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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 Rillenstein is (german.) microsolution grooves and pitting on rock surface [10].?

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 zn (Keyword) returned 104 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 91 to 104 of 104
Geochemical/isotopic evolution of Pb-Zn deposits in the Central and Eastern Taurides, Turkey, 2011, Hanilci N. , Ozturk H.

The Central and Eastern Taurides contain numerous carbonate-hosted Pb-Zn deposits, mainly in Devonian and Permian dolomitized reefal-stramatolitic limestones, and in massive Jurassic limestones. We present and compare new fluid inclusion and isotopic data from these ore deposits, and propose for the first time a Mississippi Valley-type (MVT) mode of origin for them. Fluid inclusion studies reveal that the ore fluids were highly saline (13-26% NaCl equiv.), chloride-rich (CaCl2) brines, and have average homogenization temperatures of 112°C, 174.5°C, and 211°C for the Celal Dag, Delikkaya, and Ayrakl deposits, respectively. Furthermore, the ?34S values of carbonate-hosted Pb-Zn deposits in the Central and Eastern Taurides vary between -5.4‰ and +13.70‰. This indicates a possible source of sulphur from both organic compounds and crustal materials. In contrast, stable sulphur isotope data (average ?34S -0.15‰) for the Cadrkaya deposit, which is related to a late Eocene-Oligocene (?) granodioritic intrusion, indicates a magmatic source. The lead isotope ratios of galena for all investigated deposits are heterogeneous. In particular, with the exception of the Sucat district, all deposits in the Eastern (Delikkaya, Ayrakl, Denizovas, Cadrkaya) and Central (Katranbasi, Kucuksu) Taurides have high radiogenic lead isotope values (206Pb/204Pb between 19.058 and 18.622; 207Pb/204Pb between 16.058 and 15.568; and 208Pb/204Pb between 39.869 and 38.748), typical of the upper continental crust and orogenic belts. Fluid inclusion, stable sulphur, and radiogenic lead isotope studies indicate that carbonate-hosted metal deposits in the Eastern (except for the Cadrkaya deposit) and the Central Taurides are similar to MVT Pb-Zn deposits described elsewhere. The primary MVT deposits are associated with the Late Cretaceous-Palaeocene closure of the Tethyan Ocean, and formed during the transition from an extensional to a compressional regime. Palaeogene nappes that typically limit the exposure of ore bodies indicate a pre-Palaeocene age of ore formation. Host rock lithology, ore mineralogy, fluid inclusion, and sulphur + lead isotope data indicate that the metals were most probably leached from a crustal source such as clastic rocks or a crystalline massif, and transported by chloride-rich hydrothermal solutions to the site of deposition. Localization of the ore deposits on autochthonous basement highs indicates long-term basinal fluid migration, characteristic of MVT depositional processes. The primary MVT ores were oxidized in the Miocene, resulting in deposition of Zn-carbonate and Pb-sulphate-carbonate during karstification. The ores underwent multiple cycles of oxidation and, in places, were re-deposited to form clastic deposits. Modified deposits resemble the 'wall-rock replacement' and the 'residual and karst fill' of non-sulphide zinc deposits and are predominantly composed of smithsonite

From soil to cave: Transport of trace metals by natural organic matter in karst dripwaters, 2012, Hartland A. , Fairchild I. J. , Lead J. R. , Borsato A. , Baker A. , Frisia S. , Baalousha M.

This paper aims to establish evidence for the widespread existence of metal binding and transport by natural organic matter (NOM) in karst dripwaters, the imprint of which in speleothems may have important climatic significance. We studied the concentration of trace metals and organic carbon (OC) in sequentially filtered dripwaters and soil leachates from three contrasting sites: Poole's Cavern (Derbyshire, UK), Lower Balls Green Mine (Gloucestershire, UK) and Grotta di Ernesto (Trentino, Italy). The size-distribution of metals in the three soils was highly similar, but distinct from that found in fractionated dripwaters: surface-reactive metals were concentrated in the coarse fraction (>100 nm) of soils, but in the fine colloidal (b100 nm) and nominally dissolved (b1 nm) fractions of dripwaters. The concentration of Cu, Ni and Co in dripwater samples across all sites were well correlated (R2=0.84 and 0.70, Cu vs. Ni, Cu vs. Co, respectively), indicating a common association. Furthermore, metal ratios (Cu:Ni, Cu:Co) were consistent with NICA-Donnan n1 humic binding affinity ratios for these metals, consistent with a competitive hierarchy of binding affinity (Cu>Ni>Co) for sites in colloidal or dissolved NOM. Large shifts in Cu:Ni in dripwaters coincided with high fluxes of particulate OC (following peak infiltration) and showed increased similarity to ratios in soils, diagnostic of qualitative changes in NOMsupply (i.e. fresh inputs of more aromatic/hydrophobic soil organic matter (SOM) with Cu outcompeting Ni for suitable binding sites). Results indicate that at high-flows (i.e. where fracture-fed flow dominates) particulates and colloids migrate at similar rates, whereas, in slow seepage-flow dripwaters, particulates (>1 μm) and small colloids (1–100 nm) decouple, resulting in two distinct modes of NOM–metal transport: high-flux and low-flux. At the hyperalkaline drip site PE1 (in Poole's Cavern), high-fluxes of metals (Cu, Ni, Zn, Ti, Mn, Fe) and particulate NOM occurred in rapid, short-lived pulses following peak infiltration events, whereas low-fluxes of metals (Co and V>Cu, Ni and Ti) and fluorescent NOM (b ca. 100 nm) were offset from infiltration events, probably because small organic colloids (1–100 nm) and solutes (b1 nm) were slower to migate through the porous matrix than particulates. These results demonstrate the widespread occurrence of both colloidal and particulate NOM–metal transport in cave dripwaters and the importance of karst hydrology in affecting the breakthrough times of different species. Constraints imposed by soil processes (colloid/particle release), direct contributions of metals and NOM from rainfall, and flow-routing (colloid/particle migration) are expected to determine the strength of correlations between NOM-transported metals in speleothems and climatic signals. Changes in trace metal ratios (e.g. Cu:Ni) in speleothems may encode information on NOMcomposition, potentially aiding in targeting of compound-specific investigations and for the assessment of changes in the quality of soil organic matter.

Gypsum-carbonate speleothems from Cueva de las Espadas (Naica mine, Mexico): mineralogy and palaeohydrogeological implications, 2012, Gzquez Fernando, Calaforra Jos Maria, Forti Paolo, Rull Fernando, Martnezfras Jess


Some of the most outstanding hypogenic gypsum speleothems worldwide have been recently discovered in the Naica mines. The Cueva de las Espadas (Swords Cave), which lies at 120 m depth, hosts a rare type of speleothem called “espada” (“sword”). This study contributes to the understanding of the mineralogical composition of these singular speleothems, by means of their examination using micro-Raman spectroscopy, FT-IR spectroscopy and EDX microprobe. Our data revealed a complex mineralogy comprising a high-purity selenite core covered by several layers of calcite, aragonite and gypsum. Solid inclusions of polymetallic oxides (Mn-Pb-Zn) and graphite were also detected. The position of the water table during the genesis of the “espada” speleothems (over the past 60 kyr) was deduced from their mineralogy. Water level fluctuations at around -120 m depth led to environmental changes within the Cueva de las Espadas. The selenite core and gypsum layers were precipitated under biphasic (water-rock) conditions when the cave was submerged under hydrothermal water. The aragonite precipitation required triphasic (air-water-rock) conditions and occurred when the water table intercepted the cave, allowing the CO2 exchange necessary for carbonate precipitation. Solid inclusions were trapped in an aerobic environment when the gypsum-aragonite boundary condition occurred. A thin calcite layer was precipitated under vadose conditions after the water table definitively moved out of the cave.

Man and Karst, Proceedings of International Scientific Symposium held in 13th 16th October 2011, Bijakovići Međugorje, 2012,

Stable isotope (O and C) geochemistry of non-sulfide ZnPb deposits; case study: Chah-Talkh non-sulfide ZnPb deposit (Sirjan, south of Iran), 2013, Rezaeian A. , Rasa I. , Amiri A. , Jafari M. R.

The study of oxygen and carbon isotopic ratios has gained importance to determine the origin of ore-bearing fluids, carbon origin, and also to determine the formation temperature of non-sulfide Pb and Zn minerals. In order to determine the origin of fluids and carbon existing in Zn carbonate minerals in Chah-Talkh deposit, initially the amounts of δ18OSMOW and δ13CPDB changes in various zinc minerals in important deposits in Iran and the world were studied, and then by comparing these values in Chah-Talkh deposit with those of other deposits, the origin of fluids responsible for ore forming, carbon, and formation temperature of Chah-Talkh deposit was determined. The range of δ18OSMOW changes in smithsonite mineral in non-sulfide lead and zinc deposits varies from 18.3 to 31.6 ‰, and δ18OSMOW in hydrozincite mineral varies from 7.8 to 27 ‰. Due to the impossibility of smithsonite sampling from Chah-Talkh deposit (due to it being fine-grained and dispersed), hydrozincite minerals which have high isotopic similarities with smithsonite are used for the isotopic analysis of carbon and oxygen. The range of δ18OSMOW changes in hydrozincite mineral of Chah-Talkh deposit varies from 7.8 to 15.15‰, which places in the domain of metamorphic water. The extensiveness of δ18OSMOW changes in Chah- Talkh indicates the role of at least two fluids in the formation of non-sulfide minerals. The obtained formation temperature of non-sulfide minerals (hydrozincite) in Chah- Talkh deposit is 70 to 100 °C, which indicates the role of metamorphic fluids in the formation of deposit. Complete weathering of sulfide minerals to a depth of 134 m confirms the role of rising metamorphic fluids in the formation of non-sulfide minerals. The δ13CPDB values of Chah-Talkh deposit are set in the range of atmospheric CO2 and carbonate rocks, in which the existence of atmospheric CO2 indicates the role of atmospheric fluids, and the existence of carbonate carbon rock indicates of the role of metamorphic fluids in the precipitation of non-sulfide Zn minerals.

Source assessment of deposited particles in a Slovenian show cave (Postojnska jama): evidence of long-lasting anthropogenic impact, 2013, Muri G. , Jovič, Ić, A. , Mihevc A.

Postojnska jama (Postojna Cave) is one of the most famous karst caves in the world and has been a well-known tourist attraction for nearly 200 years. It is particularly famous for its unique double-track railway. Eight heavy metals – aluminium (Al), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), lead (Pb), manganese (Mn), strontium (Sr), and zinc (Zn) – were determined in dust deposits by ICP-MS in order to assess sources of deposited particles on the cave walls. The samples were collected along the main passage in the cave, at different horizontal and vertical levels, in order to test horizontal homogeneity and study vertical distribution of the particles. It seems that the railway is an important anthropogenic source of particles, reflected in increased concentrations of Cu, Pb, and Zn, as well as of Fe and Mn in dust deposits at individual sampling sites. The maximum concentrations of Cu (217 μg g-1), Pb (4,940 μg g-1), and Zn (1,060 μg g-1) considerably exceeded their natural abundance and were explained by anthropogenic impact. The three heavy metals are markers for vehicles, engine oil and brake wear. On the other hand, mixed sources could prevail for Fe and Mn. The maximum concentrations of Fe (85,900 μg g-1) and Mn (682 μg g-1) in dust deposits were similar to the concentrations determined in fragments of the railway tracks (97,100 μg g-1 for Fe and 821 μg g-1 for Mn) and were explained by track wear and/or corrosion. In most other parts of the cave, Fe and Mn concentrations were, however, below the concentration of their natural abundance. Al, Sr, and Cr seem to be predominantly of natural origin. They generally exhibited concentrations lower than their natural abundance.

Materiały 47. Sympozjumu Speleologicznego, Olsztyn, 1720.10.2013, 2013, Av


Since many years cavers from different caving teams are carrying out a systematic study on the caves of Sulcis-Iglesiente, including geomorphological studies. Over thirty natural caves have been explored, surveyed and registered in the past few years, and over half of these have been made accessible by mine galleries. Among these are worth to be mentioned the “Tre Sorelle” of Domusnovas: these are three mine caves intercepted by the San Paolo mine tunnel. This tunnel, whose collapsed entrance has been reopened after a long digging campaign, has been explored and surveyed for around 700 meters. A total of 10 natural caves, mostly developed along fractures, have been explored and mapped, with developments ranging between 10 and 250 meters and depths from 15 to over 160 meters. Only two of these caves were previously known in the Regional Cave Register. In most of the caves, speleothems consist mainly of flowstones, some of which are clear or usually white, others are dark-brown or tending to black. Some samples of the first and the second flowstone types were collected respectively from the “Sesta Sorella” and “Seconda Sorella” Caves. The powders of these samples were analysed by an X-ray diffractometer. The first type consists of thicker layers of white and fibrous aragonite, which sometimes alternate with thinner layers of grey columnar calcite. In some samples, however, calcite interlayers were absent and just aragonite was found. The second type is composed of alternating layers of darkbrown hemimorphite. Some additional analyses were performed on these samples by Laser Ablation ICP-MS to determine the concentration of minor and trace elements in the different layers and mineralogical phases. The most abundant minor elements in calcite layers are Mg and Zn. Magnesium is about constant (~ 2000 ppm) on different spots and remains under the average Mg content of the cave calcite in this region, whereas Zn ranges from 103 to 104 ppm and is well above the Zn average in calcite of caves in the world. Barium concentration is about 80 ppm and more abundant than Pb (20 ppm) and Sr (10 ppm). Barium is also the main minor element in aragonite, where it can reach almost 2000 ppm. The Zn concentration is very high even in aragonite and is comparable to that of Sr (400-500 ppm), overcoming considerably the Pb concentration (20 ppm). In hemimorphite, the most abundant minor elements are Al and Fe (about 104 ppm). However, it was not quantified how much of these are in the hemimorphite lattice or come from some impurities. Actually, we notice that concentration of Fe and Al in the black layers of hemimorphite is an order of magnitude greater than in the brown ones. In addition, the black layers show an abrupt increase of Mn concentration, which overcomes Fe and Al. The evolution of these flowstones is most probably related to the circulation of fluids connected to the oxidation of sulphides, specially sphalerite.

Evidences of hypogenic speleogenesis in Slovenian caves , 2013, Otoničar, B.

 In Slovenia, known as the country of classical karst, thinking about caves of predominantly hypogenic origin have been treated almost as a heresy. Although we may agree that only on the basis of cave morphology and wall rock features parts of some “common” caves especially close to allogenic inflow and past epipheratic zones cannot be simply related to some past hypogenic phase of cave development (e. g. Osborne 2008; Knez & Slabe 2009) some caves in Slovenia host too many features diagnostic for hypogenic, hydrothermal or at least ascending water flow that such interpretations shouldn’t be considered.

We will present preliminary studies on caves from different karstic regions of Slovenia where cave morphology, wall rock features, mineralogy, general geological setting of the area and partly hydrogeology and hydrogeochemistry suggest, at least on a level of hypothesis, their partial development with hypogenic processes in a wider sense (sensu Palmer 2011). In each of the discussed karstic regions different phenomena diagnostic for some of the hypogenic processes prevails over the others.

In Jelovica high karstic plateau (Julian pre-Alps) and Raduha Mt. (Kamniško-Savinjske Alpe) many caves are locally decorated with big calcite crystals commonly found also as veins on the karstic surface.

The Vrh Svetih Treh Kraljev in Rovtarsko Hribovje, the Pre-alpine region in the western part of central Slovenia, hosts few caves which channels exhibit ramiform and maze like orientation guided by faults and joints with wall rock features characteristic for dissolution with slowly flowing ascending water. A large part of at least one cave is developed in dedolomite while the biggest cave in the area has no known natural entrance. In addition, three wells in the area discharge “sulphuric” water.

In Slovenia many caves show wall rock features that can also be diagnostic for hypogenic speleogenesis or at least to ascending flow. However, such features are most often found in places where high fluctuation of karstic waters mainly with allogenic river inflow occurs. Perhaps some exceptions could be found in the foothills of Jelovica Plateau where especially in one particular maze or anastomotic cave (Jeralovo brezno) no evidence of substantial allogenic inflow occurs although in the lower parts some smaller channels are partly filled by predominately fine grained sandy stream related allogenic deposits.

For more detail information of the above mentioned karstic regions with potential traces of hypogenic spelogenesis see the guidebook of the excursions.


In the Triassic of successions of the Italian Dolomites (Northern Italy), there are several examples of different types of hypogene paleokarst, sometimes associated with sulfur or hematite ore deposits.The paleokarst features are related to a regional volcanic event occurred during the Ladinian (Middle Triassic) that affected several carbonate platforms of Anisian-Ladinian age.This study is focusing mainly on the Latemar paleokarst, in the Western Dolomites, and on the Salafossa area in the Easternmost Dolomites.
The karst at Latemar developed as the result of a magmatic intrusion located just below the isolated carbonate platform, developing a system of phreatic conduits and some underground chambers, not justified by the entity of the submarine exposure occurring at the top of the carbonate platform. Most of these features are located about 500 m below the subaerial unconformity and are filled with middle Triassic lavas. Only in one case, the filling is represented by banded crusts now totally dolomitized, with abundant hematite. In this case, the only way to explain the presence of the karst at this depth is to invoke a deep CO2 source allowing the dissolution of the carbonate at such depths: the fact that some phreatic conduits and a possible underground chamber are filled only with lavas is pointing toward an important role of volcanism in karst development.
Salafossa is a well-known mine located in the easternmost Dolomites and has been exploited until 1986, when all the activity ceased. The main metals, in this case, are Zn-Pb-Ba-Fe, exploited within a quite complex paleokarst system developed in several levels, filled by a complex mineralized sequence. The strong dissolution led to the development of voids aligned with the main fault controlling the mineralization, with a proper karst system with phreatic morphologies.

Rockmagnetic and palaeomagnetic studies of unconsolidated sediments of Bukovynka Cave ( Chernivtsi region, Ukraine), 2014, Bondar K. , Ridush B.

Rockmagnetic, palaeomagnetic, and paleontological studies of loamy non-consolidated sediments of the Bukovynka Cave (Chernivtsi region, Ukraine) have been carried out. The sections include three main types of deposits: 1 – fluvial deposits containing travertine grus derived from the karst massif, 2 – fluvial deposits derived from temporary waterflows from outside the cave, 3 – aeolian deposits. Deposits of type 2 and 3 were examined in Sections 1 and 2 in the Trapeznyi Chamber. Their low field magnetic susceptibility (χ) reflects climatic conditions in the Late Pleistocene. The layer with cave hyena bones has higher magnetic susceptibility and appeared to indicate warmer climate. Deposits of type 1 and 2 were investigated in the Section 3 in the Dry Chamber of the cave. Low-field magnetic susceptibility of fluvial deposits, derived from inside of the karst massif, is much higher than for deposits derived from outside the cave. Deposits in Section 3 sharply differ in χ, NRM intensity and Keonigsberger ratio. The fluvial strata of type 1 in Section 3, dated using paleontological remains as Holocene, contains the record of palaeosecular variations of the geomagnetic field. The Etrussia excursion dated 2.8 ka BP was found at 1 m depth in Section 3. The lowest layer has anomalous polarity.

Earliest evidence of pollution by heavy metals in archaeological sites, 2015, Guadalupe Monge, Francisco J. Jimenezespejo, Antonio Garcíaalix, Francisca Martínezruiz, Nadine Mattielli, Clive Finlayson, Naohiko Ohkouchi, Miguel Cortés Sánchez, Jose María Bermúdez De Castro, Ruth Blasco, Jordi Rosell, José Carrión, Joaquí

Homo species were exposed to a new biogeochemical environment when they began to occupy caves. Here we report the first evidence of palaeopollution through geochemical analyses of heavy metals in four renowned archaeological caves of the Iberian Peninsula spanning the last million years of human evolution. Heavy metal contents reached high values due to natural (guano deposition) and anthropogenic factors (e.g. combustion) in restricted cave environments. The earliest anthropogenic pollution evidence is related to Neanderthal hearths from Gorham's Cave (Gibraltar), being one of the first milestones in the so-called “Anthropocene”. According to its heavy metal concentration, these sediments meet the present-day standards of “contaminated soil”. Together with the former, the Gibraltar Vanguard Cave, shows Zn and Cu pollution ubiquitous across highly anthropic levels pointing to these elements as potential proxies for human activities. Pb concentrations in Magdalenian and Bronze age levels at El Pirulejo site can be similarly interpreted. Despite these high pollution levels, the contaminated soils might not have posed a major threat to Homo populations. Altogether, the data presented here indicate a long-term exposure of Homo to these elements, via fires, fumes and their ashes, which could have played certain role in environmental-pollution tolerance, a hitherto neglected influence.


В последние годы на Крымском полуострове активно развивается концепциягипогенного карста и происходит последовательное усовершенствование региональной модели гипогенного спелеогенеза. Это стало возможным благодаря новым теоретико-прикладным разработкам в области региональной геодинамики (Юдин, 2011), карстовой гидрогеологии и геоморфологии (Klimchouk, 2007; Климчук, 2013; Климчук и др., 2013), карстологии (Климчук, Андрейчук, 2010), изотопной геохимии (Dublyansky, Spotl, 2008; Дублянский и др., 2013). Проведенные во многих уголках Крыма детальные спелеоморфогенетические, геолого-гидрогеологические и геохимические исследования показали высокую степень сходства морфоскульптурных комплексов, минеральных образований и изотопно-геохимических изменений горных пород с классическими областями развития гипогенного карста в мире. Установлено, что широко представленные в аструктурных обрывах куэст Предгорного Крыма разнообразные полостные формы являются реликтами гипогенных каналово-полостных систем, раскрытых в ходе отседания и обваливания по ним блоков горных пород. Кроме широко представленных в естественных обнажениях, накопилась критическая масса гипогенных индикаторов, обнаруженных в искусственных выработках при закладке катакомб, карьеров, подземных хранилищ, дорожных выемок, водосборных галерей идренажных коллекторов, скважин и колодцев.Цель данного сообщения – обобщить и систематизировать сведения оразнообразных проявлениях гипогенного карста на техногенных объектах Крыма для включения их в региональную модель.

Characterization of minothems at Libiola (NW Italy): morphological, mineralogical, and geochemical study, 2016, 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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