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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 corridor is 1. long, narrow chasm enlarged by action of water and into which surface runoff or stream may flow; may be located along a fault plane, fissure, joint or between two beds. struga (slavic) refers to such a corridor along a bedding plane in a carbonate formation [20]. 2. relatively narrow passageway permitting travel between two larger areas. 3. a fairly level and straight passage that links two or more rooms or chambers in a cave. 4. intersecting linear depressions on the surface of the land, related to joints or dikes [10]. see also bogaz; struga; zanjon. related to chasm; bogaz. synonyms: (french.) gouffre absorbant; (german.) karstgasse; (greek.) apocheteftikos karstikos agogos; (italian.) dolina allongata; (russian.) coridor, hod; (spanish.) callejon; (turkish.) koridor; (yugoslavian.) struga, bogaz.?

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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

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Your search for karst terrains (Keyword) returned 67 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 46 to 60 of 67
Karst flash flooding in a Mediterranean karst, the example of Fontaine de Nîmes, 2008, Maré, Chal J. C. Ladouche B. Dö, Rfliger N.

Karst flash flooding, identified as one of the hazards in karst terrains, is directly linked to the structure and hydraulic properties of karst aquifers. Due to the characteristics of flow within karst aquifers, characterized by a dual flow ? diffuse flow within fissured limestone and conduit flow within karst conduits networks ? flash flooding may be important in volume and dynamics. Such phenomenon may cause serious damages including loss of lives, as it occurred on 3rd October 1988 in Nîmes (Gard, South France). Flash floods there have been considered to be the result of very intensive rainfall events conjugated to runoff due to thegeomorphologic context of the city located down hill. However, preliminary results of recent studies of the hydrologic behaviour of groundwater and surface water for a specific event (September 2005) show that the karst plays an important role in the flood genesis. The main characteristics of the Nîmes karst system leading to karst flash flooding are presented in this paper. A methodology comprising modelling of the karst system allowed proposing simple warning thresholds for various part of the karst (water level threshold for the karst conduits and cumulative rainfall threshold for the overflowing fissured karst). These thresholds can be included in the flash flood warning system of the Nîmes city.

Solid waste disposal in the Environmental Protected Area of the Lagoa Santa Karst, Minas Gerais State, Brazil, 2008, Travassos L. E. P, Sampaio J. L. D, GuimarÃ, Es R. L. , Kohler H. C.

The State of Minas Gerais, Brazil, has approximately 580,000 sq km. From this total, it?s believed that at about 29,000 sq km are composed by carbonatic rocks.With a total of 853 municipalities and some noticeable environmental problems, the biggest problem is the proper final waste disposal. This work is intended to demonstrate the potential pollution of karst aquifers due to leachate?s percolation from improper waste disposal sites. In Brazil, it was established three categories to designate them. From the most environmentally incorrect sites for waste disposal to the better suitable for these activities it is possible to identify the waste dumps (lixões), controlled landfills (aterros controlados) and sanitary landfills (aterros sanitários). In each Brazilian State, around 80% of their municipalities have less than 20,000 inhabitants and no sufficient financial resources required to construct a sanitary landfill. It is also observed a certain degree of lack of political will from some municipal administrations to execute these projects. Unfortunately, some of these areas are located in karst terrains and therefore it is important to observe that an effective environmental control is not always made. The region of Lagoa Santa, State of Minas Gerais, is developed on metasediments of the Bambui Group, Sete Lagoas Formation (Upper Proterozoic). This rock Formation favors the development of expressive superficial and underground karst features. Moreover, the region presents great paleontological, archaeological, historical and speleological potential, which must also be protected from quarrying, pressures from population growth and uncontrolled touristic activities. In 1990 this scenario favored the creation of an Environmental Protected Area (Área de Proteção Ambiental - APA) to preserve local fauna and flora as well the physical environment. However, for many years the APA?s municipalities and its surroundings had installed waste dumps (lixões) since the end of the 70´s.With the State Guideline nº 52 (Deliberação Normativa nº 52) from December 2001, the State Government decreed the adequacy of such irregular dumps. The Guidelines clearly states that the waste must be deposit in a site with soil and/or low permeability rocks, with less than 30% steep angles, a minimum distance of 300m from water sources and 500m distant from core population. Furthermore, the standardization requires the municipalities to implement rainwater drainage systems around the site to reduce water percolation. The Document also obligates the municipality to compact and cover the waste cells at least three times a week, isolating the area to avoid human and animal access. In 2005, the state had registered 25 sanitary landfills, 199 controlled landfills and 549 waste dumps. In February 2007 the State Environmental Agency (FEAM) pointed out the same number of landfills, 207 controlled landfills and still a large amount of waste dumps: 519. Sadly, these inappropriate dumps (lixões) that were controlled in or near karst areas still poses as a threat to the environment since all the contamination comes from at least 25 years ago.

Geochemistry and Climate Change, 2008, Banner J. L. , Musgrove M. , Rasmussen J. , Partin J. , Long A. , Katz B. , Mahler B. , Edwards L. , Cobb K. , James E. , Harmon R. S. , Herman E. , Wicks C. M.

karst terrains are developed on soluble rock and typically contain vital water resources. Over a range of time scales, chemical and clastic sedimentary deposits accumulate in karst terrains. These deposits can provide records of past environments, including climate and hydrologic change, which have been shown to be of particular importance to other sciences and to social policy and planning. This paper reviews the state-of-the-art and prospects for future research on three different but related facets of the geochemistry of karst terrains: (i) The application of geochemistry to understanding the hydrogeology of karst aquifers, and (ii) the geochemistry of speleothems and other karst sedimentary deposits as records of past environmental change over different temporal scales that are preserved in these deposits, and (iii) climate change questions that may be addressed by speleothem studies

THE LOESS CAVE NEAR THE VILLAGE OF SURDUK AN UNUSUAL PSEUDOKARST LANDFORM IN THE LOESS OF VOJVODINA, SERBIA, 2009, Luki? Tin, Markovi? Slobodan B. , Stevens Thomas, Vasiljevi? Djordjije A. , Machalett Bjrn, Milojkovi? Neboja, Basarin Biljana & Obreht Igor
Loess caves (piping caverns, wells, tunnels) exposed in loess cliffs are rare pseudokarst landforms that can be regarded as morphological equivalents to collapse dolines or sinkholes formed in classical karst terrains. This study presents the results of an investigation into a loess cave exposed in a loess cliff on the right bank of the Danube River near the village of Surduk in the Vojvodina region, Serbia. This study provides a first detailed morphologic description of this young pseudokarstic landform formed by piping erosion, probably partly supported with carbonate dissolution. The loess cave has a height of approximately 12 m and average diameter of around 3.5 m. In the middle of the cave ceiling there is a window. Observations indicate that over the last several years, the morphological characteristics of the landform have been stable. The main aim of this study is to provide a better understanding of the evolution of the piping process in the thick loess-paleosol se-quences in the Vojvodina region, northern Serbia. A key role in the genesis of this landform was the short distance between an initial loess doline and a cliff exposing loess sediments, providing the possibility for the lateral removal of loess ma-terial. The presence of Robinia pseudoakacia trees around the initial depression modulated the evolution of the doline and provides support for the loess cavern roof. The nature of the dynamic erosional processes on the steep cliffs of the soft loess sediment indicates a very limited lifetime of this pseudokarstic landform.


Karst aquifers develop where an enlargement of fractures due to dissolution creates highly permeable conduits. These conduits are embedded in the much less permeable fissured system of the surrounding rock. The hydrogeological characterisation of these heterogeneous, dualistic flow systems requires a deep understanding of the processes involved in karstification. During the last two decades many numerical models have been developed to simulate conduit evolution in karst terrains and to understand and analyze the mechanisms of speleogenesis. In this study, conduit development within a soluble unit of a multi-layer aquifer system is examined by process-based numerical modeling. The dual flow system is adequately represented by a coupled continuum-pipe flow model; the flow model is coupled to a module calculating dissolution rates and the corresponding widening of conduits depending on flow conditions. The simplified model scenarios are largely based on field observations compiled from the gypsum karst terrain of the Western Ukraine. It is demonstrated that the hydraulic conductivity of the rock formation is a crucial factor that controls the frequency distribution of conduit diameters in hypogene speleogenesis. If the permeability of the rock formation is sufficiently high, conduit development is found to be competitive and leads to bimodal aperture distributions. Otherwise flow in low-permeability formations is suppressed and as a consequence, there is a smooth transition from scarcely developed proto-conduits to well-developed conduits rather than a clear and distinct separation. This work further examines the influence of the variability of the initial apertures on dissolutional growth of fissures and the evolving cave patterns. The initial apertures were not spatially correlated and log normally distributed. The influence of the aperture variability was investigated in several scenarios. It is found that in an ensemble average sense the degree of heterogeneity determines the temporal development of the cave patterns, i.e. higher aperture variability generally decelerates the karstification process. The aperture variability, however, appears to be of minor relevance regarding the general structure and geometric properties of the evolving cave patterns.

History of study of the Chatyrdag Massif (Mountain Crimea), 2010, Amelichev G. N.

The article reveals step-by-step history of events, relevant to exploration of the Chatyrdag Massif and development of scientific understanding of its natural processes and phenomena.

Geomorphological Characteristics of the Italian Side of Canin Massif (Julian Alps) using Digital Terrain Analysis and Field Observations , 2011, Telbisz Tams, Mari Lszl, Szab Lnrd

In this paper, by the example of Canin Massif, it is demon­strated, how GIS-techniques can be used for the study of high mountain karst terrains. In case of Canin, elevation and slope histograms show characteristic differences in plateau levels and landforming processes between the northern, western and southern sectors of the mountains. Ridge and valley map (de­rived from the digital elevation model) and thalweg analysis are used to recognize drainage reorganizations north of the Italian Canin plateau. Potential snow accumulation locations and nu­nataks are determined based mainly on the slope map. Geo­morphological sketch maps and statistical analysis of closed depressions are also carried out in this study supporting the relatively young age of superficial karstification and the strong structural impact. Finally, it is concluded, that quantitative and visual capabilities of GIS are useful in discriminating the effects of glacial, fluvial, structural and karst processes.

A holistic approach to groundwater protection and ecosystem services in karst terrains, 2012, Goldscheider, Nico

A holistic conceptual approach to groundwater and natural resources protection, surface and subsurface biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services in karst terrains is presented. Karst landscapes and aquifers consist of carbonate rock in which a part of the fractures has been enlarged by chemical dissolution. They are characterised by unique geomorphological and hydrogeological features, such as rapid infiltration of rainwater, lack of surface waters, and turbulent flow in a network of fractures, conduits and caves. Karst terrains contain valuable but vulnerable resources, such as water, soil and vegetation, and they provide a great variety of habitats to many species, both at the surface and underground, including many rare and endemic species. Karst systems deliver various ecosystem services and act as natural sinks for carbon dioxide (CO2) thus helping to mitigate climate change. It is demonstrated that all these resources and ecosystem services cannot be considered in an isolated way but are intensely interconnected. Because of these complex feedback mechanisms, impacts on isolated elements of the karst ecosystem can have unexpected impacts on other elements or even on the entire ecosystem. Therefore, the protection of natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services in karst requires a holistic approach

A holistic approach to groundwater protection and ecosystem services in karst terrains, 2012, Goldscheider, Nico

A holistic conceptual approach to groundwater and natural resources protection, surface and subsurface biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services in karst terrains is presented. Karst landscapes and aquifers consist of carbonate rock in which a part of the fractures has been enlarged by chemical dissolution. They are characterised by unique geomorphological and hydrogeological features, such as rapid infiltration of rainwater, lack of surface waters, and turbulent flow in a network of fractures, conduits and caves. Karst terrains contain valuable but vulnerable resources, such as water, soil and vegetation, and they provide a great variety of habitats to many species, both at the surface and underground, including many rare and endemic species. Karst systems deliver various ecosystem services and act as natural sinks for carbon dioxide (CO2) thus helping to mitigate climate change. It is demonstrated that all these resources and ecosystem services cannot be considered in an isolated way but are intensely interconnected. Because of these complex feedback mechanisms, impacts on isolated elements of the karst ecosystem can have unexpected impacts on other elements or even on the entire ecosystem. Therefore, the protection of natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services in karst requires a holistic approach.

Reconstructing landscape evolution by dating speleogenetic processes, 2013, Polyak V. J. , Hill C. A.

Speleology and karst geomorphology are making important contributions to evolution of landscapes, thanks to more refined dating techniques, more specialized and advanced instruments, and intensive studies of caves and karst terrains. This chapter provides eight cases where cave and karst studies have made, or are making, new strides in the reconstruction of landscape evolution by dating cave deposits. Some of these study areas include world renowned caves such as Carlsbad Cavern and Lechuguilla Cave in the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico, Jewel and Wind caves in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. The authors offer added detail on the caves of the Guadalupe Mountains and Grand Canyon

New Developments of Karst Geomorphology Concepts, 2013, Frumkin, A.

Karst terrains develop where chemical dissolution dominates over mechanical processes, commonly with well-developed secondary porosity. The karst system is unique, being truly three-dimensional, as it extends deep under the Earth surface. Karst geomorphology concepts have developed considerably during the last decades, mainly due to cave exploration and new research tools. Understanding of karst geomorphology concepts is a challenge particularly because much of the karst system lies below the surface, where direct observation is hardly possible. The unique subsurface morphologies, together with surface karst landforms, are distinct from other landscapes

Salt Karst, 2013, Frumkin, A.

Halite is the most soluble common mineral. Salt karst is concerned with extremely soluble and erodible rock-salt geomorphology, which demonstrates a dynamic end member to karst processes. Salt outcrops are rare, due to the high solubility, and common total dissolution underground, but subsurface salt is common, and commonly associated with environmental problems. These are associated with salt hazards, generally due to anthropogenic modification of hydrological systems, causing aggressive water to attack salt rock. Most salt outcrops appear under desert conditions, where the salt mass escapes total dissolution. In such outcrops, runoff produces well-developed karst terrains, with features including karren, sinkholes, and vadose caves. Existing salt relief is probably not older than Pliocene, but the known well-developed

KARST HAZARDS, 2013, Andreychouk Viacheslav, Tyc Andrzej

Karst hazards are an important example of natural hazards. They occur in areas with soluble rocks (carbonates, mostly limestone, dolomite, and chalk; sulfates, mostly gypsum and anhydrite; chlorides, mostly rock salt and potassium salt; and some silicates, quartzite and amorphous siliceous sediments) and efficient underground drainage. Karst is one of the environments in the world most vulnerable to natural and human-induced hazards. Karst hazards involve fast-acting processes, both on the surface and underground (e.g., collapse, subsidence, slope movements, and floods) and their effects (e.g., sinkholes, degraded aquifers, and land surface). They frequently cause serious damage in karst areas around the world, particularly in areas of intense human activity. Karst threat is the potential hazard to the life, health, or welfare of people and infrastructure, arising from the particular geological structure and function of karst terrains. The presence of underground cavities in the karst massif masks the threat from the hazards of collapse. This means that in some instances, the potential threats from karst, which are inherent features of the karst environment, become hazards. They range in category from potential to real. The term (karst hazards) is related to two other terms, used mostly in applied geosciences, particularly engineering geology – risk assessment and mitigation. Risk is the probability of an occurrence, and the consequential damages are defined as hazards. Risk assessment is the determination of quantitative or qualitative value of risk related to a concrete situation and a recognized hazard. Quantitative risk assessment requires calculations of two components: the magnitude of the potential loss and the probability that the loss will occur. Risk assessment is a step in a risk management. Mitigation may be defined as the reduction of risk to life and the environment by reducing the severity of collapse or subsidence, building subsidence-resistant constructions, restricting land use, etc.


LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) surveys of karst terrains provide high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) that are particularly useful for mapping sinkholes. In this study, we used automated processing tools within ArcGIS (v. 10.0) operating on a 1.0 m resolution LiDAR DEM in order to delineate sinkholes and closed depressions in the Boyce 7.5 minute quadrangle located in the northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The results derived from the use of the automated tools were then compared with depressions manually delineated by a geologist. Manual delineation of closed depressions was conducted using a combination of 1.0 m DEM hillshade, slopeshade, aerial imagery, and Topographic Position Index (TPI) rasters. The most effective means of visualizing depressions in the GIS was using an overlay of the partially transparent TPI raster atop the slopeshade raster at 1.0 m resolution. Manually identified depressions were subsequently checked using aerial imagery to screen for false positives, and targeted ground-truthing was undertaken in the field. The automated tools that were utilized include the routines in ArcHydro Tools (v. 2.0) for prescreening, evaluating, and selecting sinks and depressions as well as thresholding, grouping, and assessing depressions from the TPI raster. Results showed that the automated delineation of sinks and depressions within the ArcHydro tools was highly dependent upon pre-conditioning of the DEM to produce “hydrologically correct” surface flow routes. Using stream vectors obtained from the National Hydrologic Dataset alone to condition the flow routing was not sufficient to produce a suitable drainage network, and numerous artificial depressions were generated where roads, railways, or other manmade structures acted as flow barriers in the elevation model. Additional conditioning of the DEM with drainage paths across these barriers was required prior to automated 2delineation of sinks and depressions. In regions where the DEM had been properly conditioned, the tools for automated delineation performed reasonably well as compared to the manually delineated depressions, but generally overestimated the number of depressions thus necessitating manual filtering of the final results. Results from the TPI thresholding analysis were not dependent on DEM pre-conditioning, but the ability to extract meaningful depressions depended on careful assessment of analysis scale and TPI thresholding.


Digital elevation models (DEM) are digital representations of topography that are especially suitable for numerical terrain analysis in earth sciences and engineering. One of the main quantitative uses of DEM is the automatic delineation of flow networks and watersheds in hydrology and geomorphology. In these applications (using both low­resolution and precision DEM) depressions hinder the inference of pathways and a lot of work has been done in designing algorithms that remove them so as to generate depression­free digital elevation models with no interruptions to flow. There are, however, geomorphological environments, such as karst terrains, in which depressions are singular elements, on scales ranging from centimetres to kilo­metres, which are of intrinsic interest. The detection of these depressions is of significant interest in geomorphologic map­ping because the development of large depressions is normal in karst terrains: potholes, blind valleys, dolines, uvalas and poljes. The smallest depressions that can be detected depend on the spatial resolution (pixel size) of the DEM. For example, depressions from centimetres to a few metres, such as some types of karren, cannot be detected if the raster digital eleva­tion model has a spatial resolution greater than, say, 5 m (i.e., square 5m pixel). In this work we describe a method for the au­tomatic detection and delineation of terrain depressions. First, we apply a very efficient algorithm to remove pits from the DEM. The terrain depressions are then obtained by subtract­ing the depression­free DEM from the original DEM. The final product is a digital map of depressions that facilitates the cal culation of morphometric features such as the geometry of the depressions, the mean depth of the depressions, the density of depressions across the study area and the relationship between depressions and other variables such as altitude. The method is illustrated by applying it to data from the Sierra de las Nieves karst massif in the province of Málaga in Southern Spain. This is a carbonate aquifer that is drained by three main springs and in which the depressions play an important role in the recharge of the aquifer. A doline density map, produced from a map of 324 detected dolines/uvalas, identifies three main recharge areas of the three springs. Other morphometric results related to the size and direction of the dolines are also presented. Finally the dolines can be incorporated into a geomorphology map.

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