Kenya is one of the few countries in which karst cavities are scarce with respect to volcanic ones, which are widespread throughout the whole country. The great variability in lava composition allowed the evolution of very different cavities, some of which are amongst the largest lava tubes of the world. As normal for such a kind of cave, the hosted speleothems and cave minerals are scarce but important from the minerogenetic point of view. Anyway up to present no specific mineralogical research have been carried out therein. During the 8th International Symposium on Volcanospeleology, held in Nairobi in February 1998, some of the most important volcanic caves of Kenya have been visited and their speleothems and/or chemical deposits sampled: most of them were related to thick guano deposits once present inside these cavities. Speleothems mainly consisted of opal or gypsum, while the deposits related to guano often resulted in a mixture of sulphates and phosphates. The analyses confirmed the great variability in the minerogenetic mechanisms active inside the volcanic caves, which consequently allow the evolution of several different minerals even if the total amount of chemical deposit is scarce. Among the observed minerals kogarkoite, phillipsite and hydroxyapophyllite, must be cited because they are new cave minerals not only for the lava tubes of Kenya, but also for the world cave environment. The achieved results are compared with the available random data from previous literature in order to allow an updated overview on the secondary cave minerals of Kenya.
Forti, Paolo; Ermanno Galli; and Antonio Rossi.
Minerogenesis of volcanic caves of Kenya.
International Journal of Speleology,
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/ijs/vol32/iss1/1