Jo De Waele

Jo De Waele
University of Bologna | UNIBO · Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences BiGeA

PhD

About

464
Publications
150,297
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4,073
Citations
Citations since 2016
193 Research Items
3065 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220200400600
20162017201820192020202120220200400600
20162017201820192020202120220200400600
20162017201820192020202120220200400600
Introduction
I am mainly a geomorphologist, specialized in cave and karst environments in any type of lithology (not only carbonate rocks, but also evaporites (gypsum, anhydrite and halite) and quartzites). My work deals with speleogenesis, cave morphology, cave sediments and speleothems, paleoclimate research based on cave archives, hydrogeology, and geomorphosites and management of show caves.
Additional affiliations
December 2019 - present
University of Bologna
Position
  • Professor
January 2013 - present
University of Bologna
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
October 2006 - present
University of Bologna

Publications

Publications (464)
Article
The effects of an extreme storm (501 mm of rainfall in less than five days) were monitored in an alpine show cave to assess the characteristics of its aquifer unsaturated and saturated zones. The selected cave, Bossea (SW Piedmont, Italy), is an excellent test site for hydrological investigation of karst systems, because it hosts an underground kar...
Article
Geomorphological studies have been carried out in rapidly evolving salt caves related to small watersheds in the San Pedro de Atacama area, Chile. Radiocarbon ages of bones and wood from cave deposits, combined with the presence of large salt caves, geomorphological and sedimentological observations, and the results of micrometer measurements outsi...
Article
Sinuous collapse chains and skylights in lunar and Martian volcanic regions have often been interpreted as collapsed lava tubes (also known as pyroducts). This hypothesis has fostered a forty years debate among planetary geologists trying to define if analogue volcano-speleogenetic processes acting on Earth could have created similar subsurface lin...
Article
Full-text available
The causes of Neanderthal–modern human (MH) turnover are ambiguous. While potential biocultural interactions between the two groups are still little known, it is clear that Neanderthals in southern Europe disappeared about 42 thousand years ago (ka) after cohabitation for ~3,000 years with MH. Among a plethora of hypotheses on Neanderthal extinctio...
Article
Meghalaya (NW India) is one of the regions in the world with highest recorded rainfalls. Because of these peculiar climatic conditions and intense solutional weathering, karstic caves are widely reported in the numerous limestone areas of this part of India. Likewise, the extremely high rainfall and the tropical monsoon climate have fostered the fo...
Article
Water and air flows connect underground systems to the surface, affecting the cave’s chemical and physical properties. The aim of this work was to investigate the chemical characteristics of waters in Pertosa-Auletta Cave (Italy), focusing on dripwater and on the underground Negro river, seasonally and in different areas of the cave. In particular,...
Article
Full-text available
Nearly half a century ago, two papers postulated the likelihood of lunar lava tube caves using mathematical models. Today, armed with an array of orbiting and fly-by satellites and survey instrumentation, we have now acquired cave data across our solar system—including the identification of potential cave entrances on the Moon, Mars, and at least n...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Artificial lighting in show caves causes the growth of green photosynthetic biofilms, called lampenflora, on rock surfaces. This represents a worrisome ecological problem in caves as these biofilms cause aesthetical, physical and chemical damages on the rock substrates. Finding an efficient eco-friendly control method is now a priority to carry out...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Toirano karst system comprises different caves between altitudes of 340 m and 186 m asl. A detailed investigation of cave pattern, morphologies and of the sedimentary deposits attributes the origin of the caves to rising waters that followed the main vertical structural pathways. Many walls and roofs are sculpted with rising features (cupola an...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In 2018 the GS Faentino started cave exploration in the Holtas Canyon area, in central Albania. Several important cave systems were discovered, explored, and surveyed, among which Shpella Avulit (over 2 km long and around 500 metres deep), Shpella Kaceverrit-Baruttit (around 1 km long and 70 metres deep), Shpella e Kabashit (a 700 metres-long more...
Conference Paper
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New biogenic forms were recently observed inside the caves of Palawan. They consist of perfectly rounded holes, developed over any kind of limestone surface interested by bat droppings. Their genesis is controlled by the peculiar Palawan climate, which is characterized by short but strong rainfalls followed by rather long dry periods.
Conference Paper
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In four stalagmites sampled in Mračna Pećina Cave (Bosnia and Herzegovina) in 2014 for palaeoclimate research, a dark layer was observed. According to U-Th dating, its deposition occurred at circa 1.19 ka (circa 750 A.D.). Its sharp boundaries, fluorescence properties, excess in carbon determined by SEM EDS analyses, and its age, suggest an origin...
Conference Paper
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This study reports the results of a comprehensive radiometric dating campaign carried out on 51 speleothems from caves in Apulia and Sardinia during the last ~7 years. Around 230 ages were produced by exploiting the U-Th method. Sampling targeted 5 caves in Apulia and 12 caves in Sardinia. All caves are located ~41˚N (±1˚) latitude, representing an...
Conference Paper
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The study of sulphur stable isotope signatures in Sulphuric Acid Speleogenetic (SAS) caves gave rise to interesting information on both H 2 S sources and reactions involved in the sulphur cycle. In general, the stable isotope geochemistry of gypsum, sulphur and other sulphate by-products found in underground SAS environments, provides the most robu...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Since 2011, the European Space Agency organises a training programme named CAVES (Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behaviour and performance Skills). Cave systems impose risks, complexities and stressors similar to those imposed by space exploration, including lack of natural light and common reference points, isolation, and t...
Conference Paper
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Salt caves are scarce and poorly investigated mainly because they only exist in extremely remote and arid regions, such as the Atacama Desert (Chile). The Cordillera de la Sal (San Pedro de Atacama) is one of the most important rock salt karst areas in the world forming a Mars-like landscape. The detection of microorganisms and biosignatures preser...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Caves are fascinating mysterious places which have always attracted visitors and explorers. Their unique environmental conditions make them perfect places for the conservation of information related to past environments and cultures and for hosting characteristic ecosystems. People visit caves for many reasons which are mainly related to curiosity...
Conference Paper
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Dissolution-corrosion (DC) represents an important factor for speleogenesis, and can be measured monitoring weight variation over time of carbonate and gypsum tablets exposed in underground environments. The oxidation of H2S produces H2SO4, which in carbonate host rock induces the surface of carbonate tablets to be rapidly corroded by sulphuric aci...
Conference Paper
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Since the early 20 th century, monocrystalline calcite soda straws and helictites have been described in the literature. Recent observations have also shown that subaerial macrocrystalline speleothems are much more frequent than earlier thought, often occurring in very stable cave environments where slow epitaxial growth can be favored over long ti...
Conference Paper
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Since 2011 the training course ESA CAVES, organized by the European Astronaut Centre of ESA, brings together teams of astronauts of all space agencies to explore, document and study the fascinating underground world of natural cave systems. After five training courses in Sardinia, in 2019 ESA CAVES was held for the first time in the classical karst...
Conference Paper
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Flank margin caves form in coastal regions by mixing dissolution. Their development is controlled by the position of the fresh-salt water mixing boundary, which in turn, is related to sea-level position. They are characterized by a typical cave pattern and cave-wall morphologies and represent good indicators of past sea levels. This contribution sh...
Conference Paper
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San Giovanni cave, a natural gateway connecting the Sa Duchessa valley to the Cixerri Plain (Southwest Sardinia), has been known since prehistoric times. Cyclopic remains of walls are still visible at both majestic entrance halls. The presence of a perennial important karst spring at its southern entrance, the fact that it is crossed by a temporary...
Conference Paper
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The southwestern part of Sardinia (Iglesiente) has been Italy's most important Pb-Zn ±Ag ore region and remains a world renown location for its rich mineral association described from mining galleries and numerous caves discovered during exploitation activities. Hosted in calcite skarns heavily mineralized by Pb-Zn (±Ba) Mississippi Valley Type dep...
Conference Paper
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Caves are places where palaeontological and archaeological discoveries are common. Sometimes these remains/artefacts may be of fundamental importance for understanding the evolution of life or the human history. Some examples are the rock art paintings in Lascaux cave in France or the Altamura Neanderthal skeleton in Italy, just to mention a few of...
Conference Paper
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Although used for over a decade for the survey of underground environments, Terrestrial Laser Scanner (TLS) remains a rapidly expanding frontier for exploration and research in caves both in the geological, speleological, engineering and architectural fields. In some cases, a single TLS survey may not be enough to study certain environments and thi...
Conference Paper
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Several caves in orthoquartzite or metaquartzite lithologies have been explored in South America in recent years. Even if the host rock is usually over 90% quartz, with very few other mineral components, surprisingly, these caves host remarkable and diverse secondary mineral deposits. Their presence poses a range of questions regarding minerogenesi...
Conference Paper
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In the last decade several researchers have tried to understand the role of microbes in the deposition of silica speleothems. In this work we present the most recent advances in this effort, obtained through the study of two different ecological niches: the transition from quartz-sandstone to amorphous silica in 1) cave walls and on 2) cave floors...
Article
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Circa un quinto del territorio italiano è caratterizzato dalla presenza di rocce so-lubili, costituite soprattutto da calcari e dolomie, ma anche da marmi e rocce evaporiti-che (gessi). Attualmente sono conosciute più di 50.000 grotte naturali, un numero in co-stante aumento grazie alle esplorazioni speleologiche. Meno dell'1% di queste grotte sono...
Article
Full-text available
Microbial communities inhabiting caves in quartz-rich rocks are still underexplored, despite their possible role in the silica cycle. The world's longest orthoquartzite cave, Imawarì Yeuta, represents a perfect arena for the investigation of the interactions between microorganisms and silica in non-thermal environments due to the presence of extrao...
Conference Paper
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Colombo Cave is part of Toirano karst system and opens at 247 m a.s.l. The wide entrance passage was used during prehistoric times, and a 4.5 m deep archaeological excavation pit is located 10 m from the entrance. The main room is dominated by a large central rock pillar and the floor is completely covered by important ancient bat guano deposits. S...
Conference Paper
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The Fragnè mine, Chialamberto (TO), is located in the Lanzo valley. The study area is part of the structural complex historically indicated as "area of calcschists and greenstones" or "Piedmont area" formed by mesozoic ophiolitic units of the Piedmontese Ligurian Basin by the tectonic-metamorphic evolution related to the alpine orogenesis (Falletti...
Conference Paper
In questo studio sono state valutate le dinamiche annuali e la fruizione degli ambienti terrestri e parietali di una comunità sotterranea, con l'obiettivo di capire se gli organismi che vivono in grotta hanno una distribuzione simile negli ambienti terrestri e parietali, e di scoprire quali tra le diverse caratteristiche microambientali influenzano...
Article
Full-text available
Similarly to the effects of current climate change, the last deglaciation (Termination I) rapidly altered northern latitude temperatures and ice-sheet extent, as well as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. However, it is still unclear how these changes propagated and impacted the central Mediterranean continental rainfall variability....
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Hypogenic caves in carbonate reservoirs offer the opportunity to study exposed and accessible analogues of buried conduit systems. "Super-permeability zone" (here referred to as super-k) is a term adopted in petroleum geology literature to identify stratigraphic horizons characterized by exceptionally high permeability. In case of soluble rocks suc...
Article
Full-text available
The Fragnè mine, located in the Lanzo valley in the municipality of Chialamberto (Turin, Piedmont Region), represented the most important regional site for Fe–Cu sulfide exploitation over a period of more than eighty years (1884–1965). The entire mining area is part of a structural complex in the Lower Piedmont Unit of the Western Alps, characteriz...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The effects of an extreme storm (501 mm of rainfall in less than five days) were monitored in an alpine show cave (Bossea, Italy) to assess the characteristics of the karst aquifer. The hydrology and hydrochemistry of the main underground river were monitored during the November 2016 flood, an exceptional hydrological event (estimated recurrence ti...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Several fractured speleothems were studied in the Bossea cave (Piedmont, Italy) to infer the mechanisms that caused the rupture and their relationships with cave speleogenesis. The Bossea cave evolution is strongly controlled by a complex structural setting. It is a contact cave that developed along a detachment between meta-volcanic basement rocks...
Conference Paper
The Toirano karst system comprises different caves between altitudes of 340 m and 186 m asl. A detailed investigation of cave pattern, morphologies and of the sedimentary deposits attributes the origin of the caves to rising waters that followed the main vertical structural pathways. Many walls and roofs are sculpted with rising features (cupola an...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Oligotrophic, aphotic, subterranean environments represent promising habitats for microbiology studies including the discovery of novel microbial metabolic pathways and bioactive molecules. In this work, eighty bacterial strains were isolated from siliceous speleothems collected from the pristine and recently explored orthoquartzite Imawarì Yeuta c...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Hypogene caves are the product of rock dissolution by reactive fluids whose origin is not linked to surface processes or meteoric water circulation. In contrast to "classic" epigene speleogenesis, the migration path of the fluids generally occurs upwards, and the reactivity of the upwelling solutions stems from deep-seated geological processes (e.g...
Article
Full-text available
Caves are among the most visited geological features in the world, attracting over 70 million people every year in more than 1,200 caves worldwide, and amounting up to 800 million Euros in entrance fees alone. The global business of show caves employs roughly 25,000 people directly (management, guides), and at least 100 times more people if we cons...
Poster
Full-text available
In questo studio sono state valutate le dinamiche annuali e la fruizione degli ambienti terrestri e parietali di una comunità sotterranea, con l'obiettivo di capire se gli organismi che vivono in grotta hanno una distribuzione simile negli ambienti terrestri e parietali, e di scoprire quali tra le diverse caratteristiche microambientali influenzano...
Chapter
From the morphological perspective, poljes are large depressions in karst terrain characterized by extremely flat floors. Corrosion plains have been reported in a wide range of climatic environments and geomorphic settings, such as tropical tower and cone karst landscapes, the floor of poljes, uplifted plateaus in mountain regions, alluvial plains,...
Chapter
Evaporite terrains can display many of the landforms typical of carbonate karst. In this chapter, the authors describe the distinctive geomorphic features related to evaporite dissolution, grouped according to the setting in which they develop, differentiating: interstratal karst, covered karst, bare karst, and the peculiar situation of salt extrus...
Chapter
The evolution and characteristics of karst systems are controlled by a number of factors, notably: lithology, stratigraphy, geological structure, topography, precipitation, temperature, chemical composition of the water, and base level changes, which may be governed by various processes such as sea‐level variations, tectonism, or diapirism. Karst d...
Chapter
Denudation or erosion, commonly used as synonyms, refer to the group of physical, chemical, and biotic processes that produce the removal of mass as solid particles and dissolved material, respectively. The quantitative assessment of solutional denudation is of great interest for understanding multiple aspects related to the functioning and evoluti...
Chapter
The study of the occurrence of groundwater, its movement and quality is designated as groundwater hydrology (or hydrogeology). This chapter explains how groundwater moves in different karst settings, and which methods can be used to analyze karst drainage systems. Karst aquifers are groundwater flow systems in which water moves through different ty...
Chapter
The leading role of dissolution and the dominant subsurface drainage determine the special idiosyncrasy of karst geomorphology, with some notable variations depending on the type of soluble rock. The formation of karren is essentially related to the uneven or differential dissolution of the bedrock surface controlled by a number of factors, resulti...
Chapter
In this chapter, the authors deal with the physical, organic, and chemical deposits found in the dark or semi‐dark areas of caves, excluding those found in cave entrances or rock shelters. Clastic sediments in caves, excluding those found at entrances, have been the subject of numerous studies, mainly during the last 60 years. Phosphorite is a chem...
Chapter
Dissolution is the main process responsible for the development of the specific geomorphic and hydrologic features found in karst terrains. Most karst rocks are essentially monomineralic, hence the problem of their karstification mainly concerns the dissolution of the dominant constituent mineral. This chapter is focused on the dissolution of carbo...
Chapter
This chapter deals with the morphology of the subterranean world accessible to human beings: caves. It also focuses on the gross morphology of dissolution caves, which are the great majority of the caves on Earth. Many geomorphology textbooks adopt a process‐landform‐based approach to describe the different types of geomorphic features, grouping th...
Chapter
There are three main types of rocks: igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary. Most karst rocks belong to the sedimentary group, but karst development may be influenced by other associated non‐karst rocks. Carbonatite is a very rare igneous rock with a high proportion of carbonate minerals that may also display spatially restricted karst features. Sin...
Chapter
The increased knowledge on caves, a better understanding of the physical and chemical processes at work in the underground, and the evolution of hydrology as a science brought about a better understanding of speleogenesis in the last 60 years. This chapter mainly deals with the formation of caves in carbonate rocks. It focuses on the geological pro...
Article
Speleothems show an array of shapes. Flowstones are commonly tabular sheet-like deposits, which cover cave floors and walls. They can procure detailed information about past hydrogeological conditions through their morphology, geochemical composition and stratigraphic properties, which in turn are related to the climate conditions at the surface. T...
Article
Fractured and karstified carbonate units are key exploration targets for the hydrocarbon industry as they represent important reservoirs. Furthermore, large water reserves and geothermal systems are hosted in carbonate aquifers. This paper documents the relationships between stratigraphy, structural patterns, silicification, and the spatial-morphol...
Article
Full-text available
Caves are usually oligotrophic ecosystems, where the organic matter represents a limiting factor to the hypogeal community and sediments are often a significant energy source. With a view to identifying the energy input influencing the ecological processes occurring in caves, as well as the potential alteration sources of the natural equilibriums,...
Article
Full-text available
Biological studies on factors shaping underground communities are poor, especially those considering simultaneously organisms with different degrees of adaptation to cave life. In this study, we assessed the annual dynamics and use of both horizontal and vertical microhabitats of a whole community with the aim of understanding whether cave-dwelling...
Article
Full-text available
Hundreds of large and deep collapse dolines dot the surface of the Quaternary basaltic plateau of Azrou, in the Middle Atlas of Morocco. In the absence of detailed topographic maps, the morphometric study of such a large number of features requires the use of remote sensing techniques. We present the processing, extraction, and validation of depth...
Conference Paper
The last deglaciation (Termination I, T-I) was the most recent global-scale climate transition. It involved a drastic temperature increase guiding massive melting of ice sheets, with a concurrent reorganization of inter- and intrahemispherical atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns. T-I lasted ~3.0 ka (ka = kiloyears before present) in Greenlan...
Conference Paper
In Sardinia, precisely dated Holocene climate and environmental records are derisory. Indeed, availability of lacustrine sediments is scarce, because this Island has one natural relatively large lake only. Accordingly, the most comprehensive Holocene lake-based climate reconstruction, spanning the last 8000 years, has been published only recently (...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The neo-born Majella UNESCO Global Geopark hosts more than one hundred mapped caves, some of which represent important geosites and touristic attractions. Underground karst systems are often excellent environments to investigate and characterize the stratigraphical relations, tridimensional spatial organization of geological structures, morphologie...
Article
Full-text available
Caves are dark subsurface environments with relatively constant temperatures that allow studying bio-mineralization processes and paleoenvironmental or climate changes in optimal conditions. In the extreme and oligotrophic cave environment, manganese patinas having stromatolite-like features are uncommon. Here we provide the first detailed mineralo...
Article
The thermal spring of Fetida Cave, a still active sulfuric acid cave opening at sea level and located in Santa Cesarea Terme, southeastern Salento (Apulia region, Southern Italy) hosts abundant floating white filaments. The white filaments were mainly composed of sulfur crystals surrounded by microbial mass of the phyla Epsilonbacteraeota, Proteoba...
Article
The Cordillera de la Sal (CDS) is a NNE-SSW elongated fold-and-thrust belt several km wide and over 100 km long located in the hyper-arid climate of the Atacama Desert. This ridge contains important Oligocene-Miocene continental sediments including thick interbedded salt rock units which form extensive outcrops. Despite the rare occurrence of rain...