The abundance and variety of speleothems are undoubtedly among the remarkable features of Cova des Pas de Vallgornera, the longest cave system in Mallorca Island developed in the eogenetic karst of its southern coast. Due to the monotonous carbonate lithology of the area, most of the speleothems are composed of calcite and in a few cases aragonite, although other minerals are also represented (e.g., gypsum, celestine, barite.). However, in spite of the rather common mineralogy of the speleothems, its distribution results strongly mediated by the lithologic and textural variability linked to the architecture of the Upper Miocene reefal rocks. Apart from a vast majority of speleothem typologies that are ubiquitous all along the cave system, some particular types are restricted to specific sections of the cave. In its landward inner passages, formed in the low permeability back reef facies, a great variety of speleothems associated to perched freshwater accumulations stands out, as well as some non frequent crystallizations like for example cave rims. On the other hand, the seaward part of the cave (developed in the very porous reef front facies) hosts conspicuous phreatic overgrowths on speleothems (POS), which are discussed to show their applications to constrain sea level changes. The factors controlling the distribution of speleothems found in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera are discussed along the paper, focusing the attention on the lithologic, hydrogeologic and speleogenetic conditionings; at the same time some uncommon speleothems, not found in any other cave in Mallorca, are also documented from this locality. Finally, a cognizant endeavour has been undertaken to illustrate with photographs the most remarkable speleothem types represented in the cave.
Merino, Antoni; Joaquín Ginés; Paola Tuccimei; Michele Soligo; and Joan J. Fornós.
Speleothems in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera: their distribution and characteristics within an extensive coastal cave from the eogenetic karst of southern Mallorca (Western Mediterranean).
International Journal of Speleology,
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/ijs/vol43/iss2/3