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GEOREF RECORD

Stalactite growth mediated by biofilms; example from Nani Cave, Cayman Brac, British West Indies

Brian Jones
Stalactite growth mediated by biofilms; example from Nani Cave, Cayman Brac, British West Indies
Journal of Sedimentary Research (April 2011) 81 (4): 322-338

Abstract

Growth lines evident in cross sections through stalactites from Nani Cave provide a temporal record of their growth. Many of these dark, organic-rich laminae developed as biofilms that are recognized by the presence of (1) a diverse microbial biota that is dominated by actinomycetes, (2) calcified filaments, (3) films formed of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), (4) grain-coating sheets of calcite crystals that grew in EPS, (5) biterminal calcite crystals, and (6) etching. This biosignatures suite encompasses a variety of constructive and destructive processes. Where fully developed, the features generated by the biofilms form a distinctive microstratigraphic succession, collectively <50 mu m thick, which can be traced laterally across the stalactite's surface. The use of speleothems in paleoclimate studies is commonly framed against a chronology that relies, at least in part, on annual growth couplets. The dark, organic-rich lamina that forms one part of the growth couplet is typically ascribed to abiotic precipitation that incorporated exogenic organic matter that was flushed into the cave following the first major rainfall of the wet season. This assumption ignores the possibility that dark, organic-rich growth laminae can be the record of biofilms that developed on the surface of the stalactites and hence, may not be a record of annual events.


ISSN: 1527-1404
EISSN: 1938-3681
Serial Title: Journal of Sedimentary Research
Serial Volume: 81
Serial Issue: 4
Title: Stalactite growth mediated by biofilms; example from Nani Cave, Cayman Brac, British West Indies
Author(s): Jones, Brian
Affiliation: University of Alberta, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Pages: 322-338
Published: 201104
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 114
Accession Number: 2011-050326
Categories: Sedimentary petrologyGeomorphology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 10 plates, sketch map
N19°45'00" - N19°45'00", W79°49'60" - W79°49'60"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 201128
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