Cold Wind Cave, located at elevations ranging between 1,600 and 1,700 m a. s. l. in the main range of the Nízke Tatry Mountains (Slovakia), is linked in origin with the adjacent Dead Bats Cave. Together, these caves form a major cave system located within a narrow tectonic slice of Triassic sediments. Both caves have undergone complex multiphase development. A system of sub-horizontal cave levels characterized by large, tunnel-like corridors was formed during the Tertiary, when elevation differences surrounding the cave were less pronounced than today. The central part of the Nízke Tatry Mountains, together with the cave systems, was uplifted during the Neogene and Lower Pleistocene, which changed the drainage pattern of the area completely. The formation of numerous steep-sloped vadose channels and widespread cave roof frost shattering characterized cave development throughout the Quaternary. In the Cold Wind Cave, extensive accumulations of loose, morphologically variable crystal aggregates of secondary cave carbonate ranging in size between less than 1 mm to about 35 mm was found on the surface of fallen limestone blocks. Based on the C and O stable isotope compositions of the carbonate (δ13C: 0.72 to 6.34 ‰, δ18O: –22.61 to –13.68 ‰ V-PDB) and the negative relation between δ13C and δ18O, the carbonate crystal aggregates are interpreted as being cryogenic cave carbonate (CCC). Published models suggest the formation of CCC in slowly freezing water pools, probably on the surface of cave ice, most probably during transitions from stadials to interstadials. Though the formation of these carbonates is likely one of the youngest events in the sequence of formation of cave sediments of the studied caves, the 230Th/234U ages of three samples (79.7±2.3, 104.0±2.9, and 180.0±6.3 ka) are the oldest so far obtained for CCC in Central Europe. This is the first description of CCC formation in one cave during two glacial periods (Saalian and Weichselian).
Žák, Karel; Helena Hercman; Monika Orvošová; and Ivana Jačková.
Cryogenic cave carbonates from the Cold Wind Cave, Nízke Tatry Mountains, Slovakia: Extending the age range of cryogenic cave carbonate formation to the Saalian.
International Journal of Speleology,
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/ijs/vol38/iss2/5