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By C. Spötl, M. Luetscher, P. Rittig

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Up to now only some dozens of caves have been attributed to a hypogene – mainly hydrothermal – genesis. Only at two locations, near Hieflau in Styria (Kraushöhle) and Bad Deutsch Altenburg in Lower Austria a sulphuric acid speleogenesis has been revealed. 30 Weichselian non-cryogenic and cryogenic calcites in former pools on ice within the Breitscheid-Erdbach Cave (Northern Hesse, Germany) D. K. Richter, A. Immenhauser, P. Meissner, U. Schulte, I. Dorsten Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany Local accumulations of small calcite crystals (< 1mm) and up to cm-sized calcite aggregates are present on the cave floor and on collapsed blocks in the Breitscheid-Erdbach Cave, Germany.

This pattern leads to the winter regime whereby “old” cave air is replaced by very cold and dense, “fresh” winter air and the summer temperature profile in the shafts essentially reverses. 3 m depth between December and May. The fact that summer temperatures inside the rock are positive is consistent with the presence (and apparent widening) of the fissure between the walls and the adjacent ground ice. The cave’s ice reservoir, partly manipulated by the artificial introduction of snow during the winter, appears to decline since several years.

Pearls of the DIC and SIC were subjected to a comparative petrographic and geochemical study. The chemical composition of pearls dissolved in 2% HNO3 was studied by ICP-OES. In most cases the pearls show higher contents of major (Mg, Mn, Fe, Sr) and some minor elements, as compared to speleothems from ice-free cave sections. The C and O stable isotope values of pearls from both ice caves are practically identical. In the δ13C vs. δ18O diagram, data for the pearls plot between the data cluster for normal speleothems from the non-iced part of the caves, and the data cluster of cryogenic powdery calcite collected directly on the 41 surface of the ice blocks, the latter being more enriched in 13C due to strong kinetic fractionation processes during its formation.

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4th International Workshop on Ice Caves by C. Spötl, M. Luetscher, P. Rittig

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