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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 total pore space is the sum of interconnected and noninterconnected pore space [16].?

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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 unsaturated zone (Keyword) returned 66 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 46 to 60 of 66
Palaeoclimate Research in Villars Cave (Dordogne, SW-France), 2008, Genty, D.

Villars Cave is a typical shallow cave from South-West France (45.44°N; 0.78°E; 175 m asl) that has provided several speleothem palaeoclimatic records such as the millennial scale variability of the Last Glacial period and the Last Deglaciation. Monitoring the Villars cave environment over a 13-year period has helped in the understanding of the stable isotopic speleothem content and in the hydrology. For example, it was demonstrated that most of the calcite CaCO3 carbon comes from the soil CO2, which explains the sensitivity of the δ13C to any vegetation and climatic changes. Drip rate monitoring, carried out under four stalactites from the lower and upper galleries, has shown a well marked seasonality of the seepage water with high flow rates during winter and spring. A time delay of about two months is observed between the water excess (estimated from outside meteorological stations) and the drip rate in the cave. A great heterogeneity in the flow rate amplitude variations and in the annual quantity of water between two nearby stalactites is observed, confirming the complexity of the micro-fissure network system in the unsaturated zone. At a daily scale, the air pressure and drip rates are anti-correlated probably because of pressure stress on the fissure network. Cave air CO2 concentration follows soil CO2 production and is correlated with its δ13C content. Since the beginning of the monitoring, the cave air temperature, in both lower and upper galleries, displays a warming trend of ~+0.4°C±0.1/10yrs. This might be the consequence of the outside temperature increase that reaches the Villars Cave galleries through thermal wave conduction. Chemistry monitoring over a few years has shown that the seepage water of the lower gallery stations is significantly more concentrated in trace and minor elements (i.e. Sr, Mg, Ba, U) than the upper stations, probably due to the 10-20 m depth difference between these galleries, which implies a different seepage pathway and different water/rock interaction durations. There is also, in the elemental concentration (i.e. [Ca]), a seasonal signal which causes variation in the speleothem growth rates. Modern calcite deposit experiments conducted for several years have permitted the calculation of vertical growth rates, which are extremely high in Villars (i.e. 1.0 to 1.75 mm/yr). Pollen filter experiments in the cave have demonstrated that most of the pollen grain found in the cave comes from the air and not from the water. The specificity of the Villars Cave records is that the climatic variations were well recorded in the calcite δ13C whereas the δ18O is usually used in such studies. Overall, these results are helpful for the interpretation of speleothem records for palaeoclimatic reconstructions, but more work is needed, especially numerical modelling of the temperature, chemistry and hydrology.


Chemical and isotopic (d18O%, d2H%, d13C%, 222Rn%) multi-tracing for groundwater conceptual model of carbonate aquifer (Gran Sasso INFN underground laboratory central Italy), 2008, Adinolfi Falcone R. , Falgiani A. , Parisse B. , Petitta M. , Spizzico M. , Tallini M.

A hydrochemical and isotope study was conducted on the drainage waters of an underground laboratory, located inside the Gran Sasso massif (central Italy). The study was expected to improve the conceptual model of groundwater circulation at the base of an over 1000-thick unsaturated zone in the Gran Sasso partitioned karst aquifer. This lithostratigraphically and tectonically complex aquifer is typical of Africa–Europe thrust-andfold collision belt in the Mediterranean area. In this case, investigations on water–rock interactions during recharge in complex aquifers, overlaid by a thick unsaturated zone, have been made thanks to the strategic location of the Gran Sasso underground laboratories, located in the core of a huge carbonate aquifer. Knowledge of the local basic hydrogeological setting was the starting point for a detailed hydrogeochemical and isotopic study, which was carried out at the aquifer scale and at the fine scale in the underground laboratories. The water–rock interaction processes were investigated both spatially and in temporal sequences, analysing recharge waters and groundwater in the underground laboratories by multitracing techniques, including major ions and d18O&, d2H& and d13C& stable isotopes. Use of 222Rn provides information on transit time in the aquifer. Processes proved to be typical of carbonate rocks, with clear influence of vertical movement of water on chemical–physical parameters through the unsaturated zone. Conversely, in the saturated zone, these processes proved to be dominantly affected by local geological–structural conditions. A conceptual model with dual flow velocity is proposed, directly related to the local geological-structural setting. 222Rn decay enables to calculate an effective velocity of around 10 m/day for the fracture network, through the sequence of less permeable dolomites and underlying limestone. Lag time between recharge and chemical changes in the saturated zone testifies to an effective velocity of about 35 m/day for fast flow through recent and active extensional faults


Percolation and Particle Transport in the Unsaturated Zone of a Karst Aquifer, 2009, Pronk M. , Goldscheider N. , Zopfi J. , Zwahlen F.

Recharge and contamination of karst aquifers often occur via the unsaturated zone, but the functioning of this zone has not yet been fully understood. Therefore, irrigation and tracer experiments, along with monitoring of rainfall events, were used to examine water percolation and the transport of solutes, particles, and fecal bacteria between the land surface and a water outlet into a shallow cave. Monitored parameters included discharge, electrical conductivity, temperature, organic carbon, turbidity, particle-size distribution (PSD), fecal indicator bacteria, chloride, bromide, and uranine. Percolation following rainfall or irrigation can be subdivided into a lag phase (no response at the outlet), a piston-flow phase (release of epikarst storage water by pressure transfer), and a mixed-flow phase (increasing contribution of freshly infiltrated water), starting between 20 min and a few hours after the start of recharge event. Concerning particle and bacteria transport, results demonstrate that (1) a first turbidity signal occurs during increasing discharge due to remobilization of particles from fractures (pulse-through turbidity); (2) a second turbidity signal is caused by direct particle transfer from the soil (flow-through turbidity), often accompanied by high levels of fecal indicator bacteria, up to 17,000 Escherichia coli/100 mL; and (3) PSD allows differentiation between the two types of turbidity. A relative increase of fine particles (0.9 to 1.5 lm) coincides with microbial contamination. These findings help quantify water storage and percolation in the epikarst and better understand contaminant transport and attenuation. The use of PSD as ‘‘early-warning parameter’’ for microbial contamination in karst water is confirmed.


Mixing and transport of water in a karst catchment: a case study from precipitation via seepage to the spring, 2009, Schwarz K. , Barth J. A. C. , Postigorebollo C. , Grathwohl P.

One of the best-known and largest karst areas in Germany, the Blautopf Catchment, offers unique access to waters of the unsaturated zone through a large cave system. It was investigated with stable isotopes (18O/16O and D/H ratios expressed in permille = ‰) in precipitation, seepageand groundwater as tracers for water flow, mixing, and storage. The precipitation showed a distinct seasonality with _18O values between −2.9 and −24.6‰ during summer and winter, respectively. However, the isotope signals in seepage water in the caves as well as the discharge were almost completely buffered and ranged around an average _18O value of −10‰. This value was also close to the long-term average value of local precipitation, −9.3‰. The homogeneous isotopic composition of the Blautopf Spring was unexpected, as its highly variable discharge (0.3 to 32m3 s−1) is typical for a fast responsive karst system. These isotopic similarities could be explained by nearly complete mixing of the water already in the vadose zone. The data set therefore presents a case study to narrow down zones of mixing in karst catchments. It also confirms the minor role of the fast conduit system in the water balance of the Blautopf Catchment.

 


HYDROGEOLOGICAL FUNCTIONING OF A KARST AQUIFER DEDUCED FROM HYDROCHEMICAL COMPONENTS AND NATURAL ORGANIC TRACERS PRESENT IN SPRING WATERS. THE CASE OF YEDRA SPRING (SOUTHERN SPAIN), 2010, Mudarra M. , Andreo B.
The major chemical parameters, TOC and natural fluorescence of yedra spring, Malaga province, southern Spain were monitored from April 2008 to March 2009. The electrical conductivity and the concentrations of most major ions decreased following recharge periods. The TOC and NO3, representing tracers from the soil that infiltrate through the unsaturated zone, were found to vary inversely with the Mg2+ content, which is a natural indicator of groundwater residence time. Furthermore, a strong, direct relation was found between TOC and the natural fluorescence associated with humic and fulvic acids. Both parameters respond similarly to rainfall events, exhibiting significant increases during recharge followed by reductions during recession. This relation means that TOC mainly originates from organic acids. The results document rapid infiltration processes with a lag of less than one day following rainfall, which is typical of a karst aquifer with conduit flow, rapid drainage and limited natural regulation. The combined use of conventional hydrochemical parameters and natural organic tracers facilitates aquifer characterization and validates the vulnerability to contamination.

Evidence for a hypogene paleohydrogeological event at the prospective nuclear waste disposal site Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA, revealed by the isotope composition of !uid-inclusion water, 2010, Dublyansky Yuri V. , Spö, Tl Christoph

Secondary calcite residing in open cavities in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain has long been interpreted as the result of downward infiltration of meteoric water through open fractures. In order to obtain information on the isotopic composition (delta 18O) of the mineral-forming water we studied fluid inclusions from this calcite. Water was extracted from inclusions by heated crushing and the delta D values were measured using a continuous-low isotope-ratio mass spectrometry method. The delta 18O values were calculated from the delta 18O values of the host calcite assuming isotopic equilibrium at the temperature of formation determined by fuid-inclusion microthermometry. The delta D values measured in all samples range between −110 and −90‰, similar to Holocene meteoric water. Coupled delta 18O– delta D values plot significantly, 2 to 8‰, to the right of the meteoric water line. Among the various processes operating at the topographic surface and/or in the unsaturated zone only two processes, evaporation and water–rock exchange, could alter the isotope composition of percolatingwater. Our analysis indicates, however, that none of these processes could produce the observed large positive delta 18O-shifts. The latter require isotopic interaction between mineral-forming fluid and host rock at elevated temperature (N100 °C), which is only possible in the deepseated
hydrothermal environment. The stable isotope data are difficult to reconcile with a meteoric origin of the water from which the secondary minerals at Yucca Mountain precipitated; instead they point to the deep-seated provenance of the mineral-forming waters and their introduction into the unsaturated zone from below, i.e. a hypogene origin.


Relative importance of the saturated and the unsaturated zones in the hydrogeological functioning of karst aquifers: The case of Alta Cadena (Southern Spain), 2011, Mudarra M. , Andreo B.

From analysis of the hydrodynamic and hydrochemical responses of karst springs, it is possible to know the behaviour of the aquifers they drain. This manuscript aims to contribute to the characterization of infiltration process, and to determine the relative importance of the saturated zone and of the unsaturated zone in the hydrogeological functioning of carbonate aquifers, using natural hydrochemical tracers. Thus, chemical components together with temperature and electrical conductivity (both punctual and continuous records) have been monitored in three springs which drain Alta Cadena carbonate aquifer, Southern Spain. An evaluation of the percentage of the electrical conductivity frequency peaks determined for each of the three springs is linked to the chemical parameters that comprise the conductivity signal. One of these springs responds rapidly to precipitation (conduit flow system), due to the existence of a high degree of karstification in the unsaturated zone and in the saturated zone, both of which play a similar role in the functioning of the spring. Another spring responds to precipitation with small increases in water flow, somewhat lagged, because the aquifer has a low degree of karstification, even in the unsaturated zone, which seems to influence its functioning more strongly than does the saturated zone. The third spring drains a sector of the aquifer with a moderately developed degree of karstification, one that is intermediate between the other two, in which both the unsaturated zone and the saturated zone participate in the functioning of the spring, but with the latter zone having a stronger influence. These three springs show different hydrogeological functioning although they are in similar geological and climatic contexts, which show the heterogeneity of karst media and the importance of an adequate investigation for groundwater management and protection in karst areas.

Research highlights
- From analysis of the hydrodynamic and hydrochemical responses of karst springs. - Characterization of the relative importance of the saturated (SZ) and unsaturated (NSZ) zones - Villanueva del Rosario: NSZ and SZ play similar roles in the functioning of the system. ► Pita: NSZ seems to affect its functioning more than SZ. - Parroso: NSZ and SZ participate in the functioning of the system, but SZ is more active.


Radon and CO2 as natural tracers to investigate the recharge dynamics of karst aquifers, 2011, Savoy Ludovic, Surbeck Heinz, Hunkeler Daniel

This study investigated the use of radon (222Rn), a radioactive isotope with a half-life of 3.8 days, and CO2 as natural tracers to evaluate the recharge dynamics of karst aquifer under varying hydrological conditions. Dissolved 222Rn and carbon dioxide (CO2) were measured continuously in an underground stream of the Milandre test site, Switzerland. Estimated soil water 222Rn activities were higher than baseflow 222Rn activities, indicating elevated 222Rn production in the soil zone compared to limestone, consistent with a 226Ra enrichment in the soil zone compared to limestone. During small flood events, 222Rn activities did not vary while an immediate increase of the CO2 concentration was observed. During medium and large flood events, an immediate CO2 increase and a delayed 222Rn activity increase to up to 4.9 Bq/L and 11 Bq/L, respectively occurred. The detection of elevated 222Rn activities during medium and large flood events indicate that soil water participates to the flood event. A soil origin of the 222Rn is consistent with its delayed increase compared to discharge reflecting the travel time of 222Rn from the soil to the saturated zone of the system via the epikarst. A three-component mixing model suggested that soil water may contribute 4–6% of the discharge during medium flood events and 25–43% during large flood events. For small flood events, the water must have resided at least 25 days below the soil zone to explain the background 222Rn activities, taking into account the half-life of 222Rn (3.8 days). In contrast to 222Rn, the CO2 increase occurred simultaneously with the discharge increase. This observation as well as the CO2 increase during small flood events, suggests that the elevated CO2 level is not due to the arrival of soil water as for 222Rn. A possible explanation for the CO2 trend is that baseflow water in the stream has lower CO2 levels due to gas loss compared to water stored in low permeability zones. During flood event, the stored water is more rapidly mobilised than during baseflow with less time for gas loss. The study demonstrates that 222Rn and CO2 provides value information on the dynamics of groundwater recharge of karst aquifer, which can be of high interest when evaluating the vulnerability of such systems to contamination.


PaPRIKa: a method for estimating karst resource and source vulnerabilityapplication to the Ouysse karst system (southwest France) , 2011, Kavouri Konstantina, Plagnes Valerie, Tremoulet Joel, Dorfliger Nathalie, Rejiba Faycal, Marchet Pierre

The intrinsic vulnerability mapping method, PaPRIKa, is proposed as a common basis for karst groundwater protection in France. PaPRIKa is a specialized method for studying karst aquifers, derived from updating the RISKE and EPIK methods. Both the structure and functioning of karst aquifers are considered in order to develop a resource and source-vulnerability mapping method. PaPRIKa means Protection of aquifers from the assessment of four criteria: P for protection (considering the most protective aspects among parameters related to soil cover, unsaturated zone and epikarst behavior), R for rock type, I for infiltration and Ka for karstification degree. The Ouysse karst system, located in the Causses area in southwest France, is one of the nine pilot sites where this method was tested and standardized. The specificities of the Ouysse system such as the size of the catchment area, the spatial variability of the karst network development, the thick infiltration zone and the system’s dual character (both karst and non-karst areas), have provided a valuable field of application. The vulnerability of the resource was assessed for the entire catchment area, while source-orientated cartography was attempted for the catchment areas of the three different capture works used for drinking water.


Radon and CO2 as natural tracers to investigate the recharge dynamics of karst aquifers, 2011, Savoy Ludovic, Surbeck Heinz, Hunkeler Daniel

This study investigated the use of radon (222Rn), a radioactive isotope with a half-life of 3.8 days, and CO2 as natural tracers to evaluate the recharge dynamics of karst aquifer under varying hydrological conditions. Dissolved 222Rn and carbon dioxide (CO2) were measured continuously in an underground stream of the Milandre test site, Switzerland. Estimated soil water 222Rn activities were higher than baseflow 222Rn activities, indicating elevated 222Rn production in the soil zone compared to limestone, consistent with a 226Ra enrichment in the soil zone compared to limestone. During small flood events, 222Rn activities did not vary while an immediate increase of the CO2 concentration was observed. During medium and large flood events, an immediate CO2 increase and a delayed 222Rn activity increase to up to 4.9 Bq/L and 11 Bq/L, respectively occurred. The detection of elevated 222Rn activities during medium and large flood events indicate that soil water participates to the flood event. A soil origin of the 222Rn is consistent with its delayed increase compared to discharge reflecting the travel time of 222Rn from the soil to the saturated zone of the system via the epikarst. A three-component mixing model suggested that soil water may contribute 4–6% of the discharge during medium flood events and 25–43% during large flood events. For small flood events, the water must have resided at least 25 days below the soil zone to explain the background 222Rn activities, taking into account the half-life of 222Rn (3.8 days). In contrast to 222Rn, the CO2 increase occurred simultaneously with the discharge increase. This observation as well as the CO2 increase during small flood events, suggests that the elevated CO2 level is not due to the arrival of soil water as for 222Rn. A possible explanation for the CO2 trend is that baseflow water in the stream has lower CO2 levels due to gas loss compared to water stored in low permeability zones. During flood event, the stored water is more rapidly mobilised than during baseflow with less time for gas loss. The study demonstrates that 222Rn and CO2 provides value information on the dynamics of groundwater recharge of karst aquifer, which can be of high interest when evaluating the vulnerability of such systems to contamination.


Radon and CO2 as natural tracers to investigate the recharge dynamics of karst aquifers, 2011, Savoy Ludovic, Surbeck Heinz, Hunkeler Daniel

This study investigated the use of radon (222Rn), a radioactive isotope with a half-life of 3.8 days, and CO2 as natural tracers to evaluate the recharge dynamics of karst aquifer under varying hydrological conditions. Dissolved 222Rn and carbon dioxide (CO2) were measured continuously in an underground stream of the Milandre test site, Switzerland. Estimated soil water 222Rn activities were higher than baseflow 222Rn activities, indicating elevated 222Rn production in the soil zone compared to limestone, consistent with a 226Ra enrichment in the soil zone compared to limestone. During small flood events, 222Rn activities did not vary while an immediate increase of the CO2 concentration was observed. During medium and large flood events, an immediate CO2 increase and a delayed 222Rn activity increase to up to 4.9 Bq/L and 11 Bq/L, respectively occurred. The detection of elevated 222Rn activities during medium and large flood events indicate that soil water participates to the flood event. A soil origin of the 222Rn is consistent with its delayed increase compared to discharge reflecting the travel time of 222Rn from the soil to the saturated zone of the system via the epikarst. A three-component mixing model suggested that soil water may contribute 4–6% of the discharge during medium flood events and 25–43% during large flood events. For small flood events, the water must have resided at least 25 days below the soil zone to explain the background 222Rn activities, taking into account the half-life of 222Rn (3.8 days). In contrast to 222Rn, the CO2 increase occurred simultaneously with the discharge increase. This observation as well as the CO2 increase during small flood events, suggests that the elevated CO2 level is not due to the arrival of soil water as for 222Rn. A possible explanation for the CO2 trend is that baseflow water in the stream has lower CO2 levels due to gas loss compared to water stored in low permeability zones. During flood event, the stored water is more rapidly mobilised than during baseflow with less time for gas loss. The study demonstrates that 222Rn and CO2 provides value information on the dynamics of groundwater recharge of karst aquifer, which can be of high interest when evaluating the vulnerability of such systems to contamination.


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.


Simulation of flow processes in a large scale karst system with an integrated catchment model (Mike She) Identification of relevant parameters influencing spring discharge, 2012, Doummar J. , Sauter M. , Geyer T.

In a complex environment such as karst systems, it is difficult to assess the relative contribution of the different components of the system to the hydrological system response, i.e. spring discharge. Not only is the saturated zone highly heterogeneous due to the presence of highly permeable conduits, but also the recharge processes. The latter are composed of rapid recharge components through shafts and solution channels and diffuse matrix infiltration, generating a highly complex, spatially and temporally variable input signal. The presented study reveals the importance of the compartments vegetation, soils, saturated zone and unsaturated zone. Therefore, the entire water cycle in the catchment area Gallusquelle spring (Southwest Germany) is modelled over a period of 10 years using the integrated hydrological modelling system Mike She by DHI (2007). Sensitivity analyses show that a few individual parameters, varied within physically plausible ranges, play an important role in reshaping the recessions and peaks of the recharge functions and consequently the spring discharge. Vegetation parameters especially the Leaf Area Index (LAI) and the root depth as well as empirical parameters in the relationship of Kristensen and Jensen highly influence evapotranspiration, transpiration to evaporation ratios and recharge respectively. In the unsaturated zone, the type of the soil (mainly the hydraulic conductivity at saturation in the water retention and hydraulic retention curves) has an effect on the infiltration/evapotranspiration and recharge functions. Additionally in the unsaturated karst, the saturated moisture content is considered as a highly indicative parameter as it significantly affects the peaks and recessions of the recharge curve. At the level of the saturated zone the hydraulic conductivity of the matrix and highly conductive zone representing the conduit are dominant parameters influencing the spring response. Other intermediate significant parameters appear to influence the characteristics of the spring response yet to a smaller extent, as for instance bypass and the parameters a in the Van Genuchten relation for soil moisture content curves.


Spatially dense drip hydrological monitoring and infiltration behaviour at the Wellington Caves, South East Australia, 2012, Jex Catherine N. , Mariethoz Gregoire, Baker Andy, Graham Peter, Andersen Martin S. , Acworth Ian, Edwards Nerilee, Azcurra Cecilia

Despite the fact that karst regions are recognised as significant groundwater resources, the nature of groundwater flow paths in the unsaturated zone of such fractured rock is at present poorly understood. Many traditional methods for constraining groundwater flow regimes in karst aquifers are focussed on the faster drainage components and are unable to inform on the smaller fracture or matrix-flow components of the system. Caves however, offer a natural inception point to observe both the long term storage and the preferential movement of water through the unsaturated zone of such fractured carbonate rock by monitoring of drip rates of stalactites, soda straws and seepage from fractures/micro fissures that emerge in the cave ceiling. Here we present the largest spatial survey of automated cave drip rate monitoring published to date with the aim of better understanding both karst drip water hydrogeology and the relationship between drip hydrology and surface climate. By the application of cross correlation functions and multi-dimensional scaling, clustered by k-means technique, we demonstrate the nature of the relationships between drip behaviour and initial surface infiltration and similarity amongst the drip rate time series themselves that may be interpreted in terms of flow regimes and cave chamber morphology and lithology.


Environmental Hydrogeological Study of Louros watershed, Epirus, Greece, 2012, Konstantina Katsanou

The present study aims to describe and characterize the Ionian zone karst formation concerning the karstification grade of carbonate formations and the development of aquifers, through the hydrogeological study of Louros River drainage basin, considering hydrological, hydrogeological and meteorological data, as well as major, trace element, rare earth element and isotope concentrations. It also aims to investigate basic karst properties such as storativity, homogeneity, infiltration coefficients and the parameters of the Louros basin hydrological balance.

To accomplish this aim daily discharge measurements obtained from Public Power Corporation at the Pantanassa station during the years 1956-1957, along with random discharge measurements from 15 springs along the basin performed by IGME between the years 1979-1989, daily meteorological data from 18 stations and 18 sets of potentiometric surface measurements from 38 sites were compiled. Additionally, chemical analyses on major and trace element concentrations of 42 rock samples and of five sets of water samples from 64 sampling sites, along with fourteen sets of successive periods in order to study the seasonal variation in the chemical composition of 11 springs and REE concentrations of 116 water samples. Moreover isotope ratios from 129 rain samples collected at five different altitudes, 331 samples of surface and groundwater samples, radon measurements on 21 groundwater samples and microbiological on 46 samples of surface and groundwater were evaluated. Daily runoff and random spring discharge missing data were completed applying the SAC-SMA and MODKARST simulation algorithms and the values of these parameters for the duration of the research (2008-2010) were predicted. The accuracy of the predicted values was tested applying statistical methods but also against observed values from in situ measurements performed during the same period (2008-2010).

Louros River drainage basin is located at the southern part of Epirus and covers an area of 953 km2. It is elongated and together with the adjacent basin of River Arachthos they constitute the major hydrographic systems discharging in the Amvrakikos Gulf. The main morphological features of the basin are elongated mountain ranges and narrow valleys, which are the result of tectonic and other geological processes mainly controlled by the limestone-“flysch” alternations. The length of the river’s major channel, which is parallel to the major folding direction (NNW-SSE), is 73.5 km. The mountainous part of the hydrogeological basin covers an area of 400 km2 and its endpoint was set at the Pantanassa station, where discharge measurements are performed. The underground limits of the basin coincides with the surface one, defined by the flysch outcrops at the western margin of the Ziros-Zalongo fault zone to the South, the application of isotope determinations and hydraulic load distribution maps at the North and East.

Geologically, Louros River drainage basin is composed of the Ionian zone formations. Triassic evaporites constitute the base of the zone overlain by a thick sequence of carbonate and clastic sedimentary rocks deposited from the Late Triassic to the Upper Eocene. In more detail, from base to top, the lithostratigraphical column of the zone includes dolomite and dolomitic limestone, Pantokrator limestone, Ammonitico Rosso, Posidonia Shales, Vigla limestone, Upper Senonian limestone, Palaeocene-Eocene limestone and Oligocene “flysch”. The major tectonic features of the regions are folds with their axes trending SW-NE at the northern part and NNW-SSE to NNE-SSW southern of the Mousiotitsa-Episkopiko-Petrovouni fault system and the strike-slip fault systems of Ziros and Petousi.

The evaluation of the daily meteorological data revealed that December is the most humid month of the year followed by January, whereas July and August are the driest months. Approximately 40-45% of the annual precipitation is distributed during the winter time and 30% during autumn. The mean annual precipitation ranges from 897.4 to 2051.8 mm and the precipitation altitude relationship suggests an increased precipitation with altitude at a rate of 84 mm/100 m. The maximum temperature is recorded during August and it may reach 40°C and the minimum during January. The temperature variation with the altitude is calculated at 0.61°C/100 m. The maximum solarity time is 377.8 h, recorded during July at the Arta station. December displays the highest relative humidity with a value of 84.2% recorded again at the Arta station. The highest wind velocity values are recorded at the Preveza station and similar velocities are also recorded at the Ioannina station. The real evapotranspiration in Louros drainage basin ranges between 27-39%. The potential evapotranspiration was calculated from the Ioannina station meteorological data, which are considered more representative for Louros basin, at 785.8 mm of precipitation according to Thornthwaite and at 722.0 mm according to Penman-Monteith.

According to the SAC-SMA algorithm the total discharge (surficial and underground) for the years 2008-2010 ranges between 61-73% of the total precipitation. The algorithm simulates the vertical percolation of rainwater in both unsaturated and saturated zones taking into account 15 parameters including the tension water capacity of the unsaturated zone, the maximum water storage capacity of both unsaturated and saturated zones, the water amount escaping into deeper horizons and not recorded at the basin’s outlet, the percentage of impermeable ground which is responsible for instant runoff, etc. These parameters are correlated to the hydrograph and are recalculated according to it. Two interesting aspects were pointed out from the discharge measurements and the algorithm application. The first is related to the maximum amount of free water, which can be stored at the basic flow of the karstic system, which is very high for the whole basin, reaching 1200 mm of precipitation and the second is the amount of water filtered to the deeper horizons, which reaches 0.098.

The discharge of individual karstic units was simulated applying the specialized MODKARST code. The code, which transforms precipitation to discharge resolving mathematical equations of non-linear flow using the mass and energy balance, successfully completed the time series of available data of spring discharge measurements for the period between the years 2008-2010.

Additionally, a number of useful parameters including spring recharge, delay period between precipitation and discharge, the storage capacity of the discharge area were also calculated by the MODKARST code. These data enabled the calculation of the annual infiltration coefficient for each one of the 15 springs and for the whole basin; the latter was found to range between 38-50% of annual precipitation. The total supply area was estimated approximately at 395 km2, which is consistent with the area of Louros hydrogeological basin calculated from hydrogeological data.

The 18 sets of water table measurements, each one corresponding to a different period, revealed that the aquifers of the intermediate part of Louros basin, which are developed in Quaternary alluvial sediments, are laterally connected to the carbonate formations of the individual karstic spring units, forming a common aquifer with a common water table.

Groundwater flow follows a general N-S direction from the topographic highs to the coastal area with local minor shifts to NE-SW and NW-SE directions. The artificial lake at the position of the Public Power Corporation’s Dam at the south of the region is directly connected to the aquifer and plays an important role in water-level variation. The water table contours display a higher gradient to the southern part due to the decreased hydraulic conductivity of the limestones close to Agios Georgios village. The decreased hydraulic conductivity is believed to be the reason for the development of the homonymous spring although the hydraulic load distributions suggest the extension of the aquifer to the south and a relation to the water level in Ziros Lake, boreholes and the Priala springs. The hydraulic gradient in the broader region ranges between 4-16‰. The absolute water level variation between dry and humid season ranges from 2 m at the South to 15-20 m to the North with an average of 9 m.

The hydrological balance of Louros River mountainous basin according to the aforementioned data is calculated as follows: The total precipitation between the years 2008-2010 ranged between 5.67E+08-9.8E+08 m3 and the discharge at Pantanassa site between 3.47E+08-6.83E+08 m3. The real evapotransiration ranged between 29-39% of the precipitation. The total discharge (runoff and groundwater) accounted for 61-73% of the precipitation, whereas the basic flow due to the percolation ranged between 34-38%. Considering a mean water level variation of 9 m, between the dry and humid season, the water amount constituting the local storage is 2025Ε+07 m3.

Statistical evaluation on spring discharge data and the recession curves analysis revealed three distinct levels with diverse karstic weathering along Louros basin coinciding to the upper, intermediate and low flow of Louros River, respectively. The developed karstic units are generally complex but simple individual units develop as well. The response of spring discharge to the stored water amounts is immediate but with relatively large duration suggesting the storage of large quantities of water and a well-developed system of karstic conduits, which however has not yet met its complete evolution. The karst spring’s units are homogeneous and each one is distinguished from different recession coefficients.

The three levels of flow are also distinguished from the duration curves, which point to individual units upstream, complex units receiving and transmitting water to the adjacent ones in the middle part and complex that only receive water from the upper. This distinguishment is also enhanced by the groundwater’s major ion concentrations, which reveal Ca-HCO3 water-type upstream, along with the isotopic composition at the same part. The prevalent Ca-HCO3-Cl-SO4 water-type in the middle part, the Na-Ca-Cl-SO4 water-type downstream and isotope variation confirms this distinguishment. Moreover, REE variation is also consistent with the three levels. The assumption of relatively large stored water reserves, which contribute to analogous “memory” of spring karstic units, as pointed out by autocorreletion functions is enhanced from SAC-SMA algorithm which premises an increased capacity at the lower zone of basic flow, as well as from the hydrochemical and isotopic composition of groundwater. Monitoring of the seasonal variation in groundwater composition revealed minor variations of hydrochemical parameters and remarkably stable isotopic composition. Both aspects can be explained by the existence of a considerable water body acting as a retarder to external changes.

The crosscorrelation functions suggest a well-developed karstic system, which however has not yet reached its complete maturity also confirmed from field observations. The same conclusion is extracted from the homogeneous evolution at the interval of each karstic unit as demonstrated from recession curves on spring hydrographs.

The results from hydrochemical analyses also revealed the effect of evaporitic minerals and phosphate-rich rocks in groundwater composition and confirmed the hydraulic relationships between surface and groundwater.

The study of the isotopic composition also contributed to exclude the potential connection between the Ioannina and Louros basins, confirmed the meteoric origin of groundwater and revealed the effect of seawater in the chemical composition of few sampling sites.

The microbiological research only revealed minor incidents of contamination and significant attenuation of microorganisms during periods of high discharge.


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