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Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

Klimchouk on 26 Mar, 2012
Dear Colleagues, This is to draw your attention to several recent publications added to KarstBase, relevant to hypogenic karst/speleogenesis: Corrosion of limestone tablets in sulfidic ground-water: measurements and speleogenetic implications Galdenzi,

The deepest terrestrial animal

Klimchouk on 23 Feb, 2012
A recent publication of Spanish researchers describes the biology of Krubera Cave, including the deepest terrestrial animal ever found: Jordana, Rafael; Baquero, Enrique; Reboleira, Sofía and Sendra, Alberto. ...

Caves - landscapes without light

akop on 05 Feb, 2012
Exhibition dedicated to caves is taking place in the Vienna Natural History Museum   The exhibition at the Natural History Museum presents the surprising variety of caves and cave formations such as stalactites and various crystals. ...

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That lava bed is a lava flow of considerable areal extent and relatively small thickness [16].?

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Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
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Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for trace elements (Keyword) returned 32 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 16 to 30 of 32
REE3 and Mn2 activated cathodoluminescence in lateglacial and Holocene stalagmites of central Europe: evidence for climatic processes?, 2004, Richter Detlev K. , Gotte Thomas, Niggemann Stefan, Wurth Georg,
Combined visual cathodoluminescence (CL) and spectral analyses of CL reveals periodic enrichments of rare earth elements (REE3) and manganese (Mn2) within the laminations of eight calcitic lateglacial to postglacial stalagmites. In the annual layers, the enrichment of trace elements can be correlated with the autumn/winter laminae, which are strongly pigmented and rich in organic carbon. During the Holocene, they occur especially in the Atlantic stage and in subrecent/recent times. The enrichment of REE3 and Mn reflects times of more intense weathering, which presumably prevailed during the Atlantic warm and humid climate. In subrecent/recent times, especially the last 100 years, these enrichments may have been at least partially anthropogenically induced

Trace elements in speleothems: a short review of the state of the art, 2005, Verheyden, S.

A state of the art of the research on trace elements of speleothems is given. First studies focussed on problems such as the colour of speleothems and the aragonite problem. In-situ studies and studies oriented towards a better understanding of vadose hydrology brought new insights in the controls on trace elemental composition of speleothems. Recent studies deal with microscale analyses and annual and intra-annual chemistry changes. Further in-situ studies should be performed to further differentiate influences, such as climate, soil/weathering and local hydrology in order to better constrain possible transfer functions between the surface and a speleothem.


Rapid trace element analysis of speleothems by ELA-ICP-MS, 2006, Desmarchelier Jm, Hellstrom Jc, Mcculloch Mt,
Excimer laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ELA-ICP-MS) has been used to analyse the concentration of Mg, Sr, Ba, and U along the outer wall of a soda-straw stalactite from southeastern Australia. The results of this study reveal high frequency oscillations superimposed upon longer-term trends in the data, in particular those of Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca. The high frequency oscillations in the trace elements are assumed to be annual and have been used to compile a chronology which agrees to better than 1% of an independent chronology based on dendrochronological counting of distinctive banding on the surface of the speleothem. The autocorrelation and dendrochronological methods produce a 230-year record of trace element fluctuations spanning the period from 1766 to 1996. Comparisons between the speleothem trace element record and ring width measurements to regional precipitation and temperature fluctuations reveal that a complex relationship exists between them. This study demonstrates that analysis of the trace element composition of soda-straw stalactites is possible at sub-annual resolution, and that some trace elements in these speleothems can vary significantly on an annual basis in an apparent response to changing environmental conditions. The study also reveals the significant advantages that ELA-ICP-MS has over other microbeam techniques in regard to the relative speed and ease of acquiring data with minimal sample preparation

Modification and preservation of environmental signals in speleothems, 2006, Fairchild Ij, Smith Cl, Baker A, Fuller L, Spotl C, Mattey D, Mcdermott F, Eimp,
Speleothems are primarily studied in order to generate archives of climatic change and results have led to significant advances in identifying and dating major shifts in the climate system. However, the climatological meaning of many speleothem records cannot be interpreted unequivocally, this is particularly so for more subtle shifts and shorter time periods, but the use of multiple proxies and improving understanding of formation mechanisms offers a clear way forward. An explicit description of speleothem records as time series draws attention to the nature and importance of the signal filtering processes by which the weather, the seasons, and longer-term climatic and other environmental fluctuations become encoded in speleothems. We distinguish five sources of variation that influence speleothem geochemistry, i.e. atmospheric, vegetation/soil, karstic aquifer, primary speleothem crystal growth and secondary alteration, and give specific examples of their influence. The direct role of climate diminishes progressively through these five factors. We identify and review a number of processes identified in recent and current work that bear significantly on the conventional interpretation of speleothem records, for example: (1) speleothem geochemistry can vary seasonally and hence a research need is to establish the proportion of growth attributable to different seasons and whether this varies over time; (2) whereas there has traditionally been a focus on monthly mean delta O-18 data of atmospheric moisture, current work emphasizes the importance of understanding the synoptic processes that lead to characteristic isotope signals, since changing relative abundance of different weather types might control their variation on the longer-term; (3) the ecosystem and soil zone overlying the cave fundamentally imprint the carbon and trace element signals and can show characteristic variations with time; (4) new modelling on aquifer plumbing allows quantification of the effects of aquifer mixing; (5) recent work has emphasized the importance and seasonal variability Of CO2-degassing leading to calcite precipitation upflow of a depositional site on carbon isotope and trace element composition of speleothems; (6) although much is known about the chemical partitioning between water and stalagmites, variability in relation to crystal growth mechanisms and kinetics is a research frontier; (7) aragonite is susceptible to conversion to calcite with major loss of chemical information, but the controls on the rate of this process are obscure. Analytical factors are critical in generating high-resolution speleothem records. A variety of methods of trace element analysis is available, but standardization is a common problem with the most rapid methods. New stable isotope data on Irish stalagmite CC3 compares rapid laser-ablation techniques with the conventional analysis of micromilled powders and ion microprobe methods. A high degree of comparability between techniques for delta O-18 is found on the millimeter to centimeter scale, but a previously described high-amplitude oxygen isotope excursion around 8.3 ka is identified as an analytical artefact related to fractionation of the laser-analysis associated with sample cracking. High-frequency variability of not less than 0.5 parts per thousand may be an inherent feature of speleothem delta O-18 records. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Hydrocarbon Biomarkers in the Topla-Mezica Zinc-Lead Deposits, Northern Karavanke/Drau Range, Slovenia: Paleoenvironment at the Site of Ore Formation, 2006, Spangenberg Jorge E. , Herlec Ursos,
The Mississippi Valley-type zinc and lead deposits at Topla (250,150 metric tons (t) of ore grading 10 wt % Zn and 3.3 wt % Pb) and Me[z]ica (19 million metric tons (Mt) of ore grading 5.3 wt % Pb and 2.7 wt % Zn) occur within the Middle to Upper Triassic platform carbonate rocks of the northern Karavanke/Drau Range geotectonic units of the Eastern Alps, Slovenia. The ore and host rocks of these deposits have been investigated by a combination of inorganic and organic geochemical methods to determine major, trace, and rare earth element (REE) concentrations, hydrocarbon distribution, and stable isotope ratios of carbonates, kerogen, extractable organic matter, and individual hydrocarbons. These data combined with sedimentological evidence provide insight into the paleoenvironmental conditions at the site of ore formation. The carbonate isotope composition, the REE patterns, and the distribution of hydrocarbon biomarkers (normal alkanes and steranes) suggest a marine depositional environment. At Topla, a relatively high concentration of redox sensitive trace elements (V, Mo, U) in the host dolostones and REE patterns parallel to that of the North American shale composite suggest that sediments were deposited in a reducing environment. Anoxic conditions enhanced the preservation of organic matter and resulted in relatively higher total organic carbon contents (up to 0.4 wt %). The isotopic composition of the kerogen ({delta}13Ckerogen = -29.4 to -25.0{per thousand}, {delta}15Nkerogen = -13.6 to 6.8{per thousand}) suggests that marine algae and/or bacteria were the main source of organic carbon with a very minor contribution from detrital continental plants and a varying degree of alteration. Extractable organic matter from Topla ore is generally depleted in 13C compared to the associated kerogen, which is consistent with an indigenous source of the bitumens. The mineralization correlates with {delta}15Nkerogen values around 0 per mil, 13C depleted kerogen, 13C enriched n-heptadecane, and relatively high concentrations of bacterial hydrocarbon biomarkers, indicating a high cyanobacterial biomass at the site of ore formation. Abundant dissimilatory sulfate-reducing bacteria, feeding on the cyanobacterial remains, led to accumulation of biogenic H2S in the pore water of the sediments. This biogenic H2S was mainly incorporated into sedimentary organic matter and diagenetic pyrite. Higher bacterial activity at the ore site also is indicated by specific concentration ratios of hydrocarbons, which are roughly correlated with total Pb plus Zn contents. This correlation is consistent with mixing of hydrothermal metal-rich fluids and local bacteriogenic sulfide sulfur. The new geochemical data provide supporting evidence that Topla is a low-temperature Mississippi Valley-type deposit formed in an anoxic supratidal saline to hypersaline environment. A laminated cyanobacterial mat, with abundant sulfate-reducing bacteria was the main site of sulfate reduction

Applications of stalagmite laminae to paleoclimate reconstructions: Comparison with dendrochronology/climatology, 2006, Tan Ming, Baker Andy, Genty Dominique, Smith Claire, Esper Jan, Cai Binggui,
Laminated stalagmites, observed in either ultra-violet or visible light or recognized via trace elements, are now widely recognized as a common deposition form. Annually laminated stalagmites should be expected in caves which have an overlying climate that has a strong seasonality, similar climate zones to where trees grow with distinct annual rings. Continuous laminated stalagmite chronologies (up to several thousand years) should be expected where some mixing of stored water occurs. Such stalagmites can be used to reconstruct climate, particularly through variations in lamina width. Such climate records would be relatively damped by mixing of `event' water with `stored' groundwater, constraining the amount of high-frequency climate signals contained in the stalagmite, but relatively long continuous lamina sequences permit the preservation of low frequency, centennial scale, climate signals. This contrasts with numerous tree ring climate records, which are frequently limited in preserving multi-centennial trends, due to the necessary removal of age related noise from relatively short tree segments. Laminated stalagmites and tree rings should therefore to some degree provide complementary climate information. Appropriate methods for compiling stalagmite layer chronologies and climatologies are presented

Petrographic and geochemical study on cave pearls from Kanaan Cave (Lebanon), 2007, Nader Fadi. H.
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 ? 18OV-PDB values of about -5.0 and ? 13C V-PDB values of -11.8, while the surrounding calcite spar laminae resulted in ?18OV-PDB ranging between -5.3 and -5.2, and ? 13C V-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 ? 18O values from inner to outer cortical layers. The calculated ? 18OV-SMOW of the water (-4.2) matches with data on meteoric water signature for the central eastern Mediterranean region.

Climate influence on geochemistry parameters of waters from Santana?Pérolas cave system, Brazil, 2007, Karmann Ivo, Cruz Francisco W. Jr. , Viana Oduvaldo Jr. , Burnsb Stephen J.
A four-year study of water geochemistry and hydrology was performed in a relatively deep cave system (overlying bedrock thickness varies from 100 to 300 m) as part of two monitoring programs, from June 1990 to February 1992 and from March 2000 to March 2002. The pH, saturation index for calcite, Ca and SO4 concentrations, and elemental ratios of Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca were measured in surface, well and drip waters throughout the system. Despite local hydrological and geological differences among sampling sites, the monitoring revealed significant synchronous intersite variations in these parameters that are related to seasonal changes in rainfall recharge, suggesting that element ratios of speleothems formed in deep caves are capable of recording short-term climate variations. Groundwater residence time appears to be the main factor affecting the water composition in the epikarst. Epikarstic waters are always undersaturated with respect to calcite but both saturation index (S.I.) and dissolved solids content increase substantially during drier periods because of longer residence times and longer interaction between meteoric water and limestone. By contrast, results from cave drips and rimstone pools indicate constant supersaturation for calcite and demonstrate that a major control on trace element ratios of waters in the deep vadose zone is the degree of prior calcite precipitation. This mechanism is more effective during drier periods when higher Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca values are observed in all drip and pool sites. However, variations do occur independently of the general trend of drip discharge, which suggest non-linear features in cave seepage water geochemistry. In addition, synchronous variations in SO4 and Cl concentration indicate high connectivity between different water flow pathways characterized by similar response to interseasonal changes in vadose water level. Fluctuations in trace element ratios of cave streams appear to reflect increased contribution of waters flushed from the vadose fissure aquifer during very wet periods by a piston flow mechanism. Flushing episodes are also responsible for maintaining more positive saturation indices in streams even during periods of high river discharge. Our results suggest that trace elements are a potential proxy for past rainfall changes but they also reveal different scenarios for interpreting trace elements ratios of speleothems and freshwater tufa deposited in a deep cave systems located in tropical humid areas.

The hydrochemical response of cave drip waters to sub-annual and inter-annual climate variability, Wombeyan Caves, SE Australia, 2007, Mcdonald Janece , Drysdale Russell, Hill David, Chisari Robert, Won Henri
A thorough understanding of cave seepage waters is necessary to interpret geochemical variations in speleothem calcite in terms of changing surface climatic conditions at a particular site. Here we present the hydrochemistry of ten cave drip waters from a karst system in SE Australia based on up to 5.5 years of monitoring. Discharge was continuously measured at six sites and manually at the other sites. Dripwater samples were analysed for pH, electrical conductivity, cations and anions at all sites at monthly or more frequent intervals. Each drip possesses a unique chemistry, and not all drip waters responded to antecedent short-term hydrological variations. For example, the hydrochemical behaviour of three adjacent drips at a bedrock depth of 45 m was completely different to that of shallower sites, and was apparently un-related to surface hydrology throughout the investigation. Based on modelled calcite precipitation vectors, prior calcite precipitation was demonstrated at several sites but can only be linked directly to changes in surface recharge at the shallowest sites. At extremely low flow, shallow drip waters accessed a high Mg, Sr and Ba source, thought to be the overlying soil. High-frequency sample collection allows for the calculation of predicted Mg/Cacalcite and Sr/Cacalcite values, highlighting that the sites with the greatest potential to record high-resolution palaeohydrological records are those situated at shallow depth. Longer temporal-resolution palaeohydrological records may be recorded at deeper sites but longer-term monitoring is required to identify probable time scales. Inherent system non-linearities, dissolution of secondary calcite in pore spaces of the aquifer, changes in the source of trace elements, and the presence of multiple reservoirs confirm the need for the use of multiple speleothems and a multi-proxy approach to gain accurate palaeohydrological records from this site.

Petrographic and geochemical study on cave pearls from Kanaan Cave (Lebanon), 2007, Nader Fadi H.
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 ? 18OV-PDB values of about -5.0 and ? 13C V-PDB values of -11.8, while the surrounding calcite spar laminae resulted in ?18OV-PDB ranging between -5.3 and -5.2, and ? 13C V-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 ? 18O values from inner to outer cortical layers. The calculated ? 18OV-SMOW of the water (-4.2) matches with data on meteoric water signature for the central eastern Mediterranean region.

SPELEOTHEM PALAEOCLIMATE RECONSTRUCTIONS FROM NORTH EAST TURKEY, , 2008, Jex, Catherine N

Turkey, in the Near – East, is currently suffering water shortages; with future predictions towards increased aridity. As such, an understanding of past water availability is crucial. This study presents reconstructions of palaeoclimate from stalagmites in north east Turkey over two time periods: 21.6 (± 1.5) ka BP to 7.3 (± 0.3) ka BP; and from ~ 1500 AD to the present day.
Conditions at the LGM (characterised by highest δ18O and δ13C; reduced rate of CaCO3 precipitation) are interpreted as cold and dry with reduced vegetation cover, in line with Israeli and Oman speleothems and Turkish lake core evidence. Towards the Holocene, climate ameliorates and vegetation cover increases. An event centred around 12.4 ka BP is characterised by reduced δ18O, 14C and Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca ratios; and increased δ13C and trace elements (Y, Pb, Cu, Zn and P). This is interpreted as a humid event, contemporaneous with the YD, a time typically associated with arid conditions in the Near- /Middle-East.
A calibration of stable isotopes with climate parameters over the instrumental period is presented; and extrapolated to obtain a record of winter precipitation over the last 500 years. This is the first speleothem reconstruction of its kind in Turkey.


The dripwaters and speleothems of Poole's Cavern: a review of recent and ongoing research, 2010, Hartland, Adam, Ian J Fairchild, Jamie R Lead, David Dominguezvillar, Andy Baker, John Gunn, Mohammed Baalousha And Yon Junam
This paper describes aspects of the geochemical conditions prevalent in the dripwaters of Poole's Cavern, Buxton, UK. We examine what makes Poole's Cavern both highly unusual, and also, extremely useful for understanding geochemical processes, both in hyperalkaline, and natural karstic systems. We review the findings of ongoing research into the colloidal and dissolved organic species and associated trace elements in hyperalkaline dripwaters and show that the composition and appearance of poached-egg stalagmites can largely be explained by the high pH conditions prevalent in their parent waters and the carbon dioxide sources in cave air.

Comparison of 14C and U-Th ages of two Holocene phreatic overgrowths on speleothems from Mallorca (Western Mediterranean): Environmental implications, 2011, Tuccimei P. , Strydonck M. V. , Giné, S A, Giné, S J. , Soligo M. , Villa I. M. , Fornó, S J. J.

This investigation reports on the comparison between ICP-MS U-Th and AMS 14C ages of Phreatic Overgrowths on Speleothems (POS) from two different caves on the island of Mallorca (Spain). These speleothem encrustations form at the water table of coastal caves in a low-amplitude tide-controlled microenvironment and are used to reconstruct past sea level changes. The aim of this study is to evaluate if this particular type of speleothem is datable using 14C method and to investigate possible problems connected with the incorporation of dead carbon inherited from the dissolution of 14C-free limestone. The results show that 14C ages are strongly site dependent and appear related to local residence time of water infiltration through the soil and epikarst. When short transit time and limited interaction with soil and bedrock, as in Cova de Cala Varques A, the so-called “reservoir” effect is negligible and 14C and U-Th ages corresponds within the error range. When the residence time is longer, as in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera, 14C ages are steadily 2,300-2,400 years older than the U-Th data, as shown by the mean value (25%) of estimated percent dead carbon proportions and by higher and better correlated contents of major and trace elements in the vadose support of this speleothem encrustation. The potential use of this multi-method approach to paleoenvironmental studies is also suggested.


Comparison of 14C and U-Th ages of two Holocene phreatic overgrowths on speleothems from Mallorca (Western Mediterranean): Environmental implications, 2011, Tuccimei Paola, Strydonck Mark Van, Gins Angel , Gins Joaqun , Soligo Michele, Villa Igor M. , Forns Joan J.

This investigation reports on the comparison between ICP-MS U-Th and AMS 14C ages of Phreatic Overgrowths on Speleothems (POS) from two different caves on the island of Mallorca (Spain). These speleothem encrustations form at the water table of coastal caves in a low-amplitude tide-controlled microenvironment and are used to reconstruct past sea level changes. The aim of this study is to evaluate if this particular type of speleothem is datable using 14C method and to investigate possible problems connected with the incorporation of dead carbon inherited from the dissolution of 14C-free limestone. The results show that 14C ages are strongly site dependent and appear related to local residence time of water infiltration through the soil and epikarst. When short transit time and limited interaction with soil and bedrock, as in Cova de Cala Varques A, the so-called “reservoir” effect is negligible and 14C and U-Th ages corresponds within the error range. When the residence time is longer, as in Cova des Pas de Vallgornera, 14C ages are steadily 2,300-2,400 years older than the U-Th data, as shown by the mean value (25%) of estimated percent dead carbon proportions and by higher and better correlated contents of major and trace elements in the vadose support of this speleothem encrustation. The potential use of this multi-method approach to paleoenvironmental studies is also suggested.


Trace element and stable isotope data from a flowstone in a natural cave of the mining district of SW Sardinia (Italy): evidence for Zn⁺-induced aragonite precipitation in comparatively wet climatic conditions, 2011, Caddeo Guglielmo Angelo, De Waele Jo, Frau Franco, Railsback Loren Bruce

A speleothem from Crovassa Azzurra, a mine cave in SW Sardinia (Italy), has been analysed for mineralogy, minor and trace elements and stable isotopes. It is composed of layers of primary calcite and aragonite, with a region of secondary calcite. The primary carbonate is strikingly rich in Zn and Pb, presumably as the result of transport in solution from overlying Pb-Zn deposits. Immediately below the transition between calcite and aragonite, concentrations of Zn, Cd and P increase. At the transition between aragonite and Pb-rich aragonite, concentrations of Pb and P increase. Stable isotopes indicate an evolution toward more humid periods for these two transitions, conversely to what is normally observed in calcite-aragonite speleothems. The combined observation of increase in P and metals derived from oxidation of sulphides and the variation of isotopic composition of aragonite and calcite suggests that in this mine cave aragonite was deposited with increasing flowrate and thus more humid conditions. In addition, the effect of Zn2+ or Pb2+ in inhibiting precipitation of calcite appears to have been more important than that of Mg2+.


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