The Kanaan cave is situated at the coastal zone, north of Beirut City (capital of Lebanon). The cave is located within the upper part of the Jurassic Kesrouane Formation (Liassic to Oxfordian) which consists mainly of micritic limestone. Twenty seven cave pearls were subjected to petrographic (conventional and scanning electron microscopy) and geochemical analyses (major/trace elements and stable isotopes). The cave pearls were found in an agitated splash-pool with low mud content. They are believed to have formed through chemical precipitation of calcite in water over-saturated with calcium. The nucleus and micritic laminae show δ18OV-PDB values of about -5.0‰ and δ13CV-PDB values of -11.8‰, while the surrounding calcite spar laminae resulted in δ18OV-PDB ranging between -5.3 and -5.2‰, and δ13CV-PDB between -12.3 and -12.1‰. A genesis/diagenesis model for these speleothems is proposed involving recrystallization which has selectively affected the inner layers of the cave pearls. This is chiefly invoked by sparry calcite crystals ‘invading’ the inner micrite cortical laminae and the nuclei (cross-cutting the pre-existing mud-envelopes), and the slight depletion in δ18O values from inner to outer cortical layers. The calculated δ18OV-SMOW of the water (-4.2‰) matches with data on meteoric water signature for the central eastern Mediterranean region.
Nader, Fadi H..
Petrographic and geochemical study on cave pearls from Kanaan Cave (Lebanon).
International Journal of Speleology,
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/ijs/vol36/iss1/4