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Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology


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Community news

Speleology in Kazakhstan

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

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

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

The deepest terrestrial animal

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

Caves - landscapes without light

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

Did you know?

That meandering karren is these are small grooves cut directly into the rock surface, generally a few centimeters wide and deep. their size remains the same or decreases downslope and usually exhibit small meanders with typical undercut slopes and slip-off slopes. they frequently appear in the bottom of larger grooves such as rinnenkarren [3]. see also wall karren; humus-water grooves. synonym: (german.) maanderkarren.?

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


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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.
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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 chemistry (Keyword) returned 492 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 481 to 492 of 492
Groundwater geochemistry observations in littoral caves of Mallorca (western Mediterranean): implications for deposition of phreatic overgrowths on speleothems., 2014,
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Boop L. M. , Onac B. P. , Wynn J. G. , Fornós J. J. , Rodríguezhomar M. , Merino A.

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


Microbial communities in a coastal cave: Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (Mallorca, Western Mediterranean), 2014,
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Busquets A. , Fornós J. J. , Zafra F. , Lalucat J. , Merino A.

As a part of an ongoing project on the role of microbes in the biogeochemistry of Majorcan caves, the species diversity of microbial communities present in cave pools of anchialine waters in the Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (Mallorca, western Mediterranean) is investigated by a culture-dependent method. Two-hundred and forty-eight strains isolated from this characteristic cave environment of the littoral karst are identified by whole-cell-MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and phylogeneticaly by 16S rRNA gene sequences. Total cell counts and species diversity of the bacterial communities decreas with the distance to the entrance of the cave and to the sea. Strains are mainly identified as members of the Gammaproteobacteria and Actinobacteria. Around 20% of the isolates are able to precipitate carbonates. Calcite is the predominant phase, growing in all the precipitates, although struvite is also found in one Pseudomonas and in one Aspergillus cultures. Differences in crystal characteristics of external shape (habit) and growth are observed according to the bacterial species promoting the precipitates. Bacteria associated with multicolored ferromanganese deposits, present in several parts of the cave, are also studied and are identified as Pseudomonas benzenivorans and Nocardioides luteus. The preponderance of Pseudomonas species and the possible contribution of bacteria in calcite deposition are discussed.


Molecular analyses of microbial abundance and diversity in the water column of anchialine caves in Mallorca, Spain., 2014,
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Menning D. M. , Boop L. M. , Graham E. D. , Garey J. R.

Water column samples from the island of Mallorca, Spain were collected from one site in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera (Vallgornera) and three sites (Llac Martel, Llac Negre, and Llac de les Delícies) in Coves del Drac (Drac). Vallgornera is located on the southern coast of Mallorca approximately 57 km southwest of Coves del Drac. Drac is Europe's most visited tourist cave, whereas Vallgornera is closed to the public. Water samples were analyzed for water chemistry using spectrophotometric methods, by quantitative PCR for estimated total abundance of microbial communities, and by length heterogeneity PCR for species richness and relative species abundance of Archaea, Bacteria, and microbial eukaryotes. Estimated total abundance was multiplied by relative species abundance to determine the absolute species abundance. All sites were compared to determine spatial distributions of the microbial communities and to determine water column physical and chemical gradients. Water quality and community structure data indicate that both Drac Delícies and Drac Negre have distinct biogeochemical gradients. These sites have communities that are similar to Vallgornera but distinct from Drac Martel, only a few hundred meters away. Drac Martel is accessible to the general public and had the most dissimilar microbial community of all the sites. Similarities among communities at sites in Drac and Vallgornera suggest that these two spatially separated systems are operating under similar ecological constraints.


Genesis of folia in a non-thermal epigenic cave (Matanzas, Cuba), 2014,
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Folia are an unusual speleothem type resembling inverted cups or bracket fungi. The mechanism of folia formation is not fully understood and is the subject of an ongoing debate. This study focuses on an occurrence of folia present in Santa Catalina Cave, a non-thermal epigenic cave located close to Matanzas (Cuba). The sedimentology, morphology, petrology, permeability and geochemistry of these folia have been studied to gain new insight on the processes leading to their development. It is concluded that folia in Santa Catalina Cave formed at the top of a fluctuating water body, through CO2-degassing or evaporation, which may have been enhanced by the proximity to cave entrances. Two observations strongly support our conclusions. (1) When compared to other subaqueous speleothem (e.g. cave clouds) present in the same rooms, folia occur exclusively within a limited vertical interval that likely represents an ancient water level. Folia occur together with calcite rafts and tower cones that developed, respectively, on top of and below the water level. This suggests that a fluctuating interface is required for folia formation. (2) The measured permeability of the folia is too high to trap gas bubbles. Thus, in contrast to what has been proposed in other studies, trapped bubbles of CO2 cannot be invoked as the key factor determining the genesis and morphology of folia in this subaqueous environment


Hydrogeological and Environmental Investigations in Karst Systems, 2014,
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Karst is the result of climatic and geohydrological processes, mainly in carbonate and evaporite rocks, during geological periods of Earth history. Dissolution of these rock formations over time has generated karst aquifers and environments of significant water and mineral resources. In addition, beautiful landscapes have been created which constitute natural parks, geosites, and caves. Due to their origin and nature, karstified areas require investigation with special techniques and methodology. International collaboration and discussions on advances in karst research are necessary to promote Karst Science. The International Symposium on Karst Aquifers is one of the worldwide events held periodically to specifically address karst environments. The symposium constitutes an ongoing international forum for scientific discussion on the progress made in research in karst environments. The first and second symposiums were organized in Nerja (near Malaga, Spain), in 1999 and 2002; the third and fourth symposiums were held in Malaga city in 2006 and 2010. The 5th International Symposium on Karst Aquifers (ISKA5) occurred in Malaga on during October 14–16, 2014. It was organized by the Centre of Hydrogeology University of Málaga (CEHIUMA) and the Spanish Geological Survey (IGME), in cooperation with UNESCO and the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) Karst Commission. More than 100 contributions were received from 30 countries on five continents. Presentations made during the symposium and published in this book are a compendium of 70 of these manuscripts. Papers submitted by April 2014, were peer-reviewed and subsequently accepted by the Scientific Committee. Contributions are grouped into five sections:

• Methods Utilized to Study Karst Aquifers.

• Karst Hydrogeology.

• Mining and Engineering in Karst media.

• Karst Cavities.

• Karst Geomorphology and Landscape.

A large part of the contributions, 30 %, is related to Methods Utilized to Study Karst Aquifers. Several issues are addressed: methods for groundwater recharge assessment, dye tracer and stable isotope applications, analysis of hydrodynamic data and hydrochemistry, among others. Most contributions, 40 %, however, are on Karst Hydrogeology. These are primarily in connection with various topics such as numerical modeling in karst, floods, karst groundwater flow, protection of karst aquifers or pollution, and vulnerability in karst. Five percent of the published papers deal with Mining and Engineering in Karst Media. These papers are about tunnels, hydrogeological risks, and karst risk assessment in mining and civil engineering. Another section concerning Karst Cavities encompasses 15 % of the contributions. These chapters deal with corrosion and speleogenetic processes, speleothems, CO2 sources, the global carbon cycle in endokarst, and the study of past climate. Karst Geomorphology and Landscape constitutes the remaining 10 % of the contributions. These papers are related to karst features, wetlands, hypogene speleogenesis, geodiversity, and karstic geosites. The results of project work performed by karst specialists worldwide are described in the book. Included in it are experiences from pilot sites, methodologies, monitoring, and data analyses in various climatic, geological, and hydrogeological contexts. Material presented may be utilized for activities such as teaching and technical-professional applications particularly as they apply to the increasingly multidisciplinary nature of karst studies. Information provided may also be useful to decisions makers in making critical decisions regarding development in karst regions. Scientists and engineers and many of the lay public interested in karst environments will benefit from the contents


Hydrogeological Characteristics of Carbonate Formations of the Cuddapah Basin, India, 2014,
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Farooq Ahmad Dar

Karst hydrogeology is an important field of earth sciences as the aquifers in carbonate formations represent vital resource of groundwater that feeds a large part of the world population particularly in semi-arid climates. These unique aquifers posses peculiar characteristics developed by dissolutional activities of water. Karst aquifers possess a typical hydrogeological setup from surface to subsurface. The aquifers are governed by slow groundwater flow in matrix porosity, a medium to fast flow in fractures and rapid flow in conduits and channels. This large variability in their properties makes the prediction and modeling of flow and transport very cumbersome and data demanding. The aquifers are vulnerable to contamination as the pollutants reach the aquifer very fast with little or no attenuation. The geomorphological and hydrogeological properties in these aquifers demand specific techniques for their study. The carbonate aquifers of the semi-arid Cuddapah basin were characterized based on geomorphological, hydrogeological and hydrochemical investigations. All the formations are highly karstified possessing one of the longest and deepest caves of India and few springs along with unique surface features. Karstification is still in progress but at deeper levels indicated by growing speleothems of different architectural size. Model of karstification indicates that lowering of base level of erosion resulted in the dissolution of deeper parts of the limestone as represented by paleo-phreatic conduits in the region. Moist conditions of the past were responsible for the karst development which has been minimized due to the onset of monsoon conditions. Karst has developed at various elevations representing the past base levels in the region.

The recharge processes in these aquifers are complex due to climatic and karst specificities. Point recharge is the major contributor which enters the aquifer as allogenic water. It replenishes the groundwater very rapidly. Diffuse recharge travels through soil and epikarst zone. Average annual recharge of semi-arid Narji limestone aquifer is 29% of the rainfall which occurs during 5-7 rain events in the year.

The hydrogeochemical characteristic of karst aquifers is quite varaible. A significant difference is observed in hydrochemistry. High concentrations of SO42-, Cl-, NO3- suggests the anthropogenic source particularly from agriculture. Local Meteoric Water Line of δ2H and δ18O isotopes of rain and groundwater shows a slope of 7.02. Groundwater isotope data shows more depletion in heavy isotopes -a result of high evaporation of the area. Groundwater samples show a trend with a slope of 4 and 3.1 for δ2H and δ18O respectively. Groundwater during dry months gets more fractionated due to higher temperature and little rainfall. The irrigated water becomes more enriched and then recharges the aquifer as depleted irrigation return flow. The isotopes show large variation in spring water. Few springs are diffuse or mixed type and not purely of conduit type in the area. Tracer results indicate that the tracer output at the sampling location depends on the hydrogeological setup and the nature of karstification.

The study has significantly dealt with in disclosing the typical characteristics of such aquifer systems and bringing out a reliable as well as detailed assessment of various recharges to the system. The groundwater chemistry has been elaborated to establish the nature of possible hydrochemical processes responsible for water chemistry variation in semi-arid karst aquifer. Such study has thrown light on the aquifers that are on one hand very important from social and strategic point of view and on the hand were left unattended from the detailed scientific studies.


Occurrence of diagenetic alunites within karst cavity infill of the Dammam Formation, Ahmadi, Kuwait: an indicator of hydrocarbon gas seeps, 2014,
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Alunite minerals occur as white powdery lumps  and laminated coloured deposits within cavity and solution  channel infill of the palaeokarst zone of the Upper Eocene  Dammam Formation. This formation is exposed in a quarry  located on the Al Ahmadi ridge within the Greater Burgan oil  field in southern Kuwait. Field occurrences and sedimentary  structures of the alunite deposits were described. Collected  samples were petrographically described, and their mineralogy  and geochemistry were determined using X-ray diffraction  and X-ray fluorescence, respectively. Microfabrics were investigated  using SEM, revealing that they are primarily composed  of fibrous alunogen (hydrous aluminium sulphate) and  pseudo-cubical K-alunite (hydrous potassium aluminium sulphate).  Their mode of occurrence suggests a hypogenetic  origin, where sulphide gases associated with hydrocarbon  gases reacted with an Al-rich solution leached from clay  minerals and feldspars of the cavity-fill muddy sand sediments.  The hydrocarbon gases may have seeped from subsurface  petroliferous formations within the Greater Burgan oil  field along vertical fractures. This study suggests that these  acidic seeps may have played a role in the development of the  palaeokarst zone of the Dammam Formation.


Genesis of folia in a non-thermal epigenic cave (Matanzas, Cuba), 2015,
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D'angeli Ilenia Maria, De Waele Jo, Ceballo Melendres Osmany, Tisato Nicola, Sauro Francesco, Grau Gonzalez Esteban Ruben, Bernasconi Stefano, Torriani Stefano, Bontognali Tomaso Renzo Rezio

Folia are an unusual speleothem type resembling inverted cups or bracket fungi. Themechanismof folia formation is not fully understood and is the subject of an ongoing debate. This study focuses on an occurrence of folia present in Santa Catalina Cave, a non-thermal epigenic cave located close to Matanzas (Cuba). The sedimentology, morphology, petrology, permeability and geochemistry of these folia have been studied to gain new insight on the processes leading to their development. It is concluded that folia in Santa Catalina Cave formed at the top of a fluctuating water body, through CO2-degassing or evaporation, which may have been enhanced by the proximity to cave entrances. Two observations strongly support our conclusions. (1) When compared to other subaqueous speleothems (e.g. cave clouds) present in the same rooms, folia occur exclusively within a limited vertical interval that likely represents an ancient water level. Folia occur together with calcite rafts and tower cones that developed, respectively, on top of and below the water level. This suggests that a fluctuating interface is required for folia formation. (2) The measured permeability of the folia is too high to trap gas bubbles. Thus, in contrast to what has been proposed in other studies, trapped bubbles of CO2 cannot be invoked as the key factor determining the genesis and morphology of folia in this subaqueous environment.


Quantitative hermeneutics: Counting forestructures on a path from W. M. Davis to the concept of multiple-permeability karst aquifers., 2015,
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Hermeneutics is the theory of interpretation. One of its major components is recognizing prejudgments, or forestructures, that we bring to our objects of study. In this paper, we construct a historical narrative of the evolution of thinking about the role of caves in relation to groundwater flow in limestone, and we tabulate forestructures as they appear in the story. This account consists of three overlapping time periods: the before and after of an incident that repelled hydrogeologists and students of karst from each other in the middle of the 20th century; a period, up to around the turn of this century, when karst science and mainstream hydrogeology were on different tracks; and a period of convergence, now intertwining, beginning roughly in the last quarter of the 20th century. Two influential players in our story are M.K. Hubbert, whose introduction of the Eulerian perspective of flow was a force for divergence, and R.M. Garrels, whose founding of the field of sedimentary geochemistry was a force for convergence. Other key players include F.T. Mackenzie, J.E. Mylroie, V.T. Stringfield, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bermuda Biological Station, and the Gerace Research Center in the Bahamas, along with the historical accounts of W.B. White. Our narrative ends with the broader acceptance of the concept of multiple-permeability karst aquifers. We flag in our construction a total of 43 forestructures distributed amongst the categories of hermeneutic theory: 14 in the category of preconceptions; 9 in goals; 14 in tools such as skills; and 6 in tools such as institutions. These counts are an example of the concept of social construction of statistics, and we discuss the implications in terms of the huge number of potential combinations of forestructures that could shape alternative historical narratives of this subject over this time frame.


Influence of the f low rate on dissolution and precipitation features during percolation of CO 2 - rich sulfate solutions through fractured limestone samples , 2015,
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Calcited issolution and  gypsum precipitation is expected to occur  when injecting CO2  in  a limestone reservoir with sulfate - rich resident brine. If the reservoir is fractured, These reactions will take place mainly in the fractures, which serve as preferential paths for fluid  flow. As a consequence, the geometry of the fractures will vary leading to changes  in their hydraulic and transport properties. In this study, a set of percolation  experiments  which  consisted of injecting CO 2 - rich solutions through fractured  limestone  cores were performed under P  =  150 bar and  T  =  60  ºC .  Flow rate s ranging from 0.2 to 60 mL/ h and sulfate - rich and sulfate - free solutions  were used. Variation in fracture volume induced by calcite dissolution and  gypsum precipitation was measured by X - ray computed microtomography  (XCMT) and aqueous chemistry. An increase in flow rate led to  an increase in  volume of dissolved limestone per unit of  time , which indicated that the calcite dissolution rate in the fracture  was transport  controlled. Moreover, the dissolution pattern varied from face dissolution to wormhole formation  and uniform dissolution by increasing the flow rate (i.e.,  Pefrom 1 to 346 ). Fracture permeability always increased and depended on the type of dissolution pattern.


Chemistry and Karst, 2015,
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White, William B.

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


Characterization of minothems at Libiola (NW Italy): morphological, mineralogical, and geochemical study, 2016,
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Carbone Cristina, Dinelli Enrico, De Waele Jo

The aim of this study is to characterize in detail, the mineralogy of different-shaped concretions as well as to investigate the physico-chemical parameters of the associated mine drainage and drip waters in the Santa Barbara level of the Libiola Mine (NW Italy) by several geochemical and mineralogical techniques. Under the term “minothems” we are grouping all those secondary minerals that occur under certain form or shape related to the conditions under which they formed but occur in a mine, or in any artificial underground environment (i.e., "mine speleothems"). Different types of minothems (soda straw stalactites, stalactites, and draperies) were sampled and analyzed. Mineralogical results showed that all the samples of stalactites, stalagmite and draperies are characterized by poorly crystalline goethite. There are significant differences either in their texture and chemistry. Stalactites are enriched in Zn, Cd, and Co in respect to other minothems and show botryoidal textures; some of these exhibit a concentric layering marked by the alternation of botryoidal and fibrous-radiating textures; the draperies are enriched in V and show aggregates of sub-spheroidal goethite forming compact mosaic textures. Geochemical investigations show that the composition and physico-chemical parameters of mine drainage and drip waters are different from the other acidic mine water occurrences in different areas of the Libiola Mine, where minothems are less abundant. All mine water samples contain Cu, Ni, and Zn in appreciable levels, and the physico-chemical conditions are consistent with the stability of ferrihydrite, which however tends to transform into goethite upon ageing.


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