The present note is an updated inventory of all known cave minerals as March 2011. After including the new minerals described since the last edition of the Cave Minerals of the World book (1997) and made the necessary corrections to incorporate all discreditations, redefinitions, or revalidation proposed by the Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclatures and Classification (CNMNC) of the International Mineralogical Association (IMA), we summed up 319 cave minerals, many of these only known from caves. Some of the minerals building up speleothems are powerful tracers of changes in Quaternary climate, other minerals are useful for reconstructing landscape evolution, or allow discriminating between various speleogenetic pathways. Thus, it is expected that the search for new cave minerals will continue and even more attention will be given to those species that carries information that allow for addressing different problems in various earth sciences fields. In view of the exponential increase of cave minerals over the past 50 years, cave mineralogy conceivably has the potential to grow in the future, especially considering the new advances in analytical facilities.
Onac, Bogdan P. and Forti, Paolo
State of the art and challenges in cave minerals studies,
Studia UBB Geologia
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/geologia/vol56/iss1/art3