Journal of Cave and Karst Studies - ISSN 0146-9517
Volume 59 Number 2: 81-86 - August 1997

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Initial Geologic Observations in Caves Bordering the Sibari Plain (Southern Italy)
Sandro Galdenzi


Geologic investigation of caves in the northern Calabria region of Italy has clarified their origin and irregular distribution. Caves and surface karst landforms are not widespread, despite the fact that the local limestones are widely exposed and surface drainage is poorly developed. The caves are located in small limestone hills and mountains around the Sibari Plain and are surrounded by low-permeability rocks. Among them is a significant shaft cave fed by a sinking stream that drains a non-karst recharge area. However, most of the caves are predominantly horizontal and have entrances at low altitudes at several levels. Their origin is due to the rising of thermal waters, which are mineralized after passing through the Neogene formations of the Sibari Plain. The caves can be considered relict hypogenic outflow caves. The main cave-forming process was probably the oxidation of H2S, favored by the mixing of thermal water and infiltrating fresh water. Oxidation of H2S has resulted in gypsum deposits within the caves.

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