About this Research Topic
Epigene caves act as morphological traps for a large variety of natural and anthropogenic materials transported by gravity and/or water flow from the Earth surface. Caves probably are indeed the most conservative environments on Earth. Mineral and sedimentary deposits can last almost intact for several million years, providing one of the most important continental paleo-environmental archives. For these reasons, cave deposits offer a wide array of physical, geochemical and biological proxies mainly concerning climatology, hydrology, tectonics, ecology and biology on all the Quaternary periods and further back.
In the last decades, cave deposits and particularly speleothems, have been investigated by numerous studies and they have been established as one of the most valuable resources for understanding Earth conditions in the past. In the meantime, the progressive improvement of analytical methods now allows for obtaining detailed, high resolution and well-dated records of present and past climate and environmental changes.
This Research Topic aims at presenting the more recent results and implications concerning the study of different types of cave fillings and sediments: speleothems, precipitation and alteration minerals, water transported sediments, wall-weathering materials, biogenic formations, cave ice and gravitative debris. The scope of this Research Topic is also to furnish a state-of-the-art approach on sampling, analytical procedures, and dating methods, thus offering a novel and comprehensive view on cave deposits.
We welcome Original Research and Review articles on topics including, but not limited to:
• Paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic reconstructions from speleothem using traditional and innovative geochemical proxies;
• Landscape and cave systems evolution reconstructed from dating and study of cave sediments;
• Mineralogical, petrographic, and stratigraphic characterization of cave deposits;
• Earth surface, weathering processes and related allogenic cave sediments;
• Minerogenesis and biogenesis of cave-walls weathering products;
• Ice and fïrn in caves as climate change archives;
• Analytical and technical improvements in the study of cave deposits and their environmental meaning;
• Cave sediment as records of Holocene human-induced environmental changes;
• Speleogenetic role of sediment transport in caves;
• Cave deposits in non-karst areas (e.g. lava tubes, glacier caves, gravitative caves).
Keywords: Cave deposits, Speleothems, Environmental Change, Paleohydrology
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.