Arid hypogene karst in a multi-aquifer system: hydrogeology and speleogenesis of Ashalim Cave, Negev Desert, Israel
Amos Frumkin, Boaz Langford, 2018. "Arid hypogene karst in a multi-aquifer system: hydrogeology and speleogenesis of Ashalim Cave, Negev Desert, Israel", Advances in Karst Research: Theory, Fieldwork and Applications, M. Parise, F. Gabrovsek, G. Kaufmann, N. Ravbar
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Ashalim maze cave, and neighbouring caves in the NW Negev Desert, Israel demonstrate hypogene karst features. These features are shown to have developed as a result of the mixing of two types of groundwater flowing in opposite directions within two tiers of Cretaceous rock aquifers. The stable isotope composition indicates that the lower Kurnub sandstone aquifer was recharged over far-field Nubian Sandstone outcrops in the vicinity of the Precambrian basement outcrops of the Sinai Desert, which belongs to the Afro-Arabian dome. The water flows northward and rises into the Judea carbonate aquifer through deep faults. A similar hydrogeological system is inferred for the speleogenetic period of Ashalim Cave. Dewatering of the cave occurred in the Pliocene due to regional uplift. This is indicated by the first vadose speleothems, dated to the late Pliocene (3.1 Ma). This was followed by surface denudation, which breached the cave and formed the present entrance.
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Karst landscapes and karst aquifers are composed of a variety of soluble rocks, such as salt, gypsum, anhydrite, limestone, dolomite and quartzite. They are fascinating areas of exploration, study and research. As karst rocks are abundant on the Earth’s surface, the fast evolution of karst landscapes and the rapid flow of water through karst aquifers present many challenges from a number of different perspectives. This collection of 25 papers deals with different aspects of these challenges, including karst geology, geomorphology and speleogenesis, karst hydrogeology, karst modelling, and karst hazards and management. Together these papers provide a state-of-the-art review of the current challenges and solutions we face in describing karst from a scientific perspective, while at the same time providing useful data and information for managing karst territories to land planners, developers, and managers of show caves, natural parks and reserves in karst terrains.