The present day genesis and evolution of cave minerals inside the Ojo de la Reina Cave (Naica Mine, Mexico)

International Journal of Speleology. 2011;40(2):125-131


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: International Journal of Speleology

ISSN: 0392-6672 (Print); 1827-806X (Online)

Publisher: Società Speleologica Italiana

LCC Subject Category: Science: Biology (General) | Science: Geology

Country of publisher: Italy

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF



Badino Giovanni
Calaforra José Maria
Forti Paolo
Garofalo Paolo
Sanna Laura


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 27 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Ojo de la Reina is the first and the smallest cave intersected at the -290 level in the Naica Mine (Mexico), therefore it was the firstcavity in which the lowering of temperature induced by mine ventilation caused condensation over crystals’ surface since 2005. Theconsequent dissolution of the gypsum crystals and subsequent condensed water evaporation lead to the deposition of several newminerals, among which some highly soluble Mg/Na compounds (bloedite, epsomite, halite, hexahydrite, kieserite, starkeyite). Thesingle available source of Mg and Na ions in this minerogenetic environment is represented by the huge fluid inclusions widespreadwithin the crystals. The condensation occurs mainly along the widened principal exfoliation (010) planes, and allows to an easy andfast opening of the fluid inclusions that consequently drip Mg-rich fluids stored inside them. Finally the evaporation of the relativelysmall volumes of involved water allows to the development of the high soluble Mg and Na compounds.