about atomic scale mechanisms. The chemistry of karst waters, expressed as parameters such as total dissolved carbonates, saturation index, and equilibrium carbon dioxide pressure are useful tools for probing the internal char­acteristics of karst aquifers. Continuous records of chemical parameters (chemographs) taken from springs and other karst waters mapped onto discharge hydrographs reveal details of the internal flow system. The chemistry of speleothem deposi­tion is well understood at the level of bulk processes but much has been learned of the surface chemistry on an atomic scale by use of the atomic force microscope. Least well understood is the chemistry of hypogenetic karst. The main chemical reac­tions are known but equilibrium modeling could be improved and reaction kinetics are largely unknown.

Results 31 to 45 of 45
You probably didn't submit anything to search for