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The role of karst in the genesis of sulphur deposits, Pre-Carpathian region, Ukraine

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Author(s): Klimchouk,A.B.

Journal: Speleogenesis and Evolution of Karst Aquifers
ISSN 1814-294X

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 3283;
Date: 2005;
Original page

Keywords: deposits | bioepigenetic sulphur | sulphate karst | speleogenesis | Pre-Carpatians | Western Ukraine

ABSTRACT
Most of exogenous epigenetic sulphur deposits are clearly associated with intensely karstified carbonate and sulphate rocks. This paper demonstrates, using the Pre-Carpathian region as an example, that karstification is one of the most important processes guiding the formation of sulphur deposits. This is determined by a coincidence of some major prerequisites of these two processes. In the Podol'sky and Bukovinsky regions the Miocene aquifer system is well drained by erosion valleys; the giant network caves known here in gypsum formed under past artesian conditions. In the region of sulphur deposits, associated with the same karstified gypsum strata, true artesian conditions still prevail. Hydrogeologic data show that abundant cavities detected in the vicinity of sulphur deposits can be interpreted as having the same origin as the relict caves of the Podol'sky and Bukovinsky regions. The widespread belief that the gypsum/anhydrite bed in the region is an aquifuge separating the Miocene aquifers is inadequate. This belief caused much controversy with regard to the genetic interpretations of sulphur deposits in the region. Cave systems formed by the upward water flow through the gypsum/anhydrite bed govern the water exchange between the aquifers within the aquifer system. A new karst model for the formation of sulphur deposits is suggested. It agrees well with the hydrogeological features of the Miocene sequence and with biogeochemical mechanisms of sulphur origin in low-temperature diagenetic environments.
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