- Up to date news on minerals and speleothems in evaporite caves
- Short description of the ain mechanisms allowing chemichal deposits in evaporite caves
Chemical deposits inside evaporite (gypsum, anhydrite and halite) caves are far less common than those developed within limestone or volcanic cavities. Moreover they exhibit a lower scarce mineralogical variability due to several reasons, the most important of which are: 1) calcium sulfate and sodium chloride are by far less reactive than calcium carbonate; 2) evaporite outcrops normally have a low mineralogical variability within the cave recharge areas. Therefore these karst environments were less investigated from this point of view in the past: no general paper exists on speleothems developing in halite and anhydrite caves until present, while the last printed one on gypsum (and anhydrite) karst appeared around 20 years ago. Several mineralogical studies were carried out in the last decades in caves from different evaporite areas proving that some of them host peculiar minerogenetic mechanisms, which are, at the moment, exclusive for these areas, and sometimes also brought to light to rare or even new cave minerals. In the present paper, together with an overview on all the actually known minerogenetic mechanisms active within the evaporite caves, the related chemical deposits and speleothems are shortly described. Far from being exhaustive, the recent mineralogical research on evaporite caves puts in evidence their unexpected richness in peculiar hosted speleothems and rare cave deposits. Seven out of the fifty known evaporite cave minerals, and around 10 speleothem types/subtypes are exclusive to these environments. Taking into account that only a few evaporite areas have been, so far, studied, it is highly probable that in the near future many more new cave deposits will be discovered, thus increasing the mineralogical interest of these unique caves.
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Chemical deposits in evaporite caves: an overview.
International Journal of Speleology,
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/ijs/vol46/iss2/1