Biotic versus abiotic calcite formation on prehistoric cave paintings: the Arcy-sur-Cure ‘Grande Grotte’ (Yonne, France) case
Published:January 01, 2007
E. Chalmin, F. D’Orlyé, L. Zinger, L. Charlet, R. A. Geremia, G. Orial, M. Menu, D. Baffier, I. Reiche, 2007. "Biotic versus abiotic calcite formation on prehistoric cave paintings: the Arcy-sur-Cure ‘Grande Grotte’ (Yonne, France) case", Natural and Anthropogenic Hazards in Karst Areas: Recognition, Analysis and Mitigation, M. Parise, J. Gunn
Download citation file:
The ‘Grande Grotte’ cave at Arcy-sur-Cure (Yonne, France) with its prehistoric paintings shows important calcite concretions. Two types of calcite have been observed on the wall: translucent yellowish layers and opaque white or grey layers that completely obstruct the paintings. Other calcite types are present in the lakes of the cave (floating calcite rafts at the surface of the lake and soft calcite at the bottom of the lake).
The morphology of the different calcites was observed at different scales by optical microscopy with normal and polarized light, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The elemental composition was measured by using particle-induced X-ray emission (micro-PIXE) and the structure by X-ray diffraction (XRD), infrared (FT-IR) and Raman spectroscopy. The bacterial diversity and its role in calcite formation were assessed by culture and 16S-SSCP in order to distinguish and to assess various abiotic and biotic formation mechanisms.
The investigation of calcite characteristics enables conclusions on the formation mechanism and on a biotic or abiotic origin of the calcites. The change of calcite types on the walls reveals changes of the environmental cave parameters. In addition, interactions of calcites with the prehistoric paint layer could be evaluated.
Figures & Tables
Natural and Anthropogenic Hazards in Karst Areas: Recognition, Analysis and Mitigation
The book presents an overview of the main hazards affecting karst, including collapse and subsidence phenomena, hydrological hazards and human-induced geohazards. Consideration is also given to the problems of geohazard management in karst. The geological and hydrological properties of karst terrains make them among the most fragile in the world and pose serious problems for land managers. Sustainable development in these terrains requires efforts to limit geohazards of anthropogenic origin and to recognize and mitigate against those of natural origin. Aimed at providing the reader with worldwide case studies, the contributions cover a range of geological and morphological settings. Geographically, the fourteen papers discuss very different karst areas, from North America, the Caribbean and Asia to several karst areas in Europe, including the British Isles, Spain, France and Italy.