Journal of Cave and Karst Studies - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 61 Number 1: 7-12 - April 1999

A publication of the National Speleological Society

A Laboratory Investigation of the Relative Dissolution Rates of the Lirio Limestone and the Isla de Mona Dolomite and Implications for Cave and Karst Development on Isla de Mona
Myrna Iris Martinez and William B. White


The relative dissolution kinetics of the Lirio Limestone and the Isla de Mona Dolomite were determined by dissolving discs of various samples in CO2 -saturated solutions. Rate curves for carbonate dissolution were determined by monitoring pH and specific conductance as a function of time. Dissolution rates for limestone samples were distinctly higher than rates for dolomite samples but the rate curves had similar shapes. Initial rates for limestones averaged 12.53 mmol m-2 sec-1 compared with 8.53 for dolomite. The limestone rates are comparable with those measured on single crystal calcite but the dolomite rates are higher than rates measured on Paleozoic dolomites. The relative dissolution rates are sufficient to be a factor in explaining the concentration of caves at the limestone/dolomite contact but may not be the only controlling factor.

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