Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 203–216 | Cite as

Reconnaissance study of active sulfide springs and cave systems in the southern part of the Sulaimani Governorate (NE Iraq)

  • Adrian A. IurkiewiczEmail author
  • Zoran P. Stevanovic
Original Article


A fairly important number of springs with H2S degassing were identified in all three structural compartments of northeastern Iraq, namely the thrust, high and Low Folded Zones. The speleogenesis process is active for some of these systems and the sulfuric acid dissolution is partly documented for the initiation and actual progress of the process. Apart from carbonic acid dissolution of carbonate rocks, the speleogenesis process can also be activated and sustained by sulfuric acid dissolution. Caves genetically based on the oxidation of H2S have been described in a continuously increasing number of sites distributed worldwide. Presence of sulfide springs in the northeastern part of Iraq is normal rather than exceptional. It is assumed that H2S from deeper oil/gas structures, or only resulting from hydrocarbons existent in caprocks or in carbonate layers, is entrapped within the anticline plunge. Groundwater monitoring and intensive mapping activities exploiting UN-FAO program research data (2001–2003) support the preliminary hypothesis concerning the understanding and analysis of the most relevant sulfide spring. Specific to these karst systems is the combination of chemical/dissolution processes leading to mixed karst morphology features heaving as starting point occurrences of gypsum layers and possible hydrocarbon solutions inflows.


Karst Speleogenesis Sulfur springs Iraq 



The authors gratefully thank Prof. A.F. Lawa for his support during field trips and the work throughout the mission in northeastern Iraq. Fruitful discussions concerning geology and hydrogeology of specific areas largely enhanced our knowledge and strengthened our feelings toward the Iraqi Kurdistan people and the beautiful landscape. Our thanks are also due to our colleagues, Dr. M. Constantin and doctoral candidate Slavoaca Ruxandra, for the preliminary review and constructive comments on the hydrochemistry hypotheses presented hereto.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Department of Environmental Geology and GeophysicsUniversity of BucharestBucharestRomania
  2. 2.Department of Hydrogeology, FMGUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia

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