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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 capillary interstice is an interstice small enough to hold water by surface tension at an appreciable height above a free water surface, yet large enough to prevent molecular attraction from extending across the entire opening.?

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.
See all featured articles
Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for recent (Keyword) returned 589 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 571 to 585 of 589
VARIATIONS IN EVAPORITE KARST IN THE HOLBROOK BASIN, ARIZONA, 2013,
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Neal J. T. , Johnson K. S. , Lindberg P.

At least six distinct forms of evaporite karst occur in the Holbrook Basin•depending considerably on overburden and/or bedrock type. Early Permian evaporites in the 300-m-thick Corduroy Member of the Schnebly Hill Formation include halite, sylvite, and anhydrite at depths of 215-250 m. Karst features result from collapse of overlying Permian and Triassic strata into underlying salt-dissolution cavities. Evaporite karst occurs primarily along the 100+ km-long dissolution front on the southwestern edge of the basin, and is characterized by numerous sinkholes and depressions generally coincident with the axis of the Holbrook Anticline•in reality a dissolution-collapse monocline. “The Sinks” comprise ~ 300 individual sinks up to 200 m across and 50 m deep, the main karst features along the dissolution front. Westerly along the dissolution front, fewer discrete sinkholes occur, and several breccia pipes are believed to be forming. Numerous pull-apart fissures, graben-sinks, sinkholes, and broad collapse depressions also occur.A newly recognized subsidence/collapse area of some 16 km2 occurs in the western part of the basin, northward from the extension of the Holbrook “anticline.” The Chimney Canyon area is some 12 km east of McCauley Sinks, a postulated breccia pipe exemplified in, and possibly manifested in at least four other closed depressions. Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) data of one depression shows active subsidence of ~4 cm/yr.Karst formation is ongoing, as shown by repeated drainage of Dry and Twin Lakes into newly opened fissures and sinkholes. These two playa lakes were enlarged and modified in recent years into evaporation 2impoundments for effluent discharge from a nearby pulp mill. Four major drainage events occurred within these playa reservoirs during the past 45 years, collectively losing more than 1.23 x107 m3 (10,000 acre-feet) of water and playa sediment. Drainage occurs through piping into bedrock joints in Triassic Moenkopi Formation (sandstone) in the bottom and along the margins of these playas. Effluent discharge has been discontinued into these playas, although recurring precipitation can fill the basins.


CONCEPTUALIZATION OF GROUNDWATER FLOW IN THE EDWARDS AQUIFER THROUGH THE KNIPPA GAP HYDROGEOLOGIC CONSTRICTION, UVALDE COUNTY, TEXAS, 2013,
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Adkins, J.

The Balcones Fault Zone Edwards aquifer (Edwards aquifer) is one of the major regional karst aquifers in the United States, with an average withdrawal of 950 million liters per day (L/d). This study focuses on the connection between the Uvalde pool and the San Antonio pool of the Edwards aquifer, west of the San Antonio metropolitan area in Uvalde County, Texas. This area is known as the Knippa Gap and is located north of the community of Knippa. The Knippa Gap is a major zone controlling the flow from the Uvalde pool to the San Antonio pool. The San Antonio pool is the primary source of water for the greater San Antonio water supply. The Knippa Gap is a restriction where the aquifer narrows to a width estimated to be approximately 4 km, is bounded by northeast trending faults of the Balcones Fault Zone on the north, and uplift from the Uvalde salient and igneous intrusive plugs to the south. (Green et al., 2006). The hydrogeology in the Knippa Gap has been a topic of major interest among researchers in this area for numerous years, yet the exact location, nature of boundaries, and karst hydrogeology are not well defined, and the flow through this area is in need of refinement to improve the aquifer water balance.
This study integrates recent research by other scientists with field studies conducted during the summer of 2012 as part of an M.S. thesis. This paper is limited to a discussion of the water quality as it relates to the southern flow boundary of the Knippa Gap near the Devils River Trend of the Uvalde salient. Water-quality data constrain a revised conceptual model of the flow and karstification in this critical area of recharge to the San Antonio pool, and provide specific lateral boundaries and vertical karstification zones which are being tested in the more comprehensive M.S. thesis. Although current interpretations are tentative, it appears this conceptual model will be readily convertible into a digital model that can test 2hypotheses relating a much broader suite of calibration data, including water levels, water budgets, and spring discharges.


Fault — Dissolution front relations and the Dead Sea sinkhole problem, 2013,
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Ezersky Michael, Frumkin Amos

There are two conflicting models of sinkhole development along the Dead Sea (DS). The first one considers structural control on sinkholes, constraining them to tectonic lineaments. This hypothesis is based on seismic reflection studies suggesting that sinkholes are the surface manifestations of active neotectonic faults that may serve as conduits for under-saturated groundwater, enabling its access across aquiclude layers. Another hypothesis, based on results of multidisciplinary geophysical studies, considers the salt edge dissolution front as themajor site of sinkhole formation. This hypothesis associates sinkholes with karstification of the salt edge by deep and shallow undersaturated groundwater. Our recent seismic reflection and surface wave studies suggest that salt formed along the active neotectonic faults. Sinkholes form in a narrow strip (60–100 m wide) along a paleo-shoreline constrained by faults and alluvial fans which determined the edge of the salt layer. This scenario reconciles the two major competing frameworks for sinkhole formation.


The hypogene karst of the Crimean Piedmont and its geomorphological role (in Russian), 2013,
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Klimchouk A. B. Tymokhina E. I. Amelichev G. N. Dublyansky Y. V. Spö, Tl C.
The book offers a fundamental new interpretation of the origin of karst in the Crimean Piedmont and explains the role karstification played in the geomorphogenesis of the region. The hypogene origin of karst cavities, their leading role in dismembering the Crimean Piedmont’s homocline and the formation of the characteristic cuesta and rock-remnant relief of the area is demonstrated on the basis of a systematic and comprehensive study, which included modern isotopic and geochemical methods.
The hypogene karst in the area developed in conditions of the confined to semi-confined groundwater flow systems, via interaction between the ascending flow of the deep-seated fracture-karst (conduit) water and the strata-bound, predominantly porous aquifers of the layered formations in the homoclinal northern mega-slope of the Crimean Mountains. The major pre-requisites for hypogene karst development is a position of the area at the flank of the Prichernomorsky artesian basin, and in a geodynamically active suture zone, which separates the fold-thrust structure of the Crimea Mountains and the Scythian plate. Opening of the stratified structure of the Piedmont follows the near-vertical cross-formational fracture-karst channels, resulting in the development of the pronounced cuesta relief with steep cliffs, which feature massive exposure of channels with karst-affected morphology.
Hypogene karstification results in characteristic morphologies, including caves, cliff niches and open chambers, variously sculptured and honeycomb-cellular surfaces of limestone cliffs, wide and shallow couloirs near the rims of cuestas, and rock remnants-“sphinxes”. The carbonate bedrock in the walls of the hypogene cavities revealed isotopic alteration (both O and C) caused by the action of hypogene fluids. The time of formation of cuestas in the Inner Range of the Crimean Mountains, determined on the basis of the U-Th disequilibrium dating of speleothems, turned out to be younger than thought previously. The active development of hypogene karst in the geologically recent past was the main factor responsible for today’s geomorphologic peculiarity of the Crimean Piedmont.
The book will be of interest for karstologists, hydrogeologists, geomorphologists, geologists, and environmental scientists studying karst regions, ore geology and carbonate reservoirs of hydrocarbons. It will also be useful for students of the respective disciplines, and for all those interested in the nature of the Crimean Piedmont.

Ascending speleogenesis in the Czech Republic and Slovakia , 2013,
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Bosák P. , Bella P.

Several examples of per ascensum (ascending) speleogenesis along deep faults (cf. also were recently described by Bella & Bosák (2012). The concept of ascending speleogenesis in confined or partly confined conditions connected with deep regional fault was proposed, for the first time on the territory of the past Czechoslovakia, by Bosák (1996, 1997) for the origin of the Koněpruské Caves and some other caves in the Koněprusy Devonian (central Bohemia, Czech Republic). Since that time, number of caves with similar speleogenesis has been studied in more of lesser detail. Most of them were originally described as products of phreatic, epiphreatic and vadose speleogenesis related to the evolution of local water courses, valley incision and river terrace systems usually during Middle to Late Pleistocene climatic changes; eventually with Plio-Quaternary climatic oscillations.


MODELING SPELEOGENESIS USING COMPUTATIONAL FLUID DYNAMICS: POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS TO HYPOGENE CAVES, 2014,
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Covington M. , Myre J.

Numerical models of speleogenesis typically simulate flow and dissolution within single fractures or networks of fractures. Such models employ fracture flow and pipe flow equations to determine flow rates and only consider average velocities within each fracture segment. Such approximations make large scale simulations of speleogenesis tractable. However, they do not allow simulation of the formation and evolution of micro- or meso-scale cave passage morphologies. Such morphologies are frequently studied within a field setting and utilized for the interpretation of the speleogenetic processes that formed the cave. One classic example is the formation of scallops in cave streams with turbulent flow. Scallops are used to interpret past flow velocities and directions. However, a recent analysis of the theory of limestone dissolution in turbulent flow conditions suggests a discrepancy between theory and reality concerning the formation of limestone scallops (Covington, in review). Similarly, the only attempt to numerically simulate flute formation in limestone found that the flute forms were not stable (Hammer et al., 2011). Motivated by these puzzles, we are developing a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) framework for the simulation of the evolution of dissolution morphologies.

While this project was initially conceived to better understand dissolution in turbulent flow, the tools being developed are particu­larly well-suited to examine a variety of other questions related to cave morphology on the micro- and meso-scales. There has been significant recent discussion about the interpretation of features that are diagnostic of hypogenic or transverse speleogenesis, such as the morphological suite of rising flow defined by Klimchouk (2007). Other authors have suggested that such forms can be found in a variety of settings where confined flow is not present (Mylroie and Mylroie, 2009; Palmer, 2011). We propose that simulation of such forms using a CFD speleogenesis code will allow a more complete understanding of the connections between process and form, because in such simulations the processes occurring are well-known, well-defined, and also can be adjusted within controlled numeri­cal experiments, where relevant parameters and boundary conditions are systematically varied.

The CFD framework we are developing is based on the Lattice Boltzman method (Chen and Doolen, 1998), which is a popular tech­nique for modeling the mechanics of complex fluids, including fluid mixtures, reactive transport, porous media flow, and complex and evolving domain geometries. With this framework it is straightforward to simulate many of the processes occurring in hypogene settings, including complex fluid flows, dissolution, solute and heat transport, and buoyancy-driven flow. Furthermore, this modeling framework allows these processes to be coupled so that their interactions and feedbacks can be explored. With the suite of capabili­ties provided by this framework, we can begin to numerically simulate the processes occurring in hypogene speleogenesis, including the driving mechanisms and the role of buoyancy-driven flow and its relationship with the morphological suite of rising flow. In the spirit of a workshop, this work is presented as in-progress, in the hopes that it will stimulate discussion on potential applications of the model being developed.


A REVIEW ON HYPOGENE CAVES IN ITALY, 2014,
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De Waele J. , Galdenzi S. , Madonia G. , Menichetti M. , Parise M. , Leonardo Piccini , Sanna L. , Sauro F. , Tognini P. , Vattano M. Vigna B.

Although hypogene cave systems have been described since the beginning of the 20th century, the importance in speleogenesis of ascending fluids that acquired their aggressiveness from in-depth sources has been fully realized only in the last decades. Aggressiveness of waters can be related to carbonic and sulfuric acids and the related corrosion-dissolu­tion processes give rise to different types of caves and under­ground morphologies.

The abundance of hydrothermal springs and associated traver­tine deposits, and the widespread interaction between volcanic or sub-volcanic phenomena and karst in many sectors of the Ital­ian peninsula are a strong evidence of hypogene speleogenesis. Furthermore, researches on secondary minerals have allowed to discover hypogene caves formed by highly acidic vapors in sub­aerial environments, also showing that most of these caves have extremely rich mineral associations.

Despite this, until the late 1980s the only known important cave systems of clear hypogene origin in Italy were considered to be the ones hosted in the Frasassi Canyon and Monte Cucco, in which important gypsum deposits undoubtedly showed that sulfuric acid played an important role in the creation of voids (Galdenzi, 1990, 2001; Galdenzi & Maruoka, 2003; Menichetti et al., 2007). Afterwards many other caves were categorized as formed by the sulfuric acid speleogenesis throughout the entire Apennines. Following the broad definition of hypogene caves by Palmer in 1991, and the even more general one of Klimchouk in the last decade (Klimchouk, 2007, 2009), the number of caves considered of hypogene origin in Italy has grown rapidly. Figure 1 shows the hypogene karst systems of Italy, including, besides the well-known and published ones, also the known and less studied, and presumed hypogene cave systems (see also Table 1).

More recently, in some of these caves detailed studies have been carried out including geomorphology, mineralogy, and geochem­istry. Sulfuric acid caves are known from many regions along the Apennine chain (Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, Latium, Campa­nia, Calabria) (Forti, 1985; Forti et al., 1989; Galdenzi and Me­nichetti, 1989, 1995; Galdenzi, 1997, 2001, 2009; Galdenzi et al., 2010; Piccini, 2000; Menichetti, 2009, 2011; Mecchia, 2012; De Waele et al., 2013b), but also from Piedmont, Apulia, Sicily (Vattano et al., 2013) and Sardinia (De Waele et al., 2013a). In this last region ascending fluids have also formed a hypogene cave in quartzite rock. Oxidation of sulfides can locally create hypogene cave morphologies in dominantly epigenic caves, such as in the Venetian forealps (this cave is not shown in Figure 1, being largely epigenic in origin) (Tisato et al., 2012). Ascend­ing fluids have also created large solution voids in Messinian gypsum beds in Piedmont, and these can be defined hypogene caves according to the definition by Klimchouk (Vigna et al., 2010). Some examples of hypogene cave systems due to the rise of CO2-rich fluids are also known in Liguria and Tuscany (Pic­cini, 2000). In the Alps and Prealps (Lombardy), some ancient high mountain karst areas exhibit evidences of an early hypo­gene origin, deeply modified and re-modeled by later epigenic processes. Hypogene morphologies are thus preserved as inac­tive features, and it is often difficult to distinguish them from epigenic ones.

At almost twenty years distance from the first review paper on hypogene cave systems in Central Italy by S. Galdenzi and M. Menichetti (1995), we give a review of the state-of-the-art knowledge on hypogene caves actually known from the whole of Italy


CONDENSATION CORROSION: MEASUREMENTS AND GEOMORPHIC EVIDENCE IN THE FRASASSI CAVES, 2014,
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Galdenzi S. , Jones D. , Macalady J.

The condensation of acidic waters on subaerial carbonate surfaces (condensation corrosion) can be an important speleogenetic agent under certain conditions (Cigna and Forti, 1986; Sarbu and Lascu, 1997). Specific morphologies associated with condensation corrosion include notches, niches, cupolas, megascallops and domes (Audra, 2009), and have been recognized in many caves from different regions of the world and from different geologic settings. Condensation corrosion can be particularly important in thermal caves, where temperature differences facilitate air convection and water condensation, as well as in sulphidic caves, where degassing and subsequent oxidation of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas provides a ready source of acidity to the subaerial cave environment.
In pioneering studies on the formation of sulphidic caves, condensation corrosion via H2S degassing and oxidation to sulphuric acid was considered the primary mechanism for speleogenesis (Principi, 1931; Egemeier, 1981). However, recent research has cast doubt on the importance of subaerial H2S oxidation for sulphidic cave formation (Engel et al., 2004). In the Frasassi cave system, Italy, morphological evidence for both subaerial and subaqueous limestone dissolution has been extensively documented (Galdenzi, 1990; Galdenzi and Maruoka, 2003). In particular, corrosion above the water table has resulted in the formation of massive gypsum deposits as well as specific passage morphologies. Measured rates by Galdenzi et al. (1997) corroborated morphological evidence that condensation corrosion is important at least under certain conditions. Therefore, in order to better define the role of subaerial processes in the Frasassi cave system, we quantified sulphide flux to the cave atmosphere in the modern cave environment, and documented morphological evidence for subaerial corrosion in the past


HYPOGENE LIMESTONE CAVES IN GERMANY: GEOCHEMICAL BACKGROUND AND REGIONALITY, 2014,
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Kempe, S.

Germany exhibits a very diverse geological history. Thus, a large number of stratigraphically, petrographically and tectonically different carbonate and sulfate rocks exist that have been subject to karstification. Here, I discuss first the possible “agents” (sensu Klimchouk) of hypogene karstification. Three principally different processes are identified: water rising because of buoyancy (either thermally or concentration induced), in-situ oxidation of siderite, or rising gases (CO2, CH4 or H2S). Next, a rough overview of German caves and karst is presented. If applying the most pertinent epigene versus hypogene morphological characteristics, it becomes evident that hypogene caves occur in many different areas, often side-by-side with clearly epigene caves. For many areas, the agents of hypogene speleogenesis must remain unclear. This applies for most caves in the Paleozoic limestones of the Rhenish Schist Massif. Only the Iberg/Harz caves seem to be a clear case, with the world-wide highest concentrations of siderite weathering-induced caves occur. The large cavities discovered recently in the Blauhöhlen System and some of the deep pit caves in the Swabian Alb may have their explanation in volcanic CO2, having emanated from some of the 355 pipes of the Swabian volcanic field. Most striking is the high concentration of hypogene caves in the Franconian Alb. Many of them occur in a small area while other areas are devoid of larger caves. Here the tectonic situation suggests that fractures could have taped reservoirs of either sulfide or methane from below. The finding of goethitic crusts in the Bismarckgrotte may indicate that rising anaerobic gases could have been involved


PER ASCENSUM CAVE MORPHOLOGIES IN THREE CONTINENTS AND ONE ISLAND, INCLUDING PLACES WHERE THEY SHOULDN’T OCCUR, 2014,
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Osborne, R. A. L.

Hypogene or per-ascensum, whatever you prefer to call them, caves that form from the bottom up have a great range of patterns in plan, large cavity morphology and an expanding, but specific suite of speleogens that distinguish them from fluvial caves formed by descending surface water. Once thought to be rare and unusual, caves or sections of caves with plans, large cavities and suites of “hypogene” speleogens are turning up in situations traditionally thought to have fluvial or even glacial origin. The role of condensation corrosion in the formation of cavities and speleogens remains controversial, but surprisingly some insights may come for processes in salt mines. Phantom rock formation and removal and similar processes involving removal of dolomitized bedrock, de-dolomitized bedrock, and almost trace-free removal of palaeokarst raise problems of both temporal relationships and of how to distinguish between the outcomes of recent and ancient processes. The presence of “hypogene” speleogens in both gneiss and marble caves in Sri Lankan of unclear origin adds to the complexity. Back in the early 1990s, before hypogene caves were de-rigour, workers such as David Lowe were puzzling about speleo-inception, how caves begin. Perhaps the rare occurrences of solution pockets in joints in obvious fluvial caves, such as Postojna Jama, are indicating that many more caves than we imagine are actually multi-process and multiphase and that “hypogene” processes of various types are significant agents of speleo-inception.


HELIUM ISOTOPES AS INDICATOR OF CURRENT HYPOGENIC KARST DEVELOPMENT IN TAURIDS KARST REGION, TURKEY, 2014,
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Ozyurt N. N. , Bayari C. S.

Hypogenic karst development by means of the aggressiveness of hydrothermal fluids driven and fed by mantle heat and mass flux is a known phenomenon. However, in cases when hydrothermal fluid cools down upon thermal conduction in the near-surface environment and is diluted by near-surface cool groundwater, evidences of this phenomenon may be erased completely. Recent data on the isotopes of helium dissolved in cool karst groundwater samples collected from three different karst aquifers in Turkey suggest an apparent mass flux from mantle, as well as from the crust. In the cases considered, helium content from the mantle increases with the increasing age of groundwater. All cases are located nearby the suture zones which may be easing the upward heat and mass flux. Despite sampling difficulties and high analysis costs, helium isotopes dissolved in cool karst groundwater seem to be useful tool to detect the current hypogenesis at the depths of karst aquifers


The use of damaged speleothems and in situ fault displacement monitoring to characterise active tectonic structures: an example from Zapadni Cave, Czech Republic , 2014,
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Briestensky Milos, Stemberk Josef, Rowberry Matt D. ,

The EU-TecNet fault displacement monitoring network records three-dimensional displacements across specifically selected tectonic structures within the crystalline basement of central Europe. This paper presents a study of recent and active tectonics at Západní Cave in northern Bohemia (Czech Republic). It extends previous geological research by measuring speleothem damage in the cave and monitoring displacements across two fault structures situated within the Lusatian Thrust Zone. The speleothem damage reflects strike-slip displacement trends: the WSW-ENE striking fault is associated with dextral strike-slip displacement while the NNW-SSE striking fault is associated with sinistral strike-slip displacement. These measurements demonstrate that the compressive stress σ1 is located in the NW or SE quadrant while the tensile stress σ3 is oriented perpendicular to σ1, i.e. in the NE or SW quadrant. The in situ fault displacement monitoring has confirmed that movements along the WSW-ENE striking fault reflect dextral strike-slip while movements along the NNW-SSE striking fault reflect sinistral strike-slip. In addition, however, monitoring across the NNW-SSE striking fault has demonstrated relative vertical uplift of the eastern block and, therefore, this fault is characterised by oblique movement trends. The fault displacement monitoring has also shown notable periods of increased geodynamic activity, referred to as pressure pulses, in 2008, 2010-2011, and 2012. The fact that the measured speleothem damage and the results of fault displacement monitoring correspond closely confirms the notion that, at this site, the compressive stress σ1 persists in the NW or SE quadrant. The presented results offer an insight into the periodicity of pressure pulses, demonstrate the need for protracted monitoring periods in order to better understanding geodynamic processes, and show that it is possible to characterise the displacements that occur across individual faults in a way that cannot be accomplished from geodetic measurements obtained by Global Navigation Satellite Systems.


A multi-method approach for speleogenetic research on alpine karst caves. Torca La Texa shaft, Picos de Europa (Spain), 2014,
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Speleogenetic research on alpine caves has advanced significantly during the last decades. These investigations require techniques from different geoscience disciplines that must be adapted to the methodological constraints of working in deep caves. The Picos de Europa mountains are one of the most important alpine karsts, including 14% of the World’s Deepest Caves (caves with more than 1 km depth). A speleogenetic research is currently being developed in selected caves in these mountains; one of them, named Torca La Texa shaft, is the main goal of this article. For this purpose, we have proposed both an optimized multi-method approach for speleogenetic research in alpine caves, and a speleogenetic model of the Torca La Texa shaft. The methodology includes: cave surveying, dye-tracing, cave geometry analyses, cave geomorphological mapping, Uranium series dating (234U/230Th) and geomorphological, structural and stratigraphical studies of the cave surroundings. The SpeleoDisc method was employed to establish the structural control of the cavity. Torca La Texa (2,653 m length, 215 m depth) is an alpine cave formed by two cave levels, vadose canyons and shafts, soutirage conduits, and gravity-modified passages. The cave was formed prior to the Middle Pleistocene and its development was controlled by the drop of the base level, producing the development of the two cave levels. Coevally to the cave levels formation, soutirage conduits originated connecting phreatic and epiphreatic conduits and vadose canyons and shafts were formed. Most of the shafts were created before the local glacial maximum, (43-45 ka) and only two cave passages are related to dolines developed in recent times. The cave development is strongly related to the structure, locating the cave in the core of a gentle fold with the conduits’ geometry and orientation controlled by the bedding and five families of joints.


Tectonic control of cave development: a case study of the Bystra Valley in the Tatra Mts., 2015,
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Szczygieł Jacek, Gaidzik Krzysztof, Kicińska Ditta

Tectonic research and morphological observations were carried out in six caves (Kalacka, Goryczkowa, Kasprowa Niżna, Kasprowa Średnia, Kasprowa Wyżnia and Magurska) in the Bystra Valley, in the Tatra Mountains. There are three cave levels, with the youngest active and the other two inactive, reflecting development partly under epiphreatic and partly under phreatic conditions. These studies demonstrate strong control of the cave pattern by tectonic features, including faults and related fractures that originated or were rejuvenated during uplift, lasting from the Late Miocene. In a few local cases, the cave passages are guided by the combined influence of bedding, joints and fractures in the hinge zone of a chevron anticline. That these cave passages are guided by tectonic structures, irrespective of lithological differences, indicates that these proto-conduits were formed by "tectonic inception”. Differences in the cave pattern between the phreatic and epiphreatic zones at a given cave level may be a result of massif relaxation. Below the bottom of the valley, the effect of stress on the rock mass is related to the regional stress field and only individual faults extend below the bottom of the valley. Thus in the phreatic zone, the flow is focused and a single conduit becomes enlarged. The local extension is more intense in the epiphreatic zone above the valley floor and more fractures have been sufficiently extended to allow water to flow. The water migrates along a network of fissures and a maze could be forming. Neotectonic displacements (of up to 15 cm), which are more recent than the passages, were also identified in the caves. Neotectonic activity is no longer believed to have as great an impact on cave morphology as previously was thought. Those faults with displacements of several metres, described as younger than the cave by other authors, should be reclassified as older faults, the surfaces of which have been exposed by speleogenesis. The possible presence of neotectonic faults with greater displacements is not excluded, but they would have had a much greater morphological impact than the observed features suggest.


On the applicability of geomechanical models for carbonate rock masses interested by karst processes, 2015,
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Rock mass classification and geomechanical models have a particular importance for carbonate rocks, due to their peculiar fabric, variability of the main features, and scarce availability of experimental data. Carbonates are particularly sensitive to syn-depositional and post-depositional diagenesis, including dissolution and karstification processes, cementation, recrystallisation, dolomitisation and replacement by other minerals. At the same time, as most of sedimentary rocks, they are typically stratified, laminated, folded, faulted and fractured. The strength and deformability of carbonate rock masses are, therefore, significantly affected by the discontinuities, as well as by their pattern and orientation with respect to the in situ stresses. Further, discontinuities generally cause a distribution of stresses in the rock mass remarkably different from those determined by the classical elastic or elasto-plastic theories for homogeneous continua. Goal of this work is the description of the difficulties in elaborating geomechanical models to depict the stress–strain behavior of karstified carbonate rock masses. Due to such difficulties, a high degree of uncertainty is also present in the selection of the most proper approach, the discontinuum one or the equivalent continuum, and in the numerical model to be used within a specific engineering application as well. The high uncertainty might cause wrong assessments as concerns the geological hazards, the design costs, and the most proper remediation works. Even though recent developments in the application of numerical modeling methods allow to simulate quite well several types of jointed rock masses, as concerns carbonate rock masses many problems in representing their complex geometry in the simulation models still remain, due to peculiarity of the structural elements, and the presence of karst features. In the common practice, the improper use of the geomechanical models comes from a superficial geological study, or from the lack of reliable geological and structural data that, as a consequence, bring to erroneous evaluations of the influence of the geological-structural features on the in situ stress state and the stress–strain rock mass behavior.


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