Speleothems in Florida's Underwater Karst

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Re: Speleothems in Florida's Underwater Karst

Postby danstraley » May 30, 2008 10:49 pm

As a longtime Florida dry caver, I can tell you that Florida speleothems are associated with certain limestone layers (regional). With that said, I've heard of underwater speleothems in Citrus and Hernando County. These two counties are home to some of the deepest underwater caves in the world and also are the highest cave areas in peninsular Florida (and home to Florida's deepest dry caves at -95ft and -93ft). The dry caves in the area have lots of formations. I believe that I've heard of formations in Warm Mineral Springs in Sarasota County too. The Tampa Bay is home to the Tampa Bay Geode, which are rarely found out in the bay.

Later,

Dan
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Re: Speleothems in Florida's Underwater Karst

Postby danstraley » May 31, 2008 11:17 am

Yep, I did a quick google of warm mineral springs and found this page which eludes to stalactites in the cave. I had heard previously that they were around the -90ft mark.I believe that I had heard that from some diver friends that had explored the cave.
http://www.warmmineralsprings.com/science.shtml

Hope it helps.

Dan
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Re: Speleothems in Florida's Underwater Karst

Postby George Dasher » Jun 24, 2008 11:44 am

I would think there would be two reasons speleothems do not form underwater.

First, the flow of water into the cave passage encounters a flow of water through the cave passage, not an air-filled passage. There thus may be no kind of CO2 boundary to cause the CaCO3 precipitation to begin.

Second, because cave formation is so slow, any kind of water flow through the passage is going to take the precipitated CaCO3 down the passage.

Also, any acidity in the passage water flow can dissolve any formations that have been deposited. I believe this happens in "land caves" with storm surges that move the deposition-dissolve boundary around in the cave.
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Re: Speleothems in Florida's Underwater Karst

Postby hewhocaves » Jul 14, 2008 9:42 am

George Dasher wrote:I would think there would be two reasons speleothems do not form underwater.

First, the flow of water into the cave passage encounters a flow of water through the cave passage, not an air-filled passage. There thus may be no kind of CO2 boundary to cause the CaCO3 precipitation to begin.

Second, because cave formation is so slow, any kind of water flow through the passage is going to take the precipitated CaCO3 down the passage.

Also, any acidity in the passage water flow can dissolve any formations that have been deposited. I believe this happens in "land caves" with storm surges that move the deposition-dissolve boundary around in the cave.


i'm guessing #2 is more a driver than #1 (because we can get things like calcite rafts and underwater mammaries in really still water). It also helps to raise the Ca2+ ion count (and is therefore useful in spring sampling).

And George is correct - existing formations can be dissolved away by 'acidic' waters coming in. (i.e. meteroric). I've seen lots of formations like that in WV. Usually about a foot or so above the current stream level :tonguecheek:
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Re: Speleothems in Florida's Underwater Karst

Postby Buford » Oct 23, 2011 12:07 pm

Calcite rafts are not uncommon in Florida's headwater (very low flow, phreatic) caves, especially those in the north-central part of the peninsula (Levy, Marion, & Alachua Counties, for instance). Some of the Archer Caves (Alachua and Levy Counties) have deposition-erosion calcite formations that grow when water tables are low and the caves are air-filled, but then erode when water tables rise and their formations are inundated.

The estevelle caves along the Suwannee and (northern) Withlacoochee Rivers experience reversed flow and become siphons during flood events. These river waters are acidic and aggressive, and would quickly eat any calcite depositions that managed to form.

Even "dry" caves in the Peninsula are rarely decorated anyway, and the notable exceptions aren't notable when compared to TAG, WV, NM, etc.
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