The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 54 Number 2: 66-68 - December 1992

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Recovery of Microfossils from Carbonate Speleothems
Victor J. Polyak and James C. Cokendolpher


Numerous microfossils were recovered from carbonate speleothems collected in caves of the Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico. The speleothems consisted of a fragment of rimstone dam and four stalagmites that were dissolved with 5% hydrochloric acid. Treatment with 2% potassium hydroxide removed unwanted organic matter that entrapped many of the fossils. The fossils are remarkably well preserved. Mites are the only arthropods that were recovered intact. Moth scales, arthropod fecal pellets, appendage fragments of other arthropods, algae, fungi, pollen, minute fragments of plant material, and hairs of mammals were observed. The speleothems are probably Pleistocene in age.

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