Encyclopedia of Geobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Joachim Reitner, Volker Thiel

Speleothems

  • Roman Aubrecht
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9212-1_225

Synonyms

Cave deposits; Cave sinters

Definition

The word “speleothem” is from Greek and means “cave deposit.” According to its origin, this term can be used for any cave deposits, but it is used mostly for secondary mineral deposits formed (precipitated) in caves. In this entry, speleothem is understood as constructively formed, new cave material. Materials originated by destructive phenomena, such as erosion, weathering, etching, biocorrosion, or bioerosion are not subjects of this entry.

Biogenic and abiogenic speleothems

Most of the speleothems originate inorganically by precipitation of various minerals from solutions. The minerals are dissolved by undersaturated fluids and precipitate when the solutions become supersaturated, e.g., by evaporation, outgassing, or pH changes. Mineralogical compositions of speleothems vary depending on the environment in which the caves are formed. The most common speleothem-forming mineral is calcite (as most of the caves are formed of limestones),...
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Bibliography

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roman Aubrecht
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geology and Paleontology Faculty of Natural SciencesComenius UniversityBratislavaSlovakia