An Overview of the Hypogene Caves of Sicily

  • Marco Vattano
  • Giuliana Madonia
  • Philippe Audra
  • Ilenia M. D’Angeli
  • Ermanno Galli
  • Jean-Yves Bigot
  • Jean-Claude Nobécourt
  • Jo De WaeleEmail author
Part of the Cave and Karst Systems of the World book series (CAKASYWO)


Karst in Sicily develops in both Messinian gypsum and Mesozoic or Tertiary limestone rocks. Caves are also found in the basalts of Mount Etna. Except for some rare cases, until recently most caves developed in limestone were considered to be of epigenetic origin. The discovery of gypsum in some of these caves, and especially detailed morphological studies, have allowed defining a hypogenic origin for a dozen of caves up to now. In some of these, the hypogenic evidences are very clear, while others remain in doubt because of the widespread presence of well-developed condensation-corrosion morphologies not necessarily related to hydrothermal fluids. This paper reports the present knowledge of hypogenic caves in the Island of Sicily.


Hypogenic caves Sicily Sulfuric acid speleogenesis Condensation-corrosion Wall sculpturing 



The authors wish to thank cavers from ANS Le Taddarite of Palermo, for the support in the field activities. We also wish to thank Augusto Auler and Alexander Klimchouk for their constructive comments that have significantly contributed to the improvement of this paper. The access to Grotta dell’Acqua Mintina was possible thanks to Mr. Giovanni Stuppia and Dr. Rosario Ruggieri.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Vattano
    • 1
  • Giuliana Madonia
    • 1
  • Philippe Audra
    • 2
  • Ilenia M. D’Angeli
    • 3
  • Ermanno Galli
    • 4
  • Jean-Yves Bigot
    • 5
  • Jean-Claude Nobécourt
    • 6
  • Jo De Waele
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e del MareUniversity of PalermoPalermoItaly
  2. 2.University of Nice Sophia AntipolisSophia Antipolis CedexFrance
  3. 3.Italian Institute of Speleology, Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly
  4. 4.Dipartimento di Scienze della TerraUniversity of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly
  5. 5.Association Française de Karstologie (AFK)MontpellierFrance
  6. 6.CRESPEVenceFrance

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