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Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology


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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 flow net is 1. a graphical representation of flow lines and equipotential lines for two-dimensional, steady-state ground-water flow [22]. 2. a net of orthogonal streamlines and equipotential lines applied in the graphical solution of laplace's equation [16].?

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


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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
See all featured articles
Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for peat (Keyword) returned 76 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 61 to 75 of 76
Holocene glacier history from alpine speleothems, Milchbach cave, Switzerland, 2011,
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Luetscher M. , Hoffmann D. L. , Frisia S. , Spö, Tl C.

Mountain glaciers and their sediments are prominent witnesses of climate change, responding sensitively to even small modifications in meteorological parameters. Even in such a classical and thoroughly studied area as the European Alps the record of Holocene glacier mass-balance is only incompletely known. Here we explore a novel and continuous archive of glacier fluctuations in a cave system adjacent to the Upper Grindelwald Glacier in the Swiss Alps. Milchbach cave became partly ice-free only recently and hosts Holocene speleothems. Four coeval stalagmites show consistent petrographic and stable isotopic changes between 9.2 and 2.0ka which can be tied to abrupt modifications in the cave environment as a result of the closing and opening of multiple cave entrances by the waxing and waning of the nearby glacier. During periods of Holocene glacier advances, columnar calcite fabric is characterized by 18O values of about 8.0 indicative of speleothem growth under quasi-equilibrium conditions, i.e. little affected by kinetic effect related to forced degassing or biological processes. In contrast, fabrics formed during periods of glacier minima are typical of bacterially mediated calcite precipitation within caves overlain by an alpine soil cover. Moreover, 18O values of the bacterially mediated calcite fabrics are consistent with a ventilated cave system fostering kinetic fractionation. These data suggest that glacier retreats occurred repeatedly before 5.8ka, and that the amplitudes of glacier retreats became substantially smaller afterwards. Our reconstruction of the Upper Grindelwald Glacier fluctuations agrees well with paleoglaciological studies from other sites in the Alps and provides a higher temporal resolution compared to traditional analyses of peat and wood remains found in glacier forefields.


Fresh-water lens anisotropy and flank margin cave development, Fais Island, FSM, 2011,
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Mylroie John E. , Mylroie Joan R. , Jenson John W. , Maccracken Rob

Fais Island, which lies about 200 km east of Yap, Federated States of Micronesia, in the Caroline Islands of the Western Pacific Ocean, is a small uplifted carbonate platform. Modern fresh water lens discharge is concentrated where high-relief cliffs extend seaward beyond the beach and reef flats. Fresh water flow from the beaches and reef flats is small to insignificant. Flank margin caves are also concentrated in these headlands and are conspicuously absent in the vertical cliffs inland of beach and reef flat areas. The original porosity in the pre-Holocene carbonate rocks of Fais has been rearranged into high-permeability flow
systems by repeated exposure to the fresh water lens. The older headlands that extend past the lower permeability beaches and reef flats, conduct water from the lens to the sea. At the same time, flank margin cave development between headlands was diminished by the lack of fresh water lens discharge in those areas. A large closed-contour depression containing a fresh water pool looks at first sight like a sinkhole, but is in fact, an ancient well dug into terraced Holocene sands that infill a reentrant in a paleo-sea cliff. The low relative permeability of these sands creates a more substantial fresh water lens than is available elsewhere on the island.


From sink to resurgence: the buffering capacity of a cave system in the Tongass national forest, USA , 2011,
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Hendrickson Melissa R. , Groves Chris

The Tongass National Forest of Southeast Alaska, USA, pro­vides a unique environment for monitoring the impact of the cave system on water quality and biological productivity. The accretionary terrane setting of the area has developed into a complex and heterogeneous geologic landscape which includes numerous blocks of limestone with intense karstification. Dur­ing the Wisconsian glaciation, there were areas of compacted glacial sediments and silts deposited over the bedrock. Muskeg peatlands developed over these poorly drained areas. The dom­inant plants of the muskeg ecosystem are Sphagnum mosses, whose decomposition leads to highly acidic waters with pH as low as 2.4. These waters drain off the muskegs into the cave sys­tems, eventually running to the ocean. In accordance with the Tongass Land Management Plan, one of the research priorities of the National Forest is to determine the contributions of karst groundwater systems to productivity of aquatic communities. On Northern Prince of Wales Island, the Conk Canyon Cave insurgence and the Mop Spring resurgence were continuously monitored to understand the buffering capacity of the cave sys­tem. Over the length of the system, the pH increases from an average 3.89 to 7.22. The insurgence water temperature, during the summer months, ranged from between 10oC to 17oC. Af­ter residence in the cave system, the resurgence water had been buffered to 6oC to 9oC. Over the continuum from insurgence to resurgence, the specific conductance had increased by an order of magnitude with the resurgence waters having a higher ionic strength. The cave environment acts as a buffer on the incom­ing acidic muskeg water to yield resurgence water chemistry of a buffered karst system. These buffered waters contribute to the productivity in aquatic environments downstream. The waters from this system drain into Whale Pass, an important location for the salmon industry. The cool, even temperatures, as well as buffered flow rates delivered by the karst systems are associated with higher productivity of juvenile coho salmon.


Dams and Reservoirs in Karst , 2011,
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Milanovic, Petar

Construction of dams and reservoirs in karst is historically known as a very risky task. Inspite of very detailed geophysical investigations and repeated sealing treatments, the possibility for dam failure cannot be eliminated. In the karst environment, with its highly random distribution of dissolution features, some uncertainties always remain. The final determination of the adequacy of sealing measures comes after the first reservoir impoundment or even later. In many worldwide examples, watertightness treatment during dam construction was only partially successful, with some remedial work after impoundment being quite common. However, in some cases, the problem is simply too complicated and cannot be overcome. Special approaches have to be undertaken in order to prevent seepage from reservoirs. The key elements are a good geological map and proper geophysical investigations. These investigations are key prerequisites of dam construction in karst and cutting costs through restricting them usually results in increasing the chance of project failure. To deal with karst successfully, innovation, engineering practice, execution feasibility, and commercial understanding have to be undertaken. Grouting alone is definitely not adequate in the case of large karst conduits. Special treatment of large caverns and flexibility during grout curtain execution, including modifications and adaptations on the basis of the geological findings, should be the standard procedure for dam construction in karst to minimize risk. Such an approach is the basic worldwide rule in the fight against leakage from dam sites and reservoir abutments.


Landscape evolution in southeast Wales: evidence from aquifer geometry and surface topography associated with the Ogof Draenen cave system, 2011,
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Simms Michael J, Farrant Andrew R

The evolution of the Ogof Draenen cave system, in south-east Wales, has been profoundly influenced by the geometry of the karst aquifer and its relationship with changes in the surface topography. Using data from within the cave combined with a model of the aquifer geometry based on outcrop data, we have estimated the location and elevation of putative sinks and risings for the system by extrapolating from surveyed conduits in the cave. These data have enabled us to assess the scale and pattern of scarp retreat and valley incision in the valleys of the Usk, Clydach and Lwyd, that together have influenced the development of the cave. From this we can construct a relative chronology for cave development and landscape evolution in the region. Our data show that scarp retreat rates along the west flank of the Usk valley have varied by more than an order of magnitude, which we interpret as the result of locally enhanced erosion in glacial cirques repeatedly occupied and enlarged during successive glacial cycles. This process would have played a key role in breaching the aquiclude, created by the eastward overstep of the Marros Group clastics onto the Cwmyniscoy Mudstone, and thereby allowed the development of major conduits draining further south. In the tributary valleys incision rates were substantially greater in the Clydach valley than in the Lwyd valley, which we attribute to glacial erosion predominating in the north-east-facing Clydach valley and fluvial erosion being dominant in the south-facing Lwyd valley. There is evidence from within Ogof Draenen for a series of southward-draining conduits graded to a succession of palaeoresurgences, each with a vertical separation of 4-5 m, in the upper reaches of the Lwyd valley. We interpret these conduits as an underground proxy for a fluvial terrace staircase and suggest a direct link with glacial-interglacial cycles of surface aggradation and incision in the Lwyd valley. Fluvial incision rates for broadly analogous.


Vascular plant biodiversity richness and endemo relictness of the karst mountains Prenj-Čvrsnica-Čabulja in Bosnia and Herzegovina (W. Balkan) , 2011,
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Redhić, Sulejman, Barudanović, Senka, Trakić, Sabina, Kulijer Dejan
The complex of karstic mountains Prenj-Čvrsnica and Čabulja in Herzegovina (w. Balkan) is characterized by high level of both geomorphology and biodiversity richness. This has been confirmed by a research of plant communities, their structure and dynamics, which took place throughout several seasons from 2005 to 2008. In the investigated area the vegetation cover, as a reliable indicator for specific karstic circumstances, is being differentiated in a great number of syntaxa (plant communities) that encompass over 2,500 vascular plants. On the surface of about 100,000 ha identified were up to 236 plant associations, 116 alliances and 63 vegetation orders that belong to 34 classes. This amounts 34% of total of vegetation classes at the European level and 100% of so far known vegetation classes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, over 80% of classes at the level of Montenegro and Croatia.There have been identified nearly 450 endemic and relict species, which is why most of the identified communities are endemic and relict ones, not only at the level of association but also at the level of higher syntaxonomic categories, such as alliance and order. The highest diversity level characterizes those communities that make a direct contact with the calcareous geological foundation either in rock crevices or screes on limestone. That high level of floristic and vegetation richness places this area among the most diverse areas both in Europe and whole Mediterranean.That high level of floristic and vegetation richness places this area among the most diverse areas both in Europe and whole Mediterranean. Such pattern of vegetation (syntaxonomy) and floristic diversity confirms the unique role of dinaric-herzegovina karst as a complex of unrepeatable ecological factors on global scale.

Zerbrochene Hhlensinter und Kryocalcite als Indikatoren fr eiszeitlichen Permafrost im Herbstlabyrinth-Adventhhle-System bei Breitscheid-Erdbach (N-Hessen) , 2011,
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Richter D. K. , Mischel S. , Dorsten I. , Mangini A. , Neuser R. D. , Immenhauser A.
Speleothem fragments and calcite crystal sands are indicative of the spectacular fragmentation pattern of the central stalagmite of the Weihnachtsbaum-Halle in the Herbstlabyrinth-Advent cave system near Breitscheid-Erdbach (northern Hesse). The fractures are oriented perpendicular and parallel to subparallel to the speleothem layering and were caused by freeze-thaw weathering. According to the trace-element and stable isotope composition the calcite crystal sands formed under cold conditions. The youngest generation of cryogenic calcites, dated to 2324 ka by U/Th, is indicative of slow freezing of cave waters after the Weichselian Interstadial no. 3 and shows ?13C values from 1.0 to 3.1 and ?18O values from 13.7 to 17.3 . Based on the dominant occurrence of the rhombohedral crystal type in the crystal sands we introduce a genetic model of a deepening permafrost soil. The multiphase speleothem fracturing and occurrence of cryogenic calcite suggest an extended period of formation during the Weichselian of the studied stalagmite (the age of the top of stalagmite below the oldest cryogenic calcites is 75.8 ka). The repeated combination of freeze-thawweathering of speleothems and the for - mation of cryogenic calcites represents a new indicator for the decoding of the interstadial/stadial transitions during the Weichselian ice age in the periglacial area of central Europe.

Speleothem deposition at the glaciation threshold An attempt to constrain the age and paleoenvironmental significance of a detrital-rich flowstone sequence from Entrische Kirche Cave (Austria), 2012,
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Meyer M. C. , Sptl Ch. , Mangini A. , Tessadri R.

Proxy records from high-altitude locations predating the Last Glacial Maximum are rare but could provide invaluable insights into the response of alpine catchments to the rapid climate fluctuations which characterized the last glacial period. Herewe present a detrital-rich flowstone record from Entrische Kirche Cave, an inneralpine cave situated close to the accumulation area of the Pleistocene ice-stream network of the European Alps that expanded repeatedly into the lowlands during glacial maxima. U–Th dating of this calcite is challenging due to high detrital Th. However, petrographic and stable isotope analyses in conjunction with associated clastic cave sediments provide useful insights into the climatic boundary conditions during speleothem formation and into the paleoenvironmental processes which operated in the ~2000 m-high catchment above the cave. Our data show that millennial-scale temperature fluctuations had a first-order control on the periglacial activity and vegetation in the catchmentwhich strongly influenced the formation and infiltration of detritus into the karst aquifer. The brown laminated and brown dendritic fabrics that compose much of the detrital-rich flowstone succession reflect these environmental processes. The temperature-dependence of periglacial and permafrost processes allows to constrain the amount of cooling relative to the present-day mean annual air temperature that is required to initiate detrital-rich calcite formation in Entrische Kirche Cave, i.e. −2.5 °C (minimum) to −6 °C (maximum), respectively. White inclusion-poor calcite that is intercalated with the detrital-rich calcite indicates warm (interstadial) conditions and geomorphological stability in the catchment area. One such phase has been U–Th dated to 88.3±6.9 ka (i.e. Greenland Interstadial 21 or 22). 


Post-speleogenetic biogenic modification of Gomantong Caves, Sabah, Borneo , 2012,
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Lundberg J, Mcfarlane D. A.

The Gomantong cave system of eastern Sabah, Malaysia, is well-known as an important site for harvesting edible bird-nests and, more recently, as a tourist attraction. Although the biology of the Gomantong system has been repeatedly studied, very little attention has been given to the geomorphology. Here, we report on the impact of geobiological modification in the development of the modern aspect of the cave, an important but little recognized feature of tropical caves. Basic modeling of the metabolic outputs from bats and birds (CO2, H2O, heat) reveals that post-speleogenetic biogenic corrosion can erode bedrock by between ~ 3.0 mm/ka (1 m/~300 ka) and ~ 4.6 mm/ka (1 m/~200 ka). Modeling at high densities of bats yields rates of corrosion of ~ 34 mm/ka (or 1 m/~30 ka). Sub-aerial corrosion creates a previously undescribed speleological feature, the apse-flute, which is semicircular in cross-section and ~ 80 cm wide. It is vertical regardless of rock properties, developing in parallel but apparently completely independently, and often unbroken from roof to floor. They end at a blind hemi-spherical top with no extraneous water source. Half-dome ceiling conch pockets are remnants of previous apse-fluting. Sub-cutaneous corrosion creates the floor-level guano notch formed by organic acid dissolution of bedrock in contact with guano. Speleogenetic assessment suggests that as much as 70–95% of the total volume of the modern cave may have been opened by direct subaerial biogenic dissolution and biogenically-induced collapse, and by sub-cutaneous removal of limestone, over a timescale of 1–2 Ma.


Characterization of quaternary tufas in the Serra do Andr Lopes karst, southeastern Brazil , 2012,
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Filho William Sallun, Almeida Luis Henrique Sapiensa, Boggiani Paulo Cesar, Karmann Ivo

Active tufas in the form of waterfalls and dams occur along drainage channels in the Serra do André Lopes region (State of São Paulo, southeastern Brazil) and are associated with the karst system that developed on a dolomitic plateau with a superhumid subtropical climate. The predominance of autogenic waters enables the groundwater to become enriched in calcium carbonate, with low terrigenous sediment content. The tufas that were studied are composed of calcite and have high calcium contents and low magnesium contents. Eroded tufa beds that originate from changes in the position of fluvial channels or river flow rates also occur in this region. In the Sapatú deposit, phytohermal tufas with complex morphologies are arranged in levels constituting various temporally repeated sequences that were deposited between 10,570 and 4,972 cal years BP. In the Frias deposit, distal fluvial deposits of tufa are massive with a relatively greater quantity of terrigenous material and show evidence of dissolution and reprecipitation. The base of this deposit is composed of a cemented breccia dated at 25,390 years BP, which is younger than the overlying tufas (>42,000 years BP). In the two deposits, the levels of terrigenous sediments (quartz sand and lithic pebbles) and terrestrial gastropod shells are interpreted as phases of increased flow rate of rivers during intervals of higher rainfall.

 


Characterization of quaternary tufas in the Serra do Andr Lopes karst, southeastern Brazil , 2012,
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William Sallun Filho, Luis Henrique Sapiensa Almeida, Paulo Cesar Boggiani, Ivo Karmann

Active tufas in the form of waterfalls and dams occur along drainage channels in the Serra do André Lopes region (State of São Paulo, southeastern Brazil) and are associated with the karst system that developed on a dolomitic plateau with a superhumid subtropical climate. The predominance of autogenic waters enables the groundwater to become enriched in calcium carbonate, with low terrigenous sediment content. The tufas that were studied are composed of calcite and have high calcium contents and low magnesium contents. Eroded tufa beds that originate from changes in the position of fluvial channels or river flow rates also occur in this region. In the Sapatú deposit, phytohermal tufas with complex morphologies are arranged in levels constituting various temporally repeated sequences that were deposited between 10,570 and 4,972 cal years BP. In the Frias deposit, distal fluvial deposits of tufa are massive with a relatively greater quantity of terrigenous material and show evidence of dissolution and reprecipitation. The base of this deposit is composed of a cemented breccia dated at 25,390 years BP, which is younger than the overlying tufas (>42,000 years BP). In the two deposits, the levels of terrigenous sediments (quartz sand and lithic pebbles) and terrestrial gastropod shells are interpreted as phases of increased flow rate of rivers during intervals of higher rainfall.

 


La Serreta endokarst (SE Spain): a sustainable value?, 2013,
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Asencio A. D. , Espinosa T.

La Serreta endokarst (SE Spain), which UNESCO declared a World Heritage Site in 1998, was considered a sanctuary with cave art and one of the most important archaeological sites in the Mediterranean region for both the remains it hosts and the spectacular karstic landscape at the site.

To coincide with the 40th anniversary of its discovery, the La Serreta cave-chasm was adapted for public use with the intention of showing visitors the remains, which date back to prehistoric times. The solution included attempts to minimize contact with the valuables in the cave in order to alter the existing remains as little as possible and to make good use of the magnificent interpretative conditions of such a unique place by showing the spectacular views over the Los Almadenes canyon, where the Segura River flowed, which is now a viewpoint over the void.

In order to determine the sustainability of the endokarst, the Karstic Sustainability Index (KSI) was applied as a standard measure of sustainable development practices in karstic environments, which employs indicators for the three domains: use of social, economic and environmental resources. By applying this index, La Serreta endokarst was found to be progressing towards the sustainable management of karst resources.

 
 

KARST DEVELOPMENT IN THE GLACIATED AND PERMAFROSTREGIONS OF THE NORTHWEST TERRITORIES, CANADA, 2013,
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Ford Derek

 

The Northwest Territories of Canada are ~1.2 million km2 in area and appear to contain a greater extent and diversity of karst landforms than has been described in any other region of the Arctic or sub-Arctic. The Mackenzie River drains most of the area. West of the River, the Mackenzie Mountains contain spectacular highland karsts such as Nahanni (Lat. 62° N) and Canol Road (Lat. 65° N) that the author has described at previous International Speleological Congresses. This paper summarizes samples of the mountain and lowland karst between Lats. 64–67° N that are located east of the River. The Franklin Mountains there are east-facing cuestas created by over-thrusting from the west. Maximum elevations are ~1,000 m a.s.l., diminishing eastwards where the cuestas are replaced by undeformed plateaus of dolomite at 300–400 m asl that overlook Great Bear Lake. In contrast to the Mackenzie Mountains (which are generally higher) all of this terrain was covered repeatedly by Laurentide Continental glacier ice flowing from the east and southeast. The thickness of the last ice sheet was >1,200 m. It receded c.10,000 years ago. Today permafrost is mapped as “widespread but discontinuous” below 350 m a.s.l. throughout the region, and “continuous” above that elevation. The vegetation is mixed taiga and wetlands at lower elevations, becoming tundra higher up. Access is via Norman Wells (population 1,200), a river port at 65° 37’N, 126° 48’W, 67 m a.s.l.: its mean annual temperature is -6.4 °C (January mean -20 °C, July +14 °C) and average precipitation is ~330 mm.y-1, 40 % falling as snow. In the eastern extremities a glacial spillway divides the largest dolomite plateau into “Mahony Dome” and “Tunago Dome”. The former (~800 km2) has a central alvar draining peripherally into lakes with overflow sinkholes, turloughs, dessicated turloughs, and stream sinks, all developed post-glacially in regular karst hydrologic sequences. Tunago Dome is similar in extent but was reduced to scablands by a sub-glacial mega-flood from the Great Bear basin; it is a mixture of remnant mesas with epikarst, and wetlands with turloughs in flood scours. Both domes are largely holokarstic, draining chiefly to springs at 160–180 m a.s.l. in the spillway. The eastern limit of overthrusting is marked by narrow ridges created by late-glacial hydration of anhydrite at shallow depth in interbedded dolostones and sulphate rocks. Individual ridges are up to 60 km long, 500–1,000 m wide, 50–250 m in height. They impound Lac Belot (300 km2), Tunago Lake (120 km2) and many lesser lakes, all of which are drained underground through them. In the main overthrust structures, the Norman Range (Franklin Mountains) is oriented parallel with the direction of Laurentide ice flow. It displays strongly scoured morphology with elongate sinkholes on its carbonate benches. In contrast, the Bear Rock Range is oriented across the ice flow, has multiple cuestas, is deeply furrowed and holokarstic but preserves pinnacle karst on higher ground due to karst-induced polar thermal (frozen-down) conditions at the glacier base there.


MAGNETIC FABRIC AND MINERALOGY OF CAVE DEPOSITS IN BOTOVSKAYA CAVE (EASTERN SIBERIA, RUSSIAN FEDERATION), 2013,
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Kadlec J. Herman H. Chadima M. Lisá, L. Oberhä, Nsli H. Osintsev A.

 

The Botovskaya Cave is a typical example of a two-dimensional maze with a total length of explored passages exceeding 60 km, which represents the longest limestone cave system in the Russian Federation. The clastic cave sediments filling the cave passages differ in both mineral and mineral magnetic properties and were deposited under different hydrological conditions. The older portion of the clastic cave fills was derived from overlying sandstones, whereas the properties of younger cave sediments show closer affinity to the soils and weathering products originating on the sandstone plateau above the cave. The cave sediments underwent repeated periods of deposition and erosion during the Tertiary and Pleistocene.


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.


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