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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 sea-mill is a mill whose motive power is derived from the flow of water into (or possibly out of) a sea estavelle; the classical example is on the vinaria peninsulas, at argostolion, kephallinia [20]. synonyms: (french.) moulin de la mer, moulin d'argostoli; (german.) meermuhle; (greek.) thalassomylos; (spanish.) molino de mar; (turkish.) deniz suyu degirmeni; (yugoslavian.) morska vodenica. see sea estavelle.?

Checkout all 2699 terms in the KarstBase Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms


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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 texture (Keyword) returned 58 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 46 to 58 of 58
Burial dolomitization and dissolution of Upper Jurassic Abenaki platform carbonates, Deep Panuke reservoir, Nova Scotia, Canada, 2006,
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Wierzbicki R. , Dravis J. J. , Alaasm I. , Harland N.

A large gas reservoir was discovered in the previously unproductive Jurassic-aged Abenaki carbonate margin in 1998. Most of the reservoir porosity is developed in dolostones. These dolostones replaced preexisting wackestones, packstones, and grainstones(?) associated with reefal and adjacent depositional environments. Many dolomites were subsequently recrystallized or dissolved, accounting for much of the preserved secondary porosity. Subsequent fracturing helped enhance reservoir permeabilities. Enhanced petrographic techniques established that dissolution of previously dolomitized fabrics generated much of the secondary porosity in these dolostones. Diffused plane-polarized light revealed relict grains and textures invisible with standard microscopic observations. Petrographic and geochemical observations also confirmed that dissolution occurred under deep-burial conditions after incipient pressure solution. Dissolutionwas not confined to the centers of dolomitized grains, as is commonly seen when remnant calcitic grains dissolve out during the advanced stages of replacement dolomitization. Instead, dissolution was random within relict grains, as isolated dolomite crystals were also variably dissolved. The geochemistry of these dolomites and associated late-stage calcites implied precipitation from basinal hot fluids, as well as hydrothermal fluids. Later diagenetic fluids, either acidic or calcium rich, or perhaps both at different times (based on associated mineralization), seemingly promoted dolomite dissolution. The presence of tectonic fractures and stylolites, helium gas, and faults observed in seismic data implied that dolomitization and subsequent dissolution along the Abenaki platform margin were controlled by reactivated wrench faults tied to basement. On a finer scale, diagenetic fluids moved through fractures and pressuresolution seams. The data collected to date support our contention that the dolomitization and dissolution process, which has created most of the porosity in the Abenaki reservoir, was poststylotization and deeper burial in origin. Given the timing of tectonic activity in the area and its inferred connection to diagenesis, it is probable that at least a part of the diagenetic fluids were hydrothermal in nature 


Annually Laminated Speleothems: a Review, 2008,
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Baker A. , Smith C. L. , Jex C. , Fairchild I. J. , Genty D. And Fuller L.
This review of annually laminated speleothems firstly considers the four types of annual laminae found within speleothems: fluorescent laminae formed by annual variations in organic matter flux; visible or petrographic laminae, formed by annual variations in calcite texture or fabric; calcite-aragonite couplets; and finally trace element laminae. The methods available to confirm the annual nature, or otherwise, of lamina deposition are reviewed. We consider the use of annual laminae in chronology building, with particular relevance to palaeoclimate reconstructions. Finally, the use of annual lamina width as a palaeoclimate proxy is reviewed.

Annually Laminated Speleothems: a Review, 2008,
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Baker A. , Smith C. L. , Jex C. , Fairchild I. J. , Genty D. , Fuller L.

This review of annually laminated speleothems firstly considers the four types of annual laminae found within speleothems: fluorescent laminae formed by annual variations in organic matter flux; visible or petrographic laminae, formed by annual variations in calcite texture or fabric; calcite-aragonite couplets; and finally trace element laminae. The methods available to confirm the annual nature, or otherwise, of lamina deposition are reviewed. We consider the use of annual laminae in chronology building, with particular relevance to palaeoclimate reconstructions. Finally, the use of annual lamina width as a palaeoclimate proxy is reviewed.


VEGETATION OF THE DOLINES IN MECSEK MOUNTAINS (SOUTH HUNGARY) IN RELATION TO THE LOCAL PLANT COMMUNITIES, 2009,
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Csiky Jnos Erd?s, Lszl, Morschhauser Tams, Trk Pter & Krmczi Lszl
This paper deals with the forest vegetation of the lower part of the dolines in Mecsek Mts. (South Hungary). In order to char-acterize this vegetation type, samples were compared to the 6 plant communities occurring in the neighbourhood of the dolines. Considering the vegetation texture and species com-position, the vegetation of the dolines resembles mainly the extrazonal beechwoods (Helleboro odori-fagetum) and local ravine forests (Scutellario altissimae-Aceretum) that preserve several mountain, subatlantic relict species in this area. Our study revealed that the plant communities characteristic of the karst surface of Western Mecsek are arranged along a moisture and nutrient gradient. In this system, the habitat conditions of the dolines are similar to those of the beech forests and the lo-cal ravine forests, fresh and relatively rich in nutrients. In the karst, dominated by oak-hornbeam and beech forests, effects of the thermal inversion are the most spectacular where beech forests follow turkey oak-sessile oak forests and oak-hornbeam forests on the lower part of the doline slopes. The described vegetation type of these depressions is developed by edafic fac-tors; its identification as a separate association is not supported by the analyses.

Fluid flow reconstruction in karstified Panormide platform limestones (north-central Sicily): Implications for hydrocarbon prospectivity in the Sicilian fold and thrust belt, 2010,
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Dewever B. , Berwouts I. , Swennen R. , Breesch L. , Ellam R. M.

Diagenetic analysis based on field and petrographic observations, isotope and microthermometric data was used to reconstruct the fluid flow history of the Cretaceous shallow water limestones from the Panormide platform exposed in north-central Sicily. Analysis focused on diagenetic products in cavities and dissolution enlarged fractures of the karstified limestones that occur just below a regional unconformity. The fluid flow history could be broken down into five stages that were linked to the kinematic and burial history of the region. (1) Petrography (zoned cathodoluminescence and speleothem textures) and stable isotopes (6.5 PDB &/Tm_2 to _5 _C), but at increasingly higher temperatures (Th 60–120 _C). This has been interpreted as precipitation during Oligocene foredeep burial. (4) Hot (Th 130–180 _C), low saline (Tm he low salinity and relatively high d18OSMOW signatures of the fluids are interpreted to be the result of clay dewatering reactions. The presence of bitumen and associated fluorite with hydrocarbon inclusions at this stage in the paragenesis constrains the timing of oil migration in the region. (5) Finally, high saline fluids with elevated 87Sr/86Sr (0.7095–0.7105) signatures invaded the karst system. This last fluid flow event was possibly coeval with localized dolomitization and calcite cementation along high-angle faults of Pliocene age, as suggested by identical radiogenic signatures of these diagenetic products.


A new karren feature: hummocky karren, 2012,
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Plan Lukas, Renetzeder Christa, Pavuza Rudolf, Krner Wilfried

Karren are small-scale landforms on karst surfaces and many types have been described so far. Here we present an apparently new feature which was found on the Hochschwab karst massive in the Northern Calcareous Alps of Austria. So far only few outcrops each having less than 1 m² within a very restricted area have been found. Morphometric analysis reveals that the karren consist of a randomly distributed, dispersed assemblage of small hummocks and depressions in between. The mean distance between neighbouring hummocks is 4 to 5 cm and the mean height is 0.85 cm. Longitudinal sections are gently sinuous. The occurrences are delimited by thin soil cover with grassy vegetation. The karst features continue below that vegetation cover. Therefore, it is clear that the karren have formed subcutaneously. Corroded fissures where water could infiltrate into the epikarst are absent. The bedrock lithology is Middle Triassic limestone of the Wetterstein Formation in lagoonal facies. Geological structures do not govern the feature. The surface is not a bedding plane and small joints and fractures do not govern the arrangement of the hummocks. Thin section analysis regarding rock texture and dolomite components show that there is no compositional difference between hummocks and depressions. Geochemical analyses show that the limestone is very pure with a very low content of Magnesia. Slightly higher Magnesia contents at the hummock surfaces are significant. The data obtained so far only indicate that some dissolution mechanism but not any rock property governs the irregular array. As there exist no descriptions of comparable features in literature, the name “hummocky karren” is suggested for that type of karren landform.


Petrographic and isotopic evidence for late-stage processes in sulfuric acid caves of the Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico, USA, 2012,
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Palmer Margaret, Palmer Arthur N.

Caves of the Guadalupe Mountains have experienced many modifications since their final phase of sulfuric acid speleogenesis several million years ago. Petrographic and geochemical data reveal details of the change from H2SO4 to CO2-dominated reactions. The H2SO4 dissolution front acquired a coating of replacement gypsum with local pockets of anhydrite and by-products of altered clay, including Fe-Mn oxides. Alteration of bedrock beneath the gypsum produced a white micritized rind with small negative shifts in δ13C and δ18O. Solution basins contain records of the earliest post-speleogenetic processes: corroded bedrock, residual anhydrite, Fe-Mn oxides from fluctuating pH and Eh, mammillary calcite, and dolomitization. Later meteoric water removed or recrystallized much of the gypsum and early micrite, and replaced some gypsum with calcite. Mammillary crusts demonstrate fluctuating groundwater, with calcite layers interrupted by films of Fe-Mn oxides precipitated during periodic inflow of anoxic water. Condensation moisture (from local evaporation) absorbs CO2 from cave air, corroding earlier features and lowering their δ13C and δ18O. Drips of condensation water deposit minerals mainly by evaporation, which increases δ18O in the speleothems while δ13C remains nearly constant. By forcing calcite precipitation, evaporation raises the Mg content of remaining water and subsequent precipitates. Dolomite (both primary and replacive) is abundant. In areas of low air circulation, water on and within carbonate speleothems equilibrates with cave-air CO2, causing minerals to recrystallize with glassy textures. Fluorite on young evaporative speleothems suggests a recent release of deep-source HF gas and absorption by droplets of condensation water. 


Boxwork and ferromanganese coatings in hypogenic caves: An example from Sima de la Higuera Cave (Murcia, SE Spain) , 2012,
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Gazquez Fernando, Calaforra Josemaria, Rull Fernando

This paper examines the greyish-blue deposits that were recently discovered in the lower levels of the Sima de la Higuera Cave (Murcia, SE Spain) which occur as patinas over the walls and ceilings, as well as coating boxwork formations. Their mineralogy was determined using XRD and micro-Raman spectroscopy, while EDX microanalysis was used to determine their elemental composition. The mineralogical analyses revealed the presence of Mn oxides (todorokite and pyrolusite) and Fe with a low degree of crystallinity, whereas EDX microprobe showed elevated concentrations of Mn (38.2 wt.%), Fe (15.2 wt.%) and Pb (8.1 wt.%). The ferromanganese oxyhydroxides occur as botryoidal aggregates overlying blades of calcite that have a visibly sugary texture. The speleogenetic model proposed describes (1) an initial phase of precipitation of hydrothermal calcite veins (of hypogenic origin) within the fissures of the host rock under phreatic conditions and (2) a subsequent vadose phase involving preferential corrosion of the carbonate host rock caused by lowering of the pH resulting from CO2 diffusion in condensed water and oxidation of Fe and Mn under aerobic conditions, probably mediated by microorganisms. It is this later phase that gave rise to the boxwork. The boxwork of the Sima de la Higuera Cave is a singular example of a formation that is generated by dissolution–corrosion of the rock due to acidification caused by oxidation of iron and manganese.


Boxwork and ferromanganese coatings in hypogenic caves: An example from Sima de la Higuera Cave (Murcia, SE Spain), 2012,
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Gazquez Fernando, Calaforra Josemaria, Rull Fernando

This paper examines the greyish-blue deposits that were recently discovered in the lower levels of the Sima de la Higuera Cave (Murcia, SE Spain) which occur as patinas over the walls and ceilings, as well as coating boxwork formations. Their mineralogy was determined using XRD and micro-Raman spectroscopy, while EDX microanalysis was used to determine their elemental composition. The mineralogical analyses revealed the presence of Mn oxides (todorokite and pyrolusite) and Fe with a low degree of crystallinity, whereas EDX microprobe showed elevated concentrations of Mn (38.2 wt.%), Fe (15.2 wt.%) and Pb (8.1 wt.%). The ferromanganese oxyhydroxides occur as botryoidal aggregates overlying blades of calcite that have a visibly sugary texture. The speleogenetic model proposed describes (1) an initial phase of precipitation of hydrothermal calcite veins (of hypogenic origin) within the fissures of the host rock under phreatic conditions and (2) a subsequent vadose phase involving preferential corrosion of the carbonate host rock caused by lowering of the pH resulting from CO2 diffusion in condensed water and oxidation of Fe and Mn under aerobic conditions, probably mediated by microorganisms. It is this later phase that gave rise to the boxwork. The boxwork of the Sima de la Higuera Cave is a singular example of a formation that is generated by dissolution–corrosion of the rock due to acidification caused by oxidation of iron and manganese.


Microsculpturing of solutional rocky landforms., 2013,
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Lundberg, J.

Karren (small-scale dissolutional features) have a great variety of forms and are known by a huge suite of terms. Bare rock forms are sharper and more gravitomorphic than subcutaneous forms, where rock-fracture control may dominate. Four controls operate: (1) physical properties of the solvent (fluid flow, surface tension, and percolation); (2) chemical properties of the solvent (unmodified rainwater, enhanced aggressivity, and reduced aggressivity); (3) chemical properties of the solute (rock solubility); and (4) physical properties of the solute (fractures and rock texture). Large expanses of bare rock karren are called karren fields, the more famous including China’s ‘Stone Forest’, Madagascar’s ‘Tsingy’, and Mulu’s ‘Pinnacles’. in caves


Karstification of Dolomitic Hills at south of Coimbra (western-central Portugal) - Depositional facies and stratigraphic controls of the (palaeo)karst affecting the Coimbra Group (Lower Jurassic), 2014,
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Dimuccio, Luca Antonio

An evolutionary model is proposed to explain the spatio-temporal distribution of karstification affecting the Lower Jurassic shallow-marine carbonate succession (Coimbra Group) of the Lusitanian Basin, cropping out in the Coimbra-Penela region (western-central Portugal), in a specific morphostructural setting (Dolomitic Hills). Indeed, in the Coimbra Group, despite the local lateral and vertical distributions of dolomitic character and the presence of few thick sandy-argillaceous/shale and marly interbeds, some (meso)karstification was identified, including several microkarstification features. All types of karst forms are commonly filled by autochthonous and/or allochthonous post-Jurassic siliciclastics, implying a palaeokarstic nature.

The main aim of this work is to infer the interplay between depositional facies, diagenesis, syn- and postdepositional discontinuities and the spatio-temporal distribution of palaeokarst. Here, the palaeokarst concept is not limited to the definition of a landform and/or possibly to an associated deposit (both resulting from one or more processes/mechanisms), but is considered as part of the local and regional geological record.

Detailed field information from 21 stratigraphic sections (among several dozens of other observations) and from structural-geology and geomorphological surveys, was mapped and recorded on graphic logs showing the lithological succession, including sedimentological, palaeontological and structural data. Facies determination was based on field observations of textures and sedimentary structures and laboratory petrographic analysis of thin-sections. The karst and palaeokarst forms (both superficial and underground) were classified and judged on the basis of present-day geographic location, morphology, associated discontinuities, stratigraphic position and degree of burial by post-Jurassic siliciclastics that allowed to distinguish a exposed karst (denuded or completely exhumed) than a palaeokarst (covered or partially buried).

A formal lithostratigrafic framework was proposed for the local ca. 110-m-thick combined successions of Coimbra Group, ranging in age from the early Sinemurian to the early Pliensbachian and recorded in two distinct subunits: the Coimbra formation, essentially dolomitic; and the overlying S. Miguel formation, essentially dolomitic-limestone and marly-limestone.

The 15 identified facies were subsequently grouped into 4 genetically related facies associations indicative of sedimentation within supra/intertidal, shallow partially restricted subtidal-lagoonal, shoal and more open-marine (sub)environments - in the context of depositional systems of a tidal flat and a very shallow, inner part of a low-gradient, carbonate ramp. In some cases, thick bedded breccia bodies (tempestites/sismites) are associated to synsedimentary deformation structures (slumps, sliding to the W to NW), showing the important activity of N–S and NNE–SSW faults, during the Sinemurian. All these deposits are arranged into metre-scale, mostly shallowing-upward cycles, in some cases truncated by subaerial exposure events. However, no evidence of mature pedogenetic alteration, or the development of distinct soil horizons, was observed. These facts reflect very short-term subaerial exposure intervals (intermittent/ephemeral), in a semiarid palaeoclimatic setting but with an increase in the humidity conditions during the eogenetic stage of the Coimbra Group, which may have promoted the development of micropalaeokarstic dissolution (eogenetic karst).

Two types of dolomitization are recognized: one (a) syndepositional (or early diagenetic), massive-stratiform, of “penesaline type”, possibly resulting from refluxing brines (shallow-subtidal), with a primary dolomite related to the evaporation of seawater, under semiarid conditions (supra/intertidal) and the concurrent action of microbial activity; another (b) later, localized, common during diagenesis (sometimes with dedolomitization), particularly where fluids followed discontinuities such as joints, faults, bedding planes and, in some cases, pre-existing palaeokarstic features.

The very specific stratigraphic position of the (palaeo)karst features is understood as a consequence of high facies/microfacies heterogeneities and contrasts in porosity (both depositional and its early diagenetic modifications), providing efficient hydraulic circulation through the development of meso- and macropermeability contributed by syn- and postdepositional discontinuities such as bedding planes, joints and faults. These hydraulic connections significantly influenced and controlled the earliest karst-forming processes (inception), as well as the degree of subsequent karstification during the mesogenetic/telogenetic stages of the Coimbra Group. Multiple and complex karstification (polyphase and polygenic) were recognized, including 8 main phases, to local scale, integrated in 4 periods, to regional scale: Jurassic, Lower Cretaceous, pre-Pliocene and Pliocene-Quaternary. Each phase of karstification comprise a specific type of (palaeo)karst (eogenetic, subjacent, denuded, mantled-buried and exhumed).

Finally, geological, geomorphological and hydrogeological characteristics allowed to describe the local aquifer. The elaborated map of intrinsic vulnerability shows a karst/fissured and partially buried aquifer (palaeokarst) with high to very high susceptibility to the contamination.


Karst pocket valleys and their implications on Pliocene–Quaternary hydrology and climate: Examples from the Nullarbor Plain, southern Australia, 2015,
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Karst on the Nullarbor Plain has been studied and described in detail in the past, but it lacked the determination of the karst discharge and palaeo-watertable levels that would explain the palaeohydrological regime in this area. This study explores the existence of previously unrecognised features in this area – karst pocket valleys – and gives a review on pocket valleys worldwide. Initial GIS analyses were followed up by detailed field work, sampling, mapping and measuring of morphological, geological, and hydrological characteristics of representative
valleys on the Wylie and Hampton scarps of the Nullarbor Plain. Rock and sand samples were examined for mineralogy, texture and grain size, and a U–Pb dating of a speleothem froma cave within a pocket valley enabled the establishment of a time frame of the pocket valleys formation and its palaeoenvironmental implications. The pocket valleys document the hydrological evolution of the Nullarbor karst system and the Neogene–Pleistocene palaeoclimatic evolution of the southern hemisphere. A review of pocket valleys in different climatic and geological settings suggests that their basic characteristics remain the same, and their often overlooked utility as environmental indicators can be used for further palaeoenvironmental studies. The main period of intensive karstification and widening of hydrologically active underground conduits is placed into the wetter climates of the Pliocene epoch. Subsequent drier climates and lowering of the watertable that followed sea-level retreat in the Quaternary resulted in formation of the pocket valleys (gravitational undermining, slumping, exudation and collapse), which, combined with periodic heavy rainfall events and discharge due to impeded drainage, caused the retreat of the pocket valleys from the edge of escarpments.


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