Hypogene Speleogenesis in the Southern Ozark Uplands, Mid-Continental United States

  • Rodney Tennyson
  • Van BrahanaEmail author
  • Victor J. Polyak
  • Adriana Potra
  • Matt Covington
  • Yemane Asmerom
  • Jim Terry
  • Erik Pollock
  • David D. Decker
Part of the Cave and Karst Systems of the World book series (CAKASYWO)


Giant spar crystals were discovered in Chilly Bowl Cave in northern Arkansas in an area of deep faults between the Ouachita orogenic province and the Ozark uplands. The crystals provide data that support hypogene speleogenesis, including fluid inclusion paleotemperatures, 13C and 18O, and U–Pb dates that are inconsistent with an epigenetic water source. During the Ouachita orogeny, thermal brines entered the Paleozoic carbonates of the Ozarks to form spar-lined caves (U/Pb spar dates = 52 ± 2 million years). This age significantly extends the range of cave ages in the region. The chemistry of the early waters was derived from the deeply buried Ouachita foreland basin. The spar crystals are intersected by more recent caves related to the present topography which experience upward flow below confining units and by definition are also hypogenic.


Hypogene karst Rising groundwater Eocene calcite Fault control MVT deposits 



The authors gratefully acknowledge significant contributions made by Emily Frank and Jeanna Tennyson in exploring and mapping Chilly Bowl Cave, by Dawn Cannon in communicating attributes of the cave to the karst community, and by the members of the Middle Ozark Lower Earth Society (MOLES), who helped with numerous excursions into challenging caves along the Flatrock Creek fault. We also thank Art and Peggy Palmer for helpful suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rodney Tennyson
    • 1
  • Van Brahana
    • 2
    Email author
  • Victor J. Polyak
    • 3
  • Adriana Potra
    • 4
  • Matt Covington
    • 5
  • Yemane Asmerom
    • 3
  • Jim Terry
    • 6
  • Erik Pollock
    • 7
  • David D. Decker
    • 3
  1. 1.AlpenaUSA
  2. 2.University of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Earth and Planetary SciencesUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueMexico
  4. 4.University of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA
  5. 5.University of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA
  6. 6.TorontoCanada
  7. 7.Stable Isotope LabUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA

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