Introduction to tufas and speleothems
Published:January 01, 2010
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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Tufas and Speleothems: Unravelling the Microbial and Physical Controls
Our understanding of calcium carbonate precipitation within freshwater carbonate systems is being revolutionized by new quantitative approaches at both field and laboratory scale. These systems cover a diverse range of topical research areas including tufas, speleothems, stromatolites and microbial processes. Progress by various international research groups has been impressive, with major contributions to such areas as climate change, absolute dating, carbon sequestration, and biofilm construction and precipitation. A diverse sample of interrelated research is presented that provides a tantalizing glimpse of the interplay between microbial, geochemical and physical processes that control the development of tufas and speleothems.
This volume will provide a cross-disciplinary platform that will stimulate further exchanges about new concepts, methodologies and interpretations associated with freshwater carbonates. In particular, it will help reinforce the importance of cross-discipline research: the driving force behind the new field of Geobiology.