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GEOREF RECORD

Alunite, natroalunite and hydrated halloysite in Carlsbad Cavern and Lechuguilla Cave, New Mexico

Victor J. Polyak and Necip Guven
Alunite, natroalunite and hydrated halloysite in Carlsbad Cavern and Lechuguilla Cave, New Mexico
Clays and Clay Minerals (December 1996) 44 (6): 843-850

Abstract

Members of an alunite-natroalunite solid solution series occur in intimate association with hydrated halloysite in deposits within caves of the Guadalupe Mountains, namely Carlsbad Cavern and Lechuguilla Cave. The alunite and natroalunite crystals consist of cube-like rhombs; crystal diameters range from 0.5 to 8 mu m. This mineral association is found in sediments within bedrock pockets, solution cavity fills, floor deposits and wall residues. Sulfur stable isotope values (delta (super 34) S, CTD) for cave alunite and natroalunite are negative [+0.1 to -28.9 per mill ( ppm); n = 12 and mean = 16.8 ppm] and are comparable to the cave gypsum and native sulfur values reported by other investigators. The association of alunite/natroalunite with hydrated halloysite in these cave deposits suggests that the cave-forming waters contained significant concentrations of sulfuric acid. Formation of these minerals is related to the excavation of the carbonate rocks that formed Carlsbad Cavern, Lechuguilla Cave and other caves of the Guadalupe Mountains. The sulfuric acid-bearing waters, when exposed to clay-rich sediments, converted clay minerals and quartz to alunite/natroalunite and hydrated halloysite.


ISSN: 0009-8604
Coden: CLCMAB
Serial Title: Clays and Clay Minerals
Serial Volume: 44
Serial Issue: 6
Title: Alunite, natroalunite and hydrated halloysite in Carlsbad Cavern and Lechuguilla Cave, New Mexico
Affiliation: Texas Tech University, Department of Geosciences, Lubbock, TX, United States
Pages: 843-850
Published: 199612
Text Language: English
Publisher: Clay Minerals Society, Clarkson, NY, United States
References: 40
Accession Number: 1997-038563
Categories: Isotope geochemistrySedimentary petrologyGeneral mineralogy
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables, sketch map
N32°01'60" - N32°10'00", W104°42'00" - W104°22'60"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland
Update Code: 199713
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