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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 rabies is an infectious disease of the central nervous system in mammals, caused by a lyssavirus. usually transferred by the bite of an infected animal, such as dogs, skunks, racoons, or rarely bats. characterized by choking, convulsions, inability to swallow, etc. different genetic strains are now recognized and can be identified by tests. transfer of rabies from bats via aerosols to caged animals in a cave has been demonstrated, but has not been proven in humans [23].?

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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;
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Your search for expression (Keyword) returned 46 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 31 to 45 of 46
Resolving the Richat enigma: Doming and hydrothermal karstification above an alkaline complex, 2005, Matton G. , Jbrak M. , Lee J. K. W.

The Richat structure (Sahara, Mauritania) appears as a large  dome at least 40 km in diameter within a Late Proterozoic to Ordovician  sequence. Erosion has created circular cuestas represented  by three nested rings dipping outward from the structure. The  center of the structure consists of a limestone-dolomite shelf that  encloses a kilometer-scale siliceous breccia and is intruded by basaltic  ring dikes, kimberlitic intrusions, and alkaline volcanic  rocks. Several hypotheses have been presented to explain the spectacular  Richat structure and breccia, but their origin remains enigmatic.  The breccia body is lenticular in shape and irregularly thins  at its extremities to only a few meters. The breccia was created  during karst dissolution and collapse. Internal sediments fill the  centimeter- to meter-scale cavities. Alkaline enrichment and the  presence of Cretaceous automorphous neoformed K-feldspar demonstrate  the hydrothermal origin of these internal sediments and  their contemporaneity with magmatism. A model is proposed in  which doming and the production of hydrothermal fluids were instrumental  in creating a favorable setting for dissolution. The circular  Richat structure and its breccia core thus represent the superficial  expression of a Cretaceous alkaline complex with an  exceptionally well preserved hydrothermal karst infilling at its  summit.


Growth, Demise, and Dolomitization of Miocene Carbonate Platforms on the Marion Plateau, Offshore NE Australia, 2006, Ehrenberg Sn, Mcarthur Jm, Thirlwall Mf,
Strontium-isotope stratigraphy has been used to examine the timing of depositional events and dolomitization in two Miocene carbonate platforms cored by Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Leg 194, just seaward of the Great Barrier Reef. The results provide firm constraints for correlating surfaces and depositional stages between the two platforms and thereby relating seismic sequences previously defined in the off-platform sediments to the lithostratigraphic units described from cores in the seismically transparent platform-top sites. Oyster-bearing beds at the base of both platform successions yield early Oligocene ages (29-31 Ma), thus dating initial transgression of the Marion Plateau's volcanic basement. There followed a period of slow accumulation of shallow-water grainstones rich in quartz and phosphate grains in late Oligocene time (29-23 Ma; seismic Megasequence A). The main growth of the carbonate platforms took place in early to late Miocene time (23-7 Ma), comprising five depositional sequences. The first four of these (seismic Megasequence B) are common to both platforms and terminated with a possible karst surface at 10.7 Ma. Different sedimentologic expression of this megasequence in the two platforms reflects contrasting progradational versus aggradational geometries in the locations studied. The final growth stage (seismic Megasequence C) occurred only in the southern platform and terminated at 6.9 Ma. Both platform-demise events (10.7 and 6.9 Ma) approximately coincide with falls in global sea level combined with longer-term trends of decreasing water temperature. Sr-isotope ages of dolostones increase with depositional age, and older dolostones in the southern platform have more coarsely crystalline and fabric-destructive textures than overlying younger dolostones. These relationships are consistent with dolomitization by normal seawater shortly after deposition and overprinting of multiple times of dolomite recrystallization and cementation in the deeper strata

Spatial and temporal expression of vegetation and atmospheric variability from stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of bat guano in the southern United States., 2007, Wurster, C. M. , Mcfarlane, D. A. , And Bird, M. I.

Hypogene Speleogenesis: Hydrogeological and Morphogenetic Perspective., 2007, Klimchouk A. B.

This book provides an overview of the principal environments, main processes and manifestations of hypogenic speleogenesis, and refines the relevant conceptual framework. It consolidates the notion of hypogenic karst as one of the two major types of karst systems (the other being epigenetic karst). Karst is viewed in the context of regional groundwater flow systems, which provide the systematic transport and distribution mechanisms needed to produce and maintain the disequilibrium conditions necessary for speleogenesis. Hypogenic and epigenic karst systems are regularly associated with different types, patterns and segments of flow systems, characterized by distinct hydrokinetic, chemical and thermal conditions. Epigenic karst systems are predominantly local systems, and/or parts of recharge segments of intermediate and regional systems. Hypogenic karst is associated with discharge regimes of regional or intermediate flow systems.

Various styles of hypogenic caves that were previously considered unrelated, specific either to certain lithologies or chemical mechanisms are shown to share common hydrogeologic genetic backgrounds. In contrast to the currently predominant view of hypogenic speleogenesis as a specific geochemical phenomenon, the broad hydrogeological approach is adopted in this book. Hypogenic speleogenesis is defined with reference to the source of fluid recharge to the cave-forming zone, and type of flow system. It is shown that confined settings are the principal hydrogeologic environment for hypogenic speleogenesis. However, there is a general evolutionary trend for hypogenic karst systems to lose their confinement due to uplift and denudation and due to their own expansion. Confined hypogenic caves may experience substantial modification or be partially or largely overprinted under subsequent unconfined (vadose) stages, either by epigenic processes or continuing unconfined hypogenic processes, especially when H2S dissolution mechanisms are involved.

Hypogenic confined systems evolve to facilitate cross-formational hydraulic communication between common aquifers, or between laterally transmissive beds in heterogeneous soluble formations, across cave-forming zones. The latter originally represented low-permeability, separating units supporting vertical rather than lateral flow. Layered heterogeneity in permeability and breaches in connectivity between different fracture porosity structures across soluble formations are important controls over the spatial organization of evolving ascending hypogenic cave systems. Transverse hydraulic communication across lithological and porosity system boundaries, which commonly coincide with major contrasts in water chemistry, gas composition and temperature, is potent enough to drive various disequilibrium and reaction dissolution mechanisms. Hypogenic speleogenesis may operate in both carbonates and evaporites, but also in some clastic rocks with soluble cement. Its main characteristic is the lack of genetic relationship with groundwater recharge from the overlying or immediately adjacent surface. It may not be manifest at the surface at all, receiving some expression only during later stages of uplift and denudation. In many instances, hypogenic speleogenesis is largely climate- independent.

There is a specific hydrogeologic mechanism inherent in hypogenic transverse speleogenesis (restricted input/output) that suppresses the positive flow-dissolution feedback and speleogenetic competition in an initial flowpath network. This accounts for the development of more pervasive channeling and maze patterns in confined settings where appropriate structural prerequisites exist. As forced-flow regimes in confined settings are commonly sluggish, buoyancy dissolution driven by either solute or thermal density differences is important in hypogenic speleogenesis.

In identifying hypogenic caves, the primary criteria are morphological (patterns and meso-morphology) and hydrogeological (hydrostratigraphic position and recharge/flow pattern viewed from the perspective of the evolution of a regional groundwater flow system). Elementary patterns typical for hypogenic caves are network mazes, spongework mazes, irregular chambers and isolated passages or crude passage clusters. They often combine to form composite patterns and complex 3- D structures. Hypogenic caves are identified in various geological and tectonic settings, and in various lithologies. Despite these variations, resultant caves demonstrate a remarkable similarity in cave patterns and meso-morphology, which strongly suggests that the hydrogeologic settings were broadly identical in their formation. Presence of the characteristic morphologic suites of rising flow with buoyancy components is one of the most decisive criteria for identifying hypogenic speleogenesis, which is much more widespread than was previously presumed. Hypogenic caves include many of the largest, by integrated length and by volume, documented caves in the world.

The refined conceptual framework of hypogenic speleogenesis has broad implications in applied fields and promises to create a greater demand for karst and cave expertise by practicing hydrogeology, geological engineering, economic geology, and mineral resource industries. Any generalization of the hydrogeology of karst aquifers, as well as approaches to practical issues and resource prospecting in karst regions, should take into account the different nature and characteristics of hypogenic and epigenic karst systems. Hydraulic properties of karst aquifers, evolved in response to hypogenic speleogenesis, are characteristically different from epigenic karst aquifers. In hypogenic systems, cave porosity is roughly an order of magnitude greater, and areal coverage of caves is five times greater than in epigenic karst systems. Hypogenic speleogenesis commonly results in more isotropic conduit permeability pervasively distributed within highly karstified areas measuring up to several square kilometers. Although being vertically and laterally integrated throughout conduit clusters, hypogenic systems, however, do not transmit flow laterally for considerable distances. Hypogenic speleogenesis can affect regional subsurface fluid flow by greatly enhancing initially available cross- formational permeability structures, providing higher local vertical hydraulic connections between lateral stratiform pathways for groundwater flow, and creating discharge segments of flow systems, the areas of low- fluid potential recognizable at the regional scale. Discharge of artesian karst springs, which are modern outlets of hypogenic karst systems, is often very large and steady, being moderated by the high karstic storage developed in the karstified zones and by the hydraulic capacity of an entire artesian system. Hypogenic speleogenesis plays an important role in conditioning related processes such as hydrothermal mineralization, diagenesis, and hydrocarbon transport and entrapment.

An appreciation of the wide occurrence of hypogenic karst systems, marked specifics in their origin, development and characteristics, and their scientific and practical importance, calls for revisiting and expanding the current predominantly epigenic paradigm of karst and cave science.


Time scales in the evolution of solution porosity in porous coastal carbonate aquifers by mixing corrosion in the saltwater-freshwater transition zone, 2007, Dreybrodt W. , Romanov D.

Dissolution of calcium carbonate in the saltwater-freshwater mixing zone of coastal carbonate aquifers up to now has been treated by coupling geochemical equilibrium codes to a reactive- transport model. The result is a complex nonlinear coupled set of differential transport-advection equations, which need high computational efforts. However, if dissolution rates of calcite are sufficiently fast, such that one can assume the solution to be in equilibrium with respect to calcite a highly simplified modelling approach can be used. To calculate initial changes of porosity in the rock matrix one only needs to solve the advection-transport equation for salinity s in the freshwater lens and its transition zone below the island. Current codes on density driven flow such as SEAWAT can be used. To obtain the dissolution capacity of the mixed saltwater-freshwater solutions the calcium equilibrium concentration ceq(s) is obtained as a function of salinity by PHREEQC-2. Initial porosity changes can then be calculated by a simple analytical expression of the gradient of the spatial distribution s(x, y) of salinity, the distribution of flow fluxes q(x,y) and the second derivative of the calcium equilibrium concentration ceq(s) with respect to salinity s. This modelling approach is employed to porosity evolution in homogeneous and heterogeneous carbonate islands and coastal aquifers. The geometrical patterns of porosity changes and the reasons of their origin will be discussed in detail. The results reveal initial changes of porosity in the order of several 10-6 per year. This places the time scale of cavern evolution to orders from several tens of thousands to a hundred thousand years.


Aspects of the evolution of an important geo-ecosystem in the Lessinian Mountain (Venetian Prealps, Italy), 2007, Latella L. , Sauro U.

The Grotta dell’Arena (476 V/VR), located in the Lessinian Mountain, at the elevation of 1512 m a.s.l., is a very important underground karst system. Although it is only 74 m long, several of the geological, geomorphological and environmental features of the High Lessinian underground karst are present in this cave. The Grotta dell’Arena shares some common geological and faunistic characters with other important and well known karst systems. This cave has also one of the highest number of troglobitic species in all Venetian Prealps and some of them possibly originated in the pre-Qquaternary. From the geological point of view the cave is the expression of a contact karst, where different limestone types come in contact both stratigraphically and along tectonic structures. The Grotta dell’Arena is located at the stratigraphic contact between the “Calcari del Gruppo di San Vigilio” and the “Rosso Ammonitico” and it is very close to a fault plane putting in vertical contact the two above formations with the “Biancone”, a kind of limestone closely stratified and densely fractured, very sensible to frost weathering. It is interesting to note the presence of a good number of species of Tertiary, or more generally pre-Qquaternary, originate in the Grotta dell’Arena. This presence is possibly related to the geology of caves. In this paper the different kinds of underground karst systems in the Grottta dell’Arena and Lessinian Mountain, are analyzed and the relation with the cave fauna distribution are taken in consideration.


Les Pavements calcaires (Limestone pavements). Caractrisation et valeur patrimoniale dun habitat complexe selon une approche pluridisciplinaire, 2008, Gaudillat V.
Limestone pavements. Characterization and patrimonial value of a complex habitat according to a pluridisciplinary approach. The "Habitats" directive aims to preserve biodiversity within the European Union. Within habitats of community interest that have to be maintained in good conservation are limestone pavements. Difficulties in their characteristics led to specifying its definition for France. A pluridisciplinary study proved to be necessary, with a geomorphological approach in the first time, later adding vegetation. In the beginning, the habitat was mentioned only in the United Kingdom and in Ireland, its official definition is built on its expression in these two States. To help with comprehension, a short presentation of British and Irish pavements is made. It turns out that limestone pavements constitute a type of tabular karren field with a network of fissures (grikes or Kluftkarren) which flat blocks in between (clints or Flachkarren). The vegetation is characterized by a mosaic made up of fissure plant communities rich in ferns, moist vegetations of pits and pans, grasslands, heaths, thickets, even wooded parts. In France this habitat is mainly present in the calcareous Forealps and more sparsely in the Jura, the internal and middle Alps, the Mediterranean region and the Pyrenees. Very little synthetic studies about this habitat exist in France, and its patrimonial value is hardly documented. However, it has a real geological and geomorphological interest, in particular as a record of the landscape and climate evolution. The habitat offers a great diversity of ecological niches corresponding to an important diversity of flora and fauna. These, however, are rarely specific to the habitat and can be found also in other contexts.Still, threatened or rare species with high patrimonial value can be found on the pavements. The situation highly varies from one site to another. This pluridisciplinary approach presents the various aspects of the habitat according to the used disciplines and to sensibilizes specialists and users of this habitat towards its preservation.

Determination of the age of relief and denudation rates of the south-west part of the Inner Range of the Mountainous Crimea from karstological and speleological data, 2011, Klimchouk A. B. , Tymokhina E. I. , Amelichev G. M. , Dublyansky Yu. V. , Staubwasser M.

U/Th dating of calcite speleotems of karst cavities in the south-west part of the Inner Range of the Mountainous Crimea permitted to establish age constrains for the period of termination of the hypogenic development of karst systems and for geomorphologic settings corresponding to incipient and mature expression of the Paleocene segment of the range in relief. This also allowed evaluating rates of denudational deepening of the southern longitudinal depression (SLD). It is found that the main elements of the relief in this belt of the fore-mountains had been formed during the second half of Middle Pleistocene, which changes substantially a concept of the age of the relief for the region toward younger values. The rate of denudational deepening of the depression is determined to be 1.36 (0,08) mm/a. For the time intervals of the second half of Middle Pleistocene (250 130 ka) and Late Pleistocene Holocene (last 130 ka) the rates are, respectively, 0.9 and 1.8 mm/a, although determined with much higher error (0,3 mm/a). The increase in the rates of the denudational deepening of the SLD during Late Pleistocene Holocene indicates the respective increase in the uplift rates


CONDICIONANTS LITOLGICS I ESTRUCTURALS DEL CARST A LES ILLES BALEARS, 2011, Forns J. J. , Gelabert B.

The lithology and structural setting of the rocks which form the island of Mallorca are magnificent bases on which karstic phenomena develop. Almost every geological period is continually represented here, from the Carboniferous to the Pleistocene (only part of the Upper Cretaceous and Lower Paleogene being absent). The approximate thickness of the stratigraphic sequence is 3,000 m in which carbonate deposits (not only limestones but also dolomites) constitute the most important lithologies. The main structure consists of thrust sheets imbricated in a NW transport direction. Such deformation took place during the alpine orogeny. Furthermore, the existence of impervious materials from the Keuper at the base of the thrust sheets, added to the imbricate thrusts system structure, cause permeable zones to remain isolated by areas of impervious material. The development during the post-orogenic phase (Late Miocene) of a carbonate reef deposition, forms a large tabular slab where the phenomena related to coastal karst have its maximum expression. Menorca, can be divided into two very distinct parts. The northern half or Tramuntana, well structured, but dominated by the presence of siliceous material from the Devonian with a couple of large slabs of Mesozoic limestones and dolomites, quite different from Migjorn, in the south, where the Late Miocene calcarenites and calcisiltites clearly dominate. Eivissa can be assimilated to the same structure of the Tramuntana mountains of Mallorca, which are almost exclusively dominated by carbonate materials, particularly the dolomites, but the limestones from the middle Triassic and the marls (Cretaceous and lower Miocene) are very abundant. Formentera is dominated at both ends of the island by sea cliffs cut on Miocene reefal limestones joined by an isthmus where Pleistocene aeolian calcarenites outcrops.


NALPS: a precisely dated European climate record 12060 ka, 2011, Boch R. , Cheng H. , Spotl C. , Edwards R. L. , Wang X. , Hauselmann Ph.

Accurate and precise chronologies are essential in understanding the rapid and recurrent climate variations of the Last Glacial – known as Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) events – found in the Greenland ice cores and other climate archives. The existing chronological uncertainties during the Last Glacial, however, are still large. Radiometric age data and stable isotopic signals from speleothems are promising to improve the absolute chronology. We present a record of several precisely dated stalagmites from caves located at the northern rim of the Alps (NALPS), a region that favours comparison with the climate in Greenland. The record covers most of the interval from 120 to 60 ka at an average temporal resolution of 2 to 22 yr and 2_-age uncertainties of ca. 200 to 500 yr. The rapid and large oxygen isotope shifts of 1 to 4.5‰ occurred within decades to centuries and strongly mimic the Greenland D-O pattern. Compared to the updated Greenland ice-core timescale (GICC05modelext) the NALPS record confirms the timing of rapid warming and cooling transitions between 118 and 106 ka, but suggests younger ages for D-O events between 106 and 60 ka. As an exception, the timing of the rapid transitions into and out of the stadial following GI 22 is earlier in NALPS than in the Greenland ice-core timescale. In addition, there is a discrepancy in the duration of this stadial between the icecore and the stalagmite chronology (ca. 2900 vs. 3650 yr). The short-lived D-O events 18 and 18.1 are not recorded in NALPS, provoking questions with regard to the nature and the regional expression of these events. NALPS resolves recurrent short-lived climate changes within the cold Greenland stadial and warm interstadial successions, i.e. abrupt warming events preceding GI 21 and 23 (precursor-type events) and at the end of GI 21 and 25 (rebound-type events), as well as intermittent cooling events during GI 22 and 24. Such superimposed events have not yet been documented outside Greenland.

 


A geomorphological and speleological approach in the study of hydrogeology of gypsum karst of Sorbas (SE Spain), 2012, Sanna L, Gazquez F. , Calaforra J. M.

The Sorbas massif (Almeria, SE Spain) is one of most karstified gypsiferous areas of the world, with hundreds of dolines and different karst features. In this massif more than 1000 caves have been discovered in an area of about 12 km2. Its Messinian gypsum, deposited in a Neogene intramontane basin, is composed of continuous strata of very pure selenite. The purpose of this research is to identify the main karst geomorphological features and to integrate these data with hydrogeological records for better understanding the role of the karst aquifer in the groundwater recharge of the Aguas River. This study took place in the southern part of the Sorbas gypsum plateau with several steps and multiple field campaigns for geomorphological and geostructural data compilation and to record the different karst forms. Also water samples from the main springs have been collected for geochemical analysis. All field items have been inventoried with corresponding spatial position and compared with the previously existing information. Subsequently, an exhaustive data elaboration was performed leading to the definition of the karst features of the area, rendered by maps. To assess the extent of karstification, the spatial analysis of the cave entrance’s distribution together with structural alignments have been studied.
The cave entrances, a means of access to deep karst, are an expression of discontinuous surface karst phenomenon closely connected with underground drainage that allow to reconstruct the main direction of groundwater flow. This kind of approach can be apply in those areas where rock is exploited, to discern a possible indicator of the effects of the mining and to find the best management conditions that allow the conservation of most of the cavities, the preservation of the recharge basin of the karst system and springs, the minimum affectation to the vadose groundwater flow, the protection of nearby springs and minimizing the visual impact.


HYPOGENIC SPELEOGENESIS IN THE CRIMEAN FORE-MOUNTAINS (THE BLACK SEA REGION, SOUTH UKRAINE) AND ITS ROLE IN THE REGIONAL GEOMORPHOLOGY, 2013, Klimchouk A. , Amelichev G. , Tymokhina E. , Tokarev S.

 

The leading role in the geomorphic development of the Crimean fore-mountain region is played by the processes of dismemberment of “shielding” limestone layers of the monoclinal stratified structure through valley entrenchment, and by further retreat of vertical rocky outcrops via block-toppling mechanism. These processes are guided by the presense of hypogene karst structures, whose formation preceded the modern relief. Karstified fracture-karst zones, 100 to 400 m wide, in the Cretaceous-Paleogene strata controlled the entrenchment of valleys in the limestone layers. The basic elements of hypogenic karst structures, which form their spatial framework, are sub-vertical fracture-karst conduits (karst “rifts”). Denudational opening of vertical fracture-karst rift conduits in limestone layers set the cliff-like shape of valleys slopes, and presence of such rift conduits in the rear of cliffs of already incised valleys determines the block-toppling mechanisms of slope retreat. This maintains the verticality of cliff segments in the cuesta ridge and controls their position. Hypogenic sculptural morphology is extensively displayed in the exposed walls of cliffs (former conduit walls), which determines the originality and nomenclature of morphology of limestone cliffs of the Inner Ridge. In those areas of slopes where position of cliffs has stabilized for considerable time due to absence of new lines of block detachment in the rear, weathering becomes a significant process in the morphogenesis of surfaces. The abundance, outstanding expression, preservation and accessibility of relict hypogene karst features in the extensive cuesta cliffs of the Inner Ridge makes the region the foremost one for studying regularities of hypogene solution porosity development, the process currently ongoing in the adjacent artesian basin of the Plain Crimea.


DELINEATION AND CLASSIFICATION OF KARST DEPRESSIONS USING LIDAR: FORT HOOD MILITARY INSTALLATION, TEXAS, 2013, Shaw Faulkner M. G. , Stafford K. W. , Bryant A. W.

The Fort Hood Military Installation is a karst landscape characterized by Cretaceous-age limestone plateaus and canyons in Bell and Coryell Counties, Texas. The area is located in the Lampasas Cut Plain region of the Edwards Plateau and is stratigraphically defined by exposures of the Fredericksburg Group. Spatial interpolation of 105 km2 of the Fort Hood Military Installation provided depression data that were delineated and classified using geoanalytical methods. Most of the karst features within the study area are predominantly surficial expressions of collapse features, creating windows into karst conduits with surficial exposures of epikarst spatially limited.The increasing capabilities of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and accuracy of geographically referenced data has provided the basis for more detailed terrain analysis and modeling. Research on terrain-related surface features is highly dependent on terrain data collection and the generation of digital models. Traditional methods such as field surveying can yield accurate results; however, they are limited by time and physical constraints. Within the study area, dense vegetation and military land use preclude extensive traditional karst survey inventories. Airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) provides an alternative for high-density and high-accuracy three-dimensional terrain point data collection. The availability of high density data makes it possible to represent terrain in great detail; however, high density data significantly increases data volume, which can impose challenges with respect to data storage, processing, and manipulation. Although LiDAR analysis can be a powerful tool, filter mechanisms must be employed to remove major natural and anthropogenic terrain modifications resulting from military use, road building and maintenance, and the natural influence of water bodies throughout the study area.


ISOTOPIC STUDIES OF BYPRODUCTS OF HYPOGENE SPELEOGENESIS AND THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO THE GEOLOGIC EVOLUTION OF THE WESTERN UNITED STATES, 2014, Polyak V. J. , Asmerom Y. , Hill C. A. , Palmer A. N. , Provencio P. P. , Palmer M. V. , Mcintosh W. C. , Decker D. D. , Onac B. P.

Hypogene speleogenesis in the western United States is associated with a deep source of water and gases that rise and mix with shallow aquifer water. Caves are formed below the surface without surface expressions (ie, sinkholes, sinking streams), and byproducts of speleogenesis are precipitated during the late phase of hypogene speleogenesis. These byproducts provide geochemical and geochronological evidence of a region’s geologic history and include gypsum rinds and blocks, elemental sulfur, halloysite-10Å, alunite, natroalunite, and other sulfur-related minerals. The following speleogenetic and speleothemic features are common: alteration rinds, crusts, mammillaries, folia, rafts, and cave spar. The types of hypogene speleogenesis vary and many can be expressed in space and time in relation to paleo-water tables. We identify two general types: (1) H2S-H2SO4-dominated speleogenesis that takes place predominantly near a paleo-water table (a few meters above and below), and (2) CO2-dominated speleogenesis that mostly takes place 10s to 100s of meters below a paleo-water table, with latest-stage imprints within meters of the water table.
The Kane caves in Wyoming, and the Guadalupe Mountains caves in New Mexico and West Texas, are examples of H2S-H2SO4-dominated speleogenesis (also known as sulfuric acid speleogenesis, SAS), where deposits of H2S- and H2SO4-origin are the obvious fingerprints. The Grand Canyon caves in Arizona and Glenwood Caverns in Colorado are examples of CO2-dominated systems, where H2SO4 likely played a smaller role (Onac et al., 2007). Deeper-seated geode-like caves, like the spar caves in the Delaware Basin area, are probably CO2-dominated, and have formed at greater depths (~0.5 ± 0.3 km) below paleo-water tables. Caves in the Black Hills, South Dakota are composite and complex and show evidence for multiple phases of hypogene speleogenesis. In areas such as the Grand Canyon region, these paleo-water tables, when they existed in thick carbonate rock stratigraphy and especially at the top of the thick carbonate rock strata, were likely regionally relatively flat in the larger intact tectonic blocks.
Geochemical studies of these deposits are providing information about the timing of speleogenesis through U-Th, U-Pb, and Ar-dating. In addition, tracer data from isotopes of C, O, S, Sr, and U are indicators of the sources of water and gases involved in speleogenesis. From these studies, novel canyon incision and landscape evolution interpretations are appearing in the literature. Beyond this, the study of these byproduct materials seems to show evidence that the deeply sourced water and gases involved in hypogene speleogenesis in the western United States are generated during tectonic and volcanic activity, and may be related to mantle processes associated with formation of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Plateau, Basin and Range province, and Rio Grande Rift.


International Conference on Groundwater in Karst, Programme and Abstracts, 2015, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, 2015,

Carbonate rocks present a particular challenge to hydrogeologists as the major groundwater flux is through an integrated network of dissolutionally enlarged channels that discharge via discrete springs. The channels span a very wide aperture range: the smallest are little more than micro-fractures or pathways through the rock matrix but at the other end of the spectrum (and commonly in the same rock mass) channels may grow to dimensions where they can be explored by humans and are called caves. Groundwater transmission through the smaller channels that are commonly intersected by boreholes is very slow and has often been analysed using equivalent porous media models although the limitations of such models are increasingly recognised. At the other end of the spectrum (and commonly in the same rock mass) flow through the larger conduits is analogous to ‘a surface stream with a roof’ and may be amenable to analysis by models devised for urban pipe networks. Regrettably, hydrogeologists have too often focussed on the extreme ends of the spectrum, with those carbonates possessing large and spectacular landforms regarded as “karst” whereas carbonates with little surface expression commonly, but incorrectly labelled as “non-karstic”. This can lead to failures in resource management. Britain is remarkable for the variety of carbonate rocks that crop out in a small geographical area. They range in age and type from Quaternary freshwater carbonates, through Cenozoic, Mesozoic and Paleozoic limestones and dolostones, to Proterozoic metacarbonates. All near surface British carbonates are soluble and groundwater is commonly discharged from them at springs fed by dissolutionally enlarged conduits, thereby meeting one internationally accepted definition of karst. Hence, it is very appropriate that Britain, and Birmingham as Britain's second largest city, hosts this International Conference on Groundwater in Karst. The meeting will consider the full range of carbonate groundwater systems and will also have an interdisciplinary approach to understanding karst in its fullest sense.


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