Abstract

A geochemical explanation is provided for the extensive dissolution observed along the carbonate coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Mixing of fresh ground water with subterranean Caribbean seawater generates a highly reactive geochemical zone that enhances aragonite and calcite dissolution and permits neomorphism of aragonite. Mixing-zone dissolution caused by ground-water discharge is a major geomorphic process in developing caves, coves, and crescent-shaped beaches along the Yucatan coast. Such dissolution has probably been a significant control on permeability and porosity distribution in carbonate rocks in the geologic record.

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