Three hypogenic caves within the Naica mine of Mexico (Cueva de los Cristales — CLC, Ojo de la Reina — OR, 26 and Cueva de las Velas — CLV) host spectacular gypsum crystals up to 11 m in length. These caves are close to 27 another shallow cave of the area (Cueva de las Espadas — CLE), with which they cover a 160 m-deep vertical 28 section of the local drainage basin. Similar to other hypogenic caves, all these caves lack a direct connection 29 with the land surface and should be unrelated with climate.30 A record of multi-technique fluid inclusion data and pollen spectra from cave and mine gypsum indicates 31 surprisingly that climatic changes occurring at Naica could have controlled fluid composition in these caves, 32 and hence crystal growth. Microthermometry and LA-ICP-Mass Spectrometry of fluid inclusions indicate that 33 the shallow, chemically peculiar, saline fluid (up to 7.7 eq. wt.%NaCl) of CLE could have formed from 34 evaporation, during a dry and hot climatic period. The fluid of the deep caves was instead of low salinity 35 (∼3.5 eq. wt.% NaCl) and chemically homogeneous, and was poorly affected by evaporation. We propose that 36 mixing of these two fluids, generated at different depths of the Naica drainage basin, determined the stable 37 supersaturation conditions for the gigantic gypsum crystals to grow. Fluid mixing was controlled by the 38 hydraulic communication between CLE and the other deep caves, and must have taken place during cycles of 39 warm-dry and fresh-wet climatic periods, which are known to have occurred in the region. Pollen grains 40 from a 35 ka-old gypsum crystal of CLC corresponds to a fairly homogenous catchment basin made of a 41 mixed broadleaf wet forest, which suggests precipitation during a fresh-wet climatic period and confirms our 42 interpretation of the fluid inclusion data.43 The unusual combination of geological and geochemical factors of Naica suggests that other hypogenic caves 44 found elsewhere may not host similar crystals. However, this work shows that fluid inclusions and pollen 45 spectra represent a useful tool for cave studies in general, and if used in future studies might be essential to 46 unravel the mechanisms of hypogenic deposition.

Climatic control on the growth of gigantic gypsum crystals within hypogenic caves (Naica mine, Mexico)? / Garofalo, P. S.; Fricker, M. B.; Günther, D.; Forti, P.; Mercuri, Anna Maria; Loreti, M.; Capaccioni, B.. - In: EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS. - ISSN 0012-821X. - STAMPA. - 289 (3-4):(2010), pp. 560-569. [10.1016/j.epsl.2009.11.057]

Climatic control on the growth of gigantic gypsum crystals within hypogenic caves (Naica mine, Mexico)?

MERCURI, Anna Maria;
2010

Abstract

Three hypogenic caves within the Naica mine of Mexico (Cueva de los Cristales — CLC, Ojo de la Reina — OR, 26 and Cueva de las Velas — CLV) host spectacular gypsum crystals up to 11 m in length. These caves are close to 27 another shallow cave of the area (Cueva de las Espadas — CLE), with which they cover a 160 m-deep vertical 28 section of the local drainage basin. Similar to other hypogenic caves, all these caves lack a direct connection 29 with the land surface and should be unrelated with climate.30 A record of multi-technique fluid inclusion data and pollen spectra from cave and mine gypsum indicates 31 surprisingly that climatic changes occurring at Naica could have controlled fluid composition in these caves, 32 and hence crystal growth. Microthermometry and LA-ICP-Mass Spectrometry of fluid inclusions indicate that 33 the shallow, chemically peculiar, saline fluid (up to 7.7 eq. wt.%NaCl) of CLE could have formed from 34 evaporation, during a dry and hot climatic period. The fluid of the deep caves was instead of low salinity 35 (∼3.5 eq. wt.% NaCl) and chemically homogeneous, and was poorly affected by evaporation. We propose that 36 mixing of these two fluids, generated at different depths of the Naica drainage basin, determined the stable 37 supersaturation conditions for the gigantic gypsum crystals to grow. Fluid mixing was controlled by the 38 hydraulic communication between CLE and the other deep caves, and must have taken place during cycles of 39 warm-dry and fresh-wet climatic periods, which are known to have occurred in the region. Pollen grains 40 from a 35 ka-old gypsum crystal of CLC corresponds to a fairly homogenous catchment basin made of a 41 mixed broadleaf wet forest, which suggests precipitation during a fresh-wet climatic period and confirms our 42 interpretation of the fluid inclusion data.43 The unusual combination of geological and geochemical factors of Naica suggests that other hypogenic caves 44 found elsewhere may not host similar crystals. However, this work shows that fluid inclusions and pollen 45 spectra represent a useful tool for cave studies in general, and if used in future studies might be essential to 46 unravel the mechanisms of hypogenic deposition.
289 (3-4)
560
569
Climatic control on the growth of gigantic gypsum crystals within hypogenic caves (Naica mine, Mexico)? / Garofalo, P. S.; Fricker, M. B.; Günther, D.; Forti, P.; Mercuri, Anna Maria; Loreti, M.; Capaccioni, B.. - In: EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS. - ISSN 0012-821X. - STAMPA. - 289 (3-4):(2010), pp. 560-569. [10.1016/j.epsl.2009.11.057]
Garofalo, P. S.; Fricker, M. B.; Günther, D.; Forti, P.; Mercuri, Anna Maria; Loreti, M.; Capaccioni, B.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11380/648376
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