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Ambient temperature freshwater carbonates precipitate as surface deposits within karstic stream, lake and swamp environments (tufas) and in subterranean situations (speleothems), where they line vadose caves and fracture systems. Although physico-chemical mineral precipitation contributes significantly to both kinds of deposit, there is a clear spatial association between the development of tufa deposits and the occurrence of microbial biofilms. This fact, and the recent discovery that the occurrence of certain heterotrophic bacteria promote precipitation onto the surface of stalactites (Cacchio et al. 2004), strongly implicates a degree of microbial influence in the calcite precipitation process, regardless of the...

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